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


MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE 2012-2014
President:
Shri Chandru Binwani

Deputy President:
Datuk Fateh Chand

Vice Presidents:
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
Shri Sriniyasan Narayana

Honorary General Secretary:
Shri Sivashankar Krishnapillai

Honorary Assistant Secretary:
Shrimati Vanita Rani

Honorary Treasurer:
Shri Jagmohan Kumar

Honorary Assistant Treasurer:
Dr Darshan Kumar

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

EDITORIAL BOARD
Dr Diljeet Kumar Bhanot
Shrimati Tangamani Menon

SACRED THOUGHT
September 2013 <> Volume 41 Issue 3
For internal circulation only

Contents
Janmashtami Greetings2
Editorial Note3
Commentary on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 13 Verse 12
H.H. Swami Hari Harji Maharaj
4
From the President's Desk: Geeta Dham
6
What is Mind?
Prof Dr U Prasad
8
Bhagavad Geeta for Beginners: An Introduction
Shri Peter Ganglani
10
Lessons from the Geeta (14)
Shri Ashok Lal Bherumal
12
Sacred Thought of the Moment
Gurudev's Talk translated by Dr Abhay Prasad
14
Guidance from the Mahabharata (Part 1)
Shri Prashant Shukla
16
Janmashtami Celebrations 201318
Do Not Retire!19
Recipe: Moistened Sweet/Savoury Aval
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
20
Bhajan Lyrics - Banawări re21
Letters22
Children's Hinduism Quiz23
Geeta Ashram: Recent and Upcoming Activities
Shrimati Tangamani Menon
24
Animated Video: Birth of Krishna24a

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JANMASHTAMI GREETINGS



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EDITORIAL NOTE

Going beyond man-made borders

After the 2nd issue of eSacredThought, the response from devotees has been very encouraging. Feedback has been forthcoming via e-mail and word-of-mouth from all parts of the world. Enquiries and articles have also been trickling in. Please do keep those articles, letters, comments and suggestions coming. Those sending in articles may have to be patient because it is not always possible to include an article immediately.

In this issue, we have articles and news from Canada, the United States, Nigeria, India and, of course, Malaysia. In subsequent issues, we hope to see an expansion of this trend towards international participation. We hope to have a section dedicated to Geeta Dham, and also a section dedicated to news and views from various Geeta Ashram centres all over the world.

This is your magazine, so let us know what you would like to see and read. The younger generation will not be forgotten, and suitable material will be included whenever available. In this issue, an animated video depicting the circumstances surrounding the birth of Lord Krishna should provide good edutainment for the kids.

Janmashtami

Janmashtami, which marks the appearance of the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Krishna, was celebrated with great pomp and splendour at Geeta Ashram Malaysia on 28 August 2013. The prayer hall was packed with devotees who participated in the singing of bhajans, mantras and aartis. The children presented various dances and skits with spiritual themes.

Building renovations

Renovation and upgrade works on the Geeta Ashram Malaysia building commenced on 2 September 2013. For the next few months, devotees may have to endure some inconvenience and discomfort during prayers and other Ashram activities. Every effort will be made to alleviate any possible distress and disturbance during the period of construction. We look forward to a bigger prayer hall and better state-of-the-art facilities. Our President Shri Chandru Binvani's vision is to have 'one of the most beautiful Geeta Ashram buildings in the world'.

The estimated cost of construction is about USD 1 million, and most of the funds are coming from generous devotees not only in Malaysia but also in other parts of the world.

Dr D K Bhanot

An artist's impression of the new facade


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COMMENTARY ON BHAGAVAD GEETA CHAPTER 13 VERSE 12 by His Holiness Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj
The Verse:
Jneyam yat tat pravakshyaami
yaj jnaatvaa ‘mritam ashnute
anaadimat param brahma
na sat tan naa ‘sad uchyate

Prose order and meaning:
Jneyam=has to be known; Yat=which; Tat=that; Pravyakshaami=(I) will declare; Yat=which; Jnaatvaa= knowing; Amritam=immortality; Ashnute=(one) attains to; Anaadimat=the beginningless; Param=supreme; Brahma=Brahman; Na=not; Sat=being; Tat=that; Na=not; Asat=non-being; Uchyate=is called

General meaning:
I shall describe that which has to be known, knowing which one attains to immortality. Beginningless is the Supreme Brahman. It is not said to be "sat" or "asat".

Adhidaivik (Divine) meaning:
From the standpoint of divinity, the entire universe is Lord’s creation. He is the creator (nimitta-kaaran) as well the one out of which the creation comes into being (upaadaan-kaaran). Take for example the potter, who as nimitt-kaaran creates the pot and makes use of the mud which is the upaadaan kaaran. Similarly for the universe, which is kaarya, it is the Parmeshwar who is the creator. According to Shruti, Brahman is neither gross nor subtle, neither large nor small, said to be devoid of elements like earth, water, fire, air, ether, without the sense-organs like nose, tongue, skin, eye or ear, mindless, lifeless, neither sat nor asat, yet the only one to be known.

Saint Tulsidas has said, "aadi ant kou jaasu na paavaa, mati anumaan nigam us gaavaa" meaning that He is nirgun (devoid of quality), niraakaar (devoid of shape), cannot be enumerated, cannot be ascertained, beyond the scope of intellect, that is asat, Yet when He manifests, He can be described, and thus becomes sat. As it is, He is neither sat nor asat. Lord Shree Krishna in BG10:34 has mentioned:

mrityuh sarvaharashchaaham
udbhavash cha bhavishyataam
Kirtih shrir vaak cha naarinaam
Smitir medhaa dhritih kshamaa

Meaning: "I am the all-devouring death. I am the prosperity of those who are to be prosperous; and of the female qualities I am Fame, Fortune, Speech, Memory, Intelligence, Constancy and Forbearance."

Body is asat (destructible). It perishes. Body is begotten by what? By DEATH! And Lord says He is all-devouring DEATH. Thus we see togetherness of Asat and Sat, yet they are not together. When death supervenes the body undergoes destruction. So we need to know the DEATH, the Lord, who really knows the death. Lord Shree Krishna in BG9:4 says:

mayaa tatmidam sarvam jagadavyakta murtinaa
matsthani sarva bhutaani na chaaham teswavasthitah

Meaning: "This entire universe is pervaded by Me in My un-manifested form; all beings exist in Me, but I do not abide in them."


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All the beings in the world are enveloped by ether (aakaash) and in each and every being there is aakaash (space), but aakash in not enveloped in the beings. Similarly Lord is inside each and every being, and all beings are within the Lord, Lord is not confined to any of these. He is endless, formless, and indestructible. In the following verse, the Lord ascertains that in fact those beings are not established in Me. Have a look at my Divine-yoga, I am the one who provides support to all beings, but i am not established in the beings. In BG9:19 He further states:

tapaamy aham aham varsam nigrinaamy utsrijami cha
amritam cai ‘va mrityus cha sat asat chaaham arjuna

Meaning: "I give heat; I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality and death; I am being as well as non-being, O Arjuna."

