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GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA

Founder President:
H.H. Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj


MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE 2014-2016

President:
Shri Chandru Binwani

Deputy President:
Datuk Fateh Chand

Vice Presidents:
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
Dato Ramesh Kodammal

Honorary General Secretary:
Shrimati Usha Devi

Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Shrimati Vanita Rani

Honorary Treasurer:
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot

Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Dr Thilla Chelliah

Committee Members:
Shri Prabhat Kumar
Shri Tilak Raj Sharma
Shrimati Asha Devi
Dr Sarinder Kumari
Shri Kishan Kumar Agarwal
Shri Rajani Kumar Naidu
Dr Anjanna Kukreja
Shri Jagmohan Kumar


EDITORIAL BOARD

Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Shrimati Tangamani Menon


FEEDBACK

E-mail: drbhanot@bhanot.net



SACRED THOUGHT
July 2015       Volume 43 Issue 2
For internal circulation only


Contents

Contents
Building Renovations: Update
Building Renovations: Appeal Letter
Important Notice
Editorial Note
Bhagavad Geeta: All 18 Chapters by Swami Hari Harji
From the President's Desk: Geeta Dham
Ocean of Bliss
Lessons from the Geeta (21)
Geeta for Beginners: The Grace of the Guru (Part 1)
Why Read The Geeta?
Be a Sevak of the Lord
5 Things You May Not Know About Hinduism
Quotes by Late Sir Dr A J P Abdul Kalam
Recipe: Vegetarian Walnut Burgers
Bhajan Video with Lyrics: Sanvare Se Milane Ka
Radha Krishna Bhajan Yatra in Pictures
Calendar of Festivals for 2015
Recent and Upcoming Activities

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The views and opinions expressed in the eSacredThought magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the Editorial Board or the Management Committee of Geeta Ashram Malaysia.


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Geeta Ashram
Building Renovations
 

Progress Report as at 15 May 2015

Construction is now in progress mainly in the back portion of the building:
1. The old dining hall has been demolished.
2. Construction of the beams and columns has been completed.
3. Brick-walling of the back extension has been done.
4. Cold water plumbing works have also been completed.
5. The new staircase leading to the 1st floor is under construction.

We thank all donors who have contributed towards the Geeta Ashram Malaysia Building Renovation Fund. Please give your fullest support in cash and kind towards making this project a reality. For further information, please call:

1. Chandru Binwani (President)+6 012-382 4228
2. Datuk Fateh Chand (Deputy President)+6 019-239 3376
3. Dato Ramesh Kodammal (Vice-President)+6 016-394 9800
3. Tangamani Menon (Vice-President)+6 014-645 4799
4. Usha Devi (Hon. Secretary)+6 013-393 9858
5. Dr D K Bhanot (Hon. Treasurer)+6 012-329 1216

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Geeta Ashram Building Renovations



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IMPORTANT NOTICE

Due to the extensive nature of the renovations at the Geeta Ashram Malaysia premises, to avoid any impedance to the progress of construction works, the various activities of the Ashram have been temporarily relocated as follows:

ActivityTemporary VenueDay / Time
Sunday SatsangChinmaya Ashram
41, Jalan Terasik7
Bangsar Baru
Sundays
10.30 am - 12.00 noon
Children's Geeta ClassesChinmaya Alankar
41, Jalan Terasik7
Bangsar Baru
Kuala Lumpur
Sundays
11.00 am - 12.00 noon
Geeta Classes in English
(by Ashok Bherumal)
Sathya Sai Baba Council Office
B-3-20 Pusat Perdagangan Sek 8
Jalan Sg Jernih 8/1
Petaling Jaya
Thursdays
7.30 - 8.45 pm
Yoga Classes
(by Nirmlah Dahvy)
temporarily suspended

On Sundays. devotees attending the satsang will receive simple prashad distributed by Panditji after the aarti. The Sunday lunch has been temporarily discontinued until further notice.

The ongoing renovations are necessary for the betterment of the Ashram. Any inconvenience caused is sincerely regretted.


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EDITORIAL NOTE

Building Renovations
The renovation and extension works at the Ashram are being impeded by an indecision on whether construction works should continue in accordance with the original plans OR the altar should be moved up to the first floor to make way for a function hall to generate more income for the Ashram. An Extraordinary General Meeting and subsequently the last Annual General Meeting gave a mandate for the original plans whereby the altar would remain at its original location on the ground floor. Most of the structural work for the building is ready. The finishing touches, such as tiling, plaster ceiling, electrical wiring, air-conditioning, audio system, CCTV, landscaping, etc, remain to be completed, and hopefully the building will be ready for occupation before the end of the year.
 
In the meantime, the Ashram premises have been vacated and all activities are being conducted at alternative locations like the Chinmaya Alankar and the Sathya Sai Baba Council Office. This year's Radha Krishna Bhajan Yatra had to be held at the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir. Members and devotees are coping fairly well with the inconveniece of continuing their spiritual activities in unfamiliar locations.
 
