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Issue 7

Jan 2018

Vedanta Sandesh

Monthly eMagazine of the International Vedanta Mission

Year - 23

25 Years of Vedanta Mission

Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmananda Saraswati


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Cover Page

This month our cover page is dedicated to the completion of the twenty fifth year of the establishment of Vedanta Mission movement. The first program of Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmananda Saraswatiji was organized at Mumbai in 1992, and since then it spread to different parts of the country and world. The objective of Vedanta Mission was to take the teachings of Vedanta, more specifically that of Upanishads and Bhagwad Gita to the world. Treading the footsteps of his great teacher Brahmleen Swami Chinmayanandaji, he focussed on these two subjects alone, and tried to re-awaken the traditions of 'study' of our scriptures. While texts like Ramayana & Bhagwat have been kept alive by various masters, but awareness of Vedanta took a dip because of various reasons. Swami Chinmayanandaji in his lifetime devoted his entire life to restart those traditions. This is what Vedanta Mission has been continuing in its humble way. Vedanta Mission had two goals - one, take the message of Vedanta to the people, and two, show that right philosophical foundation plays an important role to create good human beings, and thus a good & great country, and the world at large. Vedanta is the greatest heritage of our great & ancient country. Vedanta Mission succeeded nicely in its endeavors, but obviously such endeavors are like the flow of Ganga, they have to be going - as the tradition. Vedanta Mission, Mumbai contributed best for the entire movement, and there was a great celebration to commemorate the event - in December 2017.

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CONTENTS

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Vedanta Sandesh January 2018

1.

Shloka 5

2.

Message of P. Guruji

3.

Tattva Bodha 9-14

4.

Letter 15-16

5.

Gita Reflections 17-23

6.

We Must 24-30

7.

Jivanmukta 31-33

8.

Story Section 34-38

9.

Mission / Ashram News

7-8

39-54

10.

Forthcoming Progs 55-57

11.

Links 58 3


Monthly eMagazine of the International Vedanta Mission Jan 2018 : Year 23 / Issue 7

Published by

International Vedanta Mission Vedanta Ashram, E/2948, Sudama Nagar, Indore-452009 (M.P.) India http://www.vmission.org.in / vmission@gmail.com

Editor:

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Swamini Samatananda Saraswati

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vKkukUekulksik/ks% dr`ZRoknhfu pkRefuA dYI;Urs¡Ecqxrs pUnzs pyukfn ;FkkEHkl%AA

Just out of ignorance, we impose the qualities of doership etc, of the mind, on our Self. Just as while seeing a reflected moon in a pool of water, we take it to be moving because of the movement of the water. Atma Bodha - 22


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Message from Poojya Guruji

Lessons from Death Death of a loved one leaves a big vacuum and shock. It is not easy to be blessed with a good relationship, who share joys and all the responsibilities. Such people are indeed irreplacable. This is what causes grief. The way out is not to merely see ones absence of conveniences, but the facts of life. Come & go, we all have to, and we need to be ready for this. Death raises many questions and on enquiry helps us to get fundamental lessons.

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What is Death? Obviously it is leaving a body and all its associated world, never to come back again. There is this sthoola sharira or gross body, and we also have a sukshma sharira or subtle body. Whenever a sukshma sharira comes in a sthoola sharira, there is what we call - a birth; and when it leaves, then it is death. What happens to the sukshma sharira after departing from here? Our Sukshma Sharira has our mind, intellect and all such subtle components. It goes around where ever the mind gravitates. Our mind is the driver, here or hereafter. Once it leaves one sthoola sharira, then it soon forgets all its relationships here, and starts a new chapter in its next nest.

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The people in its earlier life, bid it a loving goodbye, and have to carry on their lives more enlightened about the truths of life. After one life every Jiva has to carry on in its cycle of birth & death, by taking up newer bodies. How long this jiva goes on in this cycle of birth & death? As long we have a shopping list, we carry on the shopping, so also as long as the karmas for more experiences exist so long the cycle carries on endlessly. Obviously the Jiva is seeking some fulfillment, and that is got only by discovering its true nature which is infinite Sat-Chit-Ananda. This is what Self-Knowledge is all about. Atma-Gyana (Knowing oneself as the infinite Brahman) alone brings to an end this endless cycle. What is the experience after death? Every individuality is a manifestation. We manifest from an unmanifest truth and later have to obviously go back into that alone. So going back or death, is more of a returning home. The fear of death is just ignorance of this fact. Home is where peace is. It is like going back into a realm which is without any limitations or problems. It is infinite peace.

