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Purusha and the Creation Allegory H.R. Chandrasekhar

he vastness and glory of the Cosmos continues to baffle mankind. All religions have their creation myths as a part of their belief system. Rig Veda, the founding document of Hinduism, dating back to five millennia, is no exception. The sages of that time imagined the Universe in the form of a supreme Purusha who emerged out of the primordial energy as the source of all creation The Purusha Sukta, a poem of extraordinary imagination and poetic beauty (hymn 10.90 of the Rig Veda) goes on to say:

Inside This Issue Purusha and the Creation Allegory


Executive Board


Janmashtami Celebration


How Kanappan Got his Name


Bal Sandesh


Prayers for harmony of the Community




Yoga Corner


Shake it Off and Step Up


Bhagavad Gita


Quarterly Fiscal Report


Donor Acknowledgment


Community Calendar


Current Programs


vedAhametam purusham mahAntam | Aditya varNam tamasaH parastAt | tam evam vidvAn amRta iha bhavati | na anyaH panthA vidyate 'yanaaya || Purusha Sukta, Rig Veda 10.90

e are deeply saddened by the recent tragic acts of violence at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and by the burning of a mosque in Joplin, Missouri. These crimes reinforce the need to be engaged in our communities to foster better understanding of faith and spirituality and to unite in a shared desire for peace and harmony. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

“Verily have I witnessed that supreme Person, that Great Truth, whose brilliance is beyond compare! Knowing Him is really knowing the true end of life and of this existence! Knowing Him thus is to transcend Death. There is no other path, save that of knowing Him, that leads into liberation! “ The Purusha Sukta hymn is also found in the Atharvaveda (19.6), Samaveda (6.4), the Yajurveda (VS 31.1-6), and the Taittiriya Aranyaka (3.12,13). Several Upanishads and ancient treatises have commented on it. The Mahabharata and the Bhagawatha Purana also contain the description of the cosmic Purusha. The word Purusha literally means Male. In this context the allegory implies the source of creation, the primordial energy (deemed masculine) as Purusha in contrast to Prakriti symbolizing the substance out of which the cosmos is put together (deemed feminine). The Purusha here is no ordinary male but

Since its inception, HTCC has established active ties with the inter-faith initiatives in Columbia. In July, a new website (http:// dedicated to faith and values was launched; the emphasis is on all inter-faith organizations in Columbia to participate by posting articles, pictures, and event descriptions, related to their faiths. Dr. H.R.

Purushottama, the supreme one. The eleventh chapter of Bhagawadgita describes the Purusha in a delightful poetic imagery. I give a flavor of it by quoting stanza 11.16 in which Arjuna who witnessed this divine form through a supreme vision granted to him by Lord Krishna says:

anEka bAhUdara vaktra nEtram pashyAmi twAm sarvato anantha rUpam | nAntam na madhyam na punastavAdim pashyAmi vishveshvara vishvarUpa || “I behold thy form as numerous arms, stomachs, mouths and eyes. I see your infinite form encompassing everything. It has no end or middle and there is nothing like it to compare. I see your cosmic (continued on Page 2)

Chandrasekhar has agreed to serve as an HTCC representative. Please send him information and materials if you would like an item to be posted on that website. Tragedy also struck the family of Aditi Avhad, the University of Missouri graduate student who was the only fatality in the Mega bus crash. (continued on Page 2)

Universe, the conscious as well as the unconscious. He is form, oh lord of the cosmos!” depicted as a being with As mentioned earlier, thousands of heads, eyes and Bhagawatha Purana also legs, enveloping the world from describes Purusha in the second all sides and transcending it. Skandha. I quote stanza 2-6-4 as Then the Sukta describes the an example: process of creation: “He brought forth beings, that inhabit the sky, tad-g tra vastu-s r the earth and the sea. Then he saubhagasya ca bh janam brought forth the Vedas and the tvag asya spar a-v yo ca meters to chant them. Humans sarva-medhasya caiva hi attained aspects of cerebral intellect, physical prowess, skills “His body is the breeding of trade and the vitality for ground for the active principles of physical labor from parts of everything and a harbinger of Purusha’s being symbolizing grace. His skin, like the moving these qualities. air, is the generating center for The moon was born from his the sense of touch and is the mind. The sun came from his place for performing sacrifices.” eyes. Water and fire came from In verses 2 to 5, Purusha Sukta his mouth. From his vital energy, describes Purusha as a being air was born. The firmament who pervades everything in the

came from his navel. The heavens were produced from his head, the earth from his feet and quarters of space from his ears. Thus this creation myth describes the underlying unity of human, cosmic and divine realities because they all arose out of the same original reality, the Purusha. In this imagery Purusha has a concrete form (Akara) and totality of attributes (saguNa). It should be remarked that He is the same Brahman depicted as formless (nirAkAra) and without distinguishable attributes (nirguNa) in the Vedas, Brahma Sutra and Upanishads (For details see Shanthi Sandesh Volume 4, Issue 3; Volume 4 Issue 4; Volume 5, Issue 1)