Word of Appreciation
Some devotees have been contributing articles for the eSacredThought magazine from Day One. We have to mention Prof Dr U Prasad, Shree Peter Ganglani, Dr Abhay Prasad, Shree Ashok Bherumal and Shrimati Tangamani. We appreciate their interest and their dedication to the spiritual path and thank them for taking time off from their busy work schedules to contribute material for this magazine. We hope that more devotees will put in some time to come up with some interesting articles for inclusion in this magazine. Materials such as photographs, jokes, quizzes and cartoons are also welcome. We would also like reports on activities and celebrations at Geeta Ashram centres around the world.
 
Articles for eSacredThought
Those contributing material for inclusion in eSacredThought are reminded to keep their contributions short, preferably not more than two pages in length., and to vet their articles for correctness of language and substance.
 
Dr D K Bhanot


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Listen to
All 18 Chapters of the Bhagavad Geeta



Recited in his own melodious voice by
Swami Hari Harji Maharaj

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FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK: GEETA DHAM

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

It was extremely gracious of our Honorable Trustees Shree Raman Tognattaji from Pune, Shree Anil Amboji from Mumbai,  Shree Mangeylal Gandhiji and  Shree Prakash Purohitji from Jodhpur to meet us at Geeta Dham, Tinwari, from June 23 to 27 for discussions which were supported by experts and advisers from various fields. Here is a brief account of the discussions/consultations that took place:  

A. GAUSHALA
(a) We will arrange to sell our milk from a stall at Tinwari. We have been assured that all milk taken to Tinwari in a sealed container will be sold out under close supervision. It was noted that our milching cows number 64, out of a total cattle population of 411. They are regularly provided green chara with the result that the total milk production has increased to 250 litres/day. The quality of milk from our Gaushala, which comes largely from pure-bred cows (Tharparkar), possesses a higher frequency of A2 allele of beta-casein, which is not associated with metabolic disorders like diabetes when compared with milk possessing A1 allele.

(b) We will arrange for collection of as much urine from our cattle as possible for our land-use as well as for sale. Based on expert advice, two large pits (with capacity of 4000L and 10,000L) are being dug. With the use of a suitable pump, the urine will be appropriately collected and disposed.

(c) On the suggestion to make available LAPSI (a kind of preparation loved by cattle) for devotees visiting the Gaushala to feed our cattle, it was noted that huge vessels, paraat, khurpa, etc would have to be procured at great cost. Shree Mangeylalji volunteered to provide the required items. I have been informed that these items have already arrived at Dham.

(d) Here is a summary of the discussions with BAIF:
Mr J K Singh of the BAIF Office at Ajmer visited Dham and recapped the high points of the report of their detailed study of the Gaushala done over a year ago. The BOT at Delhi Ashram was also briefed by Mr Rawal of BAIF in October 2014. The report covers two aspects: To increase the number of Tharparkar cows by replacing the current practice of inbreeding with artificial insemination; and to improve the management of Gaushala for feeding and milk production. BAIF agreed to submit a proposal consisting of the following:


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(i) Investing in insemination equipment worth Rs 120, 000 and starting the BAIF-aided programme of improving the breed.
(ii) The male calves will be turned into pure-breed bulls, which would be the source of semen for our cows and would also be of use for other Gaushala in the country. This would be a source of considerable income for our Gaushala. (iii) Contract for BAIF to monitor implementation of a cow feed/milk production management plan of action through quarterly visits. Three months of free training would be provided for a representative who would be accountable for the Gaushala improvement project.

B. AGRI-HORTI-AYUSH PROJECT (prepared by Shree Ramanji)
The plantation plan for 2015 Monsoon Period is as follows:
1. Ber Plot: Rejuvenate the Ber plants by trimming, cleaning up the plot by removing all other growth, examining the existing drip lines for reuse and laying them as directed. In the damp area around the water tank, plant some water-hungry crops.
2. Ayush Plot: Remove all vegetable plantations. Add plantations of Sonamukhi and Shatavari. Continue to create nurseries in the greenhouse.
3. Old Pomegranate Plot: Newly designed drip network to be implemented in this plot. The drip lines from the store have to be used and laid across the pomegranate as well as the lemon plants. More lemon plants are to be added. The pomegranate plants have to be dressed as demonstrated by Ramesh.
4. Round Plot: This half-acre plot is to be prepared for planting Rijka grass.
5. Proposed Pomegranate Plot: The planting of pomegranate on this 10-acre plot has been postponed to February 2016. In the meantime, bajra (for use as feed for cows) will be planted on this plot.
6. The 4-Part Plot: The section fenced with barbed wire will be aligned with the other three to plant Gawar, Bajra and Rijka.
7. Vegetable Plantation: This will be restricted to plots around the kitchen. Only seeds of excellent quality to be selected. Only vegetables which are the choice of staff and students would be selected. Quantities planted per batch would be restricted to what can be consumed within a reasonable period by the kitchen.

C. GURUKUL VIDYA MANDIR
a. A number of teachers and other staff have been recruited. Salaries and remunerations for the existing teachers and other staff were looked into and were increased wherever considered necessary.
b. The need for digitising classrooms was appreciated after demonstrations by two companies whose quotations were received for consideration.  


