Category Archives: Spiritual Sadhana

A Song of Little Things…

Hari Om !

Today Priya reminded me of the song “Eat A Little, Drink A Little” by Swami Sivananda and mentioned she liked the song.

This little song is actually “Song of Yoga Synthesis” and it is a simple song focusing on simplicity and harmonizing different aspects in daily living and is actually instruction for spiritual practice:

Here are the lyrics of the little song of the Yoga of Synthesis, for your daily practice:

Eat a little, drink a little
Talk a little, sleep a little
Mix a little, move a little
Serve a little, rest a little
Work a little, relax a little
Study a little, worship a little
Do Asana a little, Pranayama a little
Reflect a little, meditate a little
Do Japa a little, do Kirtan a little
Write Mantra a little, have Satsang a little
Do all these, little, little. You will have time for all.

You can read “A Little of All” written by Swami Venkatesananda explaining the significance of these instructions.

Yours,
In Service of the Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

Maha Sivaratri Wishes

Dear All,

Hari Om !
Jai Kailasavasa Sankara Bhagavan ki !

We convey to all our readers Mahasivaratri wishes. May Lord Siva bless us all with wisdom, spiritual strength and Self-knowledge.


(Image is courtesy of Hinduim Today Magazine)

The Divine Supreme in the form of Siva is easily pleased like a father pleased with even the smallest act of his child, and hence he is called Bhole Baba ! In all the temples in India and abroad, chanting of Rudram – Namakam & Chamakam is performed throughout day and night on the auspicious Maha Sivaratri day, and the devotees generally fast and do vigil in the night spending their time in worship, prayer and meditation.

Sivaratri is an auspicious occasion to please Lord Siva. He will be very pleased with Japa, Dhyana and Abhisheka today. Generally Upavas (fast) and Jaagaran (Night Vigil) are carried on today by devotees. Japa of Panchakshari mantra (Om Namah Sivaya) will benefit immensely. The worship of Lord Siva will remove all impurities and make our mind and hearts pure and clean.

The following can be done today according to the feasibility of the devotee:
1. Fast
2. Abhishekam (holy bath of Siva Linga) of Siva, with pure water, milk, honey, Ghee, Banana – Panchamruta Snanam
3. Decorate with flowers, Sandal paste and if available Bael leaves (Bilva or Maredu)
4. Offer Naivedyam and Arati
5. Recite Ligashtakam, Rudram, Purushasuktam, Rudrashtakam, Maha Mrutyunjaya Mantram
6. Engage in Kirtan of Lord Siva
7. Do Japa of Panchakshari or Mrutyunjaya Mantra
8. Perform Japa throughout night and do Japa with Dhyana of Lord Siva
9. Try praying only for Spiritual Upliftment, and not any material gains.
10. Offer all your worship and prayers unto Lord Siva.

We are presenting here a book by Swami Sivananda ji on ” Lord Siva and His Worship.” It is a wonderful source for understanding Siva Tattwa and for sadhana unto Lord Siva.

Also, please find the following links for a beautiful rendition of Rudrashtakam by Swami Tejomayananda ji.

Download Rudrashtakam Audio here !
(In the Voice of Param Pujya Swami Tejomayananda, President of Chinmaya Mission).
Dowload Rudrashtakam Text here !
(Author: Goswami Tulasidas in RamacharitManas)

Yours,
In Service of the Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari.

New Year Message by Swami Tattvavidananda

Dear All,

Namaste. Hari Om.

We received a DVD three days back from Arsha Vidya Gurukulam which consisted of the New Year Worship in the DakshinaMurthy temple at the Ashram and message from Swami Dayananada and Swami Tattvavidanananda.

Swami Dayananda did not come to Pennsylvania this time for conducting the christmas retreat and was not in person here to deliver new year message. It was delivered remotely, short and powerful as usual.

Swami Tattvavidananda gave a motivating message and I felt it reveals the urgency for us to exert to Know oneself.

Please listen to the audio here:

http://avgsatsang.org/hhstvs/mp3/General%20lectures/New_Years_Message_2012.mp3%20

Yours,
In Service of the Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari.

28-Day Meditation Challenge !!

Dear All,

Hari Om.

On 30th Jan, I received a newsletter in my Google Inbox. I subscribed two years back to Sharon Salzberg website. Sharon is founder of Insight Meditation Society in Masaachusetts and conducts workshops & retreats all over North America, focusing on developing “Loving Kindness” or “Metta”. The Loving Kindness meditation is something I have been thinking of taking up myself too.