Executive Board Continued from page 1

event. We will strive to perform the Samuhika Satyanarayana Puja once every year (more detailed story is included on Page 7). A new service project (Soup and Sandwich Service) has been initiated by The Sai Bhajan Group. It is held every fourth Sunday from 5:30 pm 7:00 pm (at the Mandir) and will entail cooking soup and preparing sandwiches for approximately 30 persons in support of the Interfaith Day Center. Interested persons who would like to participate in this service project are welcome and should contact Anantha Gopalaratnam at for more details. The annual HTCC/Bal Sabha/ Bal Puja Picnic, is scheduled to be held on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 11:00 am at the Twin Lakes Shelter. The picnic will be preceded by a round trip Columbia-Rocheport bike ride starting from the Twin lakes parking lot at 6:30 am. Fall is a festival season and the Devotional Committee will soon finalize the plans for celebrating various festivals (please see the Community Calender on Page 11 for upcoming events). Please look for more information at the Mandir’s website. Hope to see you at the Mandir!

Purusha Suktam Continued from page 1

Her mother is still recovering from critical injuries in a St. Louis hospital. The Cultural Association has, together with the University of Missouri, established a fund to support the Avhad family. Checks can be made out to Adithi Avhad Memorial Fund and sent at Cultural Association of India, 2500 MU Student Center, Columbia, MO 65211. We encourage you to contribute to this fund to cover the expenses incurred by the Avhad family. We have achieved approximately 60% of our Capital Campaign target of $150,000 and continue to make slow but steady progress, partly because of the downturn in the economy. As a result, we have decided to delay our plans for the renovation of the Shanthi Mandir. As we wait on building a comfortable cushion for our future plans, an alternate proposal for a possible land site for the new temple was discussed at the HTCC Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting held on April 21, 2012. A Long Term Planning Committee consisting of Ranadhir Mitra (Chair), RitchaMehra Chaudhry, Gagneesh Rawat and Ravi Thawani was formed to report back to the BOT (by October 31, 2012) the cost of alternate proposal for land site for the new temple. We do plan to complete the fencing and parking upgrade as soon as possible. The parking upgrade

was delayed to take advantage of potential new storm water ordinances being considered by the Columbia City Council. We will keep you posted on progress with these important issues. We thank several coordinators for leading the Summer workshop series. The topics covered the recitation of Vedic chants, cooking, quilt-making, and mysteries of the Universe. Although the attendance at some of the workshops was lower than expected, everyone who attended them complimented the quality of the sessions. We were unable to offer the handyman project workshop because of the scorching heat experienced this Summer. We need your help in sprucing up the Mandir. The Mandir is in need of roofing repairs, applying asphalt shingles, siding, gutter repairs, exterior work, and wood work trim and painting. The flower beds in the lawn also need weeding and watering on a regular basis. We hope that you will spare your time this Fall to get these tasks accomplished so that our Mandir remains safe, beautiful, and welcoming. Regular devotional events continued to be held this Summer. We also conducted a spiritually uplifting Samuhika Satyanarayana Puja under the direction of Srikanta and Hema. Fourteen families performed the Puja and many others were able to participate in the devotional

Inder Khurana Ravi Thawani Meera Chandrasekhar Abirami Elangovan

Janmashtami Celebration Maya Cutkosky

n the eighth day of the waning moon on the month of Bhadrapada or Avani , at midnight, Krishna, the eighth child of Devaki and Vasudeva, was born. This year this falls on August 9th. From the first, it was known this was not some ordinary boy. He was born dressed up so that it was clear that he was in reality Vishnu. He gave his parents instructions as to what to do with him and then changed into a normal baby. Davaki, and Vasudeva had been sitting in a cell in the palace prison dispiritedly awaiting the arrival of Davaki’s child that Devaki’s brother, the king, would promptly kill. Why did the King Kamsa want to kill his sister’s child? Years before, at Davaki’s wedding, he heard a prophesy that Davaki’s eighth child would kill him. He figured if this child was killed once it was born, it would not be able to kill him and this prophesy would never come to pass. So after the wedding, he placed Davaki and Vasudeva in a cell and, just to be safe, killed each baby as it came. However, that night things did not go according to King Kamsa’s plan.

