#16-Acharya on Youth and Discipline
The dialogue turns to children and youth. With distractions at every turn and lifestyles having undergone a massive change, it is tough to instil discipline in them. The Acharya believes they have the potential to ring in positive changes.
“Earlier moral instruction was mandatory in schools. Now parents should assume that role and guide their offspring,” he says.
Easier said than done, considering the questioning spirit and the I-know-what-I-want attitude. Why, there is no scope for bed-time storytelling what with the heavy burden of home work, TV shows and Internet.
“Yes, television has played a significant role in all this. Young people are mesmerised by TV. I wonder if it has any beneficial effect on their minds,” observes the Acharya, who again underlines the duty of parents. “Sit with them. Talk about our country’s great heritage and culture. Make them understand that they may not get the answers for all their questions. They will understand as they grow up.”
Is bhakti necessary for a person to lead a clean life?
“Yes, prayer and rituals offer solace and strengthen the mind. Your faith in the path that you have chosen gets reaffirmed.”
Swamiji’s Message – “Let every one do their duty with sincerity. Never try to hurt or harm others with word or deed. On the other hand try to be as helpful as possible. Don’t fail to pray or observe nityakarma.”
Golden words of the Glorious Guru Sri Bharathi Theertha of Sringeri Sarada Matt
The following are excerpts from the discourses Sri Bharati Tirtha delivered at various places:
- Desire and Anger are two great enemies of man. While desire is one’s longing for an object, anger results from non-availability or deprival of the object.
- What does one lose by uttering respectful words? But many speak harsh words and hurt the feelings of others.
- The three fetters that chain a human being to samsara – Loka vasana, Sastra vasana and Deha vasana.
- The life of a man who does not help others is worthless. Thus great importance is given to Paropakara, which scriptures refer to as compassion.
- “I do my duty and am happy with what I get.” – this should be the attitude.
- Be content with whatever comes to you of its own accord. Practise equanimity when experiencing the pairs of opposites, such as pleasure and pain. Shun envy.
(Culled out from ‘Golden Words of the Glorious Guru,’ published by Sri Sringeri Sarada Pitam – 577139)
#15-What I Pray For – Guru Poornima Message from Swami Santhananda Puri
This is a small excerpt of a book written by Swami Santhanandapuri on the occassion of Guru Poornima.
Whenever I go to the Samadhi (tomb) of Bhagwan Ramana in Sri Ramanasramam, I pray for only three things-
1. A pure mind
2. Total renunciation
3. Intense devotion
and here is the explanation for ..
I. A Pure Mind
Purity of mind means effacing all impurities of mind – the impurities which have been gathered like dust since previous births as latent tendencies and conditioning; mainly extreme attachment to some and enmity or hatred with some others. It may also include lust, anger, jealousy, envy etc. These are not inherent in us but have come as impressions of actions in course of our life. These impurities mar the vision of our self or God who is always with us. The main way to remove them is by intense and continuous prayers to the supreme Lord to remove these impurities; also whenever anger, lust etc assail us the best way is to quickly get out of the place where that event takes place and to engage oneself in some physical exercises or walking etc. Regarding hatred, it is even much stronger than love.
The following story will illustrate this point.
An extremely rich and young lady went to a supermarket to purchase things. While getting down from her car, a mad stray dog bit her on her legs but she did not bother about it and went in the shop and selected several articles. While doing so she suddenly started feeling dizzy. When it came to her mind that it might be due to the dog bite, she immediately rushed in her car to the house of her family physician whose residence was 30 km away. The doctor, after examining her declared apologetically that the poison of the mad dog had got into her blood stream and gone to the head and as a result she would be soon enough barking like a dog and may bite other people too. He also said that as she is very rich, she might like to prepare her will distributing her large fortune among her friends and relatives whom she loved a lot. As there was not much time left, he gave her papers and a pen to write her will. The lady went on writing for nearly an hour. When she was questioned about the doctor as to what she was writing for such along time she replied – “Sir, I am writing the names of all the people whom I would like to bite when I behave like a dog, lest I should not forget any one of them.”
This is the power of hatred. Whenever we hate anybody, the moment we are conscious of it, we should try to be extra kind towards them in future dealings and also pray to the Lord for their welfare and to take away all the ill will in our heart against them.
II. Total Renunciation
In our deep sleep we are not aware of the world, we are not conscious of the wife or husband or children lying by our side, the bed and pillow on which we sleep and the A/C and the fans functioning in the bedroom or even of our own body. This is because the mind which is responsible for the relationship established with the other people and things in the room is no longer functioning but is asleep.
As this mind sleeps, it completely cuts off all relationships with the objects of the world. It is the like and dislike or love and hatred in the relationship which is responsible for thinking about them instead of remembering God. If this cut off from all relationships is practiced while conscious in the waking state itself, it is called Renunciation.
To cite an instance of such total renunciation, I remember an anecdote in the life of Late Swami Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati (Parmacharya) who was the 100 yr old Pontiff of Kanchi.
He was always extremely moderate and frugal about his food. In one of his tours when he camped in a village, his cooks served him one tablespoon full of cooked spinach leaves which was the normal quantity he used to take everyday of any vegetable. When the server found that it was quickly finished. He dared to put another tablespoon full of the spinach. As this was also consumed quickly with great trepidation and hesitancy, he put a third tablespoonful of spinach, which was also consumed. The server is very happy and he did not dare to offer anything more. He repeated it the next day too with equal success. When he repeated it on the third day, the Sankaracharya questioned his server as to how it was that everyday he was preparing spinach and serving him. The server then told him how he found that the Acharya had a special liking for it as he consumed all the three tablespoon of it. The Acharya simply nodded his head.
From the next day morning, inexplicably, he went oncomplete fasting and refrained from taking even drinking water. The people around him were perplexed at this act of Acharya, they naturally presumed that this fasting was in explanation of and disapproval of some acts or offences which people around him have committed. On the third day of the fast, they approached the pontiff and told him – “Revered Swami ji, please tell us as to what offence we have committed, which has prompted you to resort to fasting? Until you tell us, we also intend to go on fast from now onwards sine die.” The pontiff laughed and told – “no,none of you have committed any offence, it is I who is the culprit. I had a high opinion of my sense of renunciation and that my tongue could not be tempted by any delicacy. When my attendant told me that I had taken two additional tablespoons of spinach besides my normal quota of only one tbsp I was aghast and wanted to teach a lesson to my tongue and the mind by resorting to fasting for a few days, so that they will be wary and will abstain from such temptations in future.” This is an instance of total renunciation.
III. Intense Devotion
To realise the Lord, He should be our only goal and it should never be diluted or modified. This process should not come after elimination of our impurities etc. as the process of elimination may take a long time and even several births. If only we grasp the feet of the Lord tightly with all our impurities and pray to Him, all the impurities will vanish by themselves. For this purpose we should have intense love for this goal. Even if we are unable to love the Lord, the only goal, let us pretend with hypocrisy that we love the Lord very much. By repeating this process again and again, a day will come when we will really begin to love the Lord from within the heart. This very act of loving the Lord solely from the heart is intense devotion. This very love for the Almighty will be able to blast and blaze the trail for leading towards God- Realisation.
#14-The Right Decision
A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track.
The train is coming, and you are just beside the track interchange. You can make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the kids. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?
Let’s take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make…………….
Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, I thought the same way initially because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally. But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?
Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are. The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him.
The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train’s sirens. If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.
While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.
“Remember that what’s right isn’t always popular… and what’s popular isn’t always right.”
Everybody makes mistakes; that’s why they put erasers on pencils 🙂
#13- “Where did you learn?”
(An article written by Dr. C.R. Swaminathan, former Deputy Educational advisor to Govt. of India given to a souvenir. Here is a gist of the article.)
This happened in the year 1956-57, when H.H. Sri Kanchi Mahaswamigal was camping at the Madras Sanskrit College, Mylapore, Madras. One evening, Mahaswamigal was about to address a huge gathering in which great personalities like Rajaji were present. He was contemplating about the topic he should speak on. Suddenly, he called late Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer, who was standing by the side of the dais and recited two lines of a Sanskrit verse. He asked the Professor if he remembered the remaining two lines of that verse. The Professor pleaded ignorance and got down from the dais.
