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


MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
2012-2014

President:
Shri Chandru Binwani

Deputy President:
Datuk Fateh Chand

Vice Presidents:
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
Shri Sriniyasan Narayana

Honorary General Secretary:
Shri Sivashankar Krishnapillai

Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Shrimati Vanita Rani

Honorary Treasurer:
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot

Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Dr Darshan Kumar

Committee Members:
Shri Mahadev Lalchand
Shri Prabhat Kumar
Dr Tilla Chelliah
Ms Asha Devi
Shrimati Usha Devi
Shri Kishan Kumar Agarwal
Shrimati Suresh Kumari Shukla
Shri Soorya Rao Simhadar
Shri Jagmohan Kumar
Shri Hetish Sharma
Ms Nirmlah Dahvy

EDITORIAL BOARD
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Shrimati Tangamani Menon


SACRED THOUGHT
December 2013         Volume 41 Issue 4
For internal circulation only

Contents
Building Renovations: Update and Appeal2
Editorial Note3
Commentary on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3 Verse 27
H.H. Swami Hari Harji Maharaj
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From the President's Desk: Geeta Dham6
The Main Commentators on the Bhagavad Geeta9
Lessons from the Geeta (15)10
Radhashtami12
Shri Hanuman Chalisa: the Deeper Meaning14
Mother Geeta and Mother Earth16
The Atma and its Prefixes18
Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 3: Yoga of Selfless Action20
Geeta Jayanti22
Four Benefits of Reciting the Geeta23
Guidance from the Mahabharata (2)24
Significance of the Hindu Trimurti25
Geeta Jayanti 2013 at Geeta Ashram Malaysia26
In a Lighter Vein27
Recipe: Mixed Daal Dosa (Adai)28
Lyrics of Bhajan: Badi Der Bai Nandlala29
International News30
Children's Hinduism Quiz31
Recent and Upcoming Activities32
Speech by Mahatma Gandhi (Video)32a

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BUILDING RENOVATIONS: UPDATE AND APPEAL

After a special bhoomi puja by Panditji on 2 September 2013, major renovation works began on the Geeta Ashram building in Petaling Jaya. These renovations will accomodate a more spacious prayer hall, a larger dining hall, two classrooms, a library, a new office, a conference room and twelve dormitories for visitors. The upgraded building will boast state-of-the-art facilities and modern decor.

Such extensive construction work inevitably requires substantial funds. A Geeta Ashram Malaysia Building Renovation Fund has been launched, and we appeal to all devotees and well-wishers to contribute generously and give their fullest support towards making this project a reality.

The following committee members can be contacted for further information:
1. Chandru Binwani +6 012-382 4228
2. Datuk Fateh Chand +6 019-239 3376
3. Tangamani Menon +6 03-7955 7460
4. K Sivashankar +6 012-280 8295
5. Dr D K Bhanot +6 012-329 1216


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EDITORIAL NOTE

Geeta Jayanti
Geeta Ashram Malaysia is in the midst of observing Geeta Jayanti from 26 November to 13 December 2013 in celebration of the deliverence of the message of the Bhagavad Geeta by Lord Krishna more than 5,000 years ago. On each of the eighteen days, in serial order, one chapter of the Geeta is recited and a guest speaker gives a dicourse on that particular chapter .

Building renovations
Renovation and upgrade works on the Geeta Ashram Malaysia building are in full swing, and the Building Renovations Fund committee is working overtime, collecting generous donations from devotees and well-wishers to meet the deadlines for payments as different stages of construction are completed.

Advertising in eSacredThought
Your electronic voice, the eSacredThought, will henceforth be accepting advertisements from sponsors and well-wishers at the following rates:

                                        Full page advertisement: RM1000.00
                                        Half page advertisement: RM500.00
                                        Page sponsorship: RM100.00 per page

Those who wish to advertise, sponsor or contribute in any other way can contact the President, Shri Chandru Binwani, at +6 012-382 4228.

Articles for eSacredThought
Those contributing material for inclusion in eSacredThought are reminded to keep their contributions short, preferably not more than two pages long., and to vet their articles for correctness of language and substance.

Geeta Ashram Youth: New Blog Launched
The Geeta Ashram Malaysia Youth Section's new blog at: http://geetaashramyouth.wordpress.com was launched by Guru Maa on 4 December 2013. We congratulate the members of the younger generation of our Ashram, led by Dr Anjanna Kukreja, for their initiative in keeping the flame of bhakti burning bright across the globe.

Dr D K Bhanot


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COMMENTARY: BHAGAVAD GEETA CHAPTER 3 VERSE 27
by His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
The Verse:

prakrteh kriyamaanaani
gunaih karmaani sarvasah
ahamkaaravimoodatma
kartaham iti manyate

The modes of nature (gunas) perform all actions, but the ignorant one, deluded by egoism, thinks, "I am the doer".

Word Meanings:
sarvasa = in all cases; karmaani = actions; prakrteh = of nature; gunai = by the qualities; kriyamaanaani = are performed; ahamkaaravimoodatma = one whose mind is deluded by egoism; aham = I; karta = doer; iti = thus; manyate

General meaning:
The Lord says that through the qualities of Nature, Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic actions take place spontaneously. These qualities are so powerful that they force the antakaran (internal instruments consisting of sense organs, mind, intellect and egoism) to act according to the force of the prevailing quality of Nature. The fool who is deluded by ahamkaar (egoism) thinks that he himself is the doer of all actions.

Material Meaning
The seed of creation is the Maya with its three qualities. These three qualities of Nature are the cause of pleasure, pain and ignorance (delusion) towards which this Universe is oriented. In the Vedanta Sastra, it is said:

When the quality of Sattva rises, within the antakaranvairaagya, asceticism, patience, chanting of mantras, penance worship of God and other virtues appear. When the quality of Rajas rises, lust, anger, greed, etc. appear. When the quality of Tamas rises, laziness, fallacy (ignorance), sleep and the like appear. Through the quality of Sattva, virtue is produced, and through the quality of Rajas, sin is produced. Through the quality of Tamas, neither virtue nor sin are produced, and life goes on aimlessly.
The ignorant man, deep in illusory slumber, has a desire for and becomes entangled with, the beautiful things in this Universe. The entanglement (attachment) is caused by the feeling of 'mine-ness'. He becomes deluded by egoism, convinced that "This is mine, acquired through my own effort. Without me, this work cannot be carried out."

He who is deluded by egoism does work (actions) for the sake of performing actions, and he enjoys worldly pleasure. Just as the worm in the river keeps on going from one wave to the next, the deceived soul keeps going from birth to birth in this ocean of the material world.

When a compassionate revered Preceptor (Guru) saves the deceived soul from the worldly current as a result of his virtuous action, then he is able to rest comfortably in the shade of a tree. That virtuous action is the same as the Nishkaam Karma (disinterested action), advocated in the Geeta, on whose ripening the grace of the revered Guru is achieved. On acquiring the knowledge and wisdom from the Guru, the attachments to Prakriti are destroyed, the true nature of the Atma is perceived, and supreme bliss is attained.

Spiritual Meaning
After coronating Alark, his parents Rtadhvaj and Madalasa prepared to retire to the forest to perform penance. Before departing, Madalasa advised her son Alark, "While shouldering the responsibilities of a Grahastha (householder) and reigning over the kingdom, if you feel pain due to loss of a dear one, or due to obstacles placed by enemies, or due to loss of wealth, remember that the life of a Grahastha is the base of egoism and the resting place of suffering and pain. In such a situation, read the fine words written on this piece of silk with the aid of this gold ring." Madalasa gave her son the silk cloth, the gold ring and her blessings before leaving for the forest.

Alark treated all his subjects well. Many years passed, with Alark discharging his duties and also acquiring wealth. But while enjoying worldly pleasures, performing his duties and acquiring wealth, he failed to nurture the quality of Vairagya (asceticism).


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Alark's brother Subaahu, dwelling in the forest, heard about Alark enjoying the pleasures and planned to bring him to his senses. He sought the help of the king of Kashi, who was Alark's enemy, to seize Alark's kingdom. The king of Kashi agreed to help and sent a message to Alark asking him to hand over the kingdom. The duty-bound Alark replied, "Let my brother come and politely request for the kingdom. I shall never surrender in fear." The wise Subaahu knew that it was improper for a Kshatriya to ask for anything. His dharma required him to take forcibly whatever he wanted.

The king of Kashi laid seige on Alark's kingdom. In the fighting that ensued, Alark's wealth began to dwindle. Becoming very sad and worried, Alark remembered his mother's words and read the message written by his mother:

sanga: sarvaatmanatyaajya: sacettyavatum nashakyate
sa sadbhi: sah karttavyaa: satam sango hi bheshajam

kama: sarvatmanaa heyo hatuncecchakyate na sa:
mumukshampratitatkaryam saivatasyaapibheshajam

Attachment must be renounced, otherwise keep the company of virtuous men, because the company of virtuous men is medicine. Lust (desire) should be rejected, otherwise cultivate Mumuksha (urge or desire for salvation) because that is medicine.

Alark then realised that one's welfare rests on Mumuksha, which is only available through the company of recluses. So Alark went to the Great Soul, Dattatreya, and pleaded for help to remove his suffering and distress. Dattatreya said, "O King, tell me truly the cause for your suffering. Meditate on Ang, Angi, Nirang and Sarvang - part, possessor of parts, without parts and the one with complete parts.

Alark realised that he was the abode of his suffering. With reformed intellect, and after prolonged meditation, the king said, "I am neither the earth, water, fire, air, nor the sky, but through the influence of the body, the desire for enjoyment is aroused. Pleasure and pain dwell in the mind or the body. Therefore, there is no pleasure or pain in me because I am not the mind nor the body. If my elder brother desires the kingdom, what business have I here? I am separate from the body. The hands, flesh, bones and veins are not mine.
I have no enemy, no pleasure, no pain, no sheath. The same space is found inside a jug, pot and kamandalu; similarly Subaahu, the king of Kashi and I are one. We appear different because of our different bodies." Then, the king prostrated before Dattatreya and said "samyak prapasyato Brahman namadukham na kinchana" meaning "Brahman, seeing the whole, I do not have the least pain". Dattatreya then gave a detailed description of Yoga, services to an ascetic, etc.