escaped and was living in Gokul! Krishna was the most loved child in Gokul and grew up with the gopis. Throughout his childhood, however he was plagued by Kamsa’s minions and several attempts were made to kill him. He foiled every one and eventually grew up to fulfill the prophesy. He killed Kamsa, released her parents from prison and gave them the kingdom. He then went on to be the King of Dwaraka as well as a great

friend of Pandavas. That is how he came to teach what is therefore called Bhagavat Gita to us all in the guise of teaching Arjuna in the battle field of Kurukshetra. That is why we call him Jagad guru, the greatest teacher of the world. And of course he continued to be the beloved Krishna that he is still remembered for today. At the Shanti Mandir, we celebrated Krishna Jayanti on August 11th. My mother and I arrived before 5:30 to set up. Two Krishna statues were placed on the stage on podiums. Plates of fruit, prasad, and On the eighth month of the waning moon, flowers were placed in front of the at midnight, all the guards fell asleep at Krishnas. In the meantime people came to their post. All the locks in the kingdom help set up, bring food and flowers, and opened. Under cover of darkness, make garlands to put around Krishna. Vasudeva took off with the baby boy, as instructed, and crossed the river Yamuna to Gokul. There, a young woman named Yashodha had just had a baby girl: Maya. Vasudeva switched the babies, leaving Krishna there and taking Maya back to prison cell so that when the king came to kill the next baby, instead of a baby boy, as the prophesy indicated, he found a baby girl. He decided to kill her anyway, just to be safe. Before he did so, Maya, who was no ordinary child herself, told him that the eighth child of Davaki had already

At around 6:30 the program started. Several slokams were chanted, including the 40 makundamalai, written by King Kulasekara Azwar. Ashtothra (108 names of Krishna) puja with Pushpa archanai ( flower worship) was performed where Neeta and I gave flowers to Krishna and Amma and Kalai aunty chanted. We ended the Puja with Krishna Jayanthi aarti: “Madhava Bhavatu te jaya mangalam.” Anusha and Ajay each sang very pretty songs about Krishna. Then, we ended with a well known arti: “Jaya Jagadeesha hare.” We then went outside to reenact Krishna’s butter stealing antics. We used a piñata instead of a butter bowl and it was filled with candy instead of butter, a much less messy and for most kids more appreciated treat. The pyramid making didn’t go so well, partly because the method we were told to use, while maybe more esthetically pleasing, was not the most stable and encouraged little kids to step on people’s necks. In the end, a little kid was raised by a big adult.

After that came dinner. The food was all quite good. Since Krishna was so found of butter, there were lots of milk sweets like payasam. Lots of people left around 10:00, but some people stayed past midnight, singing more songs in praise of Krishna.

He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha (Arjuna) is sure to reach me Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8, Verse 8

How Kanappan Got His Name Retold by Kusum Chandrapal

n a small town called Kalahasti, about 100 km from Chennai, a real drama was enacted by Kannapan a few thousand years ago. The town was wooded. Tribals lived there, and hunting was their profession. A tribal chief called Naga had a son called Thinnan. As was their custom, when Thinnan came of age, his father arranged for him to be formally inducted as a hunter. The ceremony called for the young initiate to display his skills. So Thinnan and two companions set off for the forest. Soon, he killed a boar and roasted the meat. While the meat was cooling Thinnan spotted a temple on a hilltop. Being curious, he and his companions climbed up the hill. It was a Shiva temple, with a statue and a Lingam. The deity was decorated with lit lamps and flowers, and an offering of bananas lay on a plate. This was new to Thinnan. He asked his friends a lot of questions, and they explained that every morning a priest came to perform puja. Thinnan asked about the bananas, and his friends said that it was food for Shiva. “What? Can God be satisfied with just a few measly bananas? Ridiculous! He needs something more substantial. I shall fetch him some large slices of the meat we are cooking below,” said Thinnan. He ran down the hill, wrapped a few large slices of meat in leaves and ran back up. He said to the Lingam, “Here’s some good meat. Forget those bananas left behind by the priest. Eat this meat and be happy. I shall come back tomorrow.” Next morning the priest came in and was horrified by the sight that met him. The temple had been defiled by vandals, and its sanctity had been destroyed. Meat for the Lord? Furious, he patiently cleaned the temple- a lot of extra work for him – and began his

regular puja. A short while after the priest left, Thinnan came again. As on the previous day he saw traces of the puja and the bananas. The priest is starving you as usual, he thought. But don’t worry, I will feed you properly. He went

hunting, killed an animal, roasted the meat and brought his offering. This routine went on for a few days. Finally, the priest could not take it any more. He knelt before Shiva and poured his heart out. “What is wrong with my devotion? Why are you testing me in this manner? What have I done wrong?” The priest suddenly heard a distant voice that said, “You think you are worshipping me, and you think you are my devotee. You have no idea what true devotion is. I will show you. Hide behind my statue and watch.” The priest did as he was commanded. After a while Thinnan came as usual. This time he saw something unusual. Blood was flowing profusely from one of the eyes of the idol. “O God, has someone hurt you? Is it the stupid priest? Don’t worry, I have two eyes, and I shall give you one of them.” So saying, he pulled out his knife, scooped out one of his eyes, and placed it in the hollow from which the blood was flowing. The bleeding stopped, and Thinnan was happy. “There, you see, everything is all right now.” Hardly had he finished