This conversation took place before the mike, so audience gathered could easily hear its details. Dr. C. R. Swaminathan, the author of the article on Mahaperiyava, heard the beginning of the Sanskrit verse that Periyavaa recited. Since he happened to know the other two lines of the verse, he went to Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer and told him those two lines. The Professor went up the dais again and recited the lines before Mahaswamigal. Mahaperiyava asked him, “You said you did not know the lines. How come you know them now?” The professor replied “Someone in the audience remembered it and told me.”
Mahaperiyavaa inquired who was the person and told the Professor to call Dr. Swaminathan to the dais. When he came, Paramacharya inquired about his name and occupation. Then the sage asked, “Where did you study?” Thinking that the question was about his academic education, Dr. Swaminathan replied that he studied in the Presidency College, Madras.”Not that. Where did you learn this verse? “Dr. C.R. said that his grandfather taught him the verse when he was a child… Paramacharya inquired about his native place, his grandfather’s name and his family details. The entire conversation was held before the mike:
The verse in question was the following:
arthaaturaanam na gurur na bandhu,
kshudhaathuranam na ruciki na pakvam,
vidyaturaanaam, na sukham, na nidra,
kaamaaturanam na bhayam na lajja.
One who pursues wealth knows no guru or relations.
One who is hungry knows not taste or if the food was cooked well.
One who pursues knowledge knows neither comfort nor sleep.
One who has desires knows no fear or shame.
Later in the discourse, Paramacharya dealt with the Kenopanishad and explained how Goddess Parvati came as a teacher to enlighten the celestials about the supreme Brahmin. When concluding the discourse, he referred to the earlier incident and said:”Before I started delivering my discourse, I called a young man to the stage to know where from he learnt the subhashita verse, of which I recited the first half. I knew who he was. What I wanted him to tell you about his reciting the other two lines this moral verse was that he had learnt it, not from his school or college, but from his grand-father, and that too during his childhood days. It was to impress upon you all that children should get moral education at home from elders because they cannot get it from the modern schools and colleges”. Dr. Swaminathan concluded his article with these words:”I am recalling this incident to show that an insignificant person like myself, extremely nervous, while standing before H.H. on the dais, noticed by about thousands of people forming the audience, could be utilized by the Acharya to drive home to the audience that ;
(a) a joint family system with elderly parents and grandparents can serve as a valuable supplement to the school education of young children
(b) the elders can usefully spend their time by narrating such stories and morals to the children and
(c) such teaching can be retained in one’s memory only if imparted at the formative age.”
The above incident happened 50 years before, but the message holds good even today and will stand the test of time for years to come.
#12-Distance makes moments of Togetherness a Bliss
I was quite fascinated when i read this poem –The Prophet by Khalil Gibran “ On Marriage. It reads like this.
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls……
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
Though they quiver with the same music. ….
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress
Grow not in each other’s shadow.”
After 17 longs years of marriage, I realised that how essential it is to set boundaries for a healthy relationship. These long years of marriage have taught us how to endure each other, knowing exactly what will irk the other and have gathered the skill to argue on any conceivable topic with great involvement. Differences are in abundance …starting from physical appearance (where I am 5 feet and he is 6 feet ) to food habits,kind of music, TV channel choices(he always prefers news channels and I do not watch TV at all unless there is a Tsunami or something of that magnitude good or bad!!!).
Despite everything, I love being married. It’s so great to find that you have a special person in your life whom you can annoy and irritate for the rest of your life. The other side of the coin is I realize that he can be relied upon in any really messy situation where he is always there ready with a helping hand, making me understand the pros and cons of the issue in hand consoling me that to err is human and we all learn by making mistakes. I think all married veterans will agree with me that being married is a lot like getting into a tub of hot water. After some time you get so much used to it that you find that the water is not at all hot but provides a very comfortable and soothing warmth…
Generally we tend to relax a bit and take comfort in the fact that we can always see each other at a moment’s notice. When someone moves away or comes back for a short time only though, that’s when we probably realize that time spent together with friends/partner/siblings/parents is truly a blessing. This applies to all our relationships, whether at home, at work, or at play.This very distance makes the relationship a total bliss. What I feel is, a healthy relationship prepares us to step aside from someone else’s shadow and to shine all on our own. This is absolutely true in any case be it parent/children/, husband/wife/, brother/sister or friendship. Borrowing the words of M.Scott Peck on mountain climbing analogy, each partner needs time to scale the mountain of self-growth in solitude and time to be in the base camp to give and receive support and encouragement.
The poem clearly emphasizes how important it is to not lose ourselves in one another. Being an individual in coupledom is vital to personal growth and having a healthy relationship. It brings us to the fact that each partner needs the freedom to follow his or her own pursuits/ambitions totally unobstructed by the other . In fact, each partner cannot grow as a person, without sufficient time for peace and quiet or solitude, reflecting the experiences and emotions in life.
It requires maturity and watchfulness to maintain and sustain the delicate, healthy balance of spaces in togetherness for which we have to set boundaries. If the boundaries are not set, there is suffocation in the relationship leading to quarrel and moments of unhappiness. Boundaries are the tools that build the necessary space. Clearly defined boundaries help preserve a relationship’s peace and friendship and attraction — the ultimate that we are all seeking.
Clearly defined boundaries, like these, help us a lot:
- I can meet my wife’s needs, but not to the point of neglecting my own needs.
- My wife can meet my needs, but not to the point of neglecting her own needs.
- I can meet my wife’s needs, but I also understand that she can take care of herself.
- My wife can meet my needs, but she also understands that I can take care of myself.
- I can “be there” to meet my wife’s needs, but she cannot suffocate me with her needs.
- My wife can “be there” to meet my needs, but I cannot suffocate her with my needs.
These boundaries help us a lot to build a healthy, fulfilling relationship without losing ourself in the process and the relationships we share will remain marvelously balanced and harmonious. 🙂
#11- SCIENCE OF LIFE MANAGEMENT
I would like to share the speech that I heard about the Science of Life Management by Swami Swaroopananda of Chinmaya Mission.
Every one wants Success. Is there one person here any background, any age, any gender, any field who doesnt want success ? Whether be it any profession, business or family life or study, or fiendship, relationship in all we want success. When we look at the success of others , we often say success is a matter of luck. But wise people do not say that success is matter of luck.
Success is a product of proper management. When we are able to manage our work/relationship properly then we can expect success. Without proper management success is not possible. Today in the work field, mismanaged business will lead to disaster. Mismanaged relationship will lead to break up of the relationship. The term management is used mainly to educate the people in the professional field or in the business field. But everything in our life has to be managed. If our relationships are not properly managed, even they lead to disaster. We have taken the word management only in the limited field of managing things in the office. Even the computer has a file manager. So management is doing the actions in a proper manner in a certain order which can bring you success.
When we want success in business/family life, we really want our whole life to be successful. We know really well that successful in business means making a lot of money. But in the house, if the family atmosphere is miserable can you call it success? What we forget nowadays in modern management is that each one learns to manage only certain department. Even in a company, if one department is looked after and the other mismanaged, the company will not be successful. The first thing we have to know is until and unless our entire life is successful we cannot truly call ourself successful.
If we have not achieved success so far it means that somewhere the things are not managed properly. If we have learned to manage our life, we can learn to manage anything under the sun. If you closely observe most of the companies are successful over a period of 20 years. Some very rare rare companies have survived for a century but remember spiritual institutions have survived for a millenium. Without giving money how do they manage a whole of 100 and million and thousands of human resources, generate human resources and funds. Take it to the Sankaracharya institution or Sikh Gurudwaras. From where do they learn this art of management and bring about centuries of an organisation running so smoothly and effectively. And that too with Volunteers. Is it not that we have to learn something from them?
Swami Chinmayananda in his speech has told that we should learn to manage our own Manager-THE MIND. All management techniques can be effective only for a particular field. Business management technique in U.S. cannot be easily applied in India. The art of management where you bring your HEART and MIND into it cannot be achieved by earning a management degree or a few management techniques. That science of management is what our scriptures have spoke about.
