GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA Founder President:
H.H. Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
Shri Chandru Binwani
Datuk Fateh Chand
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
Shri Sriniyasan Narayana
Honorary General Secretary:
Shri Sivashankar Krishnapillai
Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Shrimati Vanita Rani
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Dr Darshan Kumar
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
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
|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.
|COMMENTARY: BHAGAVAD GEETA CHAPTER 3 VERSE 27|
by His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
gunaih karmaani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
The modes of nature (gunas) perform all actions, but the ignorant one, deluded by egoism, thinks, "I am the doer".
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
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.
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.
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).
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:
sa sadbhi: sah karttavyaa: satam sango hi bheshajam
kama: sarvatmanaa heyo hatuncecchakyate na sa:
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
|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.
|LESSONS FROM THE GEETA (15)|
by Shri Ashok Lal Bherumal
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?
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.|
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.
|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.|
Based on discourses by Shri Guru Maa Geeteswariji (translated by Shri Suresh Kumar Ranga)
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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".
(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.
aisi hi priyatamashyaam ki, tyagmurtigunavati, udaar | shreeradha pad kamlon main, namaskarhaibarambaar
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."
Meaning: Let us go to King Vrishbhanu's place. The beautiful and charming Radhaji is born
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
Meaning: Love is ever youthful. Radhaji, as the embodiment of love, is also youthful. Ever youthful.
|SHRI HANUMAN CHALISA: THE DEEPER MEANING|
by Swami Brahmanandji (translated by Shri Suresh Kumar Ranga)
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.
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.
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.
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).
Japat nirantar = reciting continuously; Hanumat beera = name of Hanumanji
We must consistently remember, with full faith, the divine name of Hanumanji. In BG12:2 Shri Krishna says:
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.
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.
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.
|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!
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
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:
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!
|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):
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):
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):
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):
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.
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.
am old, etc. In BG13:1, Lord Krishna outlines the relationship between jivatma and the body:
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.
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.
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)
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:
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).
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.
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.
|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".
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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).
|GUIDANCE FROM THE MAHABHARATA (2) by Shri Prashant Shukla
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.
|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.
|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).
|IN A LIGHTER VEIN
|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).
|BHAJAN LYRICS - Badi Der Bai Nandalălă
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 .....
Geeta Ashram Lagos, Nigeria (by Shri Manu Lalwani)
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
|CHILDREN'S HINDUISM QUIZ
|GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA: Recent and Upcoming Activities|
by Shrimati Tangamani Menon
|SPEECH BY MAHATMA GANDHI: God Does Exist|
a video presentation