speaking, than the other eye of the idol began to bleed. “God, what is wrong with you today? But do not worry, I still have another eye. I will take it out and give it to you.” Now came a problem. If he plucked out the other eye, how could he place the eyeball properly in the socket? Thinnan figured out a solution. He stretched out one of his legs, and placed his toe in the bleeding socket. He then started began the process of scooping out his second eye. Just then he heard a voice: “Stop. I did this to test you and to demonstrate to the world your extraordinary devotion to me.” The voice continued, “O priest, you worship me regularly. Routine actions do not constitute devotion. Devotion is love for God. Look at Thinnan. You complained about him. True, he did not know the procedures. His offerings were made in an uncouth manner. But in his heart he had genuine devotion for me. He offered one eye, and did not hesitate to offer the other eye. Would you have done that in his place? “From today, this young man will be known as Kannappan (Kannan for short), for the one who gave his eyes. His glory will be sung as long as there are devotees. This event will show that true devotion comes from the depths of one’s heart and has nothing to do with conducting procedures in an apparently civilized manner.” Thinnan got his eyes back and the lord blessed him with spiritual knowledge and poetic skill. The transformed Kannappan spent the rest of his life singing the glory of the Lord. His compositions live to this day. He came to be known as Kannappa Nayanar or Kannappa was one of the 63 Nayanars or holy Saivite saints, the staunch devotees of Lord Shiva

President Anand Chockalingam Vice-President Currently Vacant Secretary/Treasurer Abirami Elangovan Cultural Secretary Alagu Arunachalam

ummer is coming to an end and fall is about to begin. It brings the new school session, along with Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishna Jayanthi, and a new beginning along with it. This issue of Bal Sandesh contains an interesting article on nightmare of the college application and summer under the roof. As always please continue to submit your articles to Bal Sandesh throughout the year. Bal Sabha wishes all it’s members a very new and exciting school year The Editors

Bal Sandesh Coordinator Hema Srinivasan

The Nightmare of the College Application Maya Cutkosky

ummertime is supposedly a time for relaxation. For someone who just went through a grueling junior year with four AP classes and marching band, a much needed time for relaxation. Unfortunately, the summer before senior year is not a time for relaxing. It’s a time for essay preparing and college app. preparation. I believe I wrote three whole essays that my parents declared no good before, despairing of any success, I went to my brother for help. He gave me an almost cookie cutter formula for an essay which I followed to write a nice 2 page essay. It wasn’t the most literary, but it apparently is best for displaying me to the college admissions people. For those that can use it, the formula for the essay is this: First, pick a hobby of yours that is unusual. Then put this hobby into different steps. Then write the essay so that each step transitions into a discussion of a trait of yours that you want to highlight. After that you should read through the essay to make sure there is no special trait that you missed. It really is quite an easy way to write an essay, though maybe not the prettiest. By the time school started I had my general essay ready, but by no means the application. I had lots of other information to give, some straight forwards, like what school I go to, and some requiring much deliberation, like which events do I participate in. And then each college has their own essay or essays that they require you to fill out for them. Certainly I had my hands full. I’m sure more of it could have

been done over the summer, which would have made things easier, for once school starts, I have to worry about my grades. For some really clever, far planning people, this is all they would have to worry about over the summer. However, I still had my SAT subject tests to take and I knew that summer was the best time to practice for them. As I soon learned, my SAT chemistry test seemed to expect AP chemistry knowledge, which I was taking in my senior year. That made studying for it really difficult. My brother says one doesn’t learn much in AP chemistry. Now that I have taken the class I can see why he might think so. But there really are a lot of small things and terminology one is taught that may make little difference to one’s general understanding of Chemistry but makes a big difference on test scores. Summer was spent teaching myself SAT chemistry from a study book which was meant for review so was very dense. Of course the studying went rather smoothly, having a well defined set of rules to follow, unlike the essays. A month into school I learned that I didn’t have my application as far along as I thought. This year they had changed the essay requirements. Instead of requiring “at least 250 words” they require between 250 and 500 words. My essay was a good 2000 words and so was totally out. Well, on to essay 5… After I finished all the homework I had piling up. Needless to say stress levels, already bouncing along quite happily, shot way up after that. My advice on that is to read this year’s addition of the

application before you do something as involved as writing an essay. I slowly finished the rest of the application and the essay continued to be undone. In fact, the deadline for early application came and went and the essay continued to be undone. It was kind of worrisome. How was I supposed to write a masterful essay when I was unable to do so all summer? Another issue to deal with over the first semester and over the summer a little as well is choosing the colleges. Now this is something for which there is no need to procrastinate. It can be thought about years in advance. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about it even one year in advance. In fact even when it came time I mainly had my parents look, with specific criteria. If you are going through all this work, it’s important you send the information to the right places so you have a chance of getting into a college that will really be good for you. I might have saved myself a lot of hassle if I had a better understanding of what kind of college I actually wanted, instead of deciding that after I got acceptances. Wouldn’t have had to feel bad about all those rejections I got from places I now understand that I wouldn’t have wanted to go to either. I did eventually pick out colleges to apply to in time, each of which got my SAT and ACT scores and the college application of their choice (two had their own and didn’t use common app, but much could be copied from it and they didn’t have essays). (continued on Page 6)