It is not that difficulties/problems will not come in life. There are people in difficulties or problems who become more inspired and consider it to be a challenge and even happy. A jawan on duty in the border takes it as joyful opportunity to serve his country in war front, but the parents think it as a calamity. Do not think that difficulty/problems create sorrow. Sorrow is created by something different. We have to learn to manage our life in such a way that we are happy in every situation. Is that not what that all of us desire.? All of us might think it is not possible.
This is the first thing in management that we have to learn. IF WE THINK THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, IT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. As Napolean said, IMPOSSIBLE IS THE WORD IN THE DICTIONARY OF THE FOOLS. Nothing is impossible if you try. And without trying if you are going to say, it is impossible, you have lost the battle already. Therefore first thing what we have to do is “IT IS POSSIBLE AND WE HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN”. Once we know that it is possible, we will find out how it is possible. These are simple things. But they come from the profound depth of the scriptures.
If we want complete success and we want to be happy , then look around us – Are people reallyhappy ? Observation of Guru Nanak is so pertinent even today – everybody in this world have some or the other sorrow. Buddha said “SARVAM DUKHAM DUKHAM”. Most of us say that we are not that miserable. Today the attitude is that if you go to Satsang, people say His life is very miserable. Otherwise he would have gone to a discotheque. The general belief is that only if you have some problems or misery you go to a temple or Satsang. Here we have to analyse and find out HOW LONG LIVED IS OUR HAPPINESS? So Buddha added SARVAM KSHANIKAM KSHANIKAM. Even that little joys that we get are only temporary. There it takes us to the truth that every joy at its end will take us to sorrow.
One young man who was very spiritual, successful, having a nice family, everything going very well in his life, with loving kids said that he was very happy in life and did not have any problems. Others near him asked Swamiji, people come to listen spiritual discourses only when they have a problem. The man said, Why should i come to these discourses. Already i am happy. He added. I enjoy these discourses very much. Please do not misunderstand me. I just come because I like to be with all of you and I enjoy this company. Other than this, there is no purpose behind this.
Swamiji just asked this man one question. At this moment you are happy Right? Because your business is doing very well and you have a very obedient wife plus one who cooks very well and your children have grown up with good values and at the moment are doing very well in school. The man replied. What else a man would want now? Family and business doing well, name and fame in society, good company etc. What else do you ask for?
Swamiji asked just one question. Suppose you find out that your wife has got CANCER, Suppose you find out that one of your child has got into drugs Suppose at this moment your business collapses. He cried Swamiji dont even tell it. Swamiji said to him that Your HAPPINESS STANDS ON A PINHEAD. When it will fall off you do not know. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna Said. Asukham Anithyam is this world. Eventhough there are moments of joy in our life and hopes of happiness, all or joys are also temporary. Everything in this world is full of Sorrow.
Bank on Your Capital/ Asset with which your are Born !
Bhagavad Gita doesn’t says that success is a matter of luck. Success depends on what proper management we have done to succeed or what mismanagement we have done inviting failure. This world is a Kuruksheta-Karma Bhoomi. Each one of us have come with a certain Capital , Certain Asset. We had been given a certain ability, a certain intellect and the capacity to work. Everybody can do an action , but every action is not work. When action is done intelligently to produce something, it is called work. In work, there is a difference between labour and work. When we struggle miserably and reluctantly, it is labour. When we work intelligently with inspiration, it becomes work.
The Question of WHY and HOW
When sorrows come, most people will sit back and ask Why this to me? People sit and question Asking Why? Why? Why? For scientific discoveries Why is necessary. But to live your life, it is not the question Why but How?. This is the science of higher management. In a big company, if a project is put forward, observed very carefully, majority will discuss how it is not possible. The first thing we start discussing is its failure, its impossibility. Life brings in so many different situations. Rather than sitting and crying Why this to Me, the one question we should ask is how I can solve this problem or how I can reach the goal.
In the first chapter of Bhagavad Gita, if you carefully watch, Arjuna is constantly complaining Why Me? Why should i fight with my relatives? What am I going to get out of it? As long as he was asking Why Why Why, Sri Krishna is silent. Because you can’t give any reason. But one who wants to feel pity for himself , no explanation is going to work.
The moment when Arjuna realised that he is totally helpless, he asked Krishna, this sorrow of mine I cannot remove. Therefore please tell me How? The whole Bhagavad Gita begins when Arjuna says that I am deluded, Please instruct me How can i get out from this sorrow. He stopped asking WHy and questioned How?
Hundreds of people are dying in the society daily. But we are not crying over it. But when somebody in our family dies, we cry Why did GOD take away? If God gave it, God can take it back. If some one is born, somebody will die. But How to face that situation, that makes the difference, whether a person is going to remain miserable or if the person is going to make a difference. Therefore, when you run your company, when you teach your children or when you run your life, ask why to may be find out the cause, but if you dont get any answer, dont worry, think about How?
How is the word for Management. Each one of us has a certain potential.That which brings our potential to productivity, that science of management is called Dharm. That science of management which brings out the underlying potential in each one of us and brings about productivity in us and success, that is called Dharm. Dharm brings prsoperity, peace and happinesss in our life.
Life only brings situations. Never problems. It is only when you think you are incapable of handling the situation, it becomes a problem. So always call a situation as a situation and do not call it as a problem. It is a problem only when you do not know how to handle it. Secondly, if any problem or difficulty comes, do not sit and say Why Me?. Instead ask How? Thirdly, when any sorrow comes into your life, do not blame others for it.
If you blame somebody else for your sorrow, then you cannot do anything about it. The moment you give somebody the blame of your sorrow, which means you are not responsible or you are not in charge. A very common situation in indian household is the mother-in-law daughter-in-law episode where they keep on blaming each other. The moment you blame someone else for your sorrow, it means you have given up the responsiblity for removing that sorrow. Secondly, if you blame someone for your sorrow, your sorrow is intensified. Somebody might be nasty to you, might be saying all bad about you. But it is your responsibility how to respond. Another important factor is understand the nature of this world.
Everything in this world is transient. Constantly changing. Nothing is permanent in this life. If joys are not permanent, even sorrows are not permanent. All our experiences are temperory and therefore, if it is temperory keep the attitude, this too shall pass away. And bear it. Some things you can’t change or remove. If physical sickness comes, you can sit and cry and feel miserable about it. Till the doctor cures, you have to bear the pain. If you sit and complain, you are making everybody’s life miserable and everybody wants to run away from you. Bear it very gracefully. You will get the sympathy and help of everybody. If you can learn to bear your pain, then also the pain is not that bad. It is so apt.
Understand the nature of this world. Everything is temperory. When you look at your past, the things that made you cry when you were a child, the things that made you cry when your sweet heart left you when you were in college etc. Today when you look back at it , you can laugh. Its like a dream. All the joys, sorrow and those things that appeared real to you, today appear as a dream. When you have problems today, 10 years from now, how will you look back at it. You will probably laugh and tell everybody the stories of your heart break.
Work seriously in your life, but dont take life seriously. Take this life as a game. Take it as a TV show,, take it as a drama, play your part well, get the applause, walk out of it. Whatever you see, cry with the tragedy, but enjoy the show. This is what every woman who watches constantly the TV serials does. The serials make them cry miserably. But at the end of the show, they say, this is a very good serial- I enjoyed it.
Last but not the least, have some trust that this whole universe which is going on so beautifully, there must be a Kartha, there must be a maker. You love the soft idlis you make and keep on asking how is it? Or you sing your own composition and keep on asking others how is it? Why do you do these. Because you love your own creation.
Try to understand that the one who have made this entire universe, definitely will love his creation including you and me. Simple thing to understand, whatever is happening in your life , is HIS loving gift to you. Even when a mother feeds bitter medicine to her child, is it to torture the child? or to cure the child? Understand at that moment that God is giving you something which is good for you. Joyfully take it with the attitude – it is for the best.For those who dont believe in God, nature has given us everything. What we do with it is our give back to society, to the parents, to nature, to God.
The Essence of this Talk
Life brings in situations. Not problems.
Stop Questioning Why and start questioning How.
Dont blame anybody for your sorrows. Take it as your responsibility.
Take life as a game. This phase will pass away.
What ever you have is God’s gift to you and whatever you do with it is your gift to HIM. Whatever you get in the course of your life is the BEST for you. 🙂
#10- This is question raised by a parent to Swami Srikantananda (Swami Vivekananda Institute of Human Excellence). Just read the answer given by Swamiji..