He says, Arjuna it is Me who generates heat, who causes rain. I am mortality and immortality both; I am sat as well as asat. In order to know the Lord we need the grace of Lord Himself.

Adhibhautic (Material) meaning:
It so happened in year 1969 that a Bengali baba came to Geeta Ashram, Delhi Cantt. One day I (Swamiji) told the Bengali baba, "I have noticed that while praying to Lord Shree Krishna you use special kind of agarvatti (incense)". To this he replied, "I am Brahman. The body of mine that is visible is not me." One day a devotee came to offer prayer to Lord Shree Krishna at the Radha-Krishna temple. Besides other things like fruits and flowers he was using incense (agarbatti). I (Swamiji) took that incense from that devotee and touched the arm of that Bengali baba with the burning part of incense. Bengali baba jumped up and cried in pain stating that his arm got burnt. I (Swamiji) smiled and mentioned to him, "You had declared that you are Atman and not the body, then how come your arm got burnt?" In BG2:23 the Lord has said:

nainam chhindanti shashtraani
nainan dahati paavakah
na chainam kledayantyaapo
na shoshayati marutah

Meaning; "Weapons do not cleave the Atman, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not."

So you see, it is very hard to reach that state when the distinction between body and atman gets totally evaporated. That is the state of self-realisation, knowledge of the Self is attained then. It has been said that to know oneself is the duty (DHARMA) of each and everyone. But paths, undertaken to reach that state, are not easy. In fact even if one reaches that state he remains bewildered, disillusioned, as indicated by Lord Shree Krishna in BG2:29:

aashcharyavat pashyati kashchidenam
aashcharyavat vadati tathaiva chaanyah
aashcharya vachchain manyah shrunoti
shrutvaapyenam ved na chaiva kaschit

Meaning: "One beholds the self as a marvel, another speaks of it as a marvel, another hears of it as a marvel, yet another having heard, knows it not."


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FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK: GEETA DHAM

His Holiness Shree 1008 Swami Hariharji Maharaj had, on the 10th of May 1967, founded the first Geeta Ashram outside India, in Malaysia, with which I was fortunate enough to be closely associated for more than 34 years. It was there that I started to learn the bits and pieces of the philosophy of the Geeta from scratch by the grace of my most revered Guru, His Holiness himself.

Besides establishing Geeta Ashrams in four of the world's continents, His Holiness, in 1993, conceived and created a unique institution, GEETA DHAM, at Tinwari in the district of Jodhpur, Rajasthan, which he envisioned would serve as an International Centre for Research in the various aspects of the Geeta philosophy. This campus, encompassing about 90 acres of land, is now reverberating with a multitude of activities, and is progressing in the direction set by His Holiness. The various activities include:

A. TEMPLE-COMPLEX, comprising of the main Temple: SHREE RADHA-KRISHNA-SAROVAR TEMPLE, with idols of Lord Shree Krishna and Mother Radhika in the middle chamber, Holy-scripture, the Geeta on their right and idol of His Holiness on the left. Other temples include: Shree Hari Hareshwar Mahadev Temple, Shree Hanumanji Temple, Shree Ganeshji Temple, Shree Ram-Darbar, Maa Durga Temple and Shree Shiv-Parivaar Temple. Besides, there is Guru Smarak-Geeta Temple, Gurudev-Kutir and Gurudev’s memoir.

B. EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION: There exists, GEETA DHAM GURUKUL UCHHA MADHYAMIK (HIGHER SECONDARY) VIDYA MANDIR, a very well-planned school, extensive enough to cater for the needs of as many as 1000 students, with spacious modern-styled laboratories (Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science), well equipped library, adequate reading rooms, facilities for various games and sports. Presently, there are 616 students on roll with 100 students in the hostel. A dedicated team of 19 teachers led by a vastly experienced Principal take care of the well-planned program which not only include the usual course-curriculum as in vogue in general schools but also contain theoretical and practical Adhyatmik contents (yoga, yajna, pooja, havan, bhajans, and austerity). They are given structured-course in the teachings of the Geeta. They also study Sanskrit and follow the booklet “GEETA-GYAN”, which provides the base for understanding the Divine teachings. Bright students are given free board and lodging and scholarships, sponsored by Geeta devotees from all over the world. Hopefully, in years to come some among these scholars will take up Post-graduate study and Research in the philosophy of the Geeta, as His Holiness had conceived.

C. GUEST HOUSE: Modern-styled 48 two bed-room suites and 12 dormitories provide accommodation to number of permanent residents and to those who visit Dham all the year round, with largest congregation assembling during the annual birthday celebrations of His Holiness during Holi festival.

D. PRAGYA BAHAWAN: A separate building having 16 two bed-room units with facilities for boarding and lodging to 32 senior citizens.

E. DINING HALL CUM KITCHEN: A state of the art multi-purpose hall with attached kitchen facility is regularly used for dining, but also used as conference hall and for cultural events.

F. GAUSHALA: A total of about 400 cattle-heads are being looked after at a well equipped Gaushala within the Dham-complex, which has special provision for the care of newly delivered cows and their calves. About 220 Kg of milk is collected daily. Hostel students are provided free supply of milk every day.

G. MEDICAL & MOBILE DISPENSARY SERVICES: A traveller ambulance suitably modified to serve as clinic provide basic medical and health services to the needy ones in the surrounding villages, as it visits the villages. Besides, there is one permanent clinic within Dham complex to serve the residents and the students of Vidya mandir on daily basis.


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H. BAL-GOPAL PROJECT: Children in the age-group of 6 to 9 months from the surrounding villages are being provided free supply of nutritive supplement on a regular basis with ain to improve their physical as well as mental status.

I. MEDICINAL PLANT (AYUSH) PROJECT: After a successful completion of a pilot project, 0.4 hectare of land within Dham-complex has been planted with those plants and herbs which have medicinal values. Hopefully this endeavour will prove boon for the farmers in the surrounding villages who will make better utilization of the land they possess, as the earning from the yields would be very profitable.

J. GOBAR-GAS PLANTS: Three Gobar-Gas plants produce more than enough gas, which meets the present kitchen-needs and is stored in big containers. Project to bottle excess gas is on the way.

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

L. SOLAR-ENERGY PLANTS: Energy, trapped from sun-rays, which are in abundance in Rajasthan, provides help to the present Domestic lighting system and the water-heating system, thus reducing electricity bill.