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D. GEETA PRACHAR-PRASAR
Participated in evening satsang and delivered a discourse on verses 1-4 of chapter VIII. Interacted with the devotees and stressed the need for residents to attend the evening satsang. Shree Kallaji will deliver pravachan during the evening satsang.   Shree Murliji, Bahen Pushpaji and their team of devotees regularly conduct Bhagawad katha at various locations. They also conduct sampoorna Geeta Havan / laghu-havan regularly, visit places of pilgrimage in large groups (almost 70-100), recite sampoorna Geeta and conduct havan.  

E. YUVA-PARIVARTAN PROGRAM
Shree Sauravji explained this initiative taken by the Government to grant opportunities for unemployed youths who have no proper guidance. His department organises rural camps and conducts surveys to select such youths, and provides training facilities and helps them find suitable jobs. It was agreed that he would take steps to organise camps in areas around Geeta Dham. He would also look out for such youths, particularly the drop-outs from our Vidya Mandir. With 15-20 such candidates he would be able to help in arranging to train them in fields such as computer-repairing, cellphone-repairing, electrical-training, tailoring, etc. We would have to provide a classroom as a Livelihood Development Centre (LDC).  

F. KITCHEN MANAGEMENT
Shree Ashok Batraji, a very staunch devotee of Gurudev, undertook a trip from Mumbai to Geeta Dham and conducted a detailed study of the existing system of the kitchen. He has made several important and practical suggestions to minimise expenditure and to improve the functioning of the kitchen. These suggestions will be implemented rigidly.    

G. ADMINISTRATION & ACCOUNTS
Held a meeting with all concerned. Stressed the need to have day-to-day detailed accounts entries, proper maintenance of inventory, stock register, details of incoming and outgoing articles, donation-box management, and maintenance of an asset register with due verification. Shree Niranjanji was told to hold a meeting with the four supervisors every evening, check on the works performed and assign them tasks for next 24 hours. Staff performance was evaluated and an incentive allowance of Rs 500.00 was allocated for those who qualified.  

H. MEETING WITH DEVOTEES FROM USTVAHINI GEETA ASHRAM
There was a verbal proposal from this group to get clearance to organise the next Birthday Celebration. They were requested to give the proposal in writing.

HARI OM TAT SAT


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Ocean of Bliss
by Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj (Translated by Dr. Abhay Prasad)

Everyone wishes to avoid sorrow. Everyone longs for happiness, and keeps searching for more happiness ...

Sorrow can be understood as being of three types:
1. Daihik (corporal or bodily) - the pain and misery one experiences due to inflictions upon the body.
2. Daivik (divine) - unforeseen sudden calamity bringing sorrow and misery, which is said to be a form of divine punishment.
3. Bhautik (worldly) - sufferings derived from our interactions with the world, such as poverty, enmity, loss of respect or fame, judicial punishment, etc.

We always desire to be free of sorrow, and we always desire to be ever happy. But is it possible for there to be a breeze without a single leaf falling? Is it possible for us to grasp a coin in one hand, touching only one side and keeping the other side out of reach? No, in this domain of nature that is ever continuously changing, this is not possible. One that is born in this nature is also bound by the rules of nature. If we are to discern that which is beyond nature, beyond the body, then we have to cross the boundaries of nature, and in that case we have to go beyond worldly happiness and sorrow.

But all is not lost, and we do not have to sink into a state of frustration. The Ocean of Bliss, which lies beyond nature and beyond worldly sorrow and happiness, can most certainly be achieved. The Ocean of Bliss is what is called Self-realisation or knowledge of the Supreme. That is what constitutes the perfect and ultimate state of happiness.

Let's imagine an earthen pitcher of water lying submerged in the ocean. The water in the pitcher is no different from the water of the ocean. When the earthen pitcher breaks, its water mixes and becomes one with the water of the ocean. Similarly, in Self-realisation, the ‘Atman’ (the soul) gets unified with the ‘Paramatman’ (the Super Soul), the Supreme Lord.

The experience of the ‘Supreme Lord’ within the self during the very lifetime of a person, the recognition of one's Atman as being identical with the Paramatman, is ‘Paramanand’, or the Ocean of Bliss.


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LESSONS FROM THE GEETA (21)
by Shree Ashok Lal Bherumal

In BG4:24 Krishna gives the allegorical example of the fire ritual (havan yajna) as an act of sacrifice. The devotee's attitude is just as important as his action in performing the ritual - an attitude of perceiving the Divine in everything. The all-pervading God must be present in every aspect of the ritual and also in the very person performing the ritual. When we are immersed in this God consciousness, every action is a yajna - a sacrifice or offering to God, with no element of egoism. This attitude of yajna purifies all actions and also the doer of these actions.

In BG4:25-30, Krishna lists a variety of actions as yajna. What is the need for such variety? Every devotee, ranging from the sage to the householder, is at a different level of spirituality and possesses different resources. One has to choose a yajna according to one's own nature and capacity to perform such yajna. Thus, a whole list of yajnas is provided to choose from.

Two important things have to be noted when performing any form of yajna:
(1) every yajna must be performed with the right attitude with absolute awareness of God
(2) just like the fire yajna, every yajna culminates in the offerings - ghee, wood, grains, etc - being burnt away and finally leaving only the residue.