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Love & om,

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TATTVA BODHA

Jiva & Ishwara

Swamini Samatananda


Tattva Bodha I

n the last discussion we saw that as every Jiva is

born out of ignorance, so the fellow naturally takes itself as limited and different from all, including Ishwara. It is the contention of Vedantic masters that this is the basic duality which is the cause of its endless seeking & transmigration. The solution is basically revisiting our notions of limitations and duality. So in this section, the reverend Acharya, talks about who the Jiva basically is, and also who is Ishwara. Once we define both Jiva & Ishwara, then we can go about discovering their identity. So he first begins with Jiva. He says:

vfo|k mikf/k% lu~ vkRek tho% bfr mP;rsA

One who is endowed with the upadhi (adjunct) of

Avidya is called Jiva. Meaning one who is not aware of the truth of his/her Atma is called a Jiva.

Upadhi is that which limits or conditions us.

The basic conditioning factor in Jiva is the ignorance of his self. We are not aware of our amazing Self and thus start imagining things about our-

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self. The only thing available & visible is our body-mind complex, so we hang on to it and

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Tattva Bodha start with that identity. From the point of view of our faculties, it is different from that of everyone else, so we start with fragmentation. Jiva is basically the infinite truth who doesnt know itself. Because of our subsequent identification with the body-mind complex, the Supreme Truth is all the more veiled. This is what Jiva is. Ignorance (Avidya) is predominated by the Tamo guna hence it binds the Jiva into Samsara which is eternal seeking. No matter what other types of knowledge I may have yet worldly bondage is the price one has to pay if one is ignorant of the true nature of the Self. Ignorance of the Self implies identifying with the gross and subtle body as the identification of the Self. I see my self as this body, as this bundle of sense organs, the pranas, the mind and the intellect. The story does not end here. All these faculties are limited and identifying with them I too become limited and thus opens the chapter of fulfilling this limitation. Once a sense of limitation is born the Jiva endowed with a sense of enjoyership and doership too is born. Thus begins the trip of endless seeking.It is basically a case of non-apprehension followed by misapprehension just as a snake on a rope.

The entire case of ignorance and illusion forms the stage

of suffering pepped up by a hint of some happy moments. It is

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a life of fragmentation and limitation where one is constantly

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Tattva Bodha on a search of happiness from something other than the Self. He comes to see every object as different from himself and his understanding about Ishvara too is distorted. He comes to see Ishvara as someone far away from him. Thus I am a small limited being and Ishvara is the almighty seperate from me is the fragmented understanding. This goes on as long as one puts a question mark on his convictions about the world, Ishvara and himself. This ignorance born division ends only when we dive into the indepth knowledge of the Upanishads and see the oneness between the Jva and Ishvara. This is discovered only through the Mahavakyas.

ek;ksikf/k% lu~ bZ'oj% bR;qP;rsA The word Ishwara is used when the one Infinite Truth has Maya as its Upadhi.

The essential truth Brahman is infinite. When this in-

finite wields its inherent creative power, the total conditioning it is caleed Ishvara. Unlike Jiva, Ishwara wields his creative power of Maya with full awareness of his own truth and all that which is created by Maya. Ishwara thereafter manifests as the world & all its things & beings. Ishvara is the Abhinna Nimitta Upadana Karana of this jagat, that is, he is simultaneously the material cause, as well as the intelligent cause of this world. Unlike Jiva, Ishvara’s Maya is predominantly sattwik

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and hence it does not bind Ishvara. Hence he is also known as

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Tattva Bodha the ‘Mayapati’-the controller of Maya. Ishvara is the Omnipotent, Omni present, All powerful, All pervasive and the Compasionate one who creates this world, sustains it and also wraps it up as and when the time comes. Ishvara is always aware of His true nature and hence never gets overpowered by Maya. In fact he is the controller of Maya as said in the Gita-Ishvara sarva bhootaanaam hriddesherjuna tishthati-The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.

Ishvara being untouched by Maya is the one who liber-

ates us from the shackles of Maya. In the gita Bhagwan Sri Krishna says one who understands the essential nature of the birth and the karma of Ishvara is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and one who takes refuge in Him, gets liberated from Maya-Maameva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te.

