In This Issue
Atma Bodha - Shloka-13
Wish for Sanyas
Hindu Units of Time
Mission / Ashram Progs
From Poojya Guruji
Vedanta Sandesh Spreading Love & Light
Hari om! Monthly eMagazine of Vedanta Mission Sharing the message of Vedanta and Sanatan Dharma
Dec 2009 On the Net since 1995
Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmanandaji
Vedanta Ashram E/2948-50, Sudama Nagar Indore-452 009, India
‘Ram-Raajya’ is an ideal rule of the land for all kings and rulers. Among various politicians and rulers, including Mahatma Gandhi, were highly inspired by it. A rule of law wherein things could not be more perfect. Perfect law & order, ideal security, availability of basic amenities to one & all, the smiling & bountiful nature, and everyone in sync with it. The powers that be are highly empathetic to the problems and also achievements of their people, and each citizen contributes to the well-being of all with love & dedication. In ‘Ram-Raajya’ there is the necessary ambiance to invoke the best out of all. The spark of inspiration is ignited in all. Everyone had the necessary education and enthusiasm to follow not only their love but also the goals of life in the form of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. These holistic goals of life meant that belief in Dharma and Moksha did not mean ignoring the Artha and Kama, and vice versa, pursuits of Artha & Kama did not mean ignoring Dharma & Moksha either. Indeed there cannot be a more ideal & perfect society. However, there is a great misunderstanding about this great ‘RamRaajya’. It is normally considered to be there somewhere in the past, during the time of Raja Ram alone. Well, while that is also true, one also needs to appreciate that Ram-Raajya is here & now too. Surprised? Well, obviously not at the level of our present day government & its governance, but - in nature. Ram was an avatara of God, and God is right here & now too. He alone is creating, sustaining and managing this entire world. All this is awesome, amazing, extremely beautiful. We need to learn to see and know the ways & means of the existing omniscient Lord who is making all this possible. He is the one who has created nature, and all its laws. His ways & means are very different, he is not someone of our world, he is literally out-of-the-world, divine. He is not we imagine him to be. With an open mind we need to wake up to his vision and start living our lives. Lets learn about his motivation, his management techniques, his love, creativity, compassion and intelligence. It is this present existing Ram, who alone had manifested earlier in our midst and taught us how to live & rule. Let history help us to know Hisstory right here & now. We need to see him right here and then be a privileged instrument of such a divine master. Love & om,
Atma Bodha - Shloka 13 Vedanta Section
Introduction of Subtle Body Discriminating between the Atma and the Anatma is the path to realsing the truth. To bring about this process of viveka or discrimination it is important to understand what is the nature of Atma(Self) and the nature of Anatma(Non-Self). It has also been said that the Non-Self has a wide spectrum of things ranging from the visible gross things to the unmanifest subtle dimensions. Explaining the anatma by categorising it into the three bodies is one of the unique ways revealed in the Upanishads. In this category, in the previous sloka, the Acharya unfolded that dimension of the Anatma which comprises of the very evident Gross body i.e the ‘Sthoola Sharira’, its instrumental nature, how it is evolved of the panchamahabhutas and the significance of ‘karma’ in gaining a particular physical body. Continuing with this category of the three bodies the Acharya now explains explains to us another dimension of the Anatma which is more subtle in nature and hence known as the ‘Sukshma Sharira’ or the Subtle Body. .