Summer Under the Roof

Neeta Thawani - 12thGrade, Missouri Academy oday, I greet the sun with open arms as I step out into view for no longer than ten minutes. It amazes me with its sweltering glare to the point where I walk back inside, thankful I have spent my summer inside. Most people find it very odd to say that, but this summer I partook in chemistry research at Mizzou in Drs. Jason Cooley and Renee JiJi’s lab and it was quite a feat. Through the Missouri Academy, I was able to connect with the two chemistry zealots and delve into the research of the effect of fatty acids on membrane

fluidity. While there, I tried to gain the ropes of lab work, while rushing towards the eight week deadline of creating a poster for the undergraduate research forum. The experience was a rush of experiments which led to the breakthrough that fatty acids didn’t affect membrane

which was really just as well. However, things like that really Oh and just as important to not stress the need to get started forget are recommendation on it early. Also checking the letters, though as long as they status of the recommendation are started within the first few is extremely important. One of months of school, there is no the teachers had forgotten to need to fret. I got one from my press the send button, and last year math teacher and one wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t from that year’s biology teach- looked and told her. However, er, so either can be done. Since all was done well before the it was my first year in her class, deadline. the biology teacher, though The essay eventually got someone I already really adfinished. So did the smaller mired was not my first choice. essays, which really are nothHowever, my first choice didn’t ing in comparison to the genanswer my email request, eral essay. They have prompts Nigtmare from the College Continued from page 5

fluidity much, but gave off large amounts of intensity when their double bonds were subjected to intense light. While this research was fascinating to others, I found that it wasn’t to me. I found interest in how the machines were built, not what they did. This program was amazing and I suggest anyone who can get the opportunity to work in a lab, to rush and grab it. You never know what you’ll learn from it—you may learn that you would rather be engineer instead of a chemist or that you’re exactly where you are supposed to be and one is not so stressed about making a great impression because you already did so with the first essay. By December 21st I finished it and submitted the application. It was perhaps the best birthday present I have ever had. The load of stress that came off that day is more than I hope to ever have again. So for all you upcoming seniors, best wishes for a traumafree college application or at least as trauma free as it can be

Maya Cutkosky graduated from Hickman High School. She will be attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall and plans to pursue a major in Chemistry and a minor in Piano performance. Bal Sabha wishes Maya all the best for her future

Bal Sandesh needs you!

We welcome submissions of all types (reports, poetry, short stories, artwork, puzzles, jokes etc.). Work can be submitted to the Editors or the Parent Advisor. We prefer electronic version of the submission (e-mail or diskette). Artwork can be submitted on paper. Older kids interested in volunteering to serve on the editorial team should contact the Editorial Staff or the Parent Advisor.

Bal Sabha meets every fourth Sunday of the month from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. at Shanthi Mandir

Editorial Staff Neeta Thawani Nidhi Khurana Parent Advisor Hema Srinivasan

Phone (660) 882-5317 (573) 874-9647


(573) 445-2854

Prayers for harmony of the community Vellore S. Gopalaratnam

amuhika Satyanarayana Puja, a yearly devotional community prayer service was held at the Shanthi Mandir on August 4th. The “Samuhika”(or community) format of the Satyanarayana Puja (ritual prayer service dedicated to Lord Satyanarayana, a popular form of Lord Vishnu – one of the trinity of Hindu Gods) involved multiple families praying collectively for the spiritual upliftment of the entire community. Fourteen families performed the Puja (prayer ritual) under the able guidance of Mr. Srikanta and Mrs. Hema Srikanta. Several other families that attended the Puja also partook in the spiritual and social aspects of the devotional celebration.

life (wedding, a new home, a new job etc.) to give thanks for goals reached. It is most auspicious when conducted on the day of the full moon (Purnima) and is typically performed by families to strengthen family and community harmony and to bestow the Grace of Lord Satyanarayana on all. This prayer service is very accessible and hence largely participatory. It has both devotional and social components, with the prayer service followed by sharing of the Satyanarayana Katha (stories on the significance and benefits of performing the Satyanarayana Puja) and a community meal. The puja started with prayers to Lord The story behind the Satyanarayana Puja Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. This was followed by prayers dedicated to the is an interesting one. This type of prayer service is typically performed in conjunction Navagrahas - the nine celestial influences on Mother Earth. This includes the planets: with significant auspicious events in one’s

Surya (the Sun), Chandra (the moon), Angaaraka (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu (north or ascending lunar node), and Ketu (south or descending lunar node). The main component of the prayer service is dedicated to the worship of Lord Satyanarayana. A requirement of the Puja is that the stories of the Puja be heard among all those observing and partaking in the Puja. These stories drawn from the Skanda Purana (Hindu scriptures dated 11th-12th century BCE) talk about the origin of the puja, and the benefits from performing the puja.