Seeing Alark's readiness to surrender the kingdom, Subaahu told the surprised king of Kashi, "Divine King, I thought that my brother, possessed of the delusion of Grahastha, could only attain Vairagya through pain, but with his new wisdom he now has developed the urge for Vairagya. So, I have no more business here and I am leaving." The king of Kashi , receiving enlightenment from Subaahu, and honouring Alark, returned to his own kingdom. Alark coronated his son and retired to the forest.

Philosophical Meaning
Shri Ramanujacharya has explained that: Ahamkaara Vimoodatma is one whose mind is deluded by egoism. It is egoism to pride oneself of 'mine-ness'. Deluded by egoism, he does not know the true nature of Atman, being convinced that in all his actions taking place through the Gunas "I am the doer".

To destroy egoism, the seeker must cultivate the discriminative knowledge of the Paanch-Kosh (Five Sheaths):
Annamaya Kosh (material sheath), the outermost sheath, is the perishable physical body. The Atman is eternal and imperishable.
Pranamaya Kosh with the Praan Vaayu (Vital Air), which supplies energy for the organs to function. The Vital Air is insentient but the Atman is sentient.
Manomaya Kosh (Psychic Sheath) that holds egoism and mine-ness.
Vigyanamaya Kosh (Intellectual Sheath) is the form of the intellect reflected through the shadow of Brahman.
Anandamaya Kosh (Blissful Sheath) which is the indwelling state of the mind that absorbs the blissful reflection of the Atman. This sheath is responsible for the conjugal pleasures of man and woman.It underlies the progress and advancement of creation.

When displeasure is felt of the sheaths through the Guru's teachings, the veil of egoism is lifted from the Atman and the true nature of the Atman is experienced.

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FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK: GEETA DHAM

In the previous issue of eSacredThought, I mentioned the upcoming meeting of the Board of Trustees (BOT) scheduled for 16 and 17 September, Besides the BOT meeting, a number of other brain-storming sessions, comprising hard-core disciples of His Holiness Shree 108 Swami Hariharji Maharaj, took place at Geeta Dham from 15-18 September 2013 to look deeper into the current activities and future line of action in various projects. Most prominent among these were the HERBAL-PLANT (AYUSH) sub-committee, led by Shree Raman Kumar Tognattaji, and the GURUKUL VIDYA MANDIR sub-committee, led by Shree Anil Amboji.

The BOT ensures that the Dham's all-out development goes on, towing the path outlined by His Holiness. From time to time, special attention needs to be focussed on certain projects.

The Ayush Project: After the initial success of a pilot project involving only 0.3 hectare of land, this project was extended to cover about 5 hectares of land within the Dham-Complex. This included the planting of special varieties of KALMEGH, GUGGUL, SATAVARI, SONAMUKHI, ASHWAGANDHA, CHAMOMILE, GAUR and MEHENDI. To prevent top-soil erosion, plants like POMEGRANATE, LEMON, PAPAYA and AMLA will be grown over the periphery. A drip-cum-sprinkler system of irrigation has already been instituted to enable these plants of medicinal / fruit value to thrive. The sub-committee plans to move ahead with its CONSOLIDATION-RELATED ACTIVITIES, fully supported by the Board of Trustees.

The Gurukul Vidya Mandir: With a student population of 616, and 20 well-qualified teachers led by a dedicated lady Principal, the Gurukul is reverberating with activities, including academic and adhyatmik, curricular and extra-curricular. After reviewing the current state of affairs, the sub-committee has set certain goals to be achieved in the near future. It is aiming for a number one ranking in Rajasthan, with no failures in Class X & XII Board examinations. The number of students is targeted to increase to 1000 by 2018. The Gurukul shall excel in all games and sports, and it is envisaged that at least three top students and one teacher will be sent to an overseas Geeta Ashram. Infrastructure and other facilities are being continuously upgraded.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS OF HIS HOLINESS: ANNOUNCEMENT

It gives me great pleasure to announce the events taking place at Geeta Dham from 14 to 17 March 2014 in conjunction with Gurudev's birthday, Holi festival and International Geeta Conference. The opening ceremony on 14 March will start at 4.00 p.m. Holika Dahan will take place at 7.15 p.m. on 16 March. Sampoorna Geeta Havan Yajna and Guru-Paduka-Poojan will be on 17 March. You are cordially invited to attend these events with your friends and relatives. Kindly make regular announcements at your satsangs to inform all devotees.

SUMMARY OF GEETA DHAM PROJECTS

His Holiness, in 1993, conceived and set up the GEETA DHAM, which he envisioned as an International Centre for Research in various aspects of the Geeta philosophy. This campus now reverberates with a multitude of activities, and is progressing in the direction set by Gurudev. The various activities include:


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A. TEMPLE-COMPLEX: The main temple is the SHREE RADHA-KRISHNA-SAROVAR TEMPLE, with murtis of Lord Shree Krishna and Mother Radhika in the middle chamber, the Holy Geeta on their right, and a murti of His Holiness Swamiji on the left. Other temples include the Shree Hari Hareshwar Mahadev Temple, Shree Hanumanji Temple, Shree Ganeshji Temple, Shree Ram-Darbar, Maa Durga Temple and Shree Shiv-Parivaar Temple. There is also the Guru Smarak-Geeta Temple, Gurudev-Kutir and Gurudev's memoir.

B. EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION: The GEETA DHAM GURUKUL UCHHA MADHYAMIK (HIGHER SECONDARY) VIDYA MANDIR is a well-planned school, capable of catering for 1000 students, with modern laboratories, a well-equipped library, adequate reading rooms, and facilities for games and sports. Presently, there are 616 students on roll, with 100 in the hostel. A dedicated team of 19 teachers, led by a vastly experienced Principal, runs the program covering not only the usual academic curriculum but also theoretical and practical Adhyatmik content (yoga, yajna, pooja, havan, bhajans and austerity), with structured courses on the Geeta teachings and Sanskrit. The booklet "GEETA-GYAN" serves as the basis for understanding the Divine teachings. Bright students are eligible for scholarships and free board and lodging.

C. GUEST HOUSE: 48 modern-styled two-bedroom suites and 12 dormitories provide accommodation to a number of permanent residents and visitors to the Dham.

D. PRAGYA BAHAWAN: 16 two-bedroom units providing board and lodging for 32 senior citizens.

E. DINING HALL CUM KITCHEN: A state-of-the-art multi-purpose hall with attached kitchen, serving as dining hall, and also as conference and event hall.

F. GAUSHALA: About 400 cattle-heads are being looked after at a well-equipped Gaushala, with special provisions for the care of newly delivered cows and their calves. About 220 kg of milk is collected daily. Hostel students receive free daily supply of milk.

G. MEDICAL & MOBILE CLINIC SERVICES: A travelling ambulance, suitably modified to serve as a clinic, provides basic medical and health services to the needy in the surrounding villages. There is also a permanent clinic within the Dham complex to serve the residents and students of Vidya Mandir.

H. BAL-GOPAL PROJECT: Children in the age-group of 6 to 9 months from surrounding villages are regularly provided with nutritive supplements to improve their physical and mental well-being.

I. MEDICINAL PLANT (AYUSH) PROJECT: Five hectares of land have been planted with plants and herbs having medicinal values.


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J. GOBAR-GAS PLANTS: Three Gobar-Gas plants produce enough gas to meet the present kitchen needs. A project to bottle excess gas is on the way.

K. VERMI-CULTURE PLANT: Live earthworms which multiply very rapidly in suitably prepared pits have been used to produce natural manure, which is used in fields for better crop.

L. SOLAR-ENERGY PLANTS: Solar energy is used for the domestic lighting and water-heating systems, thus reducing the electricity bill.

M. GREENARY PROJECT: Even though the Dham-complex is in the midst of arid sandy land full of shrubs and bushes, it has been possible to have beautiful gardens full of flowers and plenty of greenery all around.

N. OFFICE CUM RECEPTION HALL: A separate building houses the offices for the administrative staff and a hall for receiving and briefing the visiting-guests.

A dedicated team of 30 Trustees from all over the world strives to fulfil the vision of His Holiness. The BOT meets twice a year, though intercommunication among the Trustees is continuously ongoing.

With best regards and love to all.

Yours, in the service of Guru, Geeta and Gopal,

Emeritus Professor Dr. U. Prasad
President, Geeta Dham Trust
U_prasad@hotmail.com



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THE MAIN COMMENTATORS ON THE BHAGAVAD GEETA
by Dr Nick Sutton, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
According to the teachers of the Vedanta system there are three scriptural bases for the establishment of the truth about absolute reality. These are the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and Bhagavad Geeta, which are known collectively as the prasthana-traya, the three foundations. Hence the Bhagavad Geeta has for centuries been one of the most sacred and authoritative texts for orthodox Hindus and has been commented on by some of the most important acharyas in the history of the Hindu tradition.

Shankaracharya's Bhagavad-geeta-bhashya is probably the most well-known of these. Here the commentator tries to demonstrate that the Geeta is teaching the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta in a form that is wholly compatible with the Upanishads, though one might feel that the Geeta's emphasis on devotion to a higher Deity makes this problematic. Shankara overcomes this difficulty by contending that Krishna is the atman within each being and so "devotion to Krishna" is to be understood as dedicating oneself to realisation of the atman. Moreover, on the level of contingent rather than absolute reality, devotion to a personal God is an essential feature of religious life and as this is the level of reality that most of us inhabit, Shankara himself approved of such worship.

The two great Vaishnava acharyas, Madhvacharya and Ramanujacharya, have also left us detailed commentaries on the text of the Geeta. According to Robert Zaehner "it is Ramanuja who probably comes nearest to the mind of the author of the Geeta", and on balance one is tempted to agree with this assessment, as Krishna does seem to emphasise both the identity of the atman with himself and also the distinction between the atman and God in the process of worship or bhakti. Madhva offers us a very lucid commentary based on his own Vaishnava beliefs, but some have found his emphasis on the absolute distinction between the Self and God somewhat difficult to reconcile with the Bhagavad Geeta's teachings.

Vallabhacharya and Baladeva Vidyabhushana have also provided lesser known Vaishnava commentaries on the text as has Abhinavagupta, the great teacher of Kashmiri Shaivism.