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

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

Under the Divine guidance of His Holiness, who discarded his mortal body more than 13 years ago, a dedicated team, of 30 Trustees from all over the world, is engaged in trying to fulfil the vision of His Holiness, as far as possible. The Board of Trustees (BOT) meet two times in a year, even though intercommunication between the Trustees goes on throughout the whole year.

The oncoming meeting of the BOT is scheduled to take place on the 16th and 17th of September, Besides reviewing the present status, concentrated effort will be made not only to outline the short-term as well as long-term sketches, but to have in-depth study to determine the paths to be undertaken in definitive way, in future.

Through the medium of e-SACRED=THOUGHT, it will be my pleasure to brief the readers the outcome of deliberations and keep them informed.

With best regards and love to all,

Yours, in the service of Guru, Geeta and Gopal,
Emeritus Professor Dr. U. Prasad
President, Geeta Dham Trust
U_prasad@hotmail.com


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WHAT IS MIND?
by Dr U Prasad

The mind can only know that which is outside the mind, so the question "What is mind?" can never be fully answered. The problem is further amplified by the fact that we do not even know where mind is located and from where the mind carries out its functions? The mind is not an organ that can be dissected out from the body like the liver, kidney, heart or lungs. According to the Bhagavad Geeta (BG7:4), mind is a part of prakriti:

bhumiraaponalo vayuh kham mano budhhir eva cha | ahamkaara itiyam me bhinnaa prakritir ashtadhaa

Meaning: "Earth, water, fire, air, ether, MIND, intellect and also the ego - these constitute the eight-fold divisions of My nature (prakriti)."

According to Vedanta, prakriti is as much outside our body (samashti-prakriti) as it is inside (vyashti-prakriti). In the Geeta (BG15:7), the Lord says:

mamaivaamsho jivaloke jivabhutah sanaatanah | manah shashthaanindriyaani prakritisthaani karshati

Meaning: The jiva (soul) in the body is an eternal portion of Myself. Seated in the prakriti, it attracts the (five) senses - the mind being the sixth.

But, our mind, by dint of its self-affirmation process, vehemently persuades us to believe that prakriti is outside and not within us. Mind has even been defined as "our conscious insistence that the world is outside us".

When a part of the body is brought into action, brain activity can be picked up using a technique called "functional neuroimaging". Through this technique, scientists have identified certain areas in the brain (insular cortex, anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex) which are considered to be associated with "mind functions", the most important among them being "self awareness". Yet, according to Dr David Rudrauf of the University of Iowa, a head-injury patient who had lost parts of his brain including all these areas, was still self-aware. His opinion was that "mental functions may not be tied to fixed regions of the brain".

Psychiatrists consider "mind" to be synonymous with "thought", a kind of private conversation that goes on inside our head without assignment of a particular region of the brain (a private sphere) to which none but the owner has access. The suggestion that there is an intimate connection between brain and mind gained support from the fact that certain drugs have an effect on the thoughts and behaviour of an individual. Yet, after considerable analysis, it was opined that the two, brain and mind, are separate entities, and that this drug-brain interaction cannot take place with involvement of brain alone. Philosophers, on the basis of their understanding of "cognition", also find it hard to believe that this could be attributed to a physical substance, such as brain.

There are two schools of thought with regard to the mind-body perspective:
1. the Monism Theory, which considers the mind and body as integrated, and
2. the Dualism Theory, which asserts that the mind and body are separate from each other.

According to the Geeta (BG6:26), the mind is not confined to just one location inside the body:

yato-yato nishcharati manas chanchalam asthiram | tatas-tato niyamyaitad aatmany eva vasham nayet

Meaning: Whatsoever makes the wavering and unsteady mind wander, let it be pulled back under control from that very object by repeatedly concentrating on the Self.

chanchalam hi manah Krishna pramaathi balbavad dridham
tasyaaham nigraham manye vaayor iva sudushkaram
(BG6:34)


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Meaning: O Krishna, the mind is very fickle, turbulent, obstinate and powerful; therefore, I consider it as difficult to control as the wind.

asamsayam mahaabaaho mano durnigraham chalam,
abhyaasena to keunteya vairaagyena cha grihyate
(BG6:35)

Meanng: The MIND is without doubt unsteady and difficult to curb, O mighty armed, but it can be controlled through practice and dispassion, O son of Kunti.

According to the Geeta (BG7:4) mind is a part of the eight-fold prakriti, and is established in the body (BG15:7), though not in a fixed spot. Its location depends upon its correlation with other bodily components. Inter-relationship between the senses, mind, intellect and atman has been explicitly described in BG3:42:

indriyaani paraanyaahur indriyebhyah param manah | mansas tu paraa buddhir yo buddheh partas tu sah

Meaning: The senses are said to be great; greater than the senses is the mind, greater that the mind is the intellect, but greater than intellect is He (the Self).

There is a clear distinction between the senses and the mind, and between the mind and the intellect. But in BG15:7 the mind has been taken as the sixth sense; so, as the self gets dragged towards the senses, the mind makes a shift and finds itself in the company of the senses, thus creating distractions which lead the individual away from the Spiritual path. The Lord gives great importance to the mind as can be inferred from BG10:22:

... indriyaanaam manas chaashmi bhutaanaamasmi chetnaa

Meaning: Of the senses I am the mind, and among the living beings I am consciousness.

Without the intellect Man is not Man, and without the mind the activities of the sense-organs are rudderless. Thus we see here the association of mind with senses and intellect with consciousness (atman). Each sense-organ when functioning meaningfully interacts with the mind. So, the mind may interact with the ear and its sense-object (sound), or at another time it may interact with the nose and its sense-object (smell). Thus it wanders from one sense-organ to another and, depending upon the intellect, is tainted with various grades (sattavik, rajasik & tamasik) of ego, and guides the sense-organs to act accordingly.

Within each of us there exists an integrated composite system called antahkaran with four constituents: (i) mind (ii) intellect (iii) chitta and (iv) ego. This system, in which the senses are distinctly excluded, works at a higher level, and is in communion with the atman, the consciousness. The mind acts as supervisor for the senses, which interact with the external world on one hand and with intellect, which is the decision-maker, on the other. Chitta is the "memory bank", the storehouse of information accumulated from this life and also from previous lives. And ego is associated with atman in the body as the spark of divinity, the conscious principle.

Having understood this inter-relationship, the purpose of life should be to undertake those spiritual practices (saadhanaa) which are capable of altering the habit-pattern stored in Chitta, coloured by ego (ahamkaar) and unwind the clouded intellect, which will influence the mind to take full control of the senses instead of becoming their slave, thus leading the individual to the state of Perfection (yogaaroodh).