The prayer concluded with an Aarti. The devotional service was followed by sharing of Prasad (the food offered to the Lord) and a community meal to strengthen social bonds


Bandhana Katoch or centuries, the lighting of spirituality has been both a practical necessity and a powerful symbol of inner enlightenment. Indeed, as spirituality developed over the centuries, it has been associated with divinity in many cultures. While logic and rationality are seen as superior in the modern world, it is sometimes challenging to remember that it is really within our deeper, imaginative spirituality that riches lie. The ultimate path of attaining the spirituality is to attain happiness and contentment. Illumination of the soul is the source of motivation and inspiration. But what exactly is spirituality? How do we become spiritual in the inconsistent world where definition of the spirituality differs from one to

another? Why is it important to be spiritual? A world filled with spirituality, happiness and contentment has the ability to make this world a better place for generations. It is believed that our souls can be illuminated by being spiritual to achieve the ultimate happiness so that we can be content. Discontentment of one can lead to sorrow and suffering for oneself and people around. For long, contentment has been closely linked to celebrations signifying light, hope and harmony. In today’s world, distractions like social media and other technological developments is making it harder every day to switch off, unwind and make peace with ourselves. Abundance and pleasures of the modern world is whisking us away to another time and place and making us slaves of luxury. We know the solution for making a better world. But still we hear suffering all around us. Why? How do we illuminate our soul so that we can

translate the impact to people around us? The traditional way of calming the mind is through meditation. Over the years, meditation has evolved into various forms to cater to the needs of technology savvy generations. Meditation forms a bridge of happiness and peace so that we can get back in touch with our souls which are like spiritual havens. Ultimately, we need to understand that by risking failures, disappointment, immersing oneself in God through love, never ceasing the search for spirituality, we will triumph in the end. But is it really so easy to be spiritual, happy and content?

Yoga Corner

Ritcha Mehra Chaudhary his time In “Yoga Corner” we will look at an asana called Pada-Hasta asana also known as The Forward Posture, Forward bend posture or Hands-and-Feet posture. 1. Stand straight with arms on your side. 2. Raise your arms up (palms facing out). 3. Take a deep breath slowly (Inhale). 4. While exhaling slowly to a count of 3 bend forward with your palms facing downwards. Try to touch your ankles, toes, feet or ground with your fingers. Note: • Keep your knees straight. • Bend only as much as you comfortably can • If possible touch your forehead to your knees. • Do all the movements slowly and in a relaxed and controlled manner. 5. Stay in this position for a count of 6. There will be no air in your lungs (Shunayak). 6. To release the posture gradually return to the original starting position while inhaling to a count of 3. Note: While coming up your arms should be loose on your sides.

Repeat 3-5 times Breathing rhythm: 3-Exhale (Rechak):6Shunayak: 3- Inhale (Purak) Caution: People with Spinal problems, Vertigo, Hypertension, Spondylosis, Hernia and Cardiac problems should avoid this asana. Benefits: 1. In this asana, compression is applied to the abdominal region. This compression tones the abdominal muscles. 2. Since compression is applied to the entire colon/rectum area, this asana also helps in relieving gastric troubles such as constipation, indigestion and bloating. 3. Bending forward helps in making the spine and back muscles more flexible and relieves the stiffness of the spine. 4. It also helps in alleviating pain in hip joints and sciatic pain It also tones the hamstring muscles of the thighs

Shake It Off and Step Up Compiled by Meena Thawani

parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer' s well. The farmer heard the mule "braying" or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his

back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...he should shake it off and step up! This he did blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up! It was not long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. What seemed like would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the

manner in which he handled his adversity. That' s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness or selfpity...the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us! Remember forgiveness-faithprayer-praise and hope.... All are excellent ways to "shake it off and step up", out of the wells in which we find ourselves! One more thing..."never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the titanic."