13 Panchpranmanobudhi dashendriyasamanvitam Apanchikrutbhoototham Sookshmangam bhogsadhanam Panch-prana-mano-buddhi dashendriya-samanvitam: One that is endowed with five pranas, mind, intellect and the ten sense organs; apanchikruta-bhutootham: created by the subtle five elements; sukshmangam: the subtle body; bhoga-sadhanam: is the means for getting all experiences and enjoyments. The Subtle body or Sookshma Shareera which is composed of five pranas, mind, intellect and the ten senses, and which is borne of the uncompounded great elements is the instrument of experiencing pains and pleasures. Our Subtle Body is called the Sukshma Sharira. Sukshma means that which is not perceptible by our sense organs, yet is an object of experience. We very clearly experience the existence of thoughts & emotions etc, yet we do not see them by our sense organs. Unlike the gross body which we get afresh in every birth this subtle body is constant in every life. It is certainly born one day, but it doesn’t get old with old age. The world around is a cosmic canvas of different forms having various colours and hues. Each form has its own unique character, its personality fragrance, its desires, emotions and thoughts. We see such a variety in names and forms, yet the truth is that there is one common substratum giving life Vedanta Sandesh - Dec 2009
to one and all. What then is the reason that we see such differences not only in physical appearances of all beings but also in thier mental attributes, in their pottentials, in their thoughts and emotions. The answer to this is that even though the basic truth of all existence is one but it is the mind set and actions of every living being that directs it to a particular form and personality. Every living being is a product of his mental impressions and his vasanas. Since the Subtle body or the Sukshma Sharira comprises of thoughts & emotions etc. so ignorance or knowledge all is based in our mind. This feature reveals an important fact that the Atma is untouched by any kind of ignorance or bondage, pain, joy, and sorrow. That is why the scriptures say ‘Man eva
manushyanam karanam bandh mokshayoh. Samsar is a play of the mind. All ignorance, impurities and knowledge are born in the mind and therefore need to be handled at the level of the mind, the Atma being eternally free and blissful. By gaining knowledge the mind is liberated not only from all pains & problems but all limitations of time and space. Panch pran mano budhi dashendriya samanvitam: Sukshma Sharira comprises of seventeen components. Five sense organs of perception, five sense organs of action, five Prana’s, Mind & the Intellect. By sense organs is meant the power with which the sense organs can perceive their respective objects, and not the physical organ as such. Apanchikrutbhoototham: Sukshma Sharira is made by subtle or ungrossified Five Elements (Apanchikruta Pancha
Mahabhuta), and this too should be looked upon as a product of great blessing & got as a result of various virtuous deeds. Sookshmangam bhogsadhanam: It is the ‘means’ of all experiences. If the gross body is compared to an office, then this subtle body is comparable to the people in the office, the manager & the boss etc. who go about experiencing various things. The karmas of a jiva are also transported from one life to another through this subtle body alone. When this subtle body enters a physical body then it is called the birth of a Jiva, and when this body leaves the gross body for good then it is called as the death of a jiva. It is the subtle body alone which acts like a medium for the all-pervading consciousness to manifest as life. Wherever there is subtle body there alone we see manifestations of life.
The Best and the Worst The most satisfying work
The most endangered species
The greatest natural resource
The greatest shot in the arm
The greatest problem to overcome …
The most effective sleeping pill
Peace of Mind
The most crippling failure disease …
The most powerful force in life
The worlds most incredible computer …
The worst thing to be without
The most powerful relationship tool …
The two most power-filled words
The most powerful communication …
The greatest asset
The most worthless emotion
The most prized possession
The most contagious spirit
The most beautiful attire
SMILE Page # 5
Sanyas - uniquely Vedic Sanyas is not merely giving up of something, that is Tyaga. Sanyas is something unique to Vedic thought. It is the culmination of a wise life well led. It is the name of the fourth stage and Ashram of life, after having lived it righteously, dynamically and fully. It is not just freedom from the craving from pleasures, comforts & responsibilities because you have got it all or have seen it all. That is just the ego who has fulfilled all his or her desires and vasanas. Such a state of mind stinks of dullness, arrogance and at times even of inertia. Sanyas is something positive. It is the result of some wisdom and insight into life. Sanyas is given only after knowledge and not mere dispassion. Sanyas is unburdening of all the sense of doership and enjoyersip from oneself because we not only see and know the truth of all so called â€˜enjoymentsâ€™, but we also see & know who the real doer is, and what the real truth is about the joy & bliss. Sanyas is the wisdom borne conscious unburdening of oneself inspite of living dynamically & creatively. Sanyas is freedom from endless seeking. Sanyasi is quiet inside, yet inspired and dynamic outside. Sanyasi remains unruffled inspite of provocations and favorable situations. Ability to do Sattwic Tyaga is the door to Sanyas. A Sattwic Tyagi works and enjoys his or her loving work, a sanyasi gets joy inspite of any work. It is wisdom all the way. - Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmananda
Vedanta Sandesh - Dec 2009
Wish for Sanyas Dear U...., Sashisha Hari Om, I received your mail, and I am happy to know that the Gita Gyana Yagna at Ahmedabad helped to sort out many of your doubts and you were inspired to live a dynamic & righteous life. Pl know all this to be a great blessing of God.