Yadaa hi nendriyaartheshu na karmasvabusajjate,
sarvasamkaplasanyaasi yogarudhas tadochyate
(BG6:4)

Meaning: When a man ceases to have any attachment either for the objects of senses or for actions and has renounced all thoughts of the world, he is said to have attained Yoga.


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BHAGAVAD GEETA FOR BEGINNERS: AN INTRODUCTION
by Shree Peter Ganglani, Geeta Ashram Canada

I would like to begin by mentioning a few thoughts on Verse 1 of Chapter-1, and why the very first verse starts with a question, and that too from a blind person! This, I feel, is worth reflecting upon. Before I do this, I would like to share some thoughts about how to commence the recitation of Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta.

Almost all Holy Scriptures begin with either the mention of God, or are preceded by Vandanăs like Shri Ganesh Vandană, Vishnu Vandană, Narayan Vandană, and so on. But Srimad Bhagavad Geeta is NEVER preceded by any Vandana, nor does it begin with the mention of God!!! It begins with a question from an ignorant and misguided BLIND person. Why is this? If we reflect and go beyond the literal meaning of Srimad Bhagavad Geeta, and do an in-depth analysis the answer becomes easier to understand.

Unless a blind person asks a question, Srimad Bhagavad Geeta cannot begin. And unless a blind person asks a question, the Geeta cannot remove the ignorance and replace the darkness with its light through knowledge.

Who is a blind? It is our mind that is blind. Unless we desire to know the truth, the knowledge of Geeta is of no value to us. Once this desire is born in our hearts, the gyăn of Geeta will begin to flow within us. When this starts happening, our ignorance will be destroyed and the darkness will be filled with light. Until we first desire this, nobody can convince us otherwise! This is exactly what happened with Dhritarăshtra. He had NO DESIRE to seek the truth, and nobody could convince him otherwise.

In fact, Maharishi Vyăsji gave him the opportunity to receive Divine Vision [Divya-jyoti] so he could see the war through Divine eyesight. He did not accept it because he was not ready to receive the Gyăn of Geeta. Instead, he preferred to hear about the events "indirectly" through Vidhur. He had to learn the hard way! The rest is history!

As I said earlier, Srimad Bhagavad Geeta started with a question from a blind person. The question Dhritarăshtra asked Sanjay was:

Dharma-K’shetre Kuru-K’shetre | Sama vetă yuyut-savaha
Măma-kă panda-văs chaiva | Kima Kurvata Sanjaya?

Translation: O Sanjay, assembled in the sacred field of Kuru-K’shetra, and eager to fight, what did my sons and the sons of Păndu do ?

The war of Mahăbhărat took place on a land called Kuru-K’shetre. Since this was a war on righteousness (Dharma), the battlefield became known as Dharma-K’shetre Kuru-K’shetre. Spiritually speaking, Dharma-K’shetre and Kuru-K’shetre are both within us. Dharma-K’shetre is the upper portion of our body and Kuru-K’shetre is the lower portion. The war was fought neither in Dharma-K’shetre nor in Kuru-K’shetre. It took place in Dharma-K’shetre Kuru-K’shetre which is a combination of the upper and lower parts of the body. The upper and lower portions of the body are connected through the spinal cord.

One end of the spinal cord touches the upper portion which is Dharma-K’shetre, and the other end touches the lower portion, which is Kuru-K’shetre. Therefore, the spinal cord in our bodies is considered to be the battlefield called Dharma-K’shetre Kuru-K’shetre. This war takes place in our mind [within us], and the mind is blind. The question Dhritrăshtra asked Sanjay was: "What did my sons, and those of Păndu do?" Within us, the mind also is concerned about its children.


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Who are these children of the mind?

Dhritrăshtra had 100 sons ! They are: Ego, Desire, Greed, Anger, Attachment, and so on. This list can go on and on. It could include robbery, murder, abuse, cheating, and so on. These are the qualities of Kuru-K’shetre.

On the other hand, the sons of Păndu were just five. Spiritually, they are: Non-Violence, Celibacy, Truthfulness/Purity, Absence of Anger and Righteousness. These are the good qualities of Dharama-K’shetre (Righteousness).

All the 100 sons of Dhritarăshtra were killed in the battle, but nothing happened to the five sons of Păndu because they represented the 5 good qualities of Dharma-K’shetre.

The war of Mahăbhărat occurs within us on a daily basis. It is a war between our good and evil tendencies. Good always prevails in the end, but if we allow the evil to get the upper hand, then we'll have to suffer the consequences too.

Every action has a reaction, and the consequences are a hundredfold - both good and bad. Of this there is no doubt.

Our position in this never-ending war is the same as Arjuna's. Once we are faced with a problem, there is "no turning away". Our duty at that point in time is to "get up and face the situation".

This is a time when we need to ask ourselves whether we will fight on the side of good or evil, or whether we will panic and turn away from the situation. This is why we need a Spiritual Master who will guide and train us to be skilful in warfare. He will show us how not to panic but to "stand up and fight our daily battles, with a firm resolve".

However, our Spiritual Master cannot be with us physically 24/7, so what can we do, and whom can we turn to? The answer lies in Verse 15 of Chapter 15, in which Bhagwan Shri Krsna says:

Sarvasya chaaham hridhi samni vishtho | Ma-taha smirtir gyaana-mapoha namcha
Vaidaish-cha sarvai-raha meva vedyo | Vedaanta kridh veda-vidheva chaaham.

Translation: I alone reside in the hearts of all beings, and from Me emanate memory, wisdom, and also their loss. I am verily that which is to be known by the Vedas, I am the author of the Vedanta and I am the knower of the Vedas.

Yes, He is seated right in our hearts, in very close proximity to the spinal cord, which is our battlefield of Dharma-K’shetre Kuru-K’shetre. He is ever present and ever willing to offer guidance to us in each and every situation that we face in life.

All we need to do is seek his help, and act according to his guidance. This is often referred to as our "inner voice". The inner voice is the "voice of God", and we must always listen to it.

This is how, I feel, the Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta destroys our ignorance, and fills our inner heart with light. The darkness and doubts disappear, and our inner voice radiates good qualities within us, prompting and guiding us at every step on how to fight and win our internal war of good over evil.