Devotion and the knowledge of Ishvara is so glorious

that one can learn the art of living in this world and bring about one’s welfare and by acquiring knowledge one can see the oneness between Jiva and Ishvara. But unfortunately due to lack of the divine knowledge in Upanishads and Srimad-

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Bhagwadgita one is totaly ignorant of the nature of Ishvara

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Tattva Bodha and how the relationship should be between Jiva and Ishvara. Today majority of devotees relate with Ishvara and his various forms only as a means to fufill their worldly desires. All offerings and all worship is focused towards this nature of relationship. It is of utmost importance today that one realises the folly of external seeking, acquire scriptural knowledge to be aware of one’s ultimate goal in life, to understand the nature of Jiva, Jagat and Ishvara and discover the right relationship of Jiva

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and Ishvara.

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Mail from Poojya Guruji Make Challenges a Stepping Stone Q: When someone crticizes me which I do not deserve, I get hurt. I would like to travel to religious places, stay in ashrams, but how can I do it? On one hand, I am bound by my duty towards my family, and on the other hand, I also want to realize my Self. I feel bound. I do not know how to manage many day-to-day situations of life. I am reading Gita, vedanta a lot but I am not realizing my Self? Ans: No one ever likes an unfair criticism, but as we cannot control others mind & thoughts, so we all will have to keep on facing this problem. We can however, manage our thoughts & responses. This is something which everyone needs to learn - to not only handle unpalatable situations but also cordial ones. If joys & sorrow are dependent on others, then we shall have no peace. See the truth of this fact clearly. Gita tells us to first learn to retain balance is all such ups & downs and then turn the tables, but living in a different way. We can either live - with expecting this or that from others, or accepting every situation which God gives us and focussing more on giving to all in the best possible way we can. This requires great strength and also clarity. The story has to start with proper self-knowledge. So basically the cause of pain is not really the unfair criticism, but the fallacious understanding of our very self, which is perceived as a small limited, dependent, insecure & lack-

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ing being. As long as we continue to believe that we ‘are’ such a person, we shall continue to expect this or that from others, and the moment that does not happen we suffer. Our dependence and insecurity will not

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go away even if everything is going on very nicely. In fact then we hang on all the more, and open the door for further sufferings. True freedom does not imply being in a heavenly place where everything is cordial, but being in a state wherein you very clearly ‘see’ that ‘you’ are not a lacking or limited being; therefore there is no need for any dependence or expectations. This is what is meant by ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. So as long as we continue to have a limited & petty identity, so long alone there will inevitably be these never ending heart-breaks. Moksha is not because of changing the objects outside, but by knowing the truth of the very subject, and effacing the very root of all expectations. When we do not expect anything from someone, then their thoughts or acts do not bring about any sorrow. Think. Thus Vedanta slowly & steadily enlightens us about the truth of ourselves, and thus takes us from our Jiva-bhava to Atma or Brahma Bhava. That is the objective of Self-Knowledge. You have taken the right path. Continue on it diligently and you shall indeed grow over all such pains and in fact revel in peace that passeth all understanding. Regarding visiting Ashram, everything shall happen at the right time, God will certainly give you an opportunity to visit such places, but he is apparently waiting to let the realization of real goal dawn in your mind. First learn the great quality of samattvam, and then aim for self-knowledge. Merely changing places is escape, and wont help. So just focus on right preparation, and you shall be soon blessed.

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Lots of love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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Gita Reflections

rLekn~ ’kkL=a izek.ka rs dk;kZdk;kSZ O;ofLFkrkSA KkRok ’kkL=fo/kkuksDra deZ drqZfegkgZflAA (Gita 16/24) 17

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Tasmaat shaastram pramaanam te (rLekr~

’kkL=a izek.ka rs)

Swamini Samatananda

Therefore, take resort of Shastras. They represent valid knowledge, for all that needs to be done or not-

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done. Knowing them learn to live deligently. Gita-16/24 18 18


Gita Reflections

E

very religeon has a scripture. Scrip-

tures give us an identity to any tradition. Sanatan Dharma or Hindu Dharma is known to be the most ancient tradition of the world. Vedas are the basis to this tradition. Vedas are a complete and authentic means of knowledge to live a life that is holistic and evolutionary in awakening us into the reality which is beyond the limitations of time and space.