should not be a flower
Your wish to take up sanyas is basically noble but as I see it, its time has
not yet come. For that you need to firstly fulfill all your basic duties properly.
solitude & wilderness of a jungle, but a lotus which
Right now, you have a small child and your parents have you alone to look after them. When your wife is no more, then you alone have to assure that the child whom you have brought in this world is properly educated and brought up. It is a great sin to voluntarily remove all support systems of all
smiles in the water -
those who are dependent on you. What you need to do is to assimilate the
vision of Gita and fulfill all your basic responsibilities. Real sanyas is not by
- Poojya Guruji
leaving your home and taking sanyas deeksha, but by living in this world unaffected by its ups & downs. Deeksha is just an external indication of such a detached, devoted and inspired state of mind. Your ideal should not be a flower blooming in the solitude & wilderness of a jungle, but a lotus which blooms & smiles in the water - untouched. Mahatmas like us are there to help & guide you with all the knowledge and other guidance for living such a sattwic, service-oriented and a selfless life. I or my disciples keep coming to Ahmedabad regularly, or even you are welcome to come to our ashram for any guidance which you require for living such a life. Love & om Swami Atmananda
Page # 9
Hindu Units of Time and Sankalpa
Vyasti and Samashti
Hindu Units of Time
The smallest unit of time is a kaashta, which is 18 times the amount of time it takes to blink an eyelid. 10 kaashtas make a kshanam and 12 kshanams constitute a muhoortam. 60 of these muhoortams constitute a day. 30 days constitute a month and 3 months make up a ritu. 12 months of course constitute a human year. We now move on from the human plane to the world of the departed souls – the pitrus. Here, a human month equals the length of a day. The brighter half of a Lunar month constitutes the pitru’s daytime and the darker half their night. In the realm of the Devas or the Gods, a human year constitutes a single day. The brighter half of the year Uttarayanam makes up the day time hours of the Devas while the darker half Dakshinayanam makes up the nighttime hours. An epoch or a yuga is the next higher level of measurement. 1200 Deva years constitute the Kaliyuga or the present epoch that we are believed to be living in; 2400 deva years make up the Dwapara yuga that preceded kali yuga; 3600 years made up the Treta yuga and 4800 the Krita yuga respectively. Thus, the length of the Kaliyuga is 1200*360 i.e. 432,000 human years. A cycle of 4 yugas is referred to as the catur yugas. A cycle of catur yugas lasts for 12,000 deva years or 12,000* 360 i.e. 4,320,000 human years. How do these time measurements correlate with the process of creation? Brahma in Indian mythology is referred to as the creator. A thousand catur yugas are said to make up the daylight hours of a single day of Brahma’s life. Another thousand make up the night time of a single day of Brahma. Thus, a single day in Brahma’s life spans 2000 * 4,320,000 ie. 8,640,000,000 human years. 360 such days, each lasting 8.6 billion years constitute a year in Brahma’s life, which lasts for a 100 Brahma years. At the end of one Brahma’s life, another starts. This cycle goes on and on. A Brahma’s life is also known as a Para. Each half param is referred to as a parardham. It is believed that we are currently living in the 2nd half of the life of the present Brahma. It is to be noted that in the performance of Vedic rituals, the frame of time in which the ritual is being performed is specified both in macro and in micro terms, the term ‘dviteeya paraardhe’ (the second half of Brahma’s term) is stated.