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LESSONS FROM THE GEETA (14)
by Shri Ashok Lal Bherumal, Geeta Ashram Malaysia

Arjuna said:
"You are of recent origin, while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then am I to understand that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation?" (BG4:4)

In the earlier verse (BG4:2), Sri Krishna mentioned that this knowledge was meticulously preserved by passing it on from generation to generation throughout the ages. This mode of transmission was a Guru/sishya (teacher/student) dialogue in the form of question and answer. The Upanishads which contain the highest knowledge also conform to this method of teaching by question and answer. Thus, the very redeeming aspect of Vedanta is that the student is allowed to question the teacher. Blind faith is never advised. However, the student must question with all sense of humility and honesty to learn and uplift himself to clear all doubts - not for testing the teacher’s capability! Thus, when Sri Krishna mentions that He gave this knowledge right from the beginning of time to the Sun God, it was obvious that Arjuna knowing of Krishna’s birth being of recent origin, there is reasonable doubt as to how Sri Krishna taught this knowledge to Sun God when the sun is deemed to be millions of years old. Even the ancient Vedic scriptures have prayers and hymns dedicated to Surya Devata (Sun God). The Gita being an Upanishad (the essence of vedic knowledge), must therefore clear all doubts when Krishna makes such a astounding claim!

The Blessed Lord said:
"Arjuna you and I have passed through many births. I know them all; while you do not, Oh Paramtapa (Arjuna)" (BG4:5)


Now Sri Krishna answers.

All of us are immortal. We may not know this great truth now. The teachings of the scriptures and that of the realized souls all point to this one fact: our real nature is immortal (soul, atman, etc). The greatest Guru, Adi Shakaracharya said “Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya, Jivo Bramaiva Na Parah”, meaning: Brahma (Universal Consciousness, God) is reality (satyam), Jagat (The World) is Mithya (Not real), Jiva (the limited consciousness in us) and Brahma (Universal consciousness) is one and the same. It means we the individual souls (jiva) and Brahman are one. The waves of ocean and the ocean are not unlike in properties. We call waves as waves and ocean as ocean and consider these two separately because the wave (although is the same salt water) has a distinct shape, size and exists for a temporary period that is totally different from the ocean. Similarly, when we only think of ourselves as this physical body (with a distinct shape, size with limited existence), we loose sense of our other identity (the soul) that was in existence before this body came into existence. The soul exists independently while the body exists and will continue to exist even after this body perishes. So although our real identity is no different from Brahman - the imperishable, we in our limited consciousness can only consider our existence between birth and death, when in reality, we are neither born nor do we die. The message of the scriptures and that of the masters is to make us realize this truth. So, when Sri Krishna says: “You and I have passed through many births”: meaning not that this physical body has passed through many births, for each birth we have taken a different form. But what has “passed” through many births is the immortal soul, having to “put on” a different covering – a physical form. (Ref. Ch. 2 vs. 22). Though we are no different in nature from God (the only difference is having put on this new covering) we have come to identify with this, just like a stage actor puts on a costume and goes on stage thinking he is the actor and forgets his off-stage identity. It is said that when a child is in the mother’s womb, it is still able to recall the past life and does not look forward to taking this new birth, because the pains of past life are very fresh and a promise is made to God while in the womb, that when born, the child will remember God only. However, upon its birth, feeling the loving caresses of the mother, father and siblings, thoughts of God diminishes. So it is with our lives: every contact with external material objects takes us further and further away from our real divine self. So, “Arjuna, you do not remember your past but I do”, says Krishna Who is not affected by the material world.


13

In this respect, Sri Shankaracharya also gives us a beautiful analogy:

Supposing a woman has been gifted a gold necklace and she is standing in front of the mirror and wants to put on this necklace. Will she put it on herself or put it on the image in the mirror? Of course she will put it on herself as she knows which is the real self and which is unreal. However, we have completely reversed our roles. By not recognizing the real self (atman, soul) we waste our time and energy making so much fuss and care over this perishable body to bathe it, wear fashionable clothes, go for hair treatments, beauty treatment ... in short, we are so obsessed with this body which is going to rot, decay and perish that we are garlanding the mirror image and neglecting the soul (the real self). We spend so much time and effort on body but what have we done about "food for the soul"? In the following verse, Sri Krishna explains the difference between God's "birth" and ours:

"Though unborn and immortal, and also Lord of all beings, I manifest Myself through My own Yogamaya (divine potency), keeping My Nature (Prakriti) under control." (BG4:6)

Although both soul and God are unborn (what cannot die, cannot take birth, and what does not take birth, cannot die - refer BG2:12&16) and therefore both are immortal, yet we must understand that we continue to take birth due to our own actions. Failing to realize our own true identity, we act in this world for self-centered reasons and thus get bound by every action. The Law of Karma: Every action has an equal reaction! Thus every action done in our ignorant state to seek gain any pleasures from the world binds us to the action and creates reaction. Thus, we are bound in the cycle of birth and death. Where we take birth, in which family, in which environment, in which form, we have no choice, because it has already been dictated by our very own actions!

God manifests by keeping Prakriti (Nature) under His control while we are controlled by the Nature of our own actions that determine our destiny. However, the difference is that the Lord descends in a chosen form to accomplish a specific mission.



"Nature runs a restaurant called KARMA, where you don't need to place an order.
You are served what you have cooked."

14
SACRED THOUGHT OF THE MOMENT
Swami Hari Har Ji Maharaj (translated by Dr Abhay Prasad)
Anaashritah karmaphalam | Kaaryam karma karoti yah,
Sa samnyasi cha yogi cha | Na niragnir na chaakriyah
(BG6:1)

In this mantra, the Lord has added kaaryam to the word karma (action). Kaaryam karma karoti meaning performing action which is in conformity with the Shastraas. This implies that one is not performing actions which are driven by desires or those actions which are prohibited.

Actions driven by desires are for enjoyment of worldly benefits.

However, the yogi performs regular and duty-bound actions. One commits 'sin' if one does not perform actions for one's livelihood. It is also true that one commits 'sin' if one does not perform 'religious activities'.

If a Brahmin stops religious studies, does not perform yajna (sacrificial rituals) or does not offer daan (donations) he commits 'sin' unknowingly. If, however, he stops giving religious instruction and stops guiding yajnas for seeking donations, he commits 'sin' too. This is because there are two divisions of dharma for him: (a) for the purification of his internal being (to study, to perform yajna, to offer daan) and (b) for his livelihood (to teach, to provide guidance for yajna).

One should perform those actions whose non-performance incurs 'sin'. This is karya-, karma- or kartavya-karma - duty-bound actions. Upon performing duty-bound actions, if one starts claiming that "I have completed my duties and want the fruits thereof", or one feels fatigued by these actions and complains that "I have not received any benefit", then it shall be like ridiculing nishkaam karma (action without desire for fruit )

Sa sanyaasi cha yogi cha

He who performs karma, taking that to be his kartavya (duty), is a Karmayogi. He who does not want the fruits thereof, he is a Samnyaasi.

In this way, Lord Krishna has defined 'YOGI' and 'SAMNYAASI' in relation to action, and He has stressed the importance of action and how it has to be performed.