In the modern era, a number of new interpretations of the text have appeared, perhaps most notably that of Dr Radhakrishnan, which follows Shankara's commentary quite closely. In the push for reform and independence, both Tilak and Gandhi provided Geeta commentaries, though with very different interpretations and several of the founders of modern Hindu movements have seen fit to give their followers their own interpretations of the text. Here we might note the works of Chinmayananda, Swami Sivananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Swami Prabhupada's translation and commentary has become very widely read both in the western world and in India, and many people possess a copy of this work. Much of this commentary is aimed at those accustomed to the western lifestyle, but it is interesting to note that his philosophical commentary tends towards Ramanuja's interpretation rather than that of Madhva, despite the fact that the author is formally a member of a branch of the sampradaya descended from Madhvacharya.


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LESSONS FROM THE GEETA (15)
by Shri Ashok Lal Bherumal
O Bharata (Arjuna), whenever there is any decline of righteousness and a rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself. (BG4:7)

This is one of the most famous and often-quoted verses of the Bhagavad Gita. In the Puranas (other Hindu scriptures), especially in Bhagavata Purana, there is a mention of the ten avatars (incarnations) of God who will descend on Earth in various forms throughout the yugas (ages). Each avatar descends in a particular form to complete a particular need of that time. The Krishna avatar - the 8th avatar (9th is Lord Buddha & the 10th, yet to come, the Kalki Avatar) - has also come for a specific purpose. Avatar = God descends so man can ascend (spiritually). One of the other reasons already been mentioned in verses 1-3 is that, towards the end of Dvapara Yuga, when the oppression by the unrighteous people become unbearable, the Lord had to balance this. Dharma was being less and less adhered to. If we read the Mahabharata which took place around this period (approximately 5200 years ago), we will come to know just how the Kauravas (evil ones) committed atrocity upon atrocity on the Pandavas (the good ones). Thus the Laws of Dharma (righteous living) were being trampled upon mercilessly. So Krishna took incarnation to amend this. A decline in righteousness means less and less people were leading or practising a spiritual life. A rise in unrighteousness means more and more people taking to selfish and egoistic actions. This is the hallmark of Kali Yuga, the period we are going through now. How does Krishna plan to adjust the imbalance?

For the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of the wicked and for establishing righteousness, I come into being from age to age. (BG4:8)

From age to age, Yuga to Yuga, Krishna comes to uphold Dharma. We are now in Kali Yuga- the age of strife. Many conflicts which are happening now, within families, within societies, were all written by sage Vyasa in the Mahabharata epic to warn mankind of the possible dangers. But alas! We have not paid heed. Jealousy, envy, pride, greed, etc. are on the rise, and we see conflicts among parents / children, spouses, siblings, relatives (just like in Mahabharat) escalating.
So we question why God is not here to adjust this imbalance? How can we say that? In fact, God is here guiding us through the scriptures, guiding us through the various saints and sages who traverse the globe giving spiritual talks and doing various social services. It is mankind that does not want to heed the warnings, does not want to amend its ways and thus continues on the path of spiritual degradation. This will continue until the end of Kali Yuga when the final avatar descends to adjust the imbalance. So first gentle warnings are given, then comes the firepower. That's why the idols in the temple are a symbol of peace, grace and compassion. If we do not amend our ways, then the same Gods also hold powerful weapons in their hands to teach us a lesson! When Krishna says "I come to destroy the wicked", He means those who follow the adharmic way of life. They will either suffer in this very life or take a more horrible birth and suffer (ref. BG16:17-20). Krishna also says "I protect the virtuous", meaning the sages and saints who are sent from age to age to spread the word of God and set an example by doing good deeds. In this way, what is written in the scriptures remains true even after thousands of years. It is up to us to strengthen our belief that God is working in His mysterious ways while learning the scriptures and adopting an upright and moral way of life.

Thus, he who knows in true light My divine birth & actions, on leaving this body he is not reborn but comes to Me, Oh Arjuna. (BG4:9)

To keep to the right path we have to keep our faith in God by studying the scriptures that teach us the right conduct of life and be aware of the dangers of straying from the righteous path. By reading about the past stories of the avatars with faith, we can understand how God worked His mysterious powers and magic against the demonic ones. Stories of Hiranyakashipu, Ravana (in Ramayan), Duryodhana (in Mahabharata), etc. tell us about how the egoistic, proud, adharmic (unrighteous) people became more and more powerful but eventually met their downfall. Also with strong faith, regular prayers, reading of scriptures and having the guidance of a Guru, we can understand God and His creation. Our ignorance of the truth can only be removed by devotion and knowledge.

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The consequence of leading a righteous life is that one is "not reborn but comes to Me". This phenomenon of not being reborn can be considered at two stages. The 1st stage involves being reborn to a new life, leaving behind the previous unrighteous lifestyle. We change all our habits and actions, and slowly we refine ourselves to be better human beings. Thus, we are reborn into a totally new way of life. The 2nd stage involves taking several births to burn off the past layers of wrong actions, before finally experiencing MOKSHA (liberation) to become one with God. So, where do we find examples on right action, and how do we make them divine? We can study from the scriptures how the great sages and saints of Bharat led their lives, and how the Lord came in various incarnations to carry out His duties. With what attitude should we perform our actions and duties to avoid accumulating further karmas for which we have to take rebirth? This is what the Bhagavad Gita teaches us - not only about renunciation (which is the final goal) but also how to act in our daily lives so that we can eventually practise renunciation.



The Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu

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RADHASHTAMI
Based on discourses by Shri Guru Maa Geeteswariji                         (translated by Shri Suresh Kumar Ranga)
saradhikamayikadapikripaamkarotu
He Radhika, have your divine grace on us

In the Hindu calendar, the sixth month of the year, Bhadrapada, comes during end-August to mid-September. Each month in the Hindu calendar has 2 fortnights of 15 days (called tithis) each. The first fortnight (bright fortnight) from New Moon to Full Moon is called Shukla Paksha, while the second fortnight (dark fortnight) from Full Moon to New Moon is called Krishna Paksha. The 8th tithi of each fortnight is called ashtami. So each month has two ashtamis.

Lord Shri Krishna's avataar on earth took place on the ashtami of Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada. Hence the day of Krishna's avataar is known as Janmashtami (janma means 'birth'). The ashtami of Shukla Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada also has a significance. On this day, Lord Krishna’s friend and soul-mate, Shri Radhaji was born. Hence this day is known as Radhashtami. Janmashtami is celebrated the world over by devotees of Lord Krishna, but Radhashtami is celebrated only within the Braj community of Radha devotees (Braj or Brij is located around the Mathura and Brindavan area in Uttar Pradesh, India). This is because Radhaji’s deep philosophy is serious and difficult to understand.

Preetikiritikopaindi hi nyaro, Kai janatvrishbhanu-nandini kaijanatvakanhakaro,
Brijmurali : Krishna swarupa

Shri Krishna is eternal. He manifests (avirbhav) from time to time to establish dharmic order (dharmsansthapnaarthaya), and subsequently becomes concealed/disappears (tirobhav). Shri Radhaji is also eternal and is always with Shri Krishna. She too manifests and disappears with Shri Krishna.

yachabrahmrupashchshreekrishnahprakruteparah tathabrahmswarupacanirliptaprakrute para
(Naradapanchratra)

Meaning: Just as Shri Krishna is eternal and detached (nirlipt) from prakriti, so is Shri Radhaji .

In the Shreemad Devi Bhagwat, Shri Narayan (Vishnuji) explains to Naradji the mandatory pooja of Shri Radhaji as follows:

krishnacharyamnadhikaroyatoradharchanambina | vaishnavaihsakalaistavatkartavyamradhikarchnam

Meaning: Without performing Shri Radhaji's pooja one has no right to perform Shri Krishnaji's pooja. Vaishnavas should always pray to Shri Radhaji. Shri Radhaji fulfils (radhan) all the desires of humans. Hence her name is Radha.

radhnotisakalankamantasmadradhetisankshita

One who chants Radha-Radha and remembers this blessed name always, one who has utmost faith in the name of Radha-Radha, such a person becomes a friend (or companion) of Radhaji in Brindavan.

Lord Shiva has said: "In this entire creation, Earth is the holiest (and greatest); On Earth, Brindavan is the holiest or greatest; and in Brindavan Radhaji is the holiest. Even great Rishis and Munis meditate on her holy name. Radhaji is dear to Brahmaji, and myself (Shiva). Those who pray to Radhaji, I pray to them too. Oh lucky ones! Chant the name of Radhaji, do kirtan, do japa on Radhaji’s name, day and night. Shri Radhaji is equivalent to all the tirthas (holy places) and all the wealth. Those who pray to Radhaji, their homes are never short of wealth. Oh Narada! In those houses where Radhaji japa is done, Lord Krishna too resides (with Radhaji)."


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Shri Radhaji is the Devi or Braj. Among friends, she is foremost. She is the Bliss Potency (haladini - the pleasure that one gets in His presence). Shri Radhaji represents superlative (unimaginable) beauty. She is the energy of Lord Shiva. Shri Radhaji is imbued in the love of God.

brajeshvaribrajadhipeshriradhikenamostute (RadhakripakatashStotra)

In Brajmandal devotees always chant, "Jai Shri Krishna", but there are four villages in Brajmandal where devotees chant "Jai Shri Radhe". The four villages are: (1) Janmsthali, where Radhaji was born (2) Barsana, where Radhaji grew up, and where her parents stayed (3) Radhakund, where Radhaji roamed the forests and enjoyed the divine company of Shri Krishna (4) Shri Brindavan, where every devotee chants "Jai Shri Radhe".