VedantaSandesh Sandesh- -Dec April2009 2009 Vedanta
Page # 10
Kaashta I V Kshanam I V Muhoortam I V Din I V Saptah I V Maas I V Ritu I V
The reference point here is the moment of commencement of creation of the Universe by Brahma. When we say ‘dviteeya paraardhe’, which Brahma are we referring to? How many Brahmas have preceded the current one? This specification is non-existant in Vedic mantras. Since the whole process is cyclical, with one Brahma commencing when another completes, and with this process repeating forever, there may not be any significance in stating the position of Brahma. In a cyclical concept of time every starting point will have to be an ending point. If time is postulated as being linear and unidirectional there will have to be an absolute starting point for time. This cyclical nature of time as believed in Indian Mythology refers to time as ‘anaadi’ or that without a beginning. Yet another measure of time is Kalpa. The puranas are named after kalpas; thus we have the matsya kalpa, koorma kalpa, lakshmi kalpa, sweta varaaha kalpa, shiva kalpa, bhrahma kalpa, vishnu kalpa and so on. Each Brahma’s term lasts for a period of 7 kalpas. The current period in time is said to belong to the sweta varaaha kalpam, which is in the second half of the life of Brahma. A kalpam or an epoch is made up of 14 manvantaras and each manvantara spans 71 caturyugas. The fourteen manvantaras are respectively wayambhuva, sawosisha, audhama, thaamasa, raivatha, sakshusha, vaivasvata, savarni, daaksha savarni, bhramha savarni, dharma savarni, rudra savarni, rouchya and bowdhya. The present kaliyuga is the 28th in the present Vaivaswata manvantara. Sankalpam: Thus, vedic mantras pin point the time of performance of a ritual – by narrowing down from dwiteeya paraardhe (in the 2nd half of the term of Brahma), Sweta varaaha kalpe (in the kalpa sweta varaaha), Vaivasvata manvantare (in the 7th manvantaram), Kaliyuge (in the kali epoch) – through the finer details such as the name of the current year, month etc.
Showering not Seeking We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll
be more content when they are. After that we're frustrated that we have teenagers to
deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell our-
when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire. By then
selves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together,
its too late. The fulfillment is always beyond the horizon. It is evasive. For a wise one, fulfillment is not at the end of the road, but is the starting point. Life is not to fill up your tank, but shower others with your full tank. Page # 11
As you Sow, so you Reap - If you plant honesty, you will reap trust - If you plant goodness, you will reap friends - If you plant humility, you will reap greatness - If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment - If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective - If you plant hard work, you will reap success - If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation - If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later. "Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back"
Vedanta Sandesh - Dec 2009
Stories from Shiv Purana n o p e u .. c n . O e m a ti
Vedanta Sandesh - April 2009
Nandi There was a sage named Shilada. He once saw that his ancestors were being tortured in hell. When he tried to find out why this was so, he was told that this was because Shilada did not yet have a son. To obtain a son, Shilada began to pray to Shiva. He prayed for a thousand years. At the end of the tapasya, Shiva appeared and offered to grant Shilada a boon. Shilada wanted the boon that he might have a virtuous son. A few days later, when Shilada was ploughing the land, he discovered a baby boy on the blade of the plough. The boy was as bright as the sun and the fire. Shilada was frightened and started to run away. But the boy called after him, Father, stop. Father, stop, A voice was then heard from the sky. This voice told Shilada that this was the son he had wanted. Since this son would make everyone happy, he was to be named Nandi. Shilada brought Nandi home to his hermitage. He taught his son the Vedas, the arts of the medicine and fighting, dancing and singing and several other sacred texts. All this Nandi mastered within fifteen days. When Nandi was seven years old, two powerful sages arrived in Shilada’s hermitage. Their names were Mitra and Varuna. Shilada