15
KARMA AND REINCARNATION IN HINDUISM
by Shreemati Reena Yadav

"We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in the future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act." - Swami Vivekananda

The Hindu concept of 'karma' explains causality, with beneficial effects derived from past beneficial actions, and harmful effects from harmful actions. So we have a concept of "what goes around comes around" or "every action has a reaction". Moksha is attained when the karmic cycle of births and deaths comes to an end.

Karma can be defined as an "act" or "deed" with the universal principle of cause and effect (action and reaction) governing consciousness. The Vedas state that one who does good reaps goodness, and one who sows evil reaps evil. Karma is based on individual acts rather than accumulated acts. Some karmas rebound immediately while others could be reaped later in this lifetime or in some future lifetime. Humans produce karma in four ways: through our thoughts. words, actions performed by us, and actions performed by others through our instructions. Past negative karmas can be "smoothened" by showering love all other beings, and by performing dharma (personal obligations and duties) and sadhana (spiritual obligations and duties). Thus, we should live lovingly and religiously for the sake of maintaining a favourable karmic debt.

Through reincarnation, after physical death, the atman (soul) takes birth again in a new body. The soul would then have lost all memories of experiences in the previous birth. The body acts as the "vehicle" and "abode" for the soul during life in this world.

The soul dwells in the innermost body of light and super-consciousness. We think and feel with our mind which is in our physical body. When the physical body dies, the soul continues to occupy the astral body which is a subtle duplicate of the physical body. This subtle body consists of higher energy astral matter. The more highly evolved soul will occupy the astral plane known as "Devaloka" which is the light of shining beings.

Our karmas can only be resolved on the earth consciousness plane because the soul's initial realisation of Absolute Reality is only achieved while in the physical body. During our many worldly lives, the soul experiences a variety of life patterns, maybe as a king in one life and as a pauper in another life. It reincarnates regardless of race, religion or faith, achieving more knowledge and evolutionary experiences.

You are the architect of your Destiny. You determine your own fate, fortune, pain, pleasure and suffering. Lord Krishna has stated "Karmanyeva Adhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana" which translates to: "Thy business is with action only, and never with its fruits". Your present condition results from what you did and thought in the past, and what you become in the future shall result from what you think and do now. So, the time to act is NOW to create a better future for yourself.

The human life provides a golden opportunity to seek Enlightenment, Self-Realisation and God-Realisation. This can be done by controlling the creation of new karmas and resolving past karmas. Through the practice of yoga and meditation a Hindu experiences a state of bliss which enables him to discard ignorance and attain True Knowledge of the Absolute Reality or God. When such a person, known as a Jnani, a knower of True Knowledge attains God-Realisation, there is no longer any need for physical birth and death as all karmas have been resolved, all lessons learnt and there is God in his every state of his existence. That individual is said to have attained Moksha and continues to evolve in the higher worlds to ultimately merge with the creator, GOD, who is ever so close to us. We should surrender to and become part of the creator and not remain the helpless victims of the Law of Karma.


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GUIDANCE FROM THE MAHABHARATA (1)         by Shri Prashant Shukla

The Mahabharata is the tale of a family torn apart by greed and trickery and ultimately destroyed in a fight for righteousness. In a dice game gone terribly wrong the Pandavas lose everything and graciously fulfill their obligations, but the Kauravas don't keep their end of the bargain. The Pandavas must fight to regain what is rightfully theirs after the Kauravas refuse to give up the power they relish. The story culminates in the Kurukshetra War where the Pandavas defeat the Kauravas, return to their kingdom, and eventually ascend to heaven.

The intricate stories, boons, curses, and tales that deal with the complexities of the human condition serve as a guide to humanity, laden with dilemmas of morality, duty, and the path to God. Vyasa, the son of Satyavati and Parasara, authored the Mahabharata from memory as Ganesha transcribed it. Vyasa is said to have boasted “that which is found in these pages may be found elsewhere, but what is not in these pages exists nowhere.” The Mahabharata encompasses all four human goals (purushartha) of life from the perspective of ancient Hindu philosophy in the hierarchical order of Kama (sensual pleasure and desire), Artha (material prosperity and worldly status), Dharma ( one's duty and role in society) and Moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnation and worldly suffering).

The Mahabharata contains numerous life lessons and deep guidance. A scholar explains that the epic “is not an accident of dynastic history; it is not an accident of literary history; the grand framework was a design". It addresses the means to satisfying the four goals of human life. The undertones of Dharma, the pursuit and purpose of Artha and Kama, and the final attainment of Moksha are personified and embodied by the stories and characters. The Mahabharata fulfills the terms of Vyasa's boast with respect to Kama, Artha, Dharma and Moksha being the basis of "everything?. It goes farther by serving as a forceful guide along those paths even in the present world.

The Mahabharata makes a statement on Kama being a legitimate pursuit, encompassing both sexual fulfillment and other desires, which should be purpose-based, but warns against its potential dangers. Kama includes the concept of sensual desire, pleasure and fulfillment, and aesthetic satisfaction. There are instances in the Mahabharata of children not being fathered or mothered by their acknowledged parents. Sexual encounters on many occasions are portrayed as having a very specific and calculated purpose without emphasis on any enjoyment or pleasure. The epic does not unrealistically condemn or disapprove of sensual pleasure, but at the same time stresses the duty and functional aspect of it. When necessary, it warns of the dangers of gratification, lust and pleasure and stresses the importance of will-power. Bhishma vows celibacy so that his father can marry Satyavati. Bhishma is one of the greatest characters in the epic for many reasons, but one of them is undoubtedly his sacrifice, to the extent of refusing to marry Amba. The Mahabharata lays out a detailed analysis of the purpose, benefits, and dangers of sensual pleasure and its fulfillment. The Mahabharata also recognises and allows the satisfaction of all other senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste). These are considered aesthetic pleasures and are at a lesser level than sensual pleasure.

Artha is the pursuit of material prosperity, worldly status, fame, and social standing, and the process is noble only if it follows the rules of Vedic morality. The Kurukshetra war indirectly resulted from a dice game gone bad and the greedy Kauravas not keeping their side of the deal. The epic serves as a cautionary tale against greed. It warns against frivolity and the use of abnormal or irregular means, such as gambling, for gaining wealth. Righteousness and fairness, as illustrated by the Pandavas, should always be upheld in the pursuit of Artha, while greed and immorality, as demonstrated by the Kauravas, should be rejected. The Mahabharata stresses that the pursuit of Artha is a means to achieving Dharma and Kama. One cannot enjoy the other pursuits without wealth. Humans should strive for material possession, but all with the right temperance, motives and morality so as to avoid overstepping the natural and Vedic bounds of Artha.