Shreemad Bhagavad Gita – Part 18 Saroj Mohan


t is said that the “knower of the Brahaman becomes Brahaman itself”. We learned in the 21st verse of Chapter 5 that the self-realized sage is always in the state of infinite consciousness - the sufferings of duality do not disturb him. He experiences eternal bliss through meditation and spiritual practices. In the 22nd verse in which Shri Krishna deplores people who are always engaged in sensual enjoyments. Shri Krishna says, “ O Kaunteya (son of Kunti), those who are engrossed in pleasures of the senses do not understand that even though external objects seem to give pleasure at the time of Bhoga or enjoyment, in the end they give only sorrow and suffering because they are transient and perishable. Such pleasures have a beginning and an end. The wise and intelligent do not get deluded by them.” It is imperative that seekers of this path have discrimination. Shri Krishna emphasizes, time and again, to discriminate between perishable, transient objects and between eternal knowledge of the Self. It is very important to be aware of this at all time. Shri Krishna, in the 23rd verse, talks about the importance of controlling the forces of Kama and Krodha or lust and anger, before the body dies. He says, “The seeker who is able to control the forces of anger and desire during his lifetime in this world, is a true Yogi and will be truly happy.” To be in union with the Divine Self, it is imperative to conquer desires, lust and anger in the course of this life. There is no other way to permanent happiness. The final, highest state of a Gyan yogi and his qualities are explained in the 24th verse. Shri Krishna says, “ The Gyan yogi who is well established in his own self or Antahsukha, Anterjyoti and is Aatmaramana or revels in the bliss of his own self is one with Satchitaanada Paramatma. He is one with peaceful Parabrahmam” It is clear that once the non-dual state of the Self is realized, there is nothing but blissful peace, in the state of infinite consciousness. Continuing in the 25th verse Shri Krishna further explains, “Self realized sages are those who are without sin, whose doubts are at an end and who are always working for the welfare of all beings - such Rishis are ever established in the peaceful state of Brahmanirvana.” Just as light destroys darkness instantly, similarly, primordial ignorance and ego are destroyed when true knowledge of Reality

Part 18 in this series by Saroj Mohanji on Shreemad Bhagavad Gita includes discussions from the 22nd verse of Chapter 5 to the conclusion of the chapter

is attained. For sages who have gained this knowledge, all the sins and doubts of duality are no more. A self-realized sage is ever peaceful and working for the welfare of all beings through his body, mind and intellect. Shri Krishna expands on this in the 26th verse and says, “The one who is devoid of anger and lust, whose mind is totally under his control, such a self-realized sage or Viditatmam Gyani perceives his own Atma all around. He sees his own self everywhere, in all things and beings.” The duality of such a self-realized sage or knower of Brahman, is no more; he perceives his own non-dual Self everywhere. He is free from anger, lust and upheavals of the mind. Absolutely free from duality he perceives his own self everywhere. The 27th and 28th verses provide a short description of a Dhyanyogi, who is free from Phalasakti or desires for the fruits of his actions. In these two verses Shri Krishna teaches the method of Dhyanyoga. It is a description of a Mahatma who is free from the sufferings of an ignorant jeevatma. Shri Krishna says, “ O Arjuna, the seeker who keeps out the external stimuli of senses perfectly, (or the one who is unaffected by them) who fixes his gaze between his eye brows, controls and equalizes the inhale and exhale of his breath through both nostrils, whose body, mind, and intellect are totally under his

control, and who is absolutely free from anger, desires, and fear, who continuously strives for the supreme goal of liberation or Mokshparayan, such a Muni is truly liberated forever.” A Dhyanyogi is free from external attraction of the senses. He controls the ingoing and outgoing breath through his nostrils and equalizes the breath, fixes his gaze between his eye brows while he contemplates and meditates to gain selfrealization and reach the supreme goal. He is free from anger, fear and desire and strives for liberation; such a Muni is truly liberated. In the concluding 29th verse Shri Krishna describes the state of such a perfect Dhyanyogi. Shri Krishna says, “ Knowing Me as the Bhokta or enjoyer of all Yagnas and Tapas or scarifies and austerities, Lord of all Lokas or worlds, Maheshwar or the Lord of all lords or Ishwars, Lover of all beings, kind hearted, such is one who realizes this and thus achieves eternal peace.” It is clearly expressed that non-dual state of the self -realization is the supreme goal, where all dualities end. The Self or Shri Krishna is the enjoyer of all, Lord of all Lords and worlds. Such a Muni is a kindhearted friend and lover of all beings. He does not feel or see duality. He sees himself prevailing everywhere and through this he attains eternal peace. In short, in this chapter of Karmasanyasyoga, we saw how actions become inaction; how a Jeevatma can become a liberated Mahatma in this very life-time. A description of a Gyanyoga and the method of Dhyanyoga is also explained here. By the grace of God a sincere seeker follows the methods of Gyanyoga,, meditation and self-control and finally reaches the goal of Self -Realization. An ordinary Jeevatma attains the blissful, peaceful state of a Mahatma. A Mahatma merges in the Paramatma. An action performed with perfection without any desire for the fruits of those actions becomes inaction leading the seeker to the matchless heights of work turning into worship. When knowledge dispels the darkness of ignorance and ego, then the unity of Self-Awareness shines.

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never shirk from your duty.

Quarterly Revenues Interest Income Interest income Membership: Annual Family Membership Donations: Capital Campaign Check Donations Hundi Donations/Prayer Services Facilities Use Donations: Farewell Tabla Class Thiruvilakku Puja Other Revenues: Fund Raiser - Mandir Cookbooks Sixth Anniversary Celebrations





$842.00 $1,728.00 $305.00


$100.00 $90.00 $60.00


$1,577.25 $742.00

$2,319.25 $5,831.35

Total Quarterly Revenues Quarterly Expenses Bank Charges Lawn and Garden Maintenance & Supplies Printing and Mailing Sixth Anniversary Celebrations Special Events - Cookbook Expenses Special Events - Holi Utilities

$22.28 $610.00 $28.60 $306.77 $379.21 $26.21 $50.00 $1,065.82

Total Quarterly Expenses

$2,488.89 $3,342.46

Net Income for the Quarter

Thank You!