worshipped them and presented Nandi before them. The sages blessed Nandi with the words, Be learned, be faithful to your teacher. Shilada said, Sages, why didn’t you bless my son with a long life? We couldn’t, replied the sages. Your son is going to die when he is eight years old. That is written in his stars. Shilada was crestfallen to hear this, but Nandi consoled his father. He promised his father that he would do something so that his fate would have to be rewritten. He would pray to Shiva. And when he met Shiva, he would ask of him a boon. Meeting Shiva, exclaimed Shilada. I had to meditate for a thousand years before I could get to meet Shiva. How do you expect to meet Shiva in the one year that is left to you?’ Wait and see, father, replied Nandi. Shiva is difficult to meet if you only perform tapasya or thirst for knowledge. The secret lies in faith and devotion. I will manage. There is a river named Bhuvana. Nandi entered this river and began underwater prayers to Shiva . His efforts pleased Shiva so much that Shiva appeared before him. What boon do you want? asked Shiva. Please grant me the boon that I may be devoted to you, replied Nandi. I don’t want to be born, become old and die. Shiva granted Nandi the boon that he and his father would get to live in Shiva’s residence in Shivaloka. Shiva’s companions are known as Ganas. Shiva made Nandi, the Ganapati, the chief of the Ganas and retained him as a perpetual companion. Shiva also gave Nandi a wonderful garland to wear. As soon as he put this garland on, Nandi became resplendent with three eyes and ten hands. Page # 13
Nov’09 VM / VA Programs Birthday of Sw. Samataji - Rudrabhisheka:
Vedanta Mission / Ashram Programs
On 15th Nov was the birthday of Poojya Swamini Samatanandaji. In the morning she performed the special Rudrabhisheka at the Sri Gangeshwar Mahadev Temple and took the blessings of Poojya Guruji. As a student of Vedanta, a question comes in the mind of some people whether the people propagating and professing the Self to be beyond birth & death should ‘celebrate’ their birthdays? It is indeed a genuine and justified question. We never celebrate the ‘birthday’ of Atman, the birth pertains to the manifestation of the highly potent human body. God blessed us with this beautiful human body, and parents etc facilitated the manifestation of this blessings. So birthdays are occasion for thanking God and everyone else for this amazing blessing of human life. There is also an obvious re-affirmation of the resolve to make the best of this beautiful life too.
Birthday of Sw. Samataji - Balvihar Program: Poojya Swamini Samatanandaji has been handling Balvihar classes and children for some time now, so her birthday became a nice occasion for the children to get together and celebrate the day in their own way. In the evening of 15th Nov, a good number of children gathered at the ashram. The celebration place was nicely decorated with ballons full of sweets etc. and then started a joyous evening of bhajans, prayers, games and later cake-cutting etc. The children were having colorful birthday caps and eye masks. All of them were given Hanuman Chalisa, which they chanted nicely. Then there was an enjoyable game session of Passing the Pillow. When the music stopped whoever had the pillow had to present something, dancee, story, shloka or was punished by becoming a cock. It was all fun & frolic. Later Swaminiji cut the cake and everyone got nice sweets etc.
Advent of Winters, Indore: This year the winter knocked at the door of Indore early. Due to the cyclone in the Arabian Sea there were good rains at Indore too. This came as a great blessing to all. While there was deficient rain in various parts of the country this year, Indore finally got excess rains than its usual average. The winter rains, which are locally called as Maotha, are always seen as a special blessings, and they change the climate drastically. The winter clothings came out and mist enveloped the city mornings. It is a heavenly and dreamy scene. In the days of increasing global warming every winter is all the more a very special blessing indeed. The nature with its changing climates and amazing beauty is the best signature of the omniscient creator. One can see divine harmony all over and man is humbled with the profound power and beauty of nature. Nature is called Prakriti, a fantastic kruti or workmanship of God. One cannot help thinking of the amazing creator. Hari om!