In Padmapuran, Shri RadhaMadhavji has described the beauty of Shri Radhaji by the following verses:

hemendivarkantimunjulataramshreemajaganmohanam nityabhirlalitadhibhihiparivratamsannilapitambaram
nanabhushanabhushanangmadhuramkaishorrupamyugam gandharvajanmavyayamsulalitamnityamsharanyambhaje

(Padma Puran Uttar 162/31)

Meaning: Bright as gold and blue lotus, her aura charms the entire universe; Companions like the beautiful Lalita (tripurasundari - most beautiful in the three worlds); adorned in beautiful clothes of blue and yellow and dazzling ornaments; I bow repeatedly to the eternal, graceful and ever-youthful pair of Shri Radha Krishna.

shuchisundarta, madhurmadhurikanajinhenhotaabhimaan | jinkonijswarupsadgun-anandkakabhinahotabhaan
aisi hi priyatamashyaam ki, tyagmurtigunavati, udaar | shreeradha pad kamlon main, namaskarhaibarambaar
(Shri Radhavrat)

In the Naradpuran First Part, Chapter 127, Sanatan Muni has written: "On Radhashtami day, we fast for Radhaji. After establishing the kalasha (brass pitcher, depicting abundance, full of amrita), Radhaji’s picture is placed on it. Prayers are offered to Radhaji in the afternoon, and the single meal for that day is taken."

The Bhavishyapuran mentions that the Vaishya king, Vrishbhanu, had a wife named Kirthida. On the afternoon of the 8th tithi of Bhadrapada, during the abhijitmuhurtam, anuradhanakshatra, a beautiful princely girl was born, blossoming like the full moon. Her flawless beauty was unparalleled in the three worlds. The natives of Barsana, on getting news of her birth, started to say:

chalo vrishbhanu gopkedwar, janmliyomohan-hit syamaanandnidhisukumar

Meaning: Let us go to King Vrishbhanu's place. The beautiful and charming Radhaji is born

yatpadpadmanakhchandramanichataya | visfurjitamkimapigopvadhushvadharshi
purnanu rag rasa sagarsarmurtihi | saradhikamayikadapikripamkarotu

(Radhasudhamani Verse 20)

Meaning: The young Radha, with jewel-like toenails and unparalleled beauty, has an obvious effect on the gopis of Braj. May the divine, beautiful, unparalleled, compassionate Radhaji also have the same divine grace on us

Shri Nimbakacharya has mentioned that Radhaji is ever youthful. He says:

syamagaurinityakishoripritamjorishriraadhe | jairadhe, jai radheradhe, jai radhe, shriradhe (Mahavani)

Meaning: Love is ever youthful. Radhaji, as the embodiment of love, is also youthful. Ever youthful.


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SHRI HANUMAN CHALISA: THE DEEPER MEANING
by Swami Brahmanandji                                                            (translated by Shri Suresh Kumar Ranga)
sab par Ram tapasvi raja, tinke kaaj sakal tum saaja

Meaning of this chaupai: Shri Ramchandraji fulfills the spiritual goals of devotees engaged in austerities and penance. As a humble devotee and servant of Shri Ram, Hanumanji helps to fulfill many of Shri Ram's tasks and missions. Hanumanji considers this to be his duty. Any devta, asur, human or other being of any country, time, belief, state or situation who takes refuge in Hanumanji, will have his or her requests or desires fulfilled by Hanumanji without hesitation.

In the Ramcharitmanasa it is said, "Ram te adhik ram kar dasa" which means "My disciple is more than myself. I can do anything for my disciple." It has been said:

prabal prem ke paale padkar, prabhu ko niyam badalte dekha
apna maan tale tal jaye, par bhakt ka maan na talte dekha

At the end of His avataar, Rama returned to Shri Loka as Vishnuji, but Hanumanji stayed on with us. In this Kaliyuga, Hanumanji helped Goswami Tulsidasji to have a vision of Shri Ramchandraji. Tulsidasji suffered severe pain in his hand. As a remedy for this pain, he wrote verses praising Hanumanji, thereby requesting for help. Hanumanji appeared and relieved Tulsidasji of his suffering.

Hanumanji relieves pain and suffering. Recitation (japa) of his mantras brings dramatic relief for any malady. Those who dedicate their lives to Ramchandraji are blessed by Hanumanji to experience a vision of the Lord. Hanumanji fulfills the desires of any devotee who remembers his blessed name. The Hanuman Chalisa says:

aur manorath jo koi laave, soi amit jeevan phal paave

Aur = More; Manorath = Request or desire; Jo Koi = Anybody; Laave = Brings;
Soi = He/She; Amit = Immeasurable; Jeevan Phal = fruit of life; Paave = obtains

Meaning of this chaupai: Bring your desires to the feet of Hanumanji and rest assured that they shall be fulfilled.

Hanumanji’s compassion, generosity, blessings and strength, as a param devotee of ShriRamchandraji, are hidden in the meaning of this verse. The word manorath (request or desire) has a deeper meaning. All desires arise from the mind. In BG2:55 Lord Shri Krishna says:

prajahatiyadakaman sarvanparthamano-gatan
atmanyevatmanatustah sthita-prajnastadocyate

Oh Arjuna! When one renounces all desires of the mind, and finds satisfaction within and by the inner Self (atman), then one is stable of mind (Sthitpragya).

By dedicating one's mind to Paramatma, all desires originating from the mind are surrendered to Paramatma. Manorath (man = mind; rath = chariot) signifies our desires, bundled on a chariot (mind), being surrendered to the Lord. Thus, we are no longer bound to our desires and move towards Sthitpragya.

naase rog hare sab peeda, japat nirantar hanumat beera

Naase rog = eliminates disease; Hare sab peeda = destroys all pain and suffering;
Japat nirantar = reciting continuously; Hanumat beera = name of Hanumanji


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We must consistently remember, with full faith, the divine name of Hanumanji. In BG12:2 Shri Krishna says:

mayyavesyamano ye mam nitya-yuktaupasate | shraddhaya parayopetas te me yuktatamamatah

Oh Arjuna! Those devotees who have their minds fixed on Me, and worship me, ever steadfastly and with full faith - they are the most perfect in Yoga.

Through worship (upasana) with full faith and devotion, we should direct our minds towards Hanumanji to attain sthitpragya and be with Paramatma. Tulsidasji says Hanumanji is like Brahmaji in creation, he takes care and sustains like Vishnuji, he can defeat death, he dispels darkness like the Sun, and he sustains life and growth like the Sun and Moon. He destroys the evil and eliminates the miseries of his devotees.

Most people pray for material things. And they receive them like the modak, the prasad that is offered to Ganeshji. The modak is sweet, and so are the material benefits of prayer.

modak priya mud mangal data

In all the three worlds, Ganeshji eliminates the misery of his devotees and he protects them. Tulsidasji says that Hanumanji also similarly takes care of his devotees and protects them.

Very few people dedicate themselves to God without any expectations, desires and yearnings for rewards. People with unfulfilled desires are always full of sorrow. They perform various prayers and pilgrimages just to have their desires fulfilled. Many devotees take refuge in Hanumanji for the fulfillment of their worldly desires.

References to Hanumanji are found in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, other historical epics, dramas and other Sanskrit literature. Regional literature and folk songs are sprinkled with praises to Hanumanji, the god of the masses (jan devta). The Vedas, shastras, Puranas and tantric literature offer information on Hanumanji's sadhana, upasana and siddhi. Various authors have written prose and poetry in different languages for Hanumanji. Prayers and procedures are available for worshipping Hanumanji to remove spells and bad omens, cure disease, treat snake bites, etc,

bhoot pisach nikat nahi aave, mahavir jab naam sunave

Bhoot pisach = ghosts and spirits; Nikat = near; Nahi aave = do not come;
Mahavir = Hanumanji; Jab = when; Naam = name; Sunaave = audible

Hanumanji is the devta of all humanity and can be worshipped anytime and anywhere. No special norms or social order are needed. Devotees can show their respect and devotion to Hanumanji through japa or kirtan, by circumambulating his temple or moorti (parikrama), by organizing feasts for Brahmins, by conducting the Satyanarayan Pooja or by reciting the Hanuman Chalisa.

Tulsidasji dedicated his life to the lotus feet of Ramchandraji who was his isht devta. He wrote, in prose as well as poetry, in praise of Lord Rama, including Ramcharitmanas, Vinay Patrika, Kavitavali, Geetavali, Dohavali, Barvai Ramayan, Ramlala Nachah, Hanuman Bahuk, Sankatmochan Nashtak and Hanuman Chalisa. His writings revived a nation that had lost direction, bridging the gap between the common man and the knowledge of the rishis, inculcating a sense of discipline, implementing the lessons of the Ramayana, and lighting the path of progress.

Hanumanji is the foremost of Ramchandraji's bhaktas. He is the ideal Karmayogi, Gnanayogi and Bhaktiyogi. He is humble even in greatness, always very polite and never affected by maya. He controls his anger and is unaffected by pleasure and pain. Hanumanji is still present in this world today. People have experienced visions of him. He fulfills the needs of his devotees, leading them to the lotus feet of Ramchandraji.


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BHAGAVAD GEETA FOR BEGINNERS: MOTHER GEETA & MOTHER EARTH
by Shree Peter Ganglani, Geeta Ashram Canada

Mother Earth gives us fruits and vegetables, and also oil, minerals and precious metals like gold and diamonds. Everyone has access to these treasures, but in order to extract them we must first acquire the skills to do so. For millions of years, Mother Earth has given these treasures to human beings and animals alike, selflessly and without any discrimination. But, even while being given away endlessly, these treasures have not shrunk nor have they been reduced in amount. If a farmer has a hundred acres of land, it will always remain a hundred acres!

The Grace of Mother Geeta is very similar to that of Mother Earth. It has continued to give away treasures of knowledge for thousands of years to millions of souls, and yet, there is no shortage for others ... It had 700 verses when it was spoken by Bhagwan Shri Krishna, and today it still has 700 verses. Mother Geeta, like Mother Earth, will continue to provide this knowledge for thousands of years to come and yet remain intact!

Some, out of curiosity may read it once (like a novel); others may treat it like a trip to the beach where they spend some time swimming on the “surface” and then return home. They may return to the Geeta (like the beach) every once in a while, enjoy the experience on the surface, and then go back to their world ...

Some may just turn to the Geeta when faced with a problem, and then leave it behind when the problem is solved. Others may turn to the Lord when faced with a serious health problem that doctors cannot cure. In such a desperate situation they begin to develop faith in God and do not abandon the religious path. When in trouble, even an atheist turns to God for help.

There are, however, those who are fortunate to have realized (through a Spiritual Master) that Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta is truly a priceless gift to humanity by Bhagwan Shri Krishna, and that we simply cannot afford to be without it, nor can we afford to lead a life that does not conform to its teachings.

Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta is like an ocean full of precious gems and treasures. As we dive deeper we discover the treasures slowly but surely. Once we find the treasures, they are ours to keep forever - nobody can take them away from us! As a matter of fact, when we leave this world, we even get to take these treasures with us (along with our deeds - both good and bad). The irony here is that we spend our entire lives running after things that we CANNOT take with us, and run away from the treasures that we CAN actually take with us.

It’s worth repeating here that the beauty and grace of Mother Geeta is very similar to that of Mother Earth. Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta has continued to give its treasures for thousands of years to millions of souls, and yet, there is no shortage for others. It had 700 verses thousands of years ago, and still has 700 verses today, in spite of the fact that its wisdom (jnana) has been taken by millions of departing souls. Mother Geeta, like Mother Earth, will continue to provide this knowledge for thousands of years to come and yet remain intact!

To make our lives worthwhile and to ensure that our next life is also secure, we owe it to ourselves to take the first step in the right direction - reading, understanding and adopting the teachings of this invaluable gift of God. By His grace, we will start incorporating its teachings into our daily lives, and will attain our goal of God Realization in this very life by HIS Grace alone! ... of this there is no doubt! In fact, Bhagwan Shri Krishna has made this promise in the following verses:

teshaam sata-ta yuktaa-naam | bhaja-taam preeti-poorvakam
dadaami budhi yogam-tam | yena-maam upayaanti-te (BG10:10)

Translation: For those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give them that Yoga of understanding by which they come to Me


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teshaam evaanu kam-paartham | aham-agyaana jam-tamaha
naasha-yaam-yaatma-bhaavastho | gyaana-deepena bhaas-vataa (BG10:11)

Translation: Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their inner hearts, dispel the darkness born of ignorance, by the shining lamp of wisdom.

What would happen if we stopped eating regularly? We would starve and dehydrate ourselves, and eventually our organs would stop functioning. This is exactly what happens to our Soul if we do not feed it with spiritual knowledge, the love for God and compassion for all living creatures - both humans and animals alike. In order to keep our soul happy and healthy, we need to feed it regularly with spiritual knowledge.

There are four kinds of people who feed the soul, some occasionally and others regularly. In other words, there are four types of people who turn to God: (1) those in distress (2) those who seek wealth (3) those who seek knowledge (4) men of wisdom (the seekers of moksha).

We should strive to become wise seekers, with the knowledge that the body is nothing but a vehicle for the soul. In order for the soul to function properly a wise seeker will ensure that this vehicle (body) is properly serviced and maintained at all times. A wise seeker does not get attached to the body because he knows that if the present body stops functioning, the Lord will replace it with a brand new vehicle! The wise seeker stays focused on the soul because he knows that it is the soul that is his real identity and, unlike the body which is nothing but a vehicle, the soul is eternal and never dies.

I conclude by quoting a verse from the Geeta Mahatmya which, in my opinion, would summarise the thoughts shared here:
Mala nirmocha-nam pun-saam | Jal snaanam dine-dine
Sakrida geetaam-bhasi snaanam | Sansaara mal naa-sha-nam

Translation: By bathing in water we can wash away the dirt on our bodies, but, by bathing even once in the holy water of Mother Geeta, the whole mundane dirt of our past and present lives is washed away!


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THE ATMA AND ITS PREFIXES                               by Professor U Prasad

The exact meaning of 'atma' (soul) is quite elusive. The real essence (tattva) of this word is difficult to understand. The attributes and importance of the atma have been explained by Lord Krishna (BG2:20):

na jayate mriyate va kadacin na 'yam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityah sasvato 'yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire

Meaning: He (the atma) is never born, nor does he ever die, or having once come into being will he again cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient. Even though the body is killed, he (the atma) is not slain.

The essential attributes of atma are also expressed as SATCHIDANANDA. Atma is reality or existence (SAT), supreme consciousness (CHIT), and also supreme bliss (ANANDA). It is the UNSEEN SEER, the UNHEARD HEARER and the UNKNOWN KNOWER. In the Geeta, the Lord says (BG2:29):

Aashcharyavat pashtayti kashchid enam Aashcharyavad vadati tathaiva chaanyah
Aashcharyavac chainam anyah shrnoti Shrutvaapy enam veda na chaiva kashchit

Meaning: One beholds the Self as a marvel, another speaks of it as a marvel, and another hears it as a marvel, yet another having heard, KNOWS IT NOT.

The Lord further impresses upon Arjuna that it is He, who as Atma, is established in the hearts of all, and pervades the entire creation (BG10:20):

aham atma gudakesa sarvabhutaasayasthitah aham adis ca madhyam ca bhutaanaam anta eva ca
Meaning: O Gudakesa (Arjuna), I am the Self seated in the heart of all beings; so am I the beginning, the middle and also the end of all beings.

This Supreme Truth can only be realised through SELF-KNOWLEDGE, which is the HIGHEST KNOWLEDGE, acquiring which, sages have attained liberation (BG14:1):

Param bhuyah pravakshyaami jnaanaam jnaanmuttamam
Yaj gnaatvaa munayah sarve paraam sidhhimito gataah

Meaning: I shall impart to you once again the supreme wisdom, the best of all wisdoms, acquiring which all sages have attained highest perfection, being liberated from this world.

When the word 'atma' is associated with prefixes like jiva (jivatma), maha (mahatma), dharma (dharmatma), kaama (kaamatma) or nashta (nashtatma), the derived word takes on a new meaning and significance.

Jivatma: The word 'jivatma' does not appear anywhere in the Geeta. But words like 'jivabhutah' (in BG15:7) and 'kshetrajna' (in BG13:1) have exactly the same meaning.

mamai 'va 'mso jivaloke jivabhutah sanatanah manahsasthani 'ndriyani prakrtisthani karsati (BG15:7)
Meaning: The jiva in the body is an eternal portion of Myself. Seated in the Prakriti, it attracts the senses (five)--the mind being the sixth.

The jiva, as a portion of Paramatma, is not like the kitchen being a portion of the house. The jiva is in fact the Paramatma - like the space within a pot (ghat-akash) being a portion of the vast space (brihad-akash) outside.

The apparent relationship between jivatma and the body is one of adhyaas or erroneous imposition. Shankaracharya's THEORY OF SUPERIMPOSITION (VIVARTAVAAD) describes the apparent presentation of something by the memory of the consciousness. This can be of two kinds: (a) Partial or one-sided, like the superimposition of SNAKE UPON ROPE (b) Mutual or reciprocal, with either superimposition of the attributes of Atma (Self; SUBJECT) on body (Non-Self; OBJECT), or the attributes of the OBJECT on the SUBJECT. When the essence of Atma is projected on the body, one declares: I exist (SAT), I am intelligent (CHIT), I enjoy pleasure (ANAND). When the qualities of the body are swung upon the Atma, one states: I am man, I am sick, I


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am old, etc. In BG13:1, Lord Krishna outlines the relationship between jivatma and the body:

idam shariram kaunteya kshetram ity abhidhiyate etad yo vetti tam praahuh kshetrajna iti tad vidah
Meaning: This body, O son of Kunti, is called the kshetra (Field); one who knows this, him the knowers of truth call kshetrajna (Knower of the Field).

Kshetrajna is jivatma, the life-principle. Understanding this is as good as Self-Realisation, attaining which, life eternal is gained. The Lord has said, "jneyam yat tat pravakshyaami yaj jnaatvaa mritam ashnute" (BG13:12).

Mahatma: These individuals are the highest among the mortals. Endowed with divine manifestations, they worship the Lord constantly with undivided mind. But, such individuals are very rare indeed.

Mahaatmaanas tu maam partha daivim prakritim aashritaah
Bhajanty ananyamanaso jnaatvaa bhutaadim avyayam
(BG9:13)
Meaning: O Partha, the great-souled (mahatma), who possess a divine nature, knowing Me as the prime cause of creation and imperishable, worship Me constantly with undivided mind.

bahunaam janmanaam ante jnaanwaan maam prapadyate
vaasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah
(BG7:19)
Meaning: At the end of many births, the man of wisdom comes to Me, realizing that Vasudeva (the Supreme) is all there is. Such a great soul is very rare.

Dharmatma: A Dharamatma lives a life of righteousness (Dharma). This is relatively easy for those blessed with divine endowments, but others have to strive for it. Lord Krishna says that even one of sinful conduct can attain dharma by worshipping Him with exclusive devotion, and that His devotee never perishes. (BG9:30-31)

Api chet suduchaaro bhajate maam ananyabhaak
Saadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah
Kshipram bhavati dharmaatma sasvat shanty nigachhati
Kaunteya pratijaanaahi ne me bhaktah pranashyati

Kaamatma: Most individuals, led by desire, belong to this category. They perform actions to get favourable results and happiness. They never escape from the cycle of birth and death. If free of sin, they may attain heaven, ultimately having to return to this mortal world after a pleasurable stint in heaven. In BG2:43, the Lord says:

Kaamaatmaanah swargaparaa janmakarmaphalapradaam
Kriyaavisheshabahulaam bhogaishvaryagatim prati

Meaning: Obsessed with desires, they hold that the ultimate goal of birth and action is the attainment of heaven, and prescribe specific rights for the attainment of pleasure and power.

Nashtatma: Demoniac (aasuri) in nature, these are the worst among humans and are responsible for their own ruin. The Lord (BG16:16) says that they ultimately fall to the foulest hell ( patanti narake asuchau).

etaam drishtim avashtabhya nashtaatmaano alpabuddhayah
prabhavanty ugrakarmaanah kshayaaya jagato hitaah
(BG16:9)
Meaning: Holding this view, these ruined souls of small understanding, of cruel actions, come forth as enemies for the destruction of the world.

A sadhak should steer himself towards attaining knowledge of the Self (atma) to become a dharmatma or mahatma, avoiding entanglement with sense-objects (kaamatma) and never downgrading himself to a nashtatma.

Uddhared aatmanaatmaanam naatmaanam avasaadayet
Aatmaiva hy aatmano bandhur aatmaiva ripuraatmanah
(BG6:5)
Meaning: Let a man lift himself by himself; let him not degrade himself; for the self alone is the friend of the self, and the self alone is the enemy of the self.