Donor Acknowledgement May 1, 2012 – July 31, 2012

We gratefully acknowledge the following donations made during the above period. If we have inadvertently made an error in not including your name, please let us know. Upto $50 Mohan, Saroj Thawani, Ravi and Meena $51 - $100 Raghuraman, Kannan and Anandhi Upendran $101 - $150 Dalal,Pranav Rawlani, Ramesh and Chandra

$151 - $500 Ratneshwar, Srinivasan and Subbalakshmi Loyalka, Sudharshan and Nirja Gopalaratnam, Vellore and Anantha

Community Calendar (August 25, 2012– December 15, 2012)

Unless otherwise indicated, all events are at Shanthi Mandir, 2006 Holly Avenue, Columbia, MO 65202. Aug. 25th

Bal Sabha/Puja Picnic Time: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Nov. 17th

Ganesh Idol Making Time: 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Nov. 18th

Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration Time: TBD

Nov. 19th

Navaratri Mahalaya - Ghat & Pratima Sthapna, with Prasad Bhog Time: TBD

Dec. 1st

Durga Puja (Saptami, Ashtami and Navami) with Prasad and Dinner Time: TBD

Dec. 8th

Dussera/Bisarjan Pooja with Prasad and Lunch Time: TBD

Dec. 15th

Karva Chauth Time: TBD

**More details will be posted on the Shanthi Mandir website ( a week before the scheduled event )

Contact: Anand Chockalingam:

Sep. 16th

Contact: TBD

Contact: Vellore Gopalaratnam:

Sep. 22nd

Interfaith Thanksgiving Time: TBD Contact: TBD

Skanda Sashti Time: TBD Contact: TBD

Contact: TBD

Oct. 16th

Deepavali Pooja Time: TBD

Guru Nanak Jayanthi Time: TBD Contact: TBD

Contact: Ranadhir Mitra:

Oct 20th

Gita Paath Time: TBD

Contact: Inder Khurana :

Contact: Ranadhir Mitra:

Oct. 21st

Contact: TBD

Contact: Ranadhir Mitra:

Nov. 3rd

Contact: Punam Sethi :

Dhanurmasa Time: TBD

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Welcome back to the new school year! To kick off the new school year, HTCC Youth along with Bal Sabha and Bal Puja are organizing our annual Bike Ride. Ask your friends and family to join us in this enjoyable annual bike ride to Rocheport (and back, if you are up to the challenge). If you want to bike one-way or partially, we can accommodate these options depending upon interest and adequate volunteer support. You' ll be led by a group of watchful parents on a safe ride through the MKT trail. This event is geared towards families and participants of all ages. Please send Gopal an e-mail ASAP ( giving numbers from your family who plan to join the bike ride (and if some prefer the partial ride options). We can plan a safer and fun event if we know apriori how many plan to join. Meeting Point and Details: Twin lakes shelter (behind Chapel Hill –Fairview intersection) 6:30 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. We will depart promptly at 7:00 am from the shelter. The two- way ride will take approximately 4 hours including water breaks and short rests. We will be back in time for the 11 am HTCC Youth Day/ Bal Sabha-Bal Puja Picnic at the Twin Lake Shelter (more details on the picnic should be coming soon from HTCC Youth Activities Committee, Bal Sabha and Bal puja)

! " # $% HTCC is registered as a Nonprofit Corporation in MO HTCC is tax-exempt under IRS Section 501 (c) 3

Current Programs at the Mandir (August 15, 2012)

Devotional Programs Open prayer time/Aarti Geeta Study Circle Sai Bhajan Venkateshwara Suprabhatam/Vishnu Sahasranaamam Open prayer time/Aarti Kirtan (Monthly event) Educational/Youth Programs Tamil Classes Bal Puja Bal Sabha Service Programs Volunteering at Central Missouri Food Bank Narayan Seva (Sai Group - St. Francis Home Lunch) Non-Perishable Food Collection (Ongoing continuously) Soup and Sandwich Service Fitness and Cultural Art Programs Tabla classes (instructor fee required) Carnatic vocal music classes (instructor fee required) Yoga classes (instructor fees required)


Tuesday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Saturday Sunday

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 7:00 - 7:30 p.m. 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

1st /3rd 2nd 4th

Sunday Sunday Sunday

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

1st 2nd

Tuesday Sunday

5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.



5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Sunday Sunday Saturday

Flexible for now 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Flexible for now

Shanthi Sandesh is a quarterly publication of the Hindu Temple and Community Center of Mid-Missouri (HTCC). It is published on behalf of HTCC by its Publications Committee. Editor: Tarang Parashar <>. Publication help from Bandhana Katoch is greatly appreciated.

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