Other yogis offer sacrifice in the form of worship of gods, while others (who have realised the self) offer the self as sacrifice by the self in the fire of Brahma alone. BG4:25

(1) Deva yajna: Some yogis worship the devas. The word 'daivam' is used here to indicate various manifested gods (deities) that devotees worship according to individual preference. 'Yogis' here refers those who practise ritualistic worship. The devotee offers various items - flowers, leaves, fruits, water, milk, etc - to the deity. He then accepts what remains as prasadam (divine result). Thus, what we offer and place on the altar as an apple, chanting various prayers and with the right attitude, is accepted back as prasadam - grace of God - which blesses us. The word 'paryupasate' indicates one who is not a part-time worshipper but one who is constantly devoted to worship of the deity. The devotee, although worshipping a deity with form, recognises the one all-pervading consciousness residing in that form.

(2) Brahma yajna: The word 'Brahma' represents the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, all-pervading and unmanifested divine consciousness. This is the highest form of worship, where the devotee offers (upajuhvati) his very Self (the soul/consciousness) into the fire (agnau) of Brahma. In this case, the devotee's inner Self merges with the higher Self, and the devotee sees oneness of the Divinity within himself and in all creation. Thus, there is no duality, the devotee having burnt away his lower self (the Ego) in the fire of Brahma (the higher Self), and what remains is only the realisation of the essence of oneness everywhere.


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Some offer hearing and the other senses into the fires of restraint, others offer sound and the other objects of sense in the fire of senses. BG4:26

(1) Sacrifice of the Senses: Some devotees (anye) offer srotradini-indriyani into the fire of restraint. 'Srotra' refers to the sense of hearing, but combined with 'indriyani' (senses) it includes all five senses - sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch - through which we perceive sensations from the world - form/colour, sound, odour, flavour and touch sensation. Collectively, in Vedanta, these 5 senses are known as jnana-indriyas (senses of knowledge). All the five senses are offered (juhvati) into samyamagnisu (fire of restraint). The devotee practises restraint on his wandering senses, not through suppression or force, which is dangerous, but through mastery, done willingly and with full understanding of the dangers of self-indulgence which is a barrier to one's spiritual growth. Earlier, in BG2:58, Krishna has given us the example of the turtle which, when sensing danger, withdraws its head, tail and four legs under the protection of its shell. The head represents the mind, the four legs and the tail represent the five senses and the shell represents the intellect. The undisciplined senses (BG2:60) can forcibly take away the concentration of the mind. For example, if we are sitting down reading the scriptures and the nose detects the smell of something cooking, the mind is immediately drawn away from the scriptures. So in this form of yajna one leads an intelligent life with mastery over the senses without giving in to sense gratification. The undisciplined senses are thus offered into the fire of restraint to leave the senses in a state of absolute discipline.

(2) Sacrifice of the Sense Objects: Others (anya) offer sabdadin (sound), and other visayan (sense-objects) into the indriyagnisu (fire of the senses). In this case, the devotee engages his senses with the world to enjoy but not to indulge, knowing always how to limit himself. In the previous case there was total restraint, while in this case there is enjoyment with self-imposed limits. For example, after enjoying one cup of coffee, if my tongue still craves for more, then I am able to say "NO!" Here sound refers to our vocal cords - how we express ourselves in the world. The vocal cords constitute one of the five sets of organs of action by which we interact with the world: vocal cords (talk), hands (grasp), legs (walk), organs of reproduction and organs of excretion. In Vedanta, they are collectively called karma-indriyas (organs of action). We can interact with the world but we must keep to our limits. Visayan refers to the objects with which our organs interact. Therefore, what remains after this yajna is the disciplined organ of action. We offer them into the fire of our senses (indriyagnisu), without getting carried away by the demand of our senses, and perform action. What is burnt away? Excessive indulgence. And what remains? A disciplined life.


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Sacrifice of the functions of the Senses and Vital Airs: Others sacrifice all the functions of their senses, and the functions of their vital airs, into the fire of Yoga, in the shape of self control, which is kindled by wisdom. BG4:27

Others offer sarvani indriyakarmani, all the functions of action and perception (as mentioned in verse 26), and pranakarmani, the five pranas or physiological functions which are: prana (incoming/outgoing breath), apana (expelling of waste products from body), samana (digestive system), vyana (circulation of nutrition and blood to the various organs of the body), udana (involuntary action to expunge any foreign particles by way of coughing, sneezing, vomiting, etc). All these - karma indriyas (5) + jnana indriyas (5) + pranas (5) totaling 15 in number - are offered (juhvati) into yogagnau (the fire of Yoga), through atma-samyama (mastery of the mind). This is a higher control from the viewpoint of disciplining the mind, bringing into control all the organs of perception, organs of action and physiological functions. 'Fire of Yoga' indicates that the discipline of the mind is achieved through the practice of karma yoga (selfless service) and upasana yoga (ritualistic worship). Once the mind is thus under control, one can discipline the actions and functions of the body, thus directing them towards the spiritual goal.

Some perform sacrifice with material things, some offer sacrifices in the shape of penance, others sacrifice through the practice of Yoga, while some striving souls observing austere vows, perform the sacrifice of wisdom through the study of sacred texts. BG4:28

(1) Dravya yajna: Some are blessed with an abundance of material possessions like food, money, etc. Sharing what you have with others is dravya yajna. All kinds of charity - giving money or food to the needy, and even building hospitals, temples, orphanages, etc - are considered a form of this yajna.