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The Mahabharata clearly emphasises the importance of adherence to Dharma. The epic serves as a compelling case for the use of Dharma during decision-making dilemmas. Krishna lectures Arjuna in the Bhagavad Geeta on the importance of fulfilling one's duty and sacrifices. Dharma is held as the one indisputable and self-validating concept that upholds all affairs. Many major characters in the epic at some point or another are faced with a dilemma in which they defer to their Dharma over another path. The Mahabharata illustrates how important it is to perform one's duty even if it is difficult and counter-intuitive. Dharma is the core of all the religions in India and stresses righteousness in duty. In the caste system found in India each caste is assigned a different and specific set of Dharma. And Dharma is the one purushartha that is applicable in all stages (ashramas) of life. The Bhagavad Geeta contains a discussion on Dharma and Arjuna's duties as a warrior. Arjuna has qualms about fighting his cousins, uncles, and extended family and can't bring himself to raise his weapon against family. Krishna advises Arjuna to ignore the fact that he has to fight his own flesh and blood and obey his calling as a warrior, or Kshatriya. Arjuna is skeptical and doesn?t understand how Dharma can justify almost anything, and he wonders whether acting or not acting according to Karmayoga is better in this situation. Krishna tells Arjuna that as a warrior he has a duty to fight and defend righteousness through warfare. The Kurukshetra War and Arjuna?s conversation with Krishna is considered by many as the climax of the Mahabharata, and Dharma is considered one of the major undertones in the epic. The battle is described as a "Dharmayuddha" or "war of righteousness". Arjuna is instructed to perform his duties for the greater good without attachment to results. The Dharma undertones can be taken to imply that philosophically the means justify the ends, that as long as you perform the correct duty and act along the right path, the end will be correct.

It is no coincidence that Krishna is extremely clear on Arjuna's duty to follow his warrior calling. Krishna emphasises that a death in war is simply a shedding of the physical body, but the soul lives on. He insists that Arjuna must act according to his Dharma to avoid upsetting the universal order of Dharma. The Geeta serves as a guide to separate one's True Self from one's physical manifestation, where truth holds power, and part of that truth rests on the following of the Dharma attached to that soul (Atman). The transition to Moksha is readily apparent, as only when a human transcends attachment to the physical world will he become one with God. Part of shedding that physical attachment is the acceptance and performance of one's Dharma. Krishna exclaims to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that “either killed you will attain heaven, or being victorious, you will enjoy the earth; therefore arise, O sun of Kunti, resolved to fight”. Krishna tells Arjuna that “considering your duty also you ought not to falter, because there is no greater good fortune for a Kshatriya than a righteous battle.” Krishna warns about the consequences of not following one's duty when He says in the Bhagavad Geeta “if, however, you do not fight this righteous battle, then failing in your duty and losing your reputation, you will incur sin.”

Dharma is portrayed as a means to attain Kama and Artha as well. The Mahabharata propounds that wealth is necessary to satisfy desires, and that if someone does not follow their Dharma they will not achieve wealth. Arjuna says, “A person without wealth cannot gratify any Desire; similarly, there can be no Wealth in one who is destitute of Virtue.” The Mahabharata shows that people need Dharma to achieve other pursuits in life like sensual pleasure and material possessions. Following one's duty, whether it be one's assigned professional duty or one's duty towards family and friends, is important in achieving all other goals in life.

The Mahabharata is very clear that the ultimate goal is to attain Moksha, or become one with God. Moksha is the release and liberation from the cycle of samsara, or reincarnation, and freedom from the suffering of the physical world. Moksha can only be attained with detachment from the physical world and renunciation of the first three Purusharthas. The Mahabharata describes the three paths leading to Moksha in the Bhagavad Geeta. The Mahabharata is explicit about the afterlife and the goal of uniting with God.

(to be continued in the next issue)


18
JANMASHTAMI CELEBRATIONS 2013

Shree Krishna Janmashtami Mahotsav was celebrated with pomp and splendour at Geeta Ashram Malaysia on 28 August 2013.

The celebrations started with Geeta Havan in the morning, and continued in the evening with a programme of bhajans by devotees, and the presentation of spiritually themed dances and skits by the children.

The highlight of the evening was the reverberating chant of 'Vasudeva Sutam Devam' leading on to and culminating in the Krishna Aarati at midnight.

The prayer hall was packed with devotees ranging from the very young to the very old.

The programme ended with preeti bhojan for all those who were present.

JAI SHREE KRISHNA!





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IN A SLIGHTLY LIGHTER VEIN: DO NOT RETIRE!       Author Unknown

1. Do not retire. Do get all the benefits of retirement, but find another income-generating job or open a business that will keep you active physically and mentally. Travel and bond with true friends, play a sport, learn a new hobby and volunteer in your community or temple or ashram. Don't just loaf around. Your spouse will hate you because you'll become a sloppy, listless bum with nothing good to say about the household and things that you never bothered about before. Solve crossword puzzles, play Scrabble, write your memoirs, and above all, read ... this will keep you alert and keep Alzheimer's at bay.

2. Live in your own place to enjoy independence, privacy and a solo life. If you move in with your children, your rank or degree of importance will be reduced to that of a bed spacer who has no place of honour or, worse still, you'll be like crumbling furniture merely displayed with no added value. Would you kowtow to conform to rules that are not kind, considerate or mindful of you? If you witness your children engaged in a war of will and wits with your grandchildren, whom will you side with? Will they even appreciate your arbitration? Remind your children that silence is not a sign of weakness; you are merely processing data that is taking longer to complete.

3. Hold on to your nest egg, bank deposits and assets. If you want to help your children, do give, but not to the extent that you wipe out your life's earnings, singing heroically "not a shirt on my back nor a penny to my name". Staying solvent and in the black is a good hedge against all kinds of tempests. You will sleep better, you will not be afraid to express your opinion and you will be confident about yourself.

4. Don't believe your children's promises to care for you when you grow old - priorities change. Many children are not guilt-ridden or filled with a sense of moral obligation when the spouse and offspring take top billing in their lives. There are still children who would consider it a privilege to show compassion, genuine love and deep concern for their parents but be warned that not all children think alike.

5. Expand your circle of friends to include young ones who will definitely outlive your old BFFs (Best Friends Forever). Keep up with new inventions, trends, music and lifestyle including all the scams and schemes you should guard against. Remember that when you mix with the young, you also open a fresh avenue to channel your thoughts, experiences and values so that the lessons you learned are not lost, forgotten or buried with you.

6. Be well groomed and smelling fresh of spring water all the time. There's nothing more depressing than seeing people exhale when you walk by because you reek of an offensive odour. Old age or bust, don't look and smell like a corpse when you're not one yet.

7. Do not meddle in the life of your children. If they ask for your counsel, give it, but be ready to accept that they may not take it. Their situations in life cannot be compared to the situations that you experienced in your life. The playing field has changed and they need to develop their own set of survival skills. If you have raised them to be street smart, they would be able to handle themselves in tough situations and be able to read people. Champion and encourage their dreams and desires, but on their own terms.