Question :Our children are so sensitive that we are afraid of telling them anything. We do not know how will they react. How should we deal with them? Answer:
The first thing is to set an example through one’s own life. If your life is pure and disciplined, even without your telling they will assimilate those qualities. Secondly, you must give then certain amount of freedom. Do not try to be a policeman, always watching and suspecting their movements. At the same time yow must keep a watch over them from a distance. If you sense something wrong with them, first verify the truth before arriving at a conclusion. You can easily collect the facts from their teachers and friends by occassionally visiting their work place or school or college. No human being is perfect. It is our nature to make mistakes. No one does it intentionally; it is out of ignorance. Naturally children due to their lack of experience in this world will commit mistakes. You must learn to forgive them. ” To err is human, but to forgive is divine”, so goes a popular saying.
After a certain age, they should be treated as friends and handled with great respect. As far as possible do not take recourse to corporeal punishment and harsh scolding. Develop tremendous patience to correct them in a friendly way. Your genuine love and concern for them will certainly bring about a change in their behaviour. Give them positive ideas, good literature to read, expose them to good surroundings. Once you provide them with good food inside your home, they will never think of searching for other food elsewhere.
#9-Essence of Nidityaasana
Nidityaasana is all about CBM – Confidence Building Measures for a Samsaari. When in difficullty, how does a normal human being respond? Immediately he/she will rush to his friends or fellow beings for help. Now how will they respond?
- They will be very sympathetic to you..
- Yow will be loaded with heaps of advice and lectures
- Yow will be mercilessly lectured about the mistakes done by you for the present difficult situation you are in..
and literally there will be no Confidence Building Support or a single word from your fellow beings.
As Swami Paramarthananda says, when in difficullty, if you run to fellow people, then you are a Samsaari. If you turn to GOD then you become a Bhaktha or a Karma Yogi. But whatever be the trying situation, if you look deep inside your SELF, you realise that you possess all the inner resources to tackle all confrontations in life. Here you become a Jnana Yogi. So a human being should uplift himself from being a SAMSAARI—-> KARMAYOGI———>JNANAYOGI , which can again be simplified as World Dependence to GOD Dependence to SELF Dependence.
How is this possible?
How can one move from World Dependence to GOD Dependence to SELF Dependence, which is nothing but Independence? When will this Independence take place?
This Independence will take place when every human being should take a major decision in his/her life to change the thought pattern. Changing the thought pattern is purely Vedanta. Here Swamiji explains in simple terms targeting an ordinary lay man, who cannot understand Vedanta, how to change the thought pattern. This change in thought pattern works wonders in facing the difficult situation in two patterns. Psychological and Physiological.
Swamiji illustrates this with the help of a beautiful experience about a lady who had to undergo cateract surgery. The experience in her own words follows.
“Myself and my husband are old and i had to undergo cateract surgery. I decided to do the surgery in the local place. My son who is settled elsewhere, offered to come and stay with us during the surgery. I told him you need not unnecessarily spend your time taking leave and leaving your family alone in that remote place. We can somehow manage it.”
Then she told, if he had not offered help, I might have felt bad and helpless. But the very offer of help was enough to give us the moral support that there is sombody to help us out.
All situations remaining the same, if the children did not offer support, then the very event is looked differently. I dont have anybody to help and it becomes more painful and helplessness is felt more. We experience more strain than otherwise. The psychological truth is , what we require is not help but ” an offer to help”.
The feeling that I have help/moral support from outside, this very feeling helps to build up the confidence level and when you have Confidence, you will have enough resources to handle the situation.
“When you repeatedly entertain the thought that you are independent, strong, fearless and strongly believe that you possess all the inner resources to tackle the most trying situation in your life, then the first divine knowledge show up and tell you that YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS OR LONELY.
Secondly the deep repeatation of this thought pattern will evoke the divine INTELLIGENCE that is resident in every human being surfacing the solution for the present crisis.”
Physiologically when this thought is entertained you will not feel helpless or lonely. When there is helplessness and loneliness, the magnitude of suffering is much more..especially in old age. In old age naturally the physical body is feeble and weak. We expect our kids to take care of us. Instead let us reverse our thought pattern and say that I know my son/daughter is always there when i am in a difficulty or a trying situation, but for the present movement i can manage this situation. This makes you a person of strong will and you are SELF DEPENDENT. But at the same time you have the psychological moral support of your kids whenvever you are in difficulty.
Swamiji further helps us to attain Independence with the following words. “Take a decision that KNOWLEDGE(about the supreme divine power that lies inside yourself) IS MY REFUGE and take a SANKALPA, whatever be the trying situation, I will appraoch the divine knowledge in the SELF. When you start practicing this highest Vedantic Philosophy, the divine inner help automatically pops out to solve your present crisis or challenge.
It is called as NISCHAYA SANKALPA ABHYASA, Where
N– stands for Knowledge
S-stands for the strong will to depend on the Self
A-start to practice constantly the change in thought pattern
Ganesha – Mooshika the Mouse
Brahma – Hamsa when sitting or Seven swans
Vishnu – Garuda, the eagle and Adi Shesha, the Serpent
Shiva – Nandi, the Bull
Saraswathi – Hamsa or swan or sometimes peacock
Lakshmi – Lotus flower when seated and the owl
Durga or Parvati – Tiger or Lion
Yama – Buffalo
Adityas / Sun God – Seven horses / Agni
Indra – Elephant Airavata
Varuna – Seven Swans
Vayu – Thousands of horses
Ganesha – Mooshika the Mouse
Ganesha’s vehicle is Mooshika the Mouse. You may wonder how a small mouse can carry on its back a hefty personality like Ganesha. Here mooshika does not mean a mere mouse. It symbolises the darkness of ignorance because it is in darkness that the mouse moves about. Hence, Mooshika Vahana or Ganesha is one who subdues ignorance and dispels darkness. Ths also teaches us how humble and modest one should be. Ganesha in spite of his huge physical, mental and intellectual prowess conducts and carries himself so lightly that he can very well be carried by a very very small (compared to the size of Ganesha) and insignificant creature mouse.
Brahma – Hamsa when sitting or Seven swans
Brahma’s vehicle Hamsa stands for buddhi and for the creative and discretionary energies in man. The word ” Hamsa” is a combination of two words, “aham”+ “sa” , which mean “I am He”. This awareness that one is God exists only in enlightened persons. Rightly Brahma is the friend and philosopher of all the enlightened beings in the world and he has the power to give us this knowledge about our true nature. The bird hamsa is also very beautiful, peaceful and graceful. It is suggestive of the fact that Brahma is the master of all the beauty and grace in the world, and He can help us in our effort to acquire these qualities.
Vishnu – Garuda, the eagle and Adi Shesha, the Serpent
Lord Vishnu is seated on Adi Shesha, the primal serpent god, who represents the desire consciousness in us. Lord Vishnu can help us either to fulfill these desires or control them. When He travels, Lord Vishnu rides on Garuda, the giant bird. The bird represents the human thoughts which can fly in all directions at incredible speed. Lord Vishnu can help us to control our thoughts.
Lakshmi – Lotus flower when seated and the owl
Shri MahaLakshmi rides on an owl called Uluka. The owl is a solitary creature, that remains awake in darkness and asleep during the day time. It rarely trust human beings and seldom seen in the company of any other bird. It in fact stays away from people as if it has no interest in the humanity. Those who pursue riches should be aware of these negative qualities and pray to Shri Mahalakshmi so that she would inculcate in them the qualities of trust, generosity and social responsibility and would make them popular among people.
She would also help them come out of the darkness of ignorance, avarice and selfishness, which are generally associated with the pursuit of materialism. The owl is also regarded as an inauspicious image by the Hindus, who believe that if an owl visits a house in which people live, it is an ill omen.
Shri Mahalakshmi with her grace can remove all negative, inauspicious and adverse influences from our lives. If some one is suffering from adversity, they should pray to her because she, who controls all ill-omens and adversities can ward them off and bring them prosperity. Thus She has rightly been shown as using a rare bird like an owl as her vehicle.
Shiva – Nandi, the Bull
Lord Siva rides the Bull, Nandi, which stands for the bullying, aggressive, blind and brute power in man. It also stands for unbridled sexual energy, kama. Only Lord Siva can help us control these and transform them.
Durga or Parvati – Tiger or Lion
His consort Shri Parvathi, variously called Uma, Chandi, Durga or Kali uses Tiger as her vehicle. Tiger stands for cruelty, mercilessness, anger, violence and hostility towards other beings. Pravathi with her grace can help man to control all these qualities in him and become an enlightened being like Lord Siva.
Yama – Buffalo
Lord Yama is the God of death in Hindu belief, and it is common to refer to death as The Call of Yama. According to the portrayals he has a dark skinned body with a stick (Dand) in his hand. He is therefore referred to as the master of all beings subject to the authority of death. The power of Sun’s life becomes ineffective during night. But that of death prevails throughout day and night.When humans, believing in maya get carried away by sensual pleasures, he serves as a check to them by reminding them of the endless cycle of birth and death in which they are getting enmeshed.
The vehicle or Vahana of Yama is a black He buffalo. Symbolically, the animal suggests the arrival of death senselessly. There is a belief in some cultures that He Buffalo is one of the most senseless animals. Just like the buffalo, death arrives to us senselessly – and takes our life without looking age, status, religion or any other social parameters. The black color represents the journey after death with Yama to the unknown destination.
Adityas / Sun God – Seven horses / Agni
Lord Surya is the sun god in Hinduism. Important scriptures and mythology associated with Hindu religion contains several depiction of Lord Surya riding seven horses. The seven horses are known as Harits. Ratha Saptami is an important festival dedicated to Lord Surya riding seven horses.
The horses symbolize the cosmic rays, which radiates warmth and life. As they move across the skies, they remove darkness and usher in light. The seven horses also symbolize the seven colors of rainbow.
The reins of the horses are firmly in the hands of Aruna (Sun God). The reins are the seasons and Aruna makes sure with the reins that rays of the sun sustain all living beings. The seven horses are also said to represent the seven days of the week.
The seven horses are often referred as Harits and sometimes instead of horses they are depicted as seven mares. Occasionally, they are also depicted as one horse or mare with seven heads.
#7-Improve Communication with your Family
After listening a lecture on Imporving Communicaiton with Family, I thought i will share this with everyone.
When a neighbour visits your house over a cup of tea and you start feeling irritated because you are running late for an appointment, how will you deal with the situation? Even when irritated or impatient, we often make the effort to listen and communicate with friends, acquaintances, and even total strangers with more respect than we give our own children. Imagine the same scene in a breakfast table where the parents and kids meet. Do we treat our children with the same respect we are giving to total strangers?
Most parents would say they value the relationships with their children yet, because of their emotional involvement, find it difficult to communicate respectfully with them at times. Today’s children are facing dangers not known of in the past. With pressures and issues like drugs,internet addiction and the like which children are facing today, quality family relationships are becoming increasingly important. The need for open communication and positive family relationships is becoming all the more important and vital.
Most parents want their children to feel free to talk to them, yet don’t always know how they can foster this type of relationship. It helps if parents can remember that communication involves proper timing and both talking and listening. When children have a problem, their parents’ efforts at “listening” often result, instead, in lecturing and offering advice. Unsolicited advice provides little opportunity for children to share their feelings and can result in children becoming reliant on others’ influence. In turn, these children may develop inadequate decision-making skills as they mature.
Parents can help children feel encouraged by accepting their feelings. Acceptance means a willingness to allow children to be individuals with preferences and opinions of their own.
Most parents can be very accepting about most of the feelings their children have, unless they say something that makes the parent angry, anxious, or uncomfortable. It is common for parents to then revert to old habits and become defensive. Effective listening involves a respectful attitude, concentration, eye contact, and an effort to stop and think about when to be silent and when/how to respond. A simple nod or word of acknowledgment will let a child know you are listening. When listening, avoid probing questions like “why?” These questions shift the focus from feelings to analyzing and children may interpret it as a denial of their feelings.
Sometimes children will express their negative emotions in inappropriate ways, such as tantrums or yelling. Parents can allow children to feel angry but share specifics about how they can express their anger in acceptable ways(like punching a pillow).
When parents have negative feelings or want more cooperation from their child, they also need to respectfully express themselves. Instead of ordering and nagging, focus on the problem without blaming and give children a chance to decide for themselves what actions they need to take.
Finally, here are some tips to encourage your efforts at improving your family’s communication skills.
- Be authentic with your emotions and wording without blaming the other person.
- Have the courage to be imperfect — there are no perfect parents. New habits take at least twenty-one days of practice to establish and it is common for children to test parents during this time.
- Positive, open communication is only one area that parents can address to improve their effectiveness as parents.
#6-Which is the hardest job in the world?
One of my friend went for an interview in a college and one of the questions she faced was “Which is the hardest job in the world?” Almost shocked , she never expected this question in an interview for the post of a Psychology Teacher. She was expecting some questions relating to psychology straight way from text books or articles based on psychology or case studies. Her answers like being the Principal of a college, being the chief editor of a magazine, being the army head etc brought negative remarks from the interview board. Atlast she gave up and after the interview was over, she politely asked the board the answer of this particular question which she was not able to answer.
The person who asked this question gave a big laugh and asked her “How many kids do you have?” she said two. Then the interviewer asked her Dont you think that it is Effective Parenting the most hardest job in the world.? Without a doubt she said yes yes.. But i never expected this question in an interview for the post of a psychology teacher.
Generally speaking we want to be proud of our children and know that they have grown into capable adults who can take care of themselves and hopefully be a benefit to our community as well.When it comes to our children I think the universal end result is to ensure that our children experience a happy childhood that results in them growing into happy, self-confident, productive adults who are capable of making their own way and succeeding in the world. The childhood years are precious years that pass all too quickly.
These goals are highly desirable but how do we achieve them? If a child can look back on a happy childhood you can bet they were extremely valuable years to us too. If your style of parenting instills a healthy self-confidence and high degree of self-esteem during your children’s formative years, you know you are moving in the right direction. One tip I would offer is to remember the word ‘courtesy’. Showing those we love, be it partners or our children, the same common courtesy and respect we show to total strangers sometimes get forgotten in the everyday turmoil of life. We are just too close. Failing to acknowledge our loved ones can cost us dearly. Don’t let it happen and never forget your children are just as entitled to the same courtesy and respect as the next person.
By showing your children such basics you are helping them to start to feel terrific about themselves. If self-confidence and self-worth are to become an integral part of your child’s psyche the rich soils of respect and courtesy are an absolute necessity. Being a good parent is difficult, being the best parent is probably impossible. But it is worhtwhile to strive for these ideal qualities. At the end of the day, ‘Parenting ‘ may be the hardest job in the world but it’s probably the most rewarding too.
#5-Why do we do these?
Why do we have a prayer room?
Most Indian homes have a prayer room or altar. A lamp is lit and the Lord worshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like japa (repetition of the Lord’s name), meditation, paaraayana (reading of the scriptures), prayers, and devotional singing etc is also done here. Special worship is done on auspicious occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and the like. Each member of the family – young or old – communes with and worships the Divine here. The Lord is the entire creation. He is therefore the true owner of the house we live in too. The prayer room is the Master room of the house. We are the earthly occupants of His property. This notion rids us of false pride and possessiveness.
The ideal attitude to take is to regard the Lord as the true owner of our homes and us as caretakers of His home. But if that is rather difficult, we could at least think of Him as a very welcome guest. Just as we would house an important guest in the best comfort, so too we felicitate the Lord’s presence in our homes by having a prayer room or altar, which is, at all times, kept clean and well-decorated. Also the Lord is all pervading. To remind us that He resides in our homes with us, we have prayer rooms. Without the grace of the Lord, no task can be successfully or easily accomplished. We invoke His grace by communing with Him in the prayer room each day and on special occasions. Each room in a house is dedicated to a specific function like the bedroom for resting, the drawing room to receive guests, the kitchen for cooking etc. The furniture, decor and the atmosphere of each room are made conducive to the purpose it serves. So too for the purpose of meditation, worship and prayer, we should have a conducive atmosphere – hence the need for a prayer room.. Sacred thoughts and sound vibrations pervade the place and influence the minds of those who spend time there. Spiritual thoughts and vibrations accumulated through regular meditation, worship and chanting done there pervade the prayer room. Even when we are tired or agitated, by just sitting in the prayer room for a while, we feel calm, rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted.
Why do we light a lamp?
In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa). All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion. Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. The Lord is the “Knowledge Principle” (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.
Why not light a bulb or tube light?
That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals. Whilst lighting the lamp we thus pray:
Deepa sarva tamopahaha
Deepena saadhyate saram
Sandhyaa deepo namostute
Why do offer food to the Lord before eating it?
In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer Naivedyam (food) to the Lord. The Lord is omnipotent and omniscient. Man is a part, while the Lord is the totality. All that we do is by His strength and knowledge alone. Hence what we receive in life as a result of our actions is really His alone. We acknowledge this through the act of offering food to Him. This is exemplified by the Hindi words “Tera Tujko Arpan”- I offer what is Yours to You. Thereafter it is akin to His gift to us, graced by His divine touch. Knowing this, our entire attitude to food and the act of eating changes.
The food offered will naturally be pure and the best. We share what we get with others before consuming it. We do not demand, complain or criticise the quality of the food we get. We eat it with cheerful acceptance (Prasaada Buddhi). Before we consume our daily meals we first sprinkle water around the plate as an act of purification. Five morsels of food are placed on the side of the plate acknowledging the debt owed by us to the Divine forces (Devta runa) for their benign grace and protection; our ancestors (pitru runa) for giving us their lineage and a family culture; the sages (Rishi runa) as our religion and culture have been “realised” ,maintained and handed down to us by them; our fellow beings (Manushya runa) who constitute society without the support of which we could not live as we do and other living beings (Bhuta runa) for serving us selflessly. Thereafter the Lord, the life force, who is also within us as the five life-giving physiological functions, is offered the food. This is done with the chant
After offering the food thus, it is eaten as prasaada-blessed food.
Why do we do Pradakshina (circumambulate)?
We cannot draw a circle without a centre point. The Lord is the centre, source and essence of our lives. Recognising Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of Pradakshina. Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality. Why is Pradakshina done only in a clockwise manner? The reason is not, as a person said, to avoid a traffic jam! As we do Pradakshina, the Lord is always on our right. In India the right side symbolises auspiciousness. So as we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength, as our guide – the “right hand”.
Indian scriptures enjoin – Matrudevo Bhava, Pitrudevo Bhava, Acharyadevo Bava. May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this in mind we also do Padakshina around our parents and divine personages.
After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do Pradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognise and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolised in the form of the Lord that we worship outside.
Why do we ring the bell in a temple?
We do not ring the bell to wake up the Lord. The Lord never sleeps. Is it to let the Lord know we have come? He does not need to be told, as He is all knowing. Is it a form of seeking permission to enter His precinct? It is a homecoming and therefore entry needs no permission. The Lord welcomes us at all times. Then why do we ring the bell? The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. The ringing of the bell produces the sound Om, the universal name of the Lord. There should be auspiciousness within and without, to gain the vision of the Lord who is all-auspiciousness. Even while doing the ritualistic Aarathi, we ring the bell. It is sometimes accompanied by the auspicious sounds of the conch and other musical instruments. An added significance of ringing the bell, conch and other instruments is that they help to drown any inauspicious or irrelevant noises and comments that might disturb or distract the worshippers in their devotional ardour, concentration and inner peace. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja) we ring the bell, chanting:
Kurve ghantaaravam tatra
I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.
Why do we blow the conch?
When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om emanates. Om is an auspicious sound that was chanted by the Lord before creating the world. As the story goes, the demon Shankhaasura defeated the devas, the Devas and went to the bottom of the ocean. The devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated as Matsya Avataara – the “fish incarnation” and killed Shankhaasura. The Lord blew the conch-shaped bone of his ear and head. The Om sound emanated, from which emerged the Vedas. All knowledge enshrined in the Vedas is an elaboration of Om. The conch therefore is known as Shankha after Shankaasura.
The conch blown by the Lord is called Paanchajanya. He carries it at all times in one of His four hands. It represents dharma or righteousness that is one of the four goals (purushaarthas) of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil.
Another well-known purpose of blowing the conch and the instruments, known traditionally to produce auspicious sounds is to drown or mask negative comments or noises that may disturb or upset the atmosphere or the minds of worshippers. Ancient India lived in her villages. Each village was presided over by a primary temple and several small ones. During the Aarathi performed after all-important poojas and on sacred occasions, the conch used to be blown. Since villages were generally small, the sound of the conch would be heard all over the village. People who could not make it to the temple were reminded to stop whatever they were doing, at least for a few seconds, and mentally bow to the Lord. The conch sound served to briefly elevate people’s minds to a prayerful attitude even in the middle of their busy daily routine. The conch is placed at the altar in temples and homes next to the Lord as a symbol of Naada Brahma (Truth), the Vedas, Om, dharma, victory and auspiciousness. It is often used to offer devotees thirtha (sanctified water) to raise their minds to the highest Truth. It is worshipped with the following verse.
Twam puraa saagarot pannaha
Devaischa poojitha sarvahi
Salutations to Panchajanya the conch born of the ocean Held in the hand of Lord Vishnu and worshipped by all devaas.
A pictorial respresentation of the emmission of Divine Energy while the conch is blown
……..OM NAMO NARAYANAYA…..
#4-Bhajanam at Chottanikkara Temple – A Divine Experience
I took a forced break last week and headed to Chottanikkara Temple with my mother who is 73 years old for a 3 day Bhajanam. I left my family at home (my two kids and their father.)
The deity at Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple is a swayambhu moorthy and i had been visiting this temple with my parents right from my childhood days. The bhajanam has given me a lot of positive enery and solutions to almost all unanswered questions I had in my mind on various issues. It was a totally divine experience and was like recharging myself with postive power that had thrown light into my true potential. It was a physically, mentally and spiritually awakening break which i needed most.
The Sanctum Sanctorum opens in the wee hours of the early morning around 4 pm on all days except Friday and other special festival days when it opens at 3.30am. The blowing of the counch and the ringing of temple bells with the accompaniment of the musical instruments you are taken to another world where you get peace and happiness just by being there at that time. Make sure you are there at the time when the Sanctom Sanctorum Opens where you can see the NIRMALYA DARSANAM of GODDESS MOOKAMBIKA. The legend says that Sree Mookambika, the Goddess Saraswathi is present here at that time. That is the main reason for the Mookambika temple at Kollur opens late in the morning after the Goddess returns from Chottanikkara.
Bhajanam Paarkkal at Chottanikkara Temple is an important vazhipaadu done at the temple. Those who want to do Bhajanam has to stay in the temple premises and follow the rules and regulations of the temple. It is the way of surrendering to the Goddess by undergoing sacrifices and having implicit faith in HER for getting rid of mental or physical illness or afflictions, tension, stress and strains, poor education, job or to get married or to be gifted with children.
You have to strictly follow the rules and regulations laid down by the temple authorities.
- You are not supposed to leave the temple premises on the days of Bhajanam
- You are not supposed to take food from outside (coffee, tea,bread etc.. Absolutely NO HOTEL FOOD)
- You are not supposed to sleep during day time.
- No early morning tea, coffee etc which we are very much used in our daily life.
- The first intake is the “Sacred Ghee” given from the temple for the Bhajanam Disciples to clear all the poison from our stomach.
- Secondly we have to take the “Sacred Theertham” given by the Temple Priest. This is the first spoon of water intake for us.
- Thirdly we have to consume the “Sacred Guruthi Theertham” we get from the Keezhkavu Temple.
All this will be over by around 8.30 AM. After this we can eat one or two bananas or any other fruit.
After breakfast doing Pradakshinas and chanting Amme Narayana Devi Narayana Lakshmi Narayana Bhadre Narayana… will keep you busy. I had taken Lalitha Sahasranama Book and other Slokas on Goddess with me, so that not even a minute passed away without the divine thought. You can sing Keethanas too in praise of Goddess.
Around 12 noon the Bhajanam Devotees are given “Padachoru” (Rice) by the Temple Priest. You can have this Prasadam with a little Buttermilk/Sambhaaram. (Everyday there is Annadhanam in Temple. You can request the temple authorities to kindly provide a little buttermilk for your lunch.)