In the 16th chapter of the Gita Bhagwan Sri Krishna

says:-Tasmaat shastrampramanam te...which means the Scriptures are the ultimate means of knowledge. The scriptures means the Vedas are the ultimate ‘Pramanam’. Pramanam means ‘Prama karanam’ i.e. that which is instrumental in giving rise to knowledge. They are the most ancient Hindu books of knowledge. ‘Veda’ the word stands for knowledge itself. The word is derived from the root ‘Vid’ which means to know. This knowledge can be seen as existing even before the creation because no creation is possible without having the knowledge to create it and sustain it. This is the reason why the Vedas are also known as ‘Apaurusheya’ i.e. they were not given to us by an individual person but they are revelations of the eternally existing knowledge by realised souls, who have seen the truth in their seat of contemplation. Thus the Vedas are not created V edanta Sandes h

by the humans and are timeless.

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Gita Reflections Hindu Dharma is basically a Vedic tradition. Vedas are a complete scripture which guide us from the kindergarten of do’s and dont’s to teaching us the art of righteousness and then culminating in the knowledge of the Real Self. In other words it teaches us the art of fulfilling the four Purusharthas namely: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

Vedas contain in it both the ritualistic and the philosoph-

ical aspects of life. It gives us an understanding of righteous living as well as the Vedantic philosophy where the nature of the Self the Atman is revealed. It reveals to us that the identity of the Self is a fulfilled, self effulgent and blissful being. Unlike other religeons which talk of a Jiva being limited and sinful, Vedas call the jiva ‘Amritasya putaraaha’-Children of Immortality. The Vedas in general encompass the means to accomplish the first three purusharthas and Vedanta which features Self-enquiry and Self-realisation as its subject matter brings Moksha. That part of the Vedas which speak of righteous living fulfills the first three purusharthas Dharma Artha and Kama. Although these are not seperate goals and are not a matter of choice but it is explained that only a person who has fulfilled the first three purusharthas in the best possible manner alone gets qualified to study Vedanta and attain moksha. Awakening into this eternal, conscious and blissful nature

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of the Self is shown as the goal or the highest purushartha

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Gita Reflections called ‘Moksha’ which is revealed in the Upanishads also known as Vedanta. Self realisation alone brings about liberation from the bondage of samsara thus reveal the Upanishads.

Self-Knowledge in the Vedas :

A person who has practised a holistic and righteous life

goes on to qualify as a student of Self knowledge. The knowledge of the Self and it’s enquiry is an indepth Science only to be studied at the feet of a Master who himself has studied under the Vedic tradition. This involves the process of Adhyaaropa Apavada Nyaya which is a unique traditional method of teaching oneness between Jiva and Ishvara. This method is the only consistent method of teaching of Vedanta. According to this method, first super imposition on Self (Atman / Brahman) is mentioned and later on, this superimposition is negated in same shruti. Awakening in the state of Brahman is not an emotional attribute of the mind. It is a process of awakening by first seeing very closely the manifested attributes of Jiva & Ishvara and then negating that which is impermanent and discovering that which is permanent. Brahman can be seen only through the process of negation which in the scriptures is called the process of ‘Neti Neti’. It is not possible to describe Brahman, hence it cannot be taught positively. No attribute can be given to describe it. It shows that all attributes are false and they are negated. Hence the only method to explain Brahman is negative approach or V edanta Sandes h

false superimposition and retraction or negation of false super imposition.

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Gita Reflections Decline in the study of the Vedic Scriptures:

In todays times it is unfortunate that even though millions

of Hindus have faith in God and practise various kinds of devotional practises but they are in the true sense cut off from the very Science that has its roots in the Vedas. All our authentic tradional practises have their roots in the Vedas. Faith and reverance towards God and the scriptures is of great significance. It is the first step to curiosity and enquiry. Yet, unfortunately this is not seen in the practical scene. Even Brahmins and priests perform various rituals but are not educated in the scriptures. One can trace this back to various reasons and situations which have brought about such a degradation in spiritual education and the desire to enquire upon our Vedas and all such scriptures like the Bhagwadgita and the Puranas which are inspired by them. The dilution of Hindu philosophy can not only be traced back to the slow eradication brought about by the centuries old rule of the Mughals and British rule in India but it can also be traced back to those saintly poets of the ‘Bhakti Kaal’ who propogated devotion and only devotion as a means of liberation from ignorance and the shackles of Samsara. Some even said that just invoking the flame of love and devotion for God is what makes a man of wisdom. With due respect to all such saints of the medieval period, although they inspired the flame of devotion all over India yet they also unknowingly became instruments of discouraging

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the authentic study of the scriptures. Centuries later more harm was then brought about by the Muslims and the Britishers who not only sidelined the study of Vedic scriptures but also brought

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Gita Reflections about corruption of culture by presenting english mannerisms and culture as a model of a civilised person, thus taking away the very roots of self respect towards Hindu tradition and culture. Unfortunately this has worsened in the modern Hindu society and today the very roots of our scriptures and their education has been wiped from our fabric of school and college education in the name of the so called ‘Secularism’. Such is the sad situation that Masters now feel the need to say that the time has come to convert Hindus to Hinduism. Its highly important to get associated back to the roots.