8. Do not use old age as your shield and justification for turning grumpy. There's nothing more annoying than an arrogant old fool. Welcome each day as another chance to be kind and forgiving, to yourself and to others.

9. Listen to what others may say. Do not throw your weight around just because you are a septuagenarian or a nonagenarian. You are not a depository of knowledge. Even if the roles have been reversed, make growing old a fun-filled, pleasant experience for you and your brood.

10. Never forget God. Pray always and focus on your True Self, your eternal nature. You will definitely leave everything behind, a final journey detached from burden and care. Be more accepting that, sooner, not later, you will croak. Prepare your swan song with a humble and contrite heart. If you believe in a merciful and loving God, there is no need to strut like a star. Nobody is one.


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RECIPE: MOISTENED SWEET/SAVOURY AVAL
contributed by Shrimati Tangamani Menon

The flattened and dried rice flakes, called aval or pova, are associated with the story of Sudama's humble gift when he went to visit BhagwanShri Krishna. As a result, it has been traditionally used as a main ingredient incorporated in a variety of recipes to make prashad for offering through the ages. Today, using modern technology, here's how we can prepare such a prashad in a jiffy. It is fast, easy and tasty - fit for the Gods! Sometimes, I offer this simple preparation decorated with freshly sliced bananas all around and a tulsi leaf in the centre.

Ingredients:
1 cup aval / pova
˝ cup grated coconut
1 t-spoon jeera
˝ t-spoon salt
˝ cup dried roasted chickpeas (readily available)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ghee

Method:
1. Rinse the rice flakes in water to clean. Drain immediately. Squeeze out excess water by pressing the rice flakes gently on a sieve.
2. Spread it out on a microwave dish. Sprinkle the grated coconut and jeera over it.
3. Cover the dish, and microwave on 'high' for 2 minutes. (Otherwise, cover and steam it over boiling water for 5 minutes.)
4. Remove from oven and stir the mixture with a spoon. Add in the salt, sugar, roasted chickpeas and ghee which will melt in the heat.
5. Stir thoroughly to mix before spooning onto a serving dish.

Preparation time: 5 minutes


21
BHAJAN LYRICS - Banawări re                                  <bgsound src="KanhaiyaKanhaiya.mp3" loop="false">
Banawări re
Jeene kă sahără teră năm re
Mujhe duniyă wălon se kyă kăm re

Jhoothi duniyă jhoothe bandhan, Jhoothi hai ye măyă
Jhootha săns kă ănă jănă, Jhoothi hai ye kăyă
O yahăn sănchă Teră năm re, Banawări re . . .

Rang men Tere rang gayi Giridhar, Chođ diyă jag sără
Ban gayi Tere prem ki jogan, Le ke man ektără
O mujhe pyără Teră dhăm re, Banawări re . . .

Darshan Teră jis din păun, Har chintă mit jăye
Jeewan meră in charańon men, ăs ki jyot jagăye
O meri băhen pakađalo Shyăm re, Banawări re . . .


22
INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Geeta Ashram Lagos, Nigeria

Geeta Ashram Lagos celebrated Janmashtami on 1 September 2013. Havan was conducted on the entire Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta on 108 Havan Kunds. Almost 1000 devotees participated in the Maha Yajna.

Geeta Ashram has a few peacocks, and one of the peacocks participated in the full Yajna, standing in one spot from where the Geeta was being recited

Submitted by: Shri Manu Lalwani, Treasurer, Geeta Ashram Lagos

   
   
 



Geeta Ashram Minnesota, USA

Janmashtami was celebrated on 24 August 2013 with 300 plus folks attending. The program included cultural events, fancy dress for children and, yes, dinner. This was followed by bhajans, Aarti and Jhoola Ceremony at midnight.

Upcoming activities include Mata Jagran on 11 October 2013 and Diwali Celebrations on 19 October 2013.

Click to view NEWSLETTER

Submitted by: Shri Vivek Kamran, Secretary, Geeta Ashram Minnesota


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

Name the 3 forms of God represented in the Hindu Trilogy     
What is the name of Lord Krishna's 'birthday' celebrations?     
What is the name of Lord Rama's 'birthday' celebrations?     
Which demon-king was killed by Lord Krishna in Mathura?     
Which demon-king was killed by Lord Rama in Lanka ?     
What is reincarnation?     
What is the final goal of our Soul (Atman)?          
Which Divine Law governs the consequences of our actions?     
Which Hindu scriptures were revealed to the ancient rishis?     
Which holy scripture provides the essence of Hindu teaching?     
Which holy scripture tells the story of Lord Rama?     
How many chapters are there in the Bhagavad Geeta?                                                    
In the Kurukshetra War, who was Arjuna's charioteer and adviser?     
Name Lord Ganesha's father     
Name Lord Rama's wife     
Which eternal entity in a person represents the True Self?     
Which musical instrument is Lord Krishna usually depicted as playing?     
Name an animal that is held in high reverence by Hindus     
Name the divine monkey who helped Lord Rama rescue Sita from Lanka     
Which syllable is the sound manifestation of God?     

24
GEETA ASHRAM MALAYSIA: Recent and Upcoming Activities
by Shrimati Tangamani Menon

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

Every Purnima all 18 chapters of the Geeta are recited followed by a get-together and sharing of whatever prashad (pot-luck style) brought by devotees.
Purnima dates for the next 3 months are: 18 October, 17 November and 17 December.

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

Happenings during Last 3 months:
22 July 2013: Guru Purnima observed with Geeta havan in the morning by Sri Ravinder Das & Family. The evening program started with the usual mantra recitations followed by paada pooja by devotees/disciples who offered obeisance to Gurumaharaji.
28 August 2013: Shree Krishna Janmashtami celebrated with Geeta havan in the morning by Susheel Panday & Family. The evening program progressed with bhajans by devotees and dances and skits by the children culminating with midnight Arati.
2 September 2013: Special Boomi pooja was performed by Panditji before commencement of major renovation works at Ashram premises.

Other Havans Performed / Scheduled:
24 February 2013: Sri Kishen Agarwal & Fly
26 May 2013: Dato' Ramesh Kodammal & Fly
7 July 2013: Dr Manjit Sidhu & Fly
11 August 2013: Sri Vijay Binwani & Fly
13 October 2013: Sri Ravinder Dass & Family

Upcoming Celebrations:
1) Forty days' Hanuman Pooja from 23 September to 1 November 2013
2) 18 days' Geeta Yajna from 26 November to 13 December 2013
3) Chanting of Vishnu Sahasranaam on 31 December 2013 (evening)

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


24a
BIRTH OF KRISHNA
an animated video