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BHAGAVAD GEETA CH 3: YOGA OF SELFLESS ACTION
Talk by Dr Anjanna Kukreja in conjunction with Geeta Jayanti
In Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Geeta, we see Arjuna’s dejection when he realises he has to battle his kith and kin. Arjuna is a great warrior, but his attachment to his own people confuses him and overshadows his devotion to duty.

In Chapter 2, Lord Krishna shares the eternal wisdom of Sankhya Yoga, advising Arjuna to discriminate between the permanent and impermanent. He also enlightens Arjuna on the truth about renunciation of action. However, being a warrior, Arjuna has to perform his bounded duty and fight. But Arjuna keeps looking for loopholes in all that Lord Krishna has said in order to avoid going to battle - and this is how Chapter 3 begins, with Arjuna raising his doubts.

In the first two verses of Chapter 3, Arjuna expresses a doubt. He does not understand why, if knowledge is superior to action, he is being urged to fight the dreadful war. If the path of knowledge can lead to God-realisation, then why should he commit the heinous act of killing his own relatives? Seeking clarification regarding the right path for him - the path of action or the path of knowledge - Arjuna requests for a clear and decisive answer.

In the next few verses, Lord Krishna explains that both the paths - Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga - are complementary. Jnana Yoga is for the man of contemplation while Karma Yoga is for the man of action. Both paths lead to the ultimate goal of union with the Lord. Karma Yoga unfolds the code of conduct for the realisation of the Ultimate Truth.

The Lord explains that no one can remain without action in this world for even a moment. Action is necessary for existence, and there is never a moment of inaction. In verses 6 and 7, Bhagawan explains that a man who curbs the organs of action but allows the mind to dwell on the sense objects is a hypocrite and is totally deluded. On the other hand, one who keeps the senses under the control of the mind and engages the senses in the path of action without attachment (Karma Yoga), is more superior.

The mind and body should be in harmony. The mind should be restrained to engage in spiritual activities instead of sensual and worldly pleasures.

In Verse 8, Krishna says "Therefore, do you perform your duty; for action is superior to inaction. Desisting from action, you cannot even maintain your body."

Allotted duty (Niyatam) is divided into Nitya Karma - daily duties and responsibilities - and Naimittika Karma - duties and rituals performed on special occasions.

We must perform our obligatory duties well and leave the rest to Him. Krishna tells Arjuna: "By constantly surrendering your action, with ALL your heart to ME, you fight this battle without any expectations, attachment and agony". The Karma Yogi gives up the fruit and finds joy in the action itself, ultimately receiving endless rewards. We must work without selfish motives for the greater good of society. A true Karma Yogi works without expecting personal gain. Verses 10-11 give the first teachings of Brahma, the creator, to humanity: "Let all of you progress and prosper by helping each other and doing your duty properly."

It is wrong to perform action selfishly without benefit to others. Lord Krishna refers to such a person as a thief, useless and sinful (Verses 12-13). Lord Krishna cites the example of King Janak, Sita's father, the king of Janakapur, who attained the Lord by serving his people selflessly without attachment to the results of his actions. Work done selflessly, as a duty, becomes a form of worship. Mahatma Gandhi was also a Karma Yogi who worked selflessly for the betterment of an entire nation. In verse 21, Bhagavan says: "For whatever a great man does, the same is done by others as well; whatever standard he sets, people follow." We are all role models for others. The Lord explains to Arjuna that his place is among the best, hence he must set ideals which are exemplary.

Lord Krishna is the greatest Karma Yogi of all. He has no need to perform any actions. Yet, He works incessantly. For, if He remains silent, others would follow His example and go to ruin. Bhagawan explains that if "I don't perform action, all these worlds will perish. I will be the creator of confusion and destruction of these people. O Arjuna, as the ignorant act with attachment, so should the wise act without attachment, desiring the welfare of the world order".

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A Karma Yogi performs his duty selflessly, without attachment to the fruit of his work. He is free from dualities, remaining calm in success and failure, with no likes or dislikes. Selfless service for the welfare of humanity produces no karmic bondage and leads one to the Supreme Lord.

Prakriti (nature) determines one's actions through the interaction of the gunas (modes of nature) - sattva, rajas and tamas. The ignorant one wrongfully attributes all action to himself, thinking "I am the doer". He chases one sense gratification after another. He works just to enjoy the fruit of their labour. The wise work for the welfare of all, dedicating their work to the Lord, and are ultimately freed from the bondage of Karma.

In verse 35, Bhagawan says: "Better is one's own duty though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well-performed. Better is death in the fulfillment of one’s own duty; the duty of another is fraught with fear."

In Creation, everything has its specific role and function. Any change brought about in their function leads to chaos. All duties are of equal importance. That is the only way a system can function in an optimal capacity. We must perform our duty as a gift to society.

Arjun has a question lingering in his mind: "What is that which prompts a man to commit sin, as if propelled by some force against his will?" Bhagawan gives Arjuna the answer and also the solution on how to overcome and transcend this force which drives a person to commit sin.

Bhagawan explains that it is desire, born of rajo-guna, which takes the form of anger that propels a person to commit sin. Desire is an intense urge that goes beyond one's control and propels a person into activity to achieve a certain goal. Attempting to fulfill that desire, one loses peace, happiness and understanding. Once a desire is fulfilled, the energy gets converted to greed. We feel happy when a desire is fulfilled, and we want to repeat the experience.

Any obstacle to the fulfillment of desire produces anger. Desire is all consuming, most sinful and the cause of extreme sorrow. The Lord says that desire is our biggest enemy, and we must recognise our enemy. We keep pursuing one desire after another in our search for that ever-evasive "eternal happiness".
The ultimate happiness lies in union with the Lord. Sri Ramakrishna has said that "No salvation is possible for a man as long as he has desire, as long as he hankers for worldly things".

Knowledge and wisdom are masked by desire just as the brightness of a fire is covered by dark smoke and a mirror is covered by dust. To see a true reflection of ourselves, we have to remove the dust covering the mirror. Similarly we have to relinquish our desires to be on the path towards attaining the Lord.

How do we get rid of desires? Like in any battle, we must first know where the enemy is hiding. A stronger enemy will have more than one hiding place. Krishna explains that there are three residences of desire - the senses, the mind and the intellect.

We experience the material world through our five senses - touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. The mind - which has emotion - strengthens all that we experience through our senses. The intellect rationalises and justifies all our experiences.

The Lord says that we must control our senses. The senses are like gates which, if well-protected, deny the enemy, in the form of desire, any access to the mind and intellect. With restrained senses, one cannot fall prey to desire, which obstructs knowledge and wisdom. Bhagawan explains that greater than our senses is the mind, which understands the language of the senses. Greater than the mind is the intellect, which has the power to understand the mind and the senses. Higher than the intellect is the Self (Atman). So we have to first overcome desire at the level of the senses, followed by the mind, then the intellect, by negating false justification for our desires, and ultimately transcending all this and recognising the Self - thus finding happiness and peace within.

Thus, we have to keep desire at bay by controlling our senses, having a firm mind and ensuring clarity of intellect at all times. The Lord wants to enlighten Arjuna about the Ultimate Reality and Truth, building up his mind to lead him to this goal.

In summary, this chapter shows us the path of Karma Yoga - the path of selfless service. It advises us to perform our duties well and reminds us that no job is too small and that we all play a role in keeping society going. Selfless action is the means, and knowledge is the end. In the light of knowledge, we must eliminate our enemy, desire, through self-endeavour.

22
GEETA JAYANTI
by Shri Guru Maa Geeteswariji (Geeta Bhaskar)                                            (translated by Dr Abhay Prasad)
Geeta Jayanti is celebrated in the Hindu month of Margashirsha, Shukla Paksha, Mokshada Ekadasi, as the day when Lord Krishna delivered the teachings of the Geeta (in the Dwapara Yuga).

The month of Margashirsha has been declared by Lord Krishna (BG10:35) as one of His Vibhutis (Divine manifestation). Margashirsha comprises the words Marga (path) and Shirsha (head). Budhi (intellect) resides in the head. The head also represents Brahman. Saints have termed it Jyotirlinga. The head is formed first in the embryo, and it usually leads the body during delivery of the baby. The path to spiritual bliss is led by the head and is called margashirsha. Shukla Paksha means 'white' or 'bright', representing purity and the sattva gunas. Mokshada comprises two words (Moksha + da) which together mean 'that which provides Moksha'. Moksha itself comprises two words - Moha (ignorance leading to worldly attachment) and aksha (destroy). So Moksha means 'the total destruction of ignorance'.

The deliverance from ignorance is done during one's lifetime and not after. Through Geeta Gyaan, the 'moha' of Arjuna was destroyed. Ignorance traps a person in the quagmire of 'Maya' causing unhappiness. When a Satguru gives the knowledge - like the Lord gave to Arjuna - that everything is asat (perishable), that one cannot carry away anything from this world, that after death all things will remain here, then only the enlightened person shall become happy. Moha is the cause of all misery and creates 'bondage'. One can cut asunder this bondage only by inculcating the teachings of the Geeta into everyday life activities and by reading the Gita every day.

Geeta is the Amrit (eternal nectar), drinking which enables one to cross the great worldly ocean and escape the cycle of life and death. The Lord has said "Geeta mein hridayam partha, Geeta mein sarvam uttam, Geeta mein gyanamatyugram, Geeta mein gyanam avyayam. Geeta mein paramam padam" which means "Geeta is my heart, Geeta is my supreme essence, Geeta is my extremely bright and eternal knowledge, and Geeta is my Supreme state". This means that the Lord embraces the bhakta who recites the Geeta daily.
He gives all the knowledge to him and grants him permanent bhakti at His lotus feet. On recitation of the Geeta the person's worldly impurities are removed and he becomes pure. When one's life becomes pure, one is able to attain the Lord.

Uttara was a devout devotee of Lord Krishna. When Ashwatthaama directed the Brahmaastra to destroy Uttara's womb, Uttara cried out for Lord Krishna's intervention to protect her womb and her unborn child. The Lord, on hearing the pleading call of Uttara, took a form the size of a thumb and, with Sudarshana Chakra in hand, guarded Uttara's womb till the child's birth. Uttara's son was named Parikshit (protected one). We are all similarly protected by the Lord Himself, but the true 'Parikshit' is the one who is ever eager for the vision of the Lord. Parikshit's eagerness became more profound when he came to know that he would die by the bite of the 'Takshak' snake on the seventh day. This signifies the need to keep in mind the kaal (impending death). Hearing the Bhagwad, Parikshit's heart was filled with love for the Lord. His life became pure and he had no fear of death.