The pride of India lies in its Vedic tradion and philosophy.

Without the study of scriptures we only become money making machines. We will not understand the art of living and the truth beyond. Let scriptures become the light house of our life. Have pride in our scriptures. One who ignores scriptures he does not attain true happiness nor does he see beyond the physical world.

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He leads a mediocre life.

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WE MUST 20

Break your shell, open your wings and fly


- 20 -

We Must Stop Worrying

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P.P. Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji 25


We Must I

n all charity and kindness, why should we

allow worry to always worry us? Why not take the battle into the enemy’s land and worry the worry that comes to worry us? Worry not! No dynamic young man should waste his precious time in this suicidal mood of unintelligent worry. It has been found that there can be only two kinds of situations over which we generally worry: (a) the inevitable and (b) the remediable. The former worry is unavoidable, even irresistible, and we can do nothing about it. Therefore, we need not worry over such worries, just keep smiling! The latter can be remedied through effort and right actions. Naturally then, why should we waste time and energy for these worries? Let us get up, gird up our loins and work to remedy the situation which is threatening to worry us! All these need but a little more self-confidence and faith in a Great Protector, the Lord of the Universe. Surrendering to Him mentally, in love and dedication “Siva-Siva-Siva”; let us throw ourselves into action; who will waste time in worrying except the dull, the inept, the wretched? No intelligent man will do it or need do it. Let us win over worry. We Must. And yet, to worry over even little things has become almost a

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fashion with us. An optimistic young man dashing in and out of his activities, cheerfully and joyously, is looked down upon

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We Must in our society today as an irresponsible, carefree youngster! We value the fool who goes about, weighed down with imaginary fears, weeps at possible difficulties, shudders at probable troubles that might arise, or goes mad with the memories of the worries that he had some years back! The society looks at such an incompetent one and considers him as a respectable, responsible householder. But alas! It is always such fools who soon fall ill and we hear of a sudden death thrombosis!

Worry is a wasteful extravagant habit of the mind. It

costs much and still it produces no results. Perhaps 99 out of every 100 worries in the world today are such that as we are placed we can do a precious nothing about them. Since this is true, let us stop worrying! In that rare one case in a hundred, if there is something we can do about it, then again let us stop worrying and turn our entire attention to act rightly upon it. Let us not waste our time and energy in ruinous worry. That vitality which is thus dissipated, if directly turned to positive action, it can remove all possible chances of worrying in the future. Honestly, this is so logical that it is almost obvious and yet, we keep on worrying why we worry about our phantom, fiendish worries!! “Stop worrying” is the only effective remedy for all worries. “Stop worrying”. This We Must!

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Worry is not in itself a sin, but like all sins it is pre-

cious energy mis-spent in unproductive and wrong directions.

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We Must Correct thinking has mended many patients of worrying who were not only able to cure themselves but they have also come to discover a happy contentment through dynamic and creative activity. By making a habit of reading and reflecting upon the scriptures the Upanishads and the Bhagawad Geeta the mind is enchantingly and easily turned into the vista of “right thinking”. This is proven in the autobiographies of great men who reveal the secret of their achievements. They attribute their rich life of accomplishment and contentment to the glory of the ideal they pursued, the life’s motto they fanatically kept. The quickening power of a scriptural saying often revolutionises a man s life and character. Geeta has been thus more than a mother to many great men in India, and the Upanishads have been the “solace-of-my-life”; to all sincere students.

Mighty plans of action can be undertaken only by equal-

ly mighty men. A man is mighty according to the amount of energy and concentration and tranquillity of mind he can bring into his undertaking with confidence in himself and faith in the goal he has chosen to reach. This self-confidence can be generated and continuously maintained even in the face of dire difficulties only if we hold on to our convictions. What we have gathered as “knowledge”; from our studies of the scriptures, when reinforced by our deeper reflections upon them, becomes

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our “understanding” of them, and when we try to live our understanding it hardens and crystallises into our “conviction”.