The water in the Dead Sea is so salty that it cannot support any form of marine life. On the other hand, the Sea of Galilee supports a wide array of marine life. What is surprising is that both the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee obtain their water supply from the Jordan River. Yet, the Dead Sea cannot support any form of life, whereas the Sea of Galilee supports marine life. Why is this so?

The Dead Sea has no outlet for its water, thus the salt content remains very high, while the Sea of Galilee has an outlet allowing its salt content to be reduced. Allegorically, Krishna says in Chapter 3 that we must cultivate the attitude of sharing whatever we receive from the world. One who receives and then shares will continue to receive again. That is the cosmic cycle of yajna that has been ordained by God. One who receives and hoards everything for himself is verily a thief (BG3:12). Whatever you receive in life is a blessing from God, and you must keep only a portion of it for yourself and share the remaining with others. Only then can the vibrancy and harmony of creation be maintained.


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(2) Tapo yajna: This yajna refers to the practice of austerity - a life of moderation and wilful self-denial - not by force but out of a desire to uplift oneself spiritually. Denying yourself what you are most addicted to eventually frees the mind from being a slave to your addictions. Fasting is one example of tapoyajna where you do not give in to the cravings of your senses but instead direct your mind towards God. The hunger should not make you think of food! While the body is fasting, the mind should is feasting spiritually!

(3) Yoga yajna: This is a system of yajna that keeps the mind focused and the body healthy to enable one to carry out one's duties and responsibilities faithfully. The fit mind and body are available for spiritual pursuits. Inspiration for this practice is drawn from Sage Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a text that outlines an eight-step process of body and mind control, culminating in samadhi or total absorption in God.

(4) Svadhyaya-Jnana yajna: This is the study of the Scriptures. That is why Krishna also uses the phrase 'samsita-vrtah' in this verse, indicating a person who undertakes strict vows and self restraint. This refers to one who has resolved to be dedicated and committed to the study of the Scriptures, and not one who takes this as a part-time hobby. By taking a firm resolve, the devotee is able to conserve his energy by refraining from involvement in wasteful activities and is able to direct his mind towards study of the Scriptures.

JAI SHREE KRISHNA!


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THE GEETA FOR BEGINNERS:
The Grace of the Guru (Part 1)

by Shree Peter Ganglani, Geeta Ashram Canada

At the beginning of Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Geeta, Arjun accepts the Lord as His Guru with the words: "I am your disciple, pray instruct me. I seek refuge in Thee!" Before proceeding to Chapter 3, it is critical to understand the need for a Guru to guide us on our spiritual path, just as Bhagwan Shri Krishna guided Arjun.

To start off, let me share with you what I have learnt from my Spiritual Master. I would also like to discuss some universal questions that have been asked from generation to generation. The answers to these questions are going to make a great impact on some of us, especially during the soul-searching which most of us do from time to time.

The first set of questions are: Which is the most direct path towards God-Realization? How should we perform Pooja? What is the true meaning of the word 'Pooja'? How can we achieve Liberation? The short and sweet answer to these questions lies in two simple concepts, the first is Guru Kripa (the Grace of the Guru) and the second is Ishwar Kripa (the Grace of God).

Another question is: Bhagwan Shri Krishna appeared as an Avataar, so should we worship God in His visual form or in His abstract form as an omnipresent entity? This very question was asked by Arjun in BG10:17.

Keshu Keshu-cha bhaaveshu | Chintyo-si bhagawan mayaa
Translation: "O Lord, In what forms and aspects shall I meditate upon you, and how are you to be worshiped by me?"

In BG12:1, Arjun asked for further clarification regarding worship of the Lord in His manifest or unmanifest form:

Evam satata yuktaa-ye | Bhagtaas tvaam parupaasate
Ye chaa pyakshara mavyaktam | teshaam-ke yoga vitta-mahaa
Translation: "Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship Thee and those who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifest, which of these are better versed in Yoga?"

Bhagwan Shri Krishna took 24 verses in Chapter 10 and 19 verses in Chapter 12 to answer this question in detail. Arjun fully understood the answers to the above question, but why is it that some of us cannot? That's because we are missing two ingredients that Arjun was blessed with: Guru Kripa (the Grace of the Guru) and Ishwar Kripa (the Grace of God).


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I once asked my Spiritual Master to explain the role of the Grace of the Guru in the spiritual journey of a seeker. His answer can be summarized as follows:

There are various forms of Grace (Kripa) that lead us to the Supreme Abode of the Lord:
|1| Aatma Kripa (Grace of the Soul): To start off, we need an "inborn desire" to seek GOD.
|2| Guru Kripa (Grace of the Guru): Our spiritual urge leads us to the Spiritual Master (Guru).
|3| Shastra Kripa (Grace of the Scriptures): The Guru unfolds the Knowledge to us.
|4| Bhahma Kripa (Grace of Brahma): The Knowledge is understood through Brahma Kripa.
|5| Ishwar Kripa (Grace of God): Brahma Kripa leads us to the Lotus Feet of GOD Himself and through His Grace we reach His Supreme Abode, from where we do not return to the Mortal World!