Vedanta Sandesh - Dec 2009
Nov’09 VM / VA Programs
Vedanta Mission / Ashram Programs
Ashram Activities: 1. Kathopanishad by Param Pujya Guruji : The detailed study of Kathopanishad by Poojya Guruji continues. We completed the study till the second boon of Nachiketas in the first chapter. The study is intensive, insightful & introspective, specially about the characters of Nachiketas and his father Vajshravas. 2. Gita Classes: From 11.00 onwards for an hour there is yet another class. That is conducted by Pujya Swamini Amitanandaji, and this is for a group of elderly students. This session is also going on for more than a year, and now Poojya Swaminiji is teaching the 15th chapter of Bhagwad Gita. 3. Balvihar Classes: The weekly Balvihar classes for the children started again after some gap. The children learn bhajans, shlokas and moral values through inspiring & enlightening stories.
Gita Jayanti, Footi Kothi, Indore: Poojya Guruji and Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji formally inaugurated the grand, week-long Gita Jayanti Annual Programs at Agrasen Dham (Footi Kothi) on 25th Nov by lighting the traditional lamp amidst chanting of the mantras. In his discourse Poojya Guruji talked about the subject matter of Bhagwad Gita. He said that Gita is all about providing us the insight into right decision making, which alone is Dharma. The capacity to intuitively and spontaneously know what is right is the greatest blessing and wisdom. Everything else follows. Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji in her brief talk touched upon the famous statement of ‘Mam-anusmar yudhya cha’. She said that while war is a karma, anusmar (retention of the awareness) is not a karma, and thus as action does not displace awareness, they need to be done simultaneously. Later P. Swamini Samatanandaji also briefly spoke.
Gita Jayanti, Vedanta Ashram, Indore: On 28th Nov was the Mokshada Ekadashi and Gita Jayanti, the day Bhagwan Sri Krishna gave the divine discourse of Gita to Arjuna. On this auspicious day there was the Akhand Path of Gita (Complete Gita chanting). Apart from all the ashram Mahatmas, the Gita Class students and also Hina Patel (UK) also joined the chanting. On 29th Nov Poojya Guruji was again invited for the talk at the ongoing Gita Jayanti celebrations at Agrasen Dham. The attendance was good and Poojya Guruji talked about the topic of 17th chapter of Gita. He said that while faith is a necessary component in the life of every individual, it is important that we realize what ‘type’ of our faith is. It could be Sattwic, Rajasic or Tamasic. Tamasi person is dull and de-motivated. He just drags. Rajasic person is very active, but is self-centered & selfish. Sattwic person on the other hand works feels blessed and gratified. This alone needs to be there. Check out the detailed Photo Albums of the various functions on VM News Blog at : http://vmissionews.blogspot.com/ Page # 15
All are Significant During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'Hello'." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Shubhi.
Vedanta Sandesh - Dec 2009
Gita Gyana Yagna, Mumbai: Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmanandaji will conduct a week long Gita Gyana Yagna at Bandra Hindu Association Hall in Mumbai from 8th Dec to 13th Dec. The text of the discourses will be Gita Chapter 1, and Ashtavakra Gita Chapter 2.
Gita Gyana Yagna, Ahmedabad: Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji will conduct a week long Gita Gyana Yagna at Sri Ramkrishna Kendra, Ahmedabad from 23rd to 29th Dec. The texts of the discourses will be announced later.
Sadhana Camp, Indore: A four days Sadhana Camp will be organized at the Vedanta Ashram, Indore from 23rd to 27th Jan 2010. The texts of the discourses will be announced later.
Mahashivratri, Indore: The next Mahashivratri is on 12th Feb 2010.Special Programs will be organized on that day. Please look out for further announcement in our Blog for the occasion.
Gita Gyana Yagna, Lucknow: Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmanandaji will conduct a week long Gita Gyana Yagna at Hari om Mandir, Lal Baug, Lucknow a week before the Holi festival. The subject matters of the disccourse series will be annnounced shortly.
Page # 17
Hari om !
Check out for other issues of Vedanta Sandesh at: http://www.vmission.org.in/mission/ezine.htm
Net Publication of Vedanta Mission
Om Tat Sat