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We Must Thus, the great words of eternal assurances “My devotee shall never perish”; 1 “I shall save you from all evils”; 2 “Equanimity itself is the highest Yoga”; 3 can rekindle in a true seeker a fresh burst of enthusiasm with which to meet the obstacles and vault over the hurdles in his dash to his chosen goal or destination. The dejected personality in us can be revived and refilled with fresh faith and courage when we reflect upon such scriptural declarations. Let us repeat them to ourselves often, apart from our deep and steady meditation upon them, as a sure antidote against our sagging self-confidence and sinking sense of dejection and mental depression. We Must.

In spite of all the above methods of intelligent living

study of the scriptures, assimilating it through reflection, accepting the creative ideas, keeping a high ideal in our mental vision, cultivating more and more faith in ourselves and in our chosen goal still, sometimes in the lashing on slaught of life s urgencies we are apt to lose our balance and fall into the dirty ditches of despair, despondency and worry. At such moments, after a quick cold bath, let us rush into our prayer room and relax fully at our meditation seat. Let us smile away in the feeling that we have offered ourselves totally to Him and He is gathering us into the eternal lap of His Grace. A great peace will then descend upon us. We will feel the crushing weight V edanta Sandes h

of worry to be lifted from our heart. We shall then come to feel surcharged with a new joy and light, peace and poise. In

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We Must that serene and surrendered mind, the answer to the problem will suddenly arise . . . accept it reverentially as though from Him. Do not disturb the tranquil mind s transcendence, even if the answer seems illogical. For in almost all cases the remedy suggested does work . . . and we are relieved from our empty worries. To claim this “Na me bhakta pranasyati”, “Aham twaa sarva paapaebhyo mokshaiysami maa shuchah”, “Samaatwam yoga uchyatae”. faith and self-confidence, we must study, live rightly and pray. . . . We Must.

Along with the worry, the shattering despair, too, will

leave us. Let us continue entertaining hopeful ideas, success assuring plans, heart-rejuvenating expectations and spirituplifting thoughts. The gathering gloom of depression will fade away in the light of cheer and hope. . . . We Must.

Let us remember always that worry is best cured if im-

mediately treated; after a time it responds less and less to ordinary treatments. It is best to meet the attack of worry before its crushing hoards cross our personality frontiers. Here, offensive policy is better than defensive strategy. A certain amount of inner preparedness makes us immune to worry. Guard against worry. We Must.

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Vigilant ever, Worrying never, We Must. . . Indeed. . .We Must!

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Jivanmukta Wandering In Himalayas

64 Jwalamukhi Excerpts from the Travel Memoirs of Param Poojya Swami Tapovanji Maharaj


Jivanmukta W

hen I commend the virtue of charity,

let no one jump to the conclusion that I am encouraging beggary. Already, this once fabulously rich land of ours has sunk to the lowest depth of indigence. Year by year, the number of beggars increases. It is time we devised some practical plan to eradicate the evil of poverty. Who will defend, much less commend, a way of life so degrading and so pitiable as beggary? Not even birds and animals resort to it at the worst of times! All that I mean is that it is the duty of all duties of man to help the starving and comfort them in their misery. Beggary is contemtible, but beggars are not. Until society stamps out unemplyment and poverty, to refuse to help the needy is against the spirit of Sanatan Dharma. Once upon a time, it is said, Jwalamukhi was a centre of spiritual life. Historians say that at one time there were over 300 large monastries there, fully occupied by ascetics and aspirants to spiritual freedom. But now the place is deserted. Not a single monastry is there at present, and no ascetics reside there permanently. At the time of my visit I saw only a few Shakti worshipers and a few gentlemen with matted hair and saffron robes. As it is

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a place of Shakti worship, it was overflowing with intoxicating liquors. Meat could be had in plenty. There are indeed few places

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Jivanmukta in India to which Shakti worship has not spread. It is a pity that many people in this country are misled by an overwhelming desire to follow the yoga system, and seek to see divine sights and hear divine sounds under the impression that it is a the end and aim of human life, even though they hardly possess even a

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rudimentary knowledge of the system.

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STORY Section

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Makar Sankranti

O

ne specific historical reference of Makar

Sankranti can be found in the Mahabharata epic dating back to 3102 BC. It is believed that the great warrior of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, fell to the arrows of his brother Arjuna on the Kurukshetra battlefield. He had been granted a boon by his father to choose the time of his death according to his free will. After lying on the bed of arrows for almost a month, he chose the day of Makar Sankranti to leave his mortal self. That is why there is a belief that those who die during this period will have no rebirth.