This is indeed a long process, but let us start at Aatma Kripa. It would be safe to assume that most of us have already attained this level, otherwise we would not be here reading this article.

In order to receive Guru Kripa, we need to do certain things to please the Guru. We can do so by performing his Pooja or Service. But we must know the true meaning of Pooja and Service. Does this involve donating money or feeding him or offering him physical comfort? The answer is both YES and NO! We must understand the true spirit of service and worship. Worldly pleasures are of no significance to the Spiritual Masters. They have already renounced these pleasures. Yes, we will be rewarded for performing such services, but the reward will be material in nature because these services are not spiritual.

To please the Spiritual Master, we must go through a process consisting of three steps:

Tat vidhi prani paatena | Pari-prashnena shevayaa
Upadek-shyanti te-gyaanam | Gyaani-nas tatva darshi-naha
(BG4:34)
Translation: Attain this knowledge by prostrating yourself at the feet of the wise (Guru), rendering them all forms of service, and then, question them with a guileless heart. Those wise seers of truth will unfold that knowledge to you (Guru Kripa).

In the first step, we offer our salutations to the Guru. The ultimate salutation to a Spiritual Master is 'shaashtaang dandvat pranaam'. The word 'shaashtaang' means 'with the eight parts'. The body consists of eight major parts. So we salute the Guru with all eight parts of the body by lying flat on the ground with both hands joined together and pointed towards the Guru. This is the highest form of respect we can offer to our Spiritual Master. This salutation is "about surrendering not just your physical self at the feet of the Guru, but all the eight elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire & Ether, as well as your Mind, Intellect & Ego), thus making it a total surrender of your self!!"


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The second step is to perform Pooja for the Guru and render him Service. Here we need to understand that the word 'Pooja' means 'poorna roop se jaan-naa' (to know and understand the Guru fully). Offering tilak and performing Aarti constitute physical (not spiritual) forms of Pooja! We have to make an effort to serve our Spiritual Master in the spirit of the true meaning of the word 'Pooja'.

The third step is to ask questions with a guileless heart, without fear but with humility and a strong desire to know the TRUTH. The Guru will eventually unfold the Knowledge to us.

We also need to understand the true meaning of the word 'Sewaa' (or Service) which, in a spiritual sense, means 'aagyaa paalan' (following his orders) and incorporating the Guru's teachings into our lives! This is exactly what Arjun did at the very beginning of Chapter 2 in order to qualify himself to receive the Knowledge through both Guru and Ishwar Kripa! It has been said that "Guru bin milay na gyaan" meaning "we cannot gain true Knowledge without the guidance of the Spiritual Master"!


21
WHY READ THE GEETA?
Even if we can't understand or remember it

An old farmer used to wake up early every morning to read his Bhagavad Geeta. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way.

One day the grandson asked, "Grandpa! I try to read the Bhagavad Geeta just like you but I don't understand anything, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bhagavad Geeta do?"

The grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, "Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water."

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out from the basket before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You'll have to move a little faster next time," and sent the boy back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he could return home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water, I want a basket of water. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would still leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, "See Grandpa, it's useless!"

"So you think it is useless? So you think you are just wasting your time?" the old man said, "Look at the basket."

The boy looked at the basket, and for the first time he realised that the basket looked different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.

"Son, that's what happens when you read the Bhagavad Geeta. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. You will be purified. That is the effect of Krishna's words on our lives."


22
BE A SEVAK OF THE LORD

One day Krishna and Arjuna came across an old Brahmin begging by the roadside. Taking pity, Arjuna gave him a bag of gold coins. Joyfully heading for home, he was waylaid by a robber who took all the coins. He cursed his fate, and the next day he set off to beg again.

Arjuna and Krishna saw him again and listened to his story, Arjuna took pity and gave him a large diamond. The man took it home, kept it in an old unused pot and went to sleep. The next morning his wife went to get water from the river. On her way back, she accidentally dropped and broke her pot. Remembering the unused pot lying at home, she decided to take it to the river to get water. As she dipped the pot into the river, the diamond got carried away by the current. Meanwhile, the Brahmin was desperately looking for the pot. When he realised what had happened, he felt very dejected and once again left home to go begging.

Once again Arjuna and Krishna saw the Brahmin. Hearing of the unfortunate incident, Arjuna said, "I don't think this man will ever benefit from any help that I can give him." Krishna gave the man two paisas (cents). Arjuna was puzzled and asked Krishna,"If gold coins and a diamond could not help him, what good will two paisas do?". Krishna just smiled.

On his way home, the disappointed Brahmin saw a fish struggling for its life in a fisherman's net, He thought to himself, "These two paisas cannot buy me any food, so let me at least save the life of this poor creature." He paid the fisherman two paisas for the fish, and was about to throw it into the river when he noticed that the fish was actually choking on something in its mouth. Removing the obstruction from its mouth, he was overjoyed to see that it was the very same diamond he had lost in the river. He started yelling and shouting in joy. Just then, the robber who had stolen the coins happened to be passing by. He thought that the Brahmin was shouting because he had recognised the robber. Fearing punishment for his crime, he begged for forgiveness and returned all the stolen gold coins. The Brahmin was very happy and went straight to Arjuna to narrate the turn of events and to thank him for all his help.

