Category Archives: Saints and Sages

Remembrance of God is the greatest fortune

Hari Om!
Om Namo Narayanaya!

After a long gap during which we also enjoyed a month long stay at Sivananda Ashram in India (more on this will be posted soon), here is a post to share a very inspiring talk given by Guru Maharaj Pujya Sri Swami Chidanandaji:-

What is good fortune and what is misfortune? Who is our friend and who is our enemy?

Man is the only living being endowed with discrimination and who has inherited vast knowledge through scriptures – the Vedas, Puranas, Srimad Bhagavatam, Panchadasi, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Narada Bhakti Sutras, Sandilya Bhakti Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, BrahmaSutras, etc – which are filled with so much wisdom. Add to it the wisdom teachings of many, many sages down the centuries. In our own times, there are the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna Dev, Swami Ramdas, our own Gurudev, Ma Anandamyi, etc.

How much guidance we have got! If we don’t use this for our good, then who is to blame for it? Having all this and not utilizing it – it is our fault, not somebody else’s fault.

Vipado Naiva Vipadah, Sampado Naiva Sampadah !
Vipada Narayana Vismrutih, Sampat Smaranam Narayanasya !!

Misfortune is forgetting God – that is the real misfortune. Constantly remembering God and not to forget Him – what is greater fortune than this? This is indeed the greatest fortune. Other things are neither good fortune nor misfortune. These alone are the greatest good fortune and the greatest misfortune – Remembrance of God and forgetfulness of God.

Who is your friend? Who is your enemy?

He is your greatest friend, well-wisher, relative, companion, helper – who creates in you a taste for repetition of God’s name, even from your childhood. Srimad Bhagavata Maha Puran says that He is your father, mother, companion, best friend, helper, well wisher – who creates within you, a taste for the name of God even from your childhood. There cannot be a well-wisher greater than such a person, because in this Kaliyuga, repetition of God’s name is the greatest way.

Jaake Hruday na Ram Vaidehi !
Tyajiye Koti Vair sam Yadyapi Param Sanehi !!

That person, in whose heart God is not seated – here he mentions Lord Rama and Sita, the daughter of King Janaka Maharaj or Videha. That person who has not kept God and awareness of inner presence of God -even if he is your best friend, cast him away, leave him, renounce him, as though he is a million devils or enemies – who is intent upon doing you harm; who will destroy you, hurt you, harm you. Such a person, even if he happens to be your best friend, if he diverts your mind to miscellaneous enjoyments saying – lets go to the club or the cinemas, lets go and have a nice evening snack in the restaurant, etc. Any person who diverts you towards earthly activities, whose fruit is not attainment of God – discard, renounce, give up such a person as though he were a million enemies put together. Even if he happens to be your most intimate friend, because slowly he will color you in his own color. He will make you like himself.

This is a miniscule wisdom teaching out of many that we have received from various saintly sources. I think this one is from Sant Tulsidas.

Having provided you with these nuggets of spiritual teachings, gems of wisdom, I shall end the service of this morning, but Spiritual teachings are only useful when they are remembered; when they are kept in the heart and so remember them and benefit from them by applying them in your own life – subjective inner life as well as objective outer life in this world. Even if you have many lakhs of rupees in the bank and you do not make use of it, then you are as good as a poor person or a miser. A miser has money but he will not spend; a poor person has no money so he cannot spend. To either of them money is not of use in life. In the same way for spiritual teachings. Therefore, spiritual truths and guidance must be actively and constructively utilized. It is for living; you must apply it in your daily life by thought, word and deed.

Hari Om! Om… Om… Om!”

Yours in service of God and Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

MahaSamadhi of Guru Maharaj H.H. Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj

 

Guru Maharaj Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj
Guru Maharaj Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj

Most Worshipful and Revered Guru Maharaj, Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj has attained Mahasamadhi and merged into the Bliss Absolute at the age of 93 years on Thursday, 28th August 2008 at 8:12 PM.

Disciple and Successor of H H Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj and President of the world renowned Divine Life Society for the last four decades, Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj was working and serving the Divine Cause of Sri Gurudev’s Mission tirelessly and spreading His Divine Life Message all over the world. He was an embodiment of humility, purity and kindness. He lived the ideal life of a true renunciate. Service to lepers became His ideal and worship to Lord Narayana. He served them with tender love and compassion. He was inspirer of CHIPKO movement. His work for the protection of Himalaya and Ganges will be cherished for ages to come.

Revered Saint, Mother Teresa considered Him a Living Saint Francis of Assisi. For His own Guru, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, He was  an incarnation of Buddha. Whereas the entire Europe regarded Him an Uncrowned King. Sri Sri Maa Anandamayi saw in Him Lord Narayana Himself. Most Worshipful and Revered Sri Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj of BAPS, has seen in Him His own Guru Pujya Yogiji Maharaj’s Holy Presence.

Linguist, perfectionist, full of serenity, divinity, absence of vanity, simplicity, equanimity, non-irritability, humility, integrity and nobility were His laudable virtues that earned Him reverence from the people of all four corners of the world. His service and sympathy to sick and downtrodden, poor and needy, birds and beasts were incomparable. He was oozing love from head to toe to the known and unknown.

Though Beloved & Worshipful Holy Master H H Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj may not be with us physically, but through His Virat Swaroop, He will be inspiring, guiding and protecting His countless devotees and disciples who are busy serving the Mankind and struggling to achieve the realization of the absolute. OM Shanti !

For more details, please see www.divinelifesociety.org

Yours in service of God and Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

6 Most inspiring verses in the voice of Gurudev Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj

We came across the introduction given by Gurudev Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj to the cassette “Hari Bol” and instantly fell in love with it. On the holy occasion of Swamiji Maharaj’s birthday, we are uploading a portion of this introductory talk comprising of 6 verses of invocation. 

These 6 verses are by themselves so sublime, powerful and inspiring. Originating from the lips of Worshipful Swamiji Maharaj they acquire an even more inspiring and compelling stature. The urgency, importance and the best means of spiritual sadhana in the present age is conveyed by Swamiji Maharaj in a most melodious and impactful manner in this 1 min 30 seconds clip.

Listen to the audio clip here

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 !