The Lord Krishna Legend:

Makar Sankranti or ‘Bhogi’ as it is called in Andhra Pradesh

also has a tale from the antics of Lord Krishna. Apparently, on the Bhogi day, Lord Krishna asked his cow herd friends to worship the Govardhan Mountain instead of Lord Indra. Lord Indra felt deeply insulted and in a fit of rage sent heavy clouds to cause thunder, lightning, rain and floods. In order to protect the farmers and their cattle, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his last finger and stopped the havoc. The vane Indra, realizing his mistake begged for Lord Krishna’s forgiveness and Lord Krishna in turn granted the worship of Indra on Bhogi day.

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The Lord Shiva Legend:

There is one legend associated with the worship of ani-

mals during Makar Sankranti. One day, Lord Shiva asked his bull

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Makar Sankranti Nandi to go to the earth and deliver a message to the disciples. The message was to “have an oil bath everyday and food once a month.” However, poor Nandi got confused with the message and told the worshippers that Lord Shiva had asked them to “have an oil bath once a month, and food everyday.” When Shiva learnt of this, he was enraged and ordered Nandi to stay back on earth and help the poor farmers to plough the fields, since they would now need to produce more grains in order to be able to eat every day.

Vedic Belief

There are also Vedic beliefs attached to Makar Sankranti.

In Vedic times, Uttarayan was known as Devayana (the day of the devatas) and Dakshinayan was called Pitriyan (the night of the devatas). The month before Maagh, which is Poush, the Gods are asleep and therefore no auspicious activities should be conducted. However, in the month of Maagh the Gods are fully awake and therefore Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of an auspicious phase. A lot of philanthropic activities are done during this period as well as auspicious events like marriage, starting of a new business can be organized during this period.

It is commonly believed that God themselves come down

to accept the donations that have been made to the Brahmins. The pure souls enter into heaven during the Uttarayan movement of V edanta Sandes h

the Sun. That is why Makar Sankranti is also called Alok Parva.

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Makar Sankranti The Legend According to the Puranas:

In the Puranas, there is a mention of the Sun God visiting

the house of his son, Shani who is the ruler of the Makar Rashi. The father – son duo do not really get along very well but the Sun God still makes it a point to visit his beloved Shani at least once a year and stays with him for a month. Therefore, there is a special emphasis placed on the father- son relationship during this period and it is the son who is expected to shoulder the responsibilities of carrying forward the family name and legacy and his father’s dreams.

The Lord Vishnu Legend:

It is also believed that on this day Lord Vishnu ended the

rising terrorism of the Asuras by killing them and burying their heads under the Mandar Parvat. Thus, it symbolizes the end of negativity and evil in life and the beginning of an era of righteous living.

The Maharaj Bhagirath Legend:

Another legend has it that Maharaj Bhagirath, the great

saviour of his forefathers, did a staunch and intense ‘tapasya’ to bring the Ganga River down to the earth in order to save the 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar who were burned to ashes at the

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Kapil muni Ashram which is near the present day Ganga Sagar. It was on this day that Bhagirath liberated the ancestors from the curse with the help of the water from the Ganges. The Ganga

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Makar Sankranti visited the Patala, freed the ancestors and merged with the Sagar. Even today, people flock to the Ganga Sagar which is the point of confluence between the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal for a holy dip. Even the Maha Ganga Sagar Mela is organized there every year on this day.

The Lord Ayyappa Legend:

Legend has it that Lord Ayyappa’s father upon realiz-

ing that his son is divine wanted to build a temple in his honor. Ayyappa took out an arrow from his quiver and asked his father to construct a temple at the spot where the arrow fell. He shot the arrow and it fell on Sabarimala. The construction of the temple started. In fact, it is believed that the great sage Parasuram disguised himself as a sculptor and gave an image of Ayyappan to the king to place in the temple. The temple was built and the king realized the truth about Parasuram. Parasuram asked him to open the temple on Makar Sankranti day.

On the appointed day Ayyappan was asked to light the lamp

in the temple. As he did so, the flame started moving towards the image and finally entered it. There was a huge burst of light as Ayyappan entered the image with it and was never seen again. But to this day, it is believed that on Makar Sankranti day, Lord Ayyappa himself lights the lamp in the temple. That is why worshipers

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from all over South India flock to the temple to worship it.