Similarly, the bhakta (devotee), bearing the Geeta in his heart, becomes free of fear. The Lord is ever ready to protect such a devotee in any way, in the manner He protected Uttara's womb. The Lord could have saved Parikshit in a remote way through His Sankalpa without entering Uttara's womb. But the mother's womb symbolises Kumbhipaak Narak (Hell). Thus, this episode signifies that the Lord is willing, in times of crisis, to even venture into Hell to deliver His devotees from distressful situations. When the Divine Song of the Geeta, which emanated from the lotus lips of the Lord, is read, heard and meditated upon everyday by His devotee, then there is no doubt that the Lord Himself will embrace the devotee and take care of him at every step.

On the auspicious occasion of Geeta Jayanti, it is our prime duty to spread the teachings of the Geeta, hold Satsangs, read and meditate on the Geeta, and imbibe the teachings of the Geeta. The knowledge contained in the Geeta will help to dispel the shoka (sorrow) and moha (attachment born of ignorance) forever.

23
FOUR BENEFITS OF RECITING THE GEETA
by Swami Muktanandji                                                                          (translated by Dr Abhay Prasad)

Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta, the song divine which emanated from the lotus lips of Lord Krishna, is the Lord's heart. It provides direction to those who have fallen from their path. Mother Geeta destroys the darkness of ignorance and ignites the lamp of knowledge, raising the fallen, providing impetus to those who are walking, and offering a hand of support to those who have surrendered, leading them to the lotus feet of the Lord. With the benevolent peace-giving presence of such a Divine Mother, why is humanity in such a sorrowful state, restless and never in peace? The fault lies with the human being himself, not having recognised and understood the true nature of the Geeta shaastra, He is lost in the maze of the world, shrouded in ignorance. Whosoever surrenders to Mother Geeta with sincerity and recites the Geeta daily stands to be protected at every step. There are four main benefits of reciting the Geeta: (1) Bhakti (2) Shakti (3) Yukti (4) Mukti.

1. Bhakti (Devotion): The Lord is not attracted to one who is devoid of bhakti. Without devotion, one cannot be close to the Lord. The Lord recognises a person by his devotion. The essence of bhakti is available to only a few fortunate individuals. That opportunity is provided by Mother Geeta. The greatest benefit of reciting the Geeta is the blessing of everlasting devotion to the lotus feet of the Lord. Pleased with the exclusive devotion shown by Arjuna towards Him, the Lord blessed him with a rare view in his all-encompassing form.

bhaktya tv ananyaya sakya aham evamvidho arjuna
jnatum drashtum cha tattvena praveshtum cha paramtapa
(BG11:54)
Meaning: O Paramtapa Arjun, through relentless devotion I can be known, I can be seen and also entered into.

2. Shakti (Power): Power is a component of devotion. There is an increase in power, and an aura of divine light develops around the devotee's head. At this stage, whatever the devotee has in mind gets fulfilled. Reciting even one mantra relentlessly confers such powers on the individual that if he asks any other ill-fated person to recite that mantra, then that person's cause of unhappiness is promptly eliminated.

Swami Ji Maharaj used to emphasise the chanting of the mantra 'vasudeva sutam devam'.

3. Yukti: Yukti is the ability to solve difficult situations by wise intervention. The individual can adapt the situation to his or her benefit e.g. the blessings of Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth, increase one's worldly happiness, but these blessings can be utilised to absolve one of past sins, or to increase one's lifespan. Thus one becomes the maker of one's own destiny. These benefits can be attained by leaving the fundamentals of the Geeta at the feet of the Satguru and inculcating its values in daily life.

upadekshyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattvadarshinah (BG4:34)
Meaning: We feel we have imperceptibly gained the ability to solve situations, just by prostrating at the feet of Gurudev, and are thus able to help those in dire need.

4. Mukti (Liberation): The mind gets bound to the objects of the senses through attraction and attachment. The Geeta's knowledge frees the mind from these influences. Arjuna was stuck in the quagmire of moha (attraction and attachment through ignorance), leading to his despondency. He was running away from his inherent duty, expressing his inability to stand up and fight - na yotsya iti govindam (BG2:9). After gaining Geeta Jnana, Arjuna acknowledges that his ignorance has been destroyed, and expresses his willingness to do the Lord's bidding. Thus Arjuna has been liberated from the quagmire of moha. The Geeta's knowledge provides mukti to the being. One can be liberated during or after life to reach the supreme position, attaining which one does not return to this mortal world - yad gatva na nivartante tad dhaama paramam mama (BG15:6).

The greatness of the Geeta cannot be expressed in words. On the occasion of Geeta Jayanti, all of us should resolve to recite the Geeta with full shraddha (faith). Such a pure resolution shall purify the mind and make our lives blissfully meaningful - this is my firm conviction.


24
GUIDANCE FROM THE MAHABHARATA (2)      by Shri Prashant Shukla
(continued from the previous issue)

The Mahabharata is explicit about the afterlife and becoming one with God. One cannot escape anything one has done, tying into the concept of Karma. To attain Moksha, one has to correct, fix, accept or come to terms with one's wrongdoings. One must not run away from one's wrongdoings, which if accepted would make this world a much better place. In the Mahabharata, and specifically the Bhagavad Gita, there is a discussion of three different types of yoga: Karmayoga (path of Action), Jnanayoga (path of Knowledge), and Bhaktiyoga (path of Devotion or Practice). These yogas are the paths that lead to Moksha.

Krishna explains to Arjuna that performing one's inherent duty by selfless action is a sure path to the Lord. He advises that "he who performs actions dedicating them to the Lord and giving up attachment, is not touched by sin, as a lotus leaf by water". The Mahabharata guides one towards attaining Moksha through Karmayoga.

After advising Arjuna that following his Dharma and fighting in the War is the appropriate course of action, he speaks of the path of knowledge, saying that "the man of knowledge who is consistently in communion and singleminded in devotion excels". Krishna speaks dearly of the man of knowledge. The knowledge referred to here is that which distinguishes between the physical body and the soul (True Self).

Explaining Bhaktiyoga, Krishna tells Arjuna that "if you are unable to fix the mind steadily on Me, then seek to attain Me through the Yoga of practice". Krishna reveals his omnipresent and universal Supreme form to Arjuna, and advises Arjuna to practise devotion to the Supreme Being. Krishna says that "if you are unable even to practise, then be solely devoted to rites for Me; even by doing rites for My sake, you will attain perfection".

The Mahabharata stresses the essential nature of knowledge, devotion, and action and provides a template for their pursuit. In the Santi Parva, Yudhisthira explains the process of liberation. Ironically it requires the renunciation of the first three human goals outlined in this analysis. He says: "He who is not employed in merit or in sin, who does not attend to Profit (artha), Virtue (dharma) or Desire (kaama), who is above all faults, who regards gold and a brick-bat with equal eyes, becomes liberated from pleasure and pain and the necessity of accomplishing his purposes". Yudhisthira concludes that liberation is the highest attainable goal.

The Mahabharata explores the highest goal (moksha), the paths leading to it, and the ultimate renunciation required. The Mahabharata advocates detachment from worldly pleasures and material possessions in favor of greater goals such as liberation. The Mahabharata accepts Kaama and sensual pleasures as aspects of human pursuit but advises caution. Artha is identified as a legitimate, warranted, and necessary pursuit for status and for the ability to enjoy sensual pleasures. However, greed and immoral means of gaining wealth are condemned. Dharma, woven into the fabric of the epic, is the moving force of the moral of the Mahabharata. Arjuna's climactic discussion with Krishna is a commentary on the meaning of duty, its universal applicability, and its power in one's spiritual pursuit. Moksha requires the renunciation of Kaama, Artha, and Dharma, and is attainable through the three paths of action, knowledge, and devotional service. In the Santi Parva, Bhimsena says: "One without desire never wishes for wealth. One without desire never wishes for virtue. One who is destitute of desire can never feel any wish. Without desire the diverse kinds of action seen in the world would never have been seen. Thus, desire is seen to be the foremost of the triple aggregate (of Virtue, Wealth and Desire)".

At the end of our discussion, we are left with the conclusion that when Vyasa spoke his boast, he was undeniably correct. The Mahabharata covers 'everything' within the scope of the four human aims and is relevant even in today's world. The Mahabharata can guide, warn, advise, portray, illustrate, and confirm paths that one can take to live the best possible life.


25
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HINDU TRIMURTI
by Shrimati Reena Yadav

The Hindu Trimurti (three forms), also known as the Hindu Trinity, is a concept in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Shiva (the Destroyer). Collectively, these three deities are also known as "Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara". The Trimurti is symbolically depicted with the three faces, on one neck, looking in different directions.

The origins of this concept can be traced to the Rig Veda where the idea of God in three forms is rooted. Surya (sun), Agni (fire) and Vidyut (lightning) or Vayu (wind) were members of the original Vedic Trimurti. However, it was only in the Padma Puranas that the three deities became one. To create this world, the supreme spirit produced Brahma from His right side; to maintain this world, the supreme spirit produced Vishnu from His left side; and to destroy the world, He gave rise to Shiva from his middle. It has been postulated that the concept of Trimurti was designed to reconcile the major Hindu deities into one universal Supreme Godhead.

The significance of Trimurti has various interpretations. Trimurti is believed to represent Earth, Fire and Water. Brahma, as the originator of all life, is represented by Earth; Vishnu, as the sustainer of life, is represented by Water; while Shiva, as the destroyer of life, is represented by Fire. The three members of Trimurti can also be taken to represent the three planes of consciousness. Alternatively, Brahma represents the spiritual element, Vishnu represents the psychic element, and Shiva represents the physical element. On the psychic plane, Brahma epitomises intuitive and creative thoughts, while Vishnu signifies intelligence, and Shiva represents emotions. On the physical plane, the sky is represented by Brahma, the sun by Vishnu and the moon by Shiva.