Arjuna then asked Krishna, "My Lord, how is it that my gold coins and diamond could not help but your meager two paisas did such wonders? Lord Krishna replied, "When he had the gold coins and the diamond he was only thinking of himself and his own needs, but when he had the two paisas he put the needs of another creature above his own, so I took care of his needs. The truth, O Arjuna, is that when you think of the pain and needs of others and work to help them, you are in fact doing God's work, and hence God Himself takes care of you."

Let us be sevaks of God and serve others, striving for the welfare of all beings, selflessly performing our duty to maintain the harmony of the world order.


23
5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT HINDUISM
by Kerene Ng | Yahoo Newsroom
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-hinduism-081900869.html

There are about one billion Hindus in the world, making them about 15 per cent of the world's population. Hinduism's roots can be traced to the Asia-Pacific region, where a majority of devotees reside. Less than one per cent of Hindus live outside of Asia-Pacific. A majority of Hindus live in India, with the largest population outside it being in Nepal and Bangladesh. Its concepts and history are closely associated with other Indian religions such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Here are five things you may not know about this religion.

Hinduism is not a single religion
Hinduism is preferably referred to as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' instead of a single religion because it embraces many traditions. Its extensive history consists of many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing a number of holy books. As such, there is no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings, unlike most other religions. This may be so because the history of Hinduism is debatable, as it has no definite starting point. Some would argue that the traditions of Hinduism go back several thousand years, and others claim that the Hindu revelation has no start time, making it eternal.

Concepts in Hinduism
As Hinduism is diverse, there is no single set of beliefs. Even so, the basic concepts of Hinduism are shared by different schools of thought and accepted by most traditions. At the root of Hinduism, the religion begins by differentiating between matter and spirit. Spirit is then separated into two main categories, which are the individual self, or soul, called the atman, and the supreme self, or God, known as the paramatman. These three main thoughts are then expanded into 12 concepts. The 12 key concepts and its key questions are listed below:
1. The Atman (Soul): Who are we? What is the real self?
2. Reincarnation and Samsara: What happens after death, before birth?
3. The Law of Karma: Why is there suffering?
4. Prakriti (Matter) and Guna: How does the world work?
5. Maya (Illusion): Why do we face difficulty in this world?
6. Moksha (Liberation): What is the goal of life?
7. God (Brahman/Ishvara): Is there a God? If so, what is He/She like?
8. Dharma (meaning “duty”, “morality” or “religion”): What is the right way to act?
9. One Goal, Different Paths: How do we explain the diversity of Hindu?
10. Scripture and Guru (Authority): How are the teachings preserved?
11. Time: When did it all start and when will it end?
12. Creation: How and why was this world created?


24

Karma and reincarnation
Karma is a Sanskrit word, meaning “action”. It refers to the law that every action has an equal reaction either immediately or at some point in the future. Positive actions, or actions in harmony with dharma will have positive reactions, while negative actions, or actions against dharma, will have the opposite effect. In Hinduism, the effects of karma extend not only in this lifetime, but across lifetimes. This means that the results of an action may only be experienced after this present life and in a new one. As such, the Hindus believe in the process of reincarnation known as samsara, where the soul is reborn over and over again according to the law of action and reaction in a continuous cycle. Thus, Hindus believe that, at the end of a human being’s life, the soul is carried into a new physical body that may be a human, or non-human form, like an animal, or divine being. The goal of liberation (moksha) is to free the self from this cycle.

Religious text
The Vedas are the most ancient religious texts defining truth for the Hindus. It is believed that scholars received the texts directly from God, and that they are passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. The Vedas are made up of four compositions, which are sub-divided into four parts:
1. The Samhitas: The most ancient part of the Vedas, consisting of hymns of praise to God.
2. The Brahmanas: Consists of rituals and prayers that guide the priests in their duties.
3. The Aranyakas: For worship and meditation.
4. The Upanishads: The mystical and philosophical teachings of Hinduism.

Sacred animal
Hinduism's sacred animal is the cow, and to millions of Hindus, it is a holy animal that cannot be harmed. Hindu's reverence for cows can be found in the religion’s major texts, where some trace the cow’s sacredness back to Lord Krishna, who is one of the most important figures of the faith. Lord Krishna is said to have appeared 5,000 years ago as a cowherd. He is often described as bala-gopala, which means, “the child who protects the cow”. There are also scriptures that identify the cow as the “mother” of all civilisation, nurturing the world with its milk. To the Hindus, the cow represents life and the sustenance of life. In the Vedas (Hindu scripture), it says, in the Rig Veda (4.28.1;6), “The cows have come and have brought us good fortune. In our stalls, contented, may they stay! May they bring forth calves for us, many-coloured, giving milk for Indra each day. You make, O cows, the thin man sleek; to the unlovely you bring beauty. Rejoice our homestead with pleasant lowing. In our assemblies we laud your vigour.”


25



QUOTES BY THE LATE SIR DR A J P ABDUL KALAM

1. “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”

2.“If a country is to be corruption-free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”

3. “My message, especially to young people, is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, courage to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and courage to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.”

4. “To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”

5. “Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.”

6.“Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.”

7.“Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”

8.“Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.”