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Mission & Ashram News

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Bringing Love & Light in the lives of all with the Knowledge of Self

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Mission News Gita Gyana Yagna, Mumbai

by Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji

V edanta Sandes h

Gita Chapter 16 / Adwaita Makaranda

4th - 10th Dec 2017 40


Mission News Gita Gyana Yagna, Mumbai

Vivekananda Auditorium, RK Math, Khar

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Gita Chapter - 16

Adwaita Makaranda 41


Mission News Gita Gyana Yagna, Lucknow

P. Swamini Samatanandaji

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Gita Ch - 3 / Sadhana Panchakam

21st to 28th Dec 2017

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Mission News Anand Lahari

25th Years’ Celebration of VM, Mumbai

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Musical Fest at Maniksabha Gruh

2nd Dec 2017

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Mission News Anand Lahari

25th Year Celebration of VM, Mumbai

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Musical Fest at Maniksabha Gruh

2nd Dec 2017

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Ashram News Salil Sandhya

Flute Rendition / Bhandara Program

V edanta Sandes h

On the Occassion of P. Guruji’ Birthday

17th Dec 2017

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Ashram News Salil Sandhya

Flute Rendition / Bhandara Program

V edanta Sandes h

On the Occassion of P. Guruji’ Birthday

17th Dec 2017

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Ashram News Salil Sandhya

Flute Rendition / Bhandara Program

V edanta Sandes h

On the Occassion of P. Guruji’s Birthday

17th Dec 2017

47


Ashram News Salil Sandhya

Flute Rendition / Bhandara Program

V edanta Sandes h

On the Occassion of P. Guruji’ Birthday

17th Dec 2017

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Ashram News Salil Sandhya

Flute Rendition / Bhandara Program

V edanta Sandes h

On the Occassion of P. Guruji’ Birthday

17th Dec 2017

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Ashram News Salil Sandhya

Flute Rendition / Bhandara Program

V edanta Sandes h

On the Occassion of P. Guruji’ Birthday

17th Dec 2017

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Ashram News Hanuman Chalisa Satsang: Dec 2017

by Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji

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Chaupayi - 23

31st Dec 2017

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Ashram News Hanuman Chalisa Satsang: Dec 2017

by Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji

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Chaupayi - 23

31st Dec 2017

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Ashram News Puja of Gangeshwar Mahadev

Birthday of Poojya Guruji

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15th Dec 2017

At Gangeshwar Mahadev Mandir

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Ashram News Mandir Visit - in Mumbai

Radha-Gopinath Mandir (ISKCON)

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With Krant Agnani / Sw. Samatanandaji

4th Dec 2017

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Forthcoming Programs 5th-12th Jan 2018 GITA GYANA YAGNA@ Baroda Gita Chap-8 / Kathopanishad 2-1 Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji 15th-20th Jan 2018 GITA GYANA YAGNA@ Dubai Gita Chap-1 / Kathopanishad 1-1 Poojya Swamini Samatanandaji 8th-13th Feb 2018 VEDANTA CAMP @ Vedanta Ashram, Indore Kaivalyopanishad / Shiv Sankalpa Suktam Poojya Guruji & Ashram Mahatmas

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23rd-1st Mar 2018 GITA GYANA YAGNA@ Lucknow Gita Chap-9 / Mundakopanishad 2-1 Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji 55


Gita Gyana Yagna @ Dubai

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Poojya Swamini Samatanandaji 15th to 20th Jan 2018 56

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Vedanta Mission, Mumbai January 2018 Programs of Poojya Guruji 27th Jan : 11.00 AM at Law College, Bandra Handling Stress 27th Jan : 6.30 PM - Talk for Rotaract Club Inspired Living 28th Jan : 7.00 AM at RK Math, Khar Meditation / Satsang

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28th Jan : 4.00 PM - Prerna Talks, Dahisar Discovering the Thread of Unity - for a Better World 57

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Check out earlier issues of : Vedanta Sandesh

Visit the IVM Blog at : Vedanta Mission Blog Published by: International Vedanta Mission Editor: Swamini Samatananda Saraswati

VedantaSandesh Jan2018  
VedantaSandesh Jan2018  

Jan 2018 issue of Vedanta Sandesh, the English monthly eMagazine of International Vedanta Mission. VS contains inspiring and enlightening ar...

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