Brahma
Each Hindu deity is associated with a specific animal 'vehicle'. Brahma is always seen on a swan, symbolising the power of discrimination (buddhi). Brahma is seen in red color symbolising the power of the sun. Brahma had five heads but one head was cut off by Shiva to control Brahma's infatuation with a female deity. Symbolically, Brahma is now represented with four faces and four arms. He has a white beard which symbolises his status as a senior God. He is shown holding a scepter in the form of a spoon, a mala (rosary beads), the Vedas and a lotus flower. Brahma is accompanied by his consort, Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and artistic endeavors.

Vishnu
Vishnu maintains and preserves dharma (righteousness) and eliminates evil, incarnating periodically as an avatar e.g. Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. His vehicle of choice is Garuda, representing the soul. Lord Vishnu has a thousand names compiled in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Bhisma recited these names to Lord Krishna before the battle at Kurukshetra. Sincere chanting of Vishnu's names results in spiritual well-being.

Shiva
Shiva, the personification of the divine destructive powers, can still be viewed positively, as creation is only possible after annihilation. Creation at new and higher levels depends upon the cleansing force of Shiva. Shiva may be depicted as the Shiva Linga, or in deep meditation on Mount Kailash, His body smeared with cemetery ash to symbolise death as the ultimate reality of life. Only after death can the soul move on to other levels.

Today, Brahma is not worshipped en masse. There are only two temples dedicated to Brahma, one in Pushkar (Rajasthan) and the other in Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu). Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are not independent deities. They represent the Supreme Being in three different aspects. Just as a doctor may also be a husband and a father, the Supreme Being is referred to as Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva, depending on His role in the cosmic tasks of creation, preservation and dissolution. The Hindu Trinity is symbolised by the mystic syllable AUM, with 'A' representing Vishnu, 'U' representing Shiva and 'M' representing Brahma.


26
GEETA JAYANTI 2013 at Geeta Ashram Malaysia

Geeta Jayanti celebrations commenced at Geeta Ashram Malaysia on 26 November 2013. This 18-day celebration will culminate on 13 December 2013 with a Geeta havan in the morning in addition to the regular programme in the evening.

     

The regular daily programme during this period is held in the evening from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm, except on Sundays when this programme is in the morning from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm.

     

The programme starts with Bhajans and Guru Vandana, followed by recitation of Chapter 12 and the Chapter of the Day. After the Bhagavad Geeta Aarti. the Host for that day gives a short welcome address. This is followed by a discourse on the Chapter of the Day in English by the Guest Speaker, followed by a discourse in Hindi by Panditji. If the Guest Speaker's discourse is in Hindi, then it is simultaneously translated into English. Shri Guru Maa Geeteswariji gave the discourse on 4-6 December (3 days). The programme ends with the concluding Bhajan and Aarti followed by Prashad and Preeti Bhojan (dinner).

     


27
IN A LIGHTER VEIN


28
RECIPE: MIXED DAAL DOSA (ADAI)
by Sharmi (www.recipes.in/click/index/5010184/?site=neivedyam.com)

This is a little variation from the traditional Adai recipe which is popularly made in Tamilnadu. This recipe uses moong daal , chana daal, urad daal, thuvar daal, masoor daal (Panchmeli Daal mix).

Ingredients:
2 cups raw rice ( washed and soaked for 3-4 hours)
1/2 cup husked urad daal (washed and soaked for 3 hours)
1/2 cup of mixed daal (chana daal, masoor daal (husked), moong daal, thuvar daal) (washed and soaked for 3 hours)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (soaked along with the dals)
2" piece ginger
2-4 dry red chillies (soaked along with daals)
4 tbsp grated fresh coconut
1/2 tsp asafoetida
Handful of curry leaves (chopped finely)
Salt to taste

Method:
Grind the rice, daals, fenugreek, ginger, redchillies, coconut altogether. The batter should be of dosa batter consistency. Add salt, asafoetida, curry leaves and mix well. Fermentation is not required but leave the batter at room temperature for 4-5 hours. I did not refrigerate it immediately. To make Adai, pour a ladle of batter and spread like a dosa, as thin as possible. Pour a teaspoon of oil and leave the dosa on medium high till golden brown, flip carefully and fry till golden and crisp! The dosa comes out very crisp with a lovely golden colour. It is also very healthy for kids! Serve hot with chutney, sambar or pickles! It tastes great with powdered jaggery and a dollop of butter :)


29
BHAJAN LYRICS - Badi Der Bai Nandalălă            <bgsound src="KanhaiyaKanhaiya.mp3" loop="false">
Badi der bai Nandalălă, Teri răha take brijabălă x2
Gwăl băl ek ek se pűchhe kahăn hai Muraliwălă re
Badi der bai Nandalălă, Teri răha take brijabălă x2

Koi na jăe kunjagalin men
Tujh bin kaliăn chunane ko x2
Taras rahe hain, taras rahe hain Jamună ke tatt
Dhun murali ki sunane ko x2
Ab to darash dikhăde nattkhatt, kyun dubidă men đălă re
Badi der bai Nandlălă .....

Sangkatt men hai ăj wo dharti
Jis par Tűne janam liyă x2
Pűră karde, pűră karde ăj vachan wo
Gîtă men jo Tűne diyă x2
Koi nahin hai Tujh bin Mohan bhagtan kă rakhawălă re
Badi der bai Nandlălă .....



30
INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Geeta Ashram Lagos, Nigeria (by Shri Manu Lalwani)

Pujniya Guruma's visit to Lagos:
Pujniya Guruma arrived in Lagos on 5 October 2013 and observed maun during Navratri period. Satsangs were held daily in the afternoon and evening at various devotees' places. Guruma also visited Shri Laxmi Narayan Temple and Sai Baba Mandir. On 13 October, Geeta Ashram organised Nav Durga Havan which was blessed by Guruma's presence. Guruma left Lagos on 15 October for Delhi via Dubai.

Guru Nanak Jayanti:
On 9 November 2013, Shabad Kirtan by Ragi Jatha Bhai Sarabjeet Singh & party, internationally famous ragis from GOLDEN TEMPLE AMRITSAR, was held at Geeta Ashram to celebrate Guru Nanak Devji's Guru Purab celebration. The function was attended by more than 500 devotees.

Eye Care Programme:
As is traditional every year, Geeta Ashram Lagos will hold a free Eye Camp from 9 to 13 December 2013 wherein around 160 underprivileged individuals are expected to regain their eyesight through cataract surgery.


Geeta Ashram Minnesota, USA (by Shri Vivek Kamran)

Mata Jagran on 11 October 2013: more than 300 devotees participated
Diwali Fundraiser on 19 Oct 2013: attended by more than 600 people; the kids thrilled the crowd with dances; $65,000 was pledged for various projects
Gayatri School being established to cater for the children's cultural, spiritual and social needs


31
CHILDREN'S HINDUISM QUIZ
Move your mouse over the green 'answer' button to view the correct answer

Name the language in which the ancient Vedic texts were written     
Name Arjuna's charioteer in the battle of Kurukshetra     
Which animal's head does the Hindu deity Ganesha have?     
In the epic Mahabharata, how many husbands did Draupadi have?     
What is the name of the Hindu festival of colours?     
Name the festival that commemorates the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana     
How many times is the word 'Hindu' used in the Vedic scriptures?          
Name the individual who formally introduced Hinduism to the West at the 1893 Chicago Parliament of World Religions     
Who is the founder of the Hindu religion?     
Which holy scripture provides the essence of Hindu teaching?     
Which greeting conveys the meaning "I bow to the Divine in thee"?     
What is the name given to the food that is distributed to devotees after it has been offered to the Lord?                                                    
How long did the Kurukshetra War last?     
In the Hindu Trinity, who is the Creator?     
Name the celestial bird that tried to rescue Sita from Ravana and, in the process, got slain by Ravana     
What is the relationship between the supreme Brahman and the Atman?     
Name the three gunas or modes of Nature     
Name the spiritual Path of Action     
Are Heaven and Hell the final destinations for good and bad individuals?     
Which syllable is the sound manifestation of God?     

32
GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA: Recent and Upcoming Activities
by Shrimati Tangamani Menon

Ongoing Activities
Everyday: A short pooja is performed at sunrise and sunset.
Tuesdays: 8.00-9.00 p.m. Hanuman Chalisa recitation (5 times) & related anecdotes by Panditji
Wednesdays: 7.30-9.00 p.m. Better Living Yoga Course for Householders from a holistic approach based on theoretical and practical aspects of the Patanjali Yoga system being offered by Ms. Nirmlah Dahvy.
Thursdays: 7.30-8.30 p.m. Bhagavad Geeta study and discussion classes in English by Mr. Ashok Bherumal.
Fridays: 7.30-8.30 p.m. Sanskrit classes by Panditji
Saturdays: 6.00-7.00 p.m. Hindi classes by Panditji   7.30-8.30p.m. Geeta Recitation classes by Panditji
Sundays: (a) 11.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m. Geeta satsang, bhajans, recitation and explanation of seven verses of the Geeta. (b) 11.00 a.m.-12.30 p.m. Children’s class conducted by Ms Asha Devi & Mr Chandru Binwani.

Every Purnima all 18 chapters of the Geeta are recited followed by a get-together and sharing of whatever prashad (pot-luck style) brought by devotees.
Upcoming Purnima dates are: 17 December 2013.

Community Services
Mobile Geeta brought to your home/venue on request anywhere within the Klang valley consisting of:
(1) A one hour satsang, or
(2) 2 ˝ hours recitation of the entire Geeta

Happenings during Last 3 months:
2 September 2013: Special Bhoomi pooja was performed by Panditji before commencement of major renovation works at the Ashram premises.

Other Havans Performed / Scheduled:
13 October 2013: Sri Ravinder Dass & Family

Upcoming Celebrations:
2) 18-day Geeta Jayanti Yajna from 26 November to 13 December 2013
3) Chanting of Vishnu Sahasranaam on 31 December 2013 (evening)

Hosting a Sunday Satsang:
In commemoration of a birthday, anniversary or simply in memory of loved ones, devotees may sponsor / host a Sunday satsang lunch. Please contact the Ashram at Tel. No. 79564267 (10.00 am - 1.00 pm) for info / reservations.


32a
SPEECH BY MAHATMA GANDHI: God Does Exist
a video presentation