9. “Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”

10. “You see, God helps only people who work hard. That principle is very clear.”


26
RECIPE:
VEGETARIAN WALNUT BURGERS

http://download.recipetips-now.com/index.php?c=site&m=recipe&id=205280

A tasty, roasted, nutty flavour and great texture, holds together well.

INGREDIENTS

  • red lentils 1 cup
  • water 2 cups
  • olive oil 1 tbs
  • onion 1 cup finely chopped
  • garlic 4 cloves minced
  • cumin 1 tsp ground
  • salt 1/2 tsp each
  • walnuts 1 cup finely chopped
  • cremini mushrooms 1 cup finely chopped
  • cilantro 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • fresh bread crumbs 1/2 cup
  • Black pepper 1/2 tsp.


DIRECTIONS
  • In a small sauce pan, bring lentils and water to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until all water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in walnuts and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are completely tender and no liquid remains, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in cilantro, bread crumbs and lentils. Form into patties.
  • Grill over medium heat on greased grill, turning once, until crisp and golden on each side, about 12 minutes total.
  • Serve on grilled whole grain buns with your favourite burger toppings, or with cucumber, tzatziki and tomatoes.


27
BHAJAN VIDEO WITH LYRICS
SĂNVARE SE MILANE KĂ



SĂNVARE SE MILANE KĂ

Sănvare se milane ka satsang hi bahănă hai x2
Chalo satsang men chalen, hame Hari gun gănă hai x2
Sănvare se milane ka

Meeră pukăr rahi, ăo mere Girdhări x2
Vish bhare pyăle ko amrit men banănă hai x2
Sănvare se milane ka ...

Draupadi pukăr rahi, ăo mere Banavări x2
Cheer badhă jăo, meri lăj ko bachănă hai x2
Sănvare se milane ka ...

Shabri pukăr rahi, ăo mere Raghurăi x2
Khate meethe beron ka tumhe bhog lagănă hai x2
Sănvare se milane ka ...

Mathură men dhoodhă Tumhe, Gokul men dhoodhă Tumhe x2
Brindăvan ki galion men mere Shyam kă thikănă hai x2
Sănvare se milane ka ...




28
RADHA KRISHNA BHAJAN YATRA 2015
IN PICTURES


29
RADHA KRISHNA BHAJAN YATRA 2015
IN PICTURES


30
RADHA KRISHNA BHAJAN YATRA 2015
IN PICTURES


31
CALENDAR OF FESTIVALS FOR 2015
Compiled by Pandit Satyavan Mishra (satyavan.mishra@gmail.com)
January 2015

05 Paush Poornima
08 Ganesha Chaturthi
14 Makar Sankranti
20 Amavasya
24 Vasanta Panchami

February 2015

03 Magha Poornima
17 Maha Shivaraatri
18 Amavasya


March 2015

05 Falgun Poornima
05 Lighting Holi Fire
06 Holi
20 Amavasya
21 Navraatri (Begins)
28 Ramnavami
April 2015

04 Poornima
04 Hanuman Jayanti
18 Amavasya



May 2015

04 Poornima
18 Amavasya




June 2015

02 Poornima
16 Amavasya




July 2015

02 Poornima
16 Amavasya
31 Guru Poornima



August 2015

14 Amavasya
29 Poornima
29 Raksha Bandhan



September 2015

05 Shri Krishna Jayanti
13 Amavasya
28 Poornima
28 Shraadha (Begins)


October 2015

12 Amavasya
12 Shraadha (Ends)
13 Navaraatri (Begins)
22 Navaraatri (Ends)
27 Sharaadha Poornima

November 2015

09 Dhan Teras
10 Hanuman Jayanti
11 Deepavali
25 Poornima


December 2015

11 Amavasya
21 Mokshadaa Ekadashi
21 Geeta Jayanti
25 Poornima



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

Regular Weekly 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 7.30-8.45 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
Sundays11.00 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.

Panditji was away on leave from 16 March to 16 April 2015
Every Purnima all 18 chapters of Geeta are recited followed by a get-together and sharing of prashad (pot-luck style) brought by devotees. Upcoming Purnima dates are: 1 July (Wednesday), 31 July (Friday), 29 August (Saturday) & 27 September 2015 (Sunday).

Celebrations during the 2nd quarter of 2015
Bhajan Yatra
(20 June 2015)
Held at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple from 5.30 to 9.00 pm. A mesmerising evening of bhajans dedicated to Radha Krishna.Participants from Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Sai Baba Centre, Art of Living and Geeta Ashram Malaysia.
Visiting Speaker:
Mataji Devi Vanamali
(12 April 2015)
Mataji is from the Vanamali Ashram, Rishikesh, She shared her knowledge and experiences in the Yoga of Renunciation of Action (Chapter 5) during the Sunday morning satsang.

Upcoming Events
31 July 2015 (Friday)Guru Purnima
5 September 2015 (Saturday)Shree Krishna Janmashtami

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

Hosting a Sunday Satsang:
In commemorating a birthday, anniversary or simply in memory of loved ones, devotees may host a Sunday satsang lunch. Please contact the Ashram at Tel. No. 79564267 (9.30 am - 12.30 pm) for info / reservations.




Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
























Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare