Category Archives: Saints and Sages

Satsang with Pujya Swami Tadatmananda ji in Milwaukee

Dear all,

Hari Om !

We had the wonderful opportunity again to be in the holy company of Pujya Swami Tadatmananda ji, a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and the head of Arsha Bodha Center.

Swamiji comes every year to Milwaukee and teaches us very practical issues of applying vedanta in our daily life. He is very kind, very simple and always eager to help the sadhakas in their spiritual quest.

The first Satsang was conducted on sunday in the private residence of Sri Anil Aggarwal, a key person in the Spiritual Enrichment Program (SEP). The topic was on the obstacles in Sadhana. Sunday evening and monday evening, there were two lectures inthe Hindu Temple of Wisconsin, on “Ego” and “Dharma”. Hari and I jotted down the outline of these satsangs as much as we could remember, to refer to it frequently as a helping aid for us. We both could get the fortune on having person-person talk with Swamiji and we were amazed at how simple and accessible he is. Next time he comes to Milwaukee, we want to bring him to our home.

We have posted the Satsang Material that we penned down in the Downloads section. You can also click here directly to view the material –

Satsang Material

Swamiji was born in Milwaukee, US and was greatly attracted towards Indian Philosophy and vedanta. He served his Spiritual Guru, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, for over 20 years, before he established his ashram ‘Arsha Bodha Center’ in New York.

All Swamiji’s audio – The entire Bhagavadgita collection, Narada Bhakti Sutras and other audio is available for free download on his website. Please follow this link:

Downloads of Arsha Bodha Center of Swami Tadatmananda ji

Jai Sri Rama !
Yours, In the Service of the Lord,
-Aparna Hari

Bhakti Yoga of Swami Vivekananda : Retreat with Swami Chetanananda

We attended a one-day retreat with Swami Chetananda ji of Ramakrishna Mission (St. Louis Branch) on April 14th. This retreat was conducted at Vivekananda Vedanta Center, Chicago. Hari and I were looking forward to go to this retreat. We already decided that we would try to attend all the retreats that are conducted in Ganges, Michigan.

The retreat was on Bhakti Yoga by Swami Vivekananda. Swami Chetananda ji is a Bengali, and he provided very good and humorous anecdotes when talking about how to develop Bhakti Yoga. He is a very great devotee of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ma Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananada. He is a very humble person. He also emphasized that Bhakti and Jnana are not mutually exclusive paths, but very compatible and one cannot exist without the other.

He also presented a meditation technique which I found very interesting – of dynamically meditating on the life of our Ishta-Devata. It is like a movie, only difference is here, our hero is our Lord and all the scenes are his glories or acts and deeds, which we might have read in any devotional text like Ramayana and Bhagavata.

We also saw a movie, as part of our retreat, on Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It was a Bengali movie which was taken in may be 1940s or so, and a Black & White film. There were subtitles in English. We enjoyed the movie thoroughly. We made our way to the front and sat on the floor. Lord Mahaprabhu is the incarnation of love for Sri Krishna. He has revolutionized by the Chanting movement.

The movie was so wonderful. After finishing the movie, the second part of the discourse on Bhakti Yoga continued. In the evening at 6:00 pm, we had Rama Naam sankirtan. Swami Chidananda ji is a very great soul and his love-filled bhajans are melodious. We had a wonderful satsang in this retreat. We returned in the night to Milwaukee.

We look forward to Swami Brahmarupananda’s retreat on “Kaivalya Upanishad” in Ganges, Michigan on May 12, 2007.

Design and Construction In Progress

We want to thank the many visitors to the site (We are happy that the hits have increased in significant number over the last week). As many of you might have observed, this site is still in the construction phase. We are slowly filling in the information. Our aim, to reach which, we will put all our best efforts, is to make your browsing experience on this site a valuable and exciting experience. We do not want to be limited by language or region. We have already made a list of some of the devotional texts that we will be placing here. Typing them in the INDIC fonts is taking a bit of time. While Hari is assiting me with writing the content for the Saints Pages and also typing in the english meanings for the texts that we want to place, I am busy with writing the Indic Scripts and making a list of the valuable devotional literature and the way of acquiring them, if we don’t have them. As you might have already observed, the pages for Sant Tulsidas, Bammera Potana and Swami Sivananda are complete. Hari is working on the other pages, but he is pressed for time currently. Also, please note that, we are trying to put many devotional texts online under the page “Online Devotional Works” to the left under the “PAGES” section. Presently, we are working on Tulsidas Sundarakanda, along with the english meanings, and we completed 24 “Chaupais” of them. Our near goals are “ Govinda Damodara Stotram” by Bilvamangala Thakur or LeelaSuka, “Gajendra Moksham” by Bammera Potana (with its english meanings if possible), “Gayatri Ramayanam”, “Narayaniyam”, “Saranaagathi Gadyam”, “Bheemeswara Satakam”, by my great-grandfather, “Alvandar Stotram”, “Tiruppavai”, “Sankshipta Ramayanam” and much more. We are slowly working towards it, although I should confess that my current laptop is giving me lot of problems, which I plan to replace with a new one. Also, we plan to add more pages devoted to Saints, as there are many saints who have appeared for our benefit.

Regarding the music upload, we think we need to be more cautious so as not to violate the copyrights. We have many tracks and CDs, casettes, full of devotional audio, but we want to make sure that there are no copyrights violated if we plan to upload them. In this context, we are planning to contact Ramakrishna Mission authorities for their kind permission to upload one or two bhajans of Swami DivyaVratananda, whose voice is full of devotion and who has sung some of the sweetest devotional bhajans I have ever heard. Please watch out for that section also. All the Online Devotional Works will also be converted into PDFs for user download. And if users want a prticular text to be written in INDIC (even if it is Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam or any Indian Language), please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than glad to get this work done, as we feel that typing a devotional text will reinforce our devotion to Lord, through the beauty of devotional literature.

Regarding the music upload, we think we need to be more cautious so as not to violate the copyrights. We have many tracks and CDs, casettes, full of devotional audio, but we want to make sure that there are no copyrights violated if we plan to upload them. In this context, we are planning to contact Ramakrishna Mission authorities for their kind permission to upload one or two bhajans of Swami DivyaVratananda, whose voice is full of devotion and who has sung some of the sweetest devotional bhajans I have ever heard. Please watch out for that section also. All the Online Devotional Works will also be converted into PDFs for user download. And if users want a prticular text to be written in INDIC (even if it is Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam or any Indian Language), please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than glad to get this work done, as we feel that typing a devotional text will reinforce our devotion to Lord, through the beauty of devotional literature.

Thank you very much for taking your time to read this.

Jai Ram jiki.

Qualities of a Vaishnava – The Devotee of Lord

OM!

First, let us try to understand what the word “Vishnu” means. Knowing the meaning helps us understand its universal oneness irrespective of the differences in religion, race, belief, and cultures. “Vishnu” is not a monopoly of Hinduism, though it is mostly used in Hindu religion.

“Vishnu” is a sanskrit word, written as विष्णु. The root is “vis” meaning “to pervade” and the suffix “nu” together results in the meaning – “The All-Pervading One “or “The Omnipresent”. Can the All-Pervading God be limited to one body, one race, one religion and one belief ? That shows our limitedness of knowledge, but God cannot be limited. God is The All-Pervading One – Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Prophet Mohammad, Buddha – all are incarnations of God and hence can be called ”Vishnu”.

“Vaishnava” thus means “belonging to Vishnu”. In various scriptures, it is emphasized by Lord that His Devotee is dear to him, and among the Devotees, the enlighted one is most dear to HIM. Many Puranas, and Scriptures in the category of Bhakti (Devotion) Literature speak about the qualities of a Devotee. The one I am presenting below is one such written by Sant Narsinh Mehta of Gujarat.

The summary of the qualities of the devotee of Lord is beautifully presented in the four stanzas. I am presenting this poem in both Sanskrit and the Transliteration along with its meaning. Whenever I hear to the rendering of this wonderful poem by Swami Divyavratananda of Ramakrishna Mission, I get tears in my eyes. I will soon post the mp3 of this song and I am sure we will be blessed with joy and happiness after hearing it.

वैष्णव जनतो तेने कहिये जे

पीड परायी जाने रे ।

पर दुःखे उपकार करे तो ये

मन अभिमान न आने रे ।।

He alone is called a Vaishnava – the devotee of Lord, who knows and understands the sufferings of others and by helping them in their distress, does not allow pride and ego enter his self.

सकळ लोकमा सहुने वंदे

निंदा न करे केनि रे ।

वाचिका आछे मन निश्चल राखे

धन धन जननी तेनि रे ।।

He alone looks upon the entire universe as his own self and does not accuse anyone or find fault with. He keeps his mind, heart and speech filled with divine purity. O Vaishnava, thy mother is very fortunate !

सम दृष्टि ने तृष्णा त्यागी

पर स्त्री झेणे मात रे ।

जिह्वा थके असत्य न बोले

पर धन न वझाले हाथ रे ।।

He alone has equal vision, possesses equanimity and abandons all desires. He considers other women to be his own mother. Though the sense organ tongue is tired (its nature is to speak ill of others and utter falsehood), he never utters a lie. He never touches other’s property or has any desire for it.

मोह मायाव्यपि नहि झेणे

दृढ वैराग्य झीना मनमा रे ।

राम नाम सो ताळिरे लागे

सकल तीरथ तेन तनमा रे ।।

He is untouched by ignorance and maya (illusion). Armed with strong renunciation and established in self, he constantly utters “Rama”, the divine names of Lord and in him is the confluence of all sacred pilgrim centers.

वण लोभी णे कपट् रहिता छे

काम क्रोध निवार्या रे ।।

भणे नरसयो तेनु दरषन करता ।।

कुळ् एकोतेर तार्या रे ।।

He alone is without greed and deception and abandons lust and anger. Narsi, the devotee of Lord, would like to see such a person, who brings honor to the entire family through such divine qualities.

Om Tat Sat !

 

 

The Prayer of St Francis

OM !

We have subscribed to a newsletter of “Blue Mountain Center of Meditation” which is established by Sri Eknath Easwaran. He was a professor of English Literature in India and came to University of California, Berkeley in 1968 on Fulbright Scholarship. Subsequently he established “Nilgiri Meditation Center”, which then took its English translation, “Blue Mountain Center of Meditation”. His Eight Point Meditation technique is a powerful one as experienced by many of his disciples and followers. As I understand from the newsletter, it consists of meditating on a powerful passage which inspires and motivates us towards divinity by eliminating the base nature.

What impressed us very much is the simplicity of his articles – his examples are simple and similies are very apt. It is very encouraging to read the spiritual experiences of several people who have benefitted from following his meditation technique. In the recent newsletter (which we received a week back), Sri Eknath Easwaran wrote about the significance of “The Prayer of St Francis” and it touched me very deeply. Hence, I want to share with you some details about St Francis and his prayer.

St Francis of Assisi

Francis Bernardone was his earlier name. Born into a prosperous family in Assisi towards the end of 12th century, he grew up to be an ambitious and dreamy young man – like all others. His passionate ambition was to form his own band and sing beautiful ballads to his lover. One day he happened to enter a little church called “San Damiano”. Here, his inner voice called out to him and his material, mundane and superficial existence has dissolved and his divine nature shone through. To quote Ramachairtmanas, whoever has the grace of the merciful lord, Rama, can escape this Maya and feel the divine presence in and around him. This was the case with the young Francis. He left his wealth and became a poor wandering monk. He realised God within and it is said that he is the friend of the animals – so compassionate and loving. It is through this divine saint, that this wonderful prayer has comeforth.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Om Tat Sat !