Then you can go back to your room and come back to the temple around 3.45 pm.(You cannot sleep in the afternoon) At 4.pm the Sanctum Sanctorum opens again for evening poojas. The evening time passes quiet fast as you attend all the poojas. After the Athazha pooja (main pooja in the evening), the chief priest of the principal deity comes to Kizhukkavu to perform the famous and great pooja “ValiyaGuruthy” (great Sacrifice). The Guruthy is prepared in 12 cauldrons (huge vessel/uruli) and is performed at about 8.45 p.m every night.The Guruthi will be over around 9.45pm.
Those who witness the guruthy performance, which itself is awe inspiring and prolonged ceremony, finds it an experience which is indescribable. Being present here during Valiya guruthy on Fridays permanently cures women suffering from mental abnormalities. As the Valiya Guruthi proceeds you can witness people haunted with evil spirits and negative energies conversing with the Goddess. An ancient ‘Pala’ tree standing on the northeastern side of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with long iron nails hammered on by haunted victims with their foreheads.
On the 4th day after the Nirmalya Darsanam and Pantheeradi Pooja i set back to home with new refreshed energy where i found my family members all eagerly waiting for me welcoming me back home. I was too happy to see them. My family members told me that they really missed me and now they realised that without me they find it very difficult to live.
…………..AMME NARAYANA …………… DEVI NARAYANA ………
…………..LAKSHMI NARAYANA ……….BHADRE NARAYANA……
What are you thinking ? Just take a break and go to Chottanikkara or Mookambika or a place of your choice where you let yourself free from all family ties for a week….come back home and continue with your duties with refreshed energy.
Based on a speech which I heard recently, I am trying to put those most important words here in this blog as I myself have experienced it as a wake-up call to live for the most important component in our life -the family and our relationship with its members. Imagine a life with all the money in the world but not a person to love or to be loved by ? The most joyful/wanted thing in our life is our loved ones, our relationship, our family. We claim that all the money is made for the family, but if the family itself is not happy, what is the use of all that money you have made?
One of the most important management technique that we have to learn is how to manage love, how to manage our relationship, our family. Love is the queen of all emotion; of all noble positive relations, love is the mother of them all. If love is there all positive emotions are there.We are told that we are guided by our intellect and we live by our knowledge, but the fact is that we are guided by our emotions.
With all the education that we are giving to our children we are only developing their intellect and not their emotion. Emotion adorns a person. They are the jewels of a person.Coming back to educating our children which develops intellect, it should be understood that intellect which is not enriched with emotion / sentiments becomes crazy. This split personality is what that causes todays depression,dejection,drug addiction, divorce, suicide etc. In all these cases, they cannot integrate their intellect with emotion.
We develop the IQ (Intellectual Quotient) of our children which can fetch them a degree or a job. But what keeps them in their job is their EQ (Emotional Quotient).Very few companies like Ford have recognised that there is one more quotient called SQ. SQ is Spiritual Quotient. Our Indian Rishis recognised this very well.They said that your intellect and knowledge must be there but your emotions also should be well developed and the two together must seek the height of Spirituality. Swami Chinmayananda had said that your logical and rational intellect and the emotional mind are like the two wings of a bird. Both must be equally spread out. If one is not developed and the if bird tries to flap its wings it will move, but only in circles. Only when both the wings are equally spread out, your intellect and your mind, then there is a flight in meditation to reach the height of spirituality. Without love even GOD realisation is not possible. Without BHAKTHI there is no way with all your knowledge , that you can reach SELF REalisation or GOD Realisation. Therefore this development of emotion is a very important aspect of our life.
Unless and until our relationship with people and family are good and harmoniuous, what can we even talk about Bhakthi or God love.? People go to Temples, Churches, Gurudwara etc to pray and give their offerings in Gold , Silver etc; but in their own families- all relationships the brother-in-law, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, brothers, father-in-law etc lead such a bickering life uttering only rude and harsh words to each other. Then what is the point in purpose of worship of God or how can you think about God realisation? This is not devotion.
Our topic is about understanding LOVE and how we manage it in our different relationships. What is Love? What is the expression of Love? The expression of love is always sacrifice and service. The measure of love is how much are we ready to sacrifice; that much is the measure of love. When we are ready to serve, then there is love. When we are ready to give there is love.The economics of love is there is great demand for love but no supply.People keep waiting for love. But for a change why dont you be the rare person who start giving love first. Now the economics of demand and supply. You are the only shop/outlet giving love that too free of cost. Who will not come to you? The biggest mistake is that people feel that joy of love is only being loved . But they dont realise that giving loving will give a much greater joy. The first mistake that people do is that they wait to be loved. But the thing is one should start giving love even if other person doesnt give love, the joy of giving love enriches ones own heart. Secret of love is Start giving love. Love breeds love.
#2-Parent – Children love
Parent – Children love sometimes become suffocating. Parent- children love becomes selfish now adays. There is so much desire or expectations today. We always hear, if you give so much of love to your children what will they become ? In a family there is Ravana and also Vibhishana. That is not the fault of the parent. Most of you here are already parent, grandparents or a parent to be. Most of your joy today is seeing the happiness of your children. Is it not? In the growing age of children, parents neglect their children by keep themselves so busy that they drop their children at a nearby day care center and rush for job for the sake of money . How to manage Children ? What is the Art of Parenting ? Simple formula for bringing up your children. Ancient Rishis have told this.
The first 5 years of the child, give all affection and love, care, attention,and time to your child. In these days where both parents have to work to make a living, children are put in a day care centre during these prime years. Children dont get love and affection in a day care center and therefore when they grow up, they become very insecure in love. This is the period where the child must feel the security of the mother’s embrace/affection. This is not the age to beat or scold the children though this is the age when they are very mischievous. Recognise the difference between misbehaviour and mischievousness. Today parents allow their children to misbehave. But when they are slightly mischievous at home, they beat them up. Mischievousness of the child is the dynamism and energy of the child.Krishna whom we worship in this country was the most mischievous child ever seen. Dont curb the dynamism and energy of the child. Today’s childrens’ vocabulory is mostly negative saying NO NO NO almost every time . This is the only thing that they hear from their parent. Dont touch this, Dont do that, It is not like that etc.. Let them play, adventure and develop their strength.
With affection only teach them what is wrong and how to correct. Small scoldings will be more than enough. This is called the mother period by the modern day psychologists. Mother has to spent a lot of time with the kid. The child also clings to the mother every now and then. If you ask him whom do you love most ? – the child answers Amma.
The next 10 years is the education period of child. “Dashavarshaani Thaadaye”. It doesnt mean that the next ten years the child has to be beaten up. The women community has misunderstood the phrase. Thaadana means to educate. No education is possible without a certain amount of discipline. Thats the age when you teach values, discipline and educate the children. It is not beating up the child. Never ever raise your hand to beat your child. Such must be your authority that a mere look by you should make the child behave himself. It is your failure when you raise your hand on your child. This is the father period of the child. Father has to teach by example. If the father smokes, the child also imitates smoking by folding a paper in his hand. If the father plays cricket with them, sits and help to do a little bit of homework for them, it will create a great reverence for the father. Father is an idol for them at this point of time. He is a role model.
After they are 15 years old, treat them as your friends. In the present day, parents lecture them and children revolt against the parents. Do not lecture – Discuss things with them. The child often says her/his friend’s mother is so good. Why dont you become like her? This is the age when you must find a mentor for your child. It could be an uncle, aunt, a saintly person, a Guru, a teacher who can guide them in their life. A friendship should be created with them. When there is a problem with a child or if they are making some mistake, they will share all their fear with their mentor. But, why not with a parent. Because, parents due to their over attachment to their children will think about only the negative or worse things that can happen to their child. The greatest problem in any relationship be it husband/wife or parent/children is that they have stopped listening. When the children come and ask you about something about which they are doing , first listen to them. Dont shout at them telling NoNo No.., you are not going there, you are not going out for that party or club etc etc… The fact that they have told you shows that they are trying to get some help from you. But if you panic, better get them someone wiser,who guides them, cares for them and who looks after them. This is the best period in life where the grand parents come to help. Most daughters-in-law do not understand the importance of having a grand mother in the house. When your children become teenagers, the rapport that they have with their grand parents, they will never have with their parents. Its a magical relationship. The parents too should be confident about the values that they have imparted to their kid in those early ten years and leave them to adventure and live their own life. If you taught them well, there is nothing to be afraid. Have the confidence that your child will never do anything wrong and that is what you have taught him in his prime age. Teenagers are no longer your babies. Give them freedom, guide them. They are growing up to be men and women. This is what is parenting about.
Now what is the relationship that the children should have with a parent ? They are your best well wishers. They may not be perfect. Our Rishis have told Mathru Devo Bhava, Pirthru Devo Bhava, the third place goes to your Guru. See your mother and father as God. But the mother and father should represent God to the children. Doesnt that make sense ? The secret is respect your mother/father or mother-in-law/father-in-law. So this generation will respect you. You cant demand respect from them. Elders should also realise that they should not be a burden to their children. They should demand the minimum, complain the mimimum and realise that their kids have the next generation to look after. Such elderly people are welcome in the house. Both ways it has to work. You do your duties well, the next generation hopefully do their duties well. It is so sympathetic that after taking care of their children so well, helping their children to settle in life and doing whatever they can for the good of their child, parents in their old age, when they are not in a position to look after themseves are abandoned in old age homes. This is the time when Krishna comes with a whip in hand reminding you that you have not done your duty. Here the parent should also understand that giving all the education to their kids, it was their duty. Sending him to U.K. for higher studies, that is also a duty of a parent. You have bought him books written by Barbera Cartland, Mills and Boons etc. But did you teach him Ramayan where the son sacrifices the kingdom for his father’s words. Is it not your duty to teach your kids about their duties? If you have not given them the education of values , what can you expect from them ? Do your duties with love.
Shall come back shortly with the Husband / Wife Relationship. Let us see what the speaker has to say about this particular relationship.
#1-Husband Wife Relationship
An old couple residng at Newyork celebrating their 50th wedding anniverssay invited Guruji to their home to offer him “Biksha”rather than throwing a big party. The elderly woman, though old was incharge of cooking and her presence was felt in almost all corners of the household. The Guruji in the midst of their conversation asked the gentleman (when the wife was away at the kitchen) These days people cant stay 50 days in marriage, but how come you stayed in marriage like a place in America for 50 long years. Elderly man managed. He didnt find an answer. But she was listening in the kitchen. Shyly she came behind the curtain and said to the guruji “Swamiji you like some one because of something, but you love someone inspite of everything. That is the glory of love. Love is not blind. Blind love is attachment.You dont see the faults of others. Love is that which sees the good in the other and brings out the best. Therefore that which brings out the worst in the you/other is the lower form of love. That which brings out the best in you and your beloved is the higher form of love.
In the lower form of love you are ready to give happiness only for happiness in return. But in higher form of love you think only about the happiness of the beloved. For the happiness of the beloved, he/she is ready to even sacrifice or even suffer and that suffering finds joy. People give up thier life for their country and find it great joy!! Is it not? Sree Ramachandra gave up his kingdom for his father’s word and found joy in it and not suffering. Because he loved his father. He loved honesty. In lower form of love there is always fear and insecurity. The story of Rukmani and Satyabhama about winning Krishna is depicted here. Sage Narada wanted to test the love of Rukmani and Sathyabhama.
Narada Muni went to Rukmani and asked her, where is Krishna? Rukmani politely said, must have gone out for some work. Narada sarcastically asks her, “are you Sure”? There are other places like Brindavan, Satyabhama etc. etc. Rukmani very confident about her love firmly says to Narada that she knows about Krishna and will definitely come back to her wherever he might go. She does not have any fear or insecurity about Krishna leaving her. Narada went to Sathyabhama and repeated the same question to her. Sathyabhama said , I dont know. Must be sitting with some Rukmani or…She requested Narada to do something so that Krishna is only for Sathyabhama. Narada asked her to do a particular Vratha and said her that she has to donate what she considered the most precious of her belongings, so that Krishna comes back to her.Krishna was most precious to her and as per the Vrata she had to donate him. Krishna had to follow Narada. He made a slave of Krishna. Sathyabhama started crying. Why are you taking Krishna? Give him back to me. Okay. Then you give me something else for Krishna so that I can return him. She said I will give all my jewels to Krishna. It was fine with Narada. She put all her jewels, precious diamonds, gold, silver, etc etc in the pan for the Thulabharam of Krishna. But Krishna could not be measured in jewels. Finally she goes to Rukmani from whom she wanted to steal away Krishna. She says to Rukmani the whole episode and asks her to give all the jewels she has so that Krishna can be bought back. Rukmani laughed at Sathyabhama and said “Do you think you can measure Krishna with these jewels?” She continues, Take all my jewels if you want. But Krishna cannot be measured with these jewels. She removes all the jewels from the pan and keeps one Tulsi leaf and that is heavier than Krishna and wins Krishna back. This is the glory of love.
What happens in a Hindu Marriage ?. The girl goes behind the man three rounds. In the first round she says, in your pursuasion of your Dharma, duties , I will be behind you. In your seeking of prosperity, I will stand behind your success or failure. In your joys and enjoyments which are with Dharma, I shall always be with you to give your pleasure.
In the last and fourth round, one thing she demands – that in death “I shall go before you”. This is what a woman asks in marriage. In death I go before you and I dont want to stay behind like a widow. She says I will go first and prepare the kingdom for you there. This is all that a woman demands from a husband. But in reality, if the husband dies first, the wife will survive without much difficulty. But in the other way, if the wife parts away first, the husband finds it very difficult to survive. Why? Because the woman was always the giver all her life and the man was the receiver or dependent. She was giving care,love,attention,education, life lessons etc constantly reminding them about their duties to her children and family. Men on the other hand do their only job of providing for the family by bringing money for their survival and existence. As Kalidas puts it ” Wisdom comes naturally to woman. But men get it from books.”
When you love your parents you love your brothers and sisters and when you love your country you will love all your fellow beings. Love is one that ends your ego. But today, in any family, there is only ego in relationships. You said this about my feelings – so i said this to you. As Kabirdas puts it, If you have to live in the house of love, then eliminate your ego. Only then you can experience the joy of love.
This page has the following sub pages.
- #28-Why should one look into the hands in the morning ?
- #28-Goddess Saraswathi – Embodiment of Knowledge
- 43- Guru the Embodiment of GOD – Guru Poornima-2016
- #31-The Symbolic Meaning of Characters in Ramayana
- 20- Routine Customs and Manners to be followed in our daily life
- #49-Guru-The Supreme Energy-Guru Poornima 2017
- 32-Scientific Healing Affirmations
- 18-An emotion called Love and its influence in your Heart – A Change for Betterment
- #44- Lord Krishna – Janmashtami and Enlightenment !
- #36-Master your Mind for Eternal Peace
- #45-Make this year TRULY ICONIC !
- #35-Maha Sivarathri 2015
- 33-Understanding How to Use the Power of Affirmation
- 35-God’s Response Can Come as an Intuitive Solution to a Problem
- 17-The Sage of Kanchi-Devotion through Music
- #23-WEEK OF LIFE
- #25-Your thoughts become reality.
- #38-Guru Poornima-2015
- #46-The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die
- #29-Why to Get up early in the Morning?
- #30-Guru Poornima 2014
- #42-UDDHAVA GEETHA – A MUST READ
- # 41- A Musical Call to Senior Citizens-Part 2
- #22-Rath Yatra
- #27-The Secret of Lifelong Happiness – Live in the “NOW”
- 19-Striking a Right Balance between Parents and Children.
- #37-Pursuing the Higher Purpose in our Life..
- 21-Uplift /Empower Your Mind
- #47-Experiencing the Divine Bliss “in and through” Music
- #24-Gurupoornima – GURU, The God in our Life
- # 40- A Musical Call to Senior Citizens-Part 1
- #34-The Benefits of Singing – Harmonizing with the Universe
- #48-Practice Towards Progress Aiming Excellence !!
- MIRACLES DO HAPPEN !!
- #51- Janmashtami Thoughts 2019 !
- #52 – Is there a need for new Composers ?