So, when I opened the newsletter, it read “28 day Meditation Challenge”. I felt intrigued and read the post. It is an invite for all interested seekers to take up 28-day meditation challenge. Actually Sharon Salzberg has written a book called “Real Happiness – The Power of Meditation. A 28 Day Program.” The 28 day meditation challenge is actually derived from the week-by-week meditation practice outlined by Sharon in her book.

I went through the First Chapter which was available for Download on their website. Since Sharon Salzberg’s background is Vipassana meditation and the Metta or Loving kindness that is derived from it, this book also follows Vipassana in essence. For those of you who have taken Vipassana meditation course before or who have been doing meditation regularly, this 28-day meditation should be smooth.

For others who do meditation regularly, you may feel that taking this practice up is not necessary; but nonetheless, it gives an opportunity to get insight into Vipassana and Metta meditation if you want to explore. For others who are new to meditation or for those who want to meditate, I think this is a good opportunity to start the practice and set aside sometime daily for this practice.

Please click on the below link for the Sample first chapter in the “Real Happiness” book.

You can find more information on the 28-day Meditation Challenge here:

Almost 3-4 years back, I came across a nice website called BuddhaNet which is a resource of good materials related to Buddhism and downloaded a very useful book on Metta Meditation. I read and re-read it at that time and liked it immensely and was all set to practice. But ufortunately I did not sincerely practice.

You can download it by clicking the image below:

I have signed up for this challenge. My objective was not to get too fussy with the details of meditation technique, but I want to use this opportunity to sit, observe and improve my awareness. I missed my meditation today 😦 but I hope to continue till end of this month.

If you take up this challenge, Good Luck !

Yours,
In Service of The Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

Insights and Inspiration by Swami Venkatesananda

Dear All,

Hari Om.

I came across a Daily reading from the works of Swami Venkatesananda and liked it. I thought I will share that article with all of you:


“Any motivation in the practice of yoga becomes almost immediately counter-productive. Indeed, it is obvious that it is some sort of a motivation that brings the student to yoga in the first place. But a wise teacher would do well to point out immediately that yoga is the antidote to the ills caused by motivation and a goal-oriented life, and therefore seeking a goal for the practice of yoga defeats its
purpose.

People are ill, physically and mentally, because instead of living they are constantly struggling for something. Living does not involve struggle, contrary to popular misconception. The simplest form of living is joyous and blissful, and life is intelligent, wise and alert enough to avoid pain and unhappiness instantly. It is some sort of twisted motivation that causes pain and suffering, and then rationalises such pain and suffering even to the point of exalting them.

Right from the very beginning of the practice of yoga the student discovers that the intelligence in the body is capable of meeting every situation that arises in life from moment to moment. This is the purpose of the yoga asanas (postures). During pranayama the yogi again discovers the great power and vigilance of the life-force which is beyond the ego-sense and which alone enables us to live. In meditation the yogi discovers (uncovers) self-ignorance. Then, self-knowledge (knowledge as the self or self as pure knowing) alone is. This is kaivalya, freedom, liberation – which ever is and should, therefore, be treated neither as the goal nor as an idea.

There is not even a rejection of pain, but the realisation that such rejection makes pain painful! It is not pursuit of pleasure, but the realisation that it is the pursuit that makes pleasure pleasurable (and as its inevitable reaction, painful). When there is neither rejection nor pursuit, life is liberated from the haunting shadows of ignorant notions. There is enlightenment. All life becomes divine life.”

Yours,
In Service of Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

Sandhya Vandanam in Daily worship

Dear All,

Hari Om.

In our tradition, there is a ritual of “Upanayanam” or thread ceremony when a boy is initiated into Gayatri Mantra and is taught the process of Sandhya Vandanam – invoking the Divine and peforming oblations at dawn, mid-noon and dusk. I think most of the men in Indian Hindu families perform this, though now-a-days the situation might be different. Sandhya Vandanam, if sincerely performed, is an integral part of Sadhana and reconnects one with the Divine. We need to understand the essence of any ritual which we perform, otherwise it becomes monotonous and routine and limits the benefits we may reap out of it.

I was reading a book last year called “Brahmanubhuti”. It is originally in Hindi written by Puja Sri Swami Akhandananda ji Maharaj – a great renowned sage and contemporary of Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj. It is a collection of articles focusing on Vedanta, Sadhana, Spirituality, Brahman etc. This book has been translated into Telugu by Sri Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati ji.

I don’t know where the Telugu or original Hindi book are available. You may need to contact the Swami Akhandananda Maharaj ashrama in Vrindavan for Hindi copies, or contact the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam if they have copies of the telugu books.

When I last met Swamiji, he blessed me with that book. I really liked it.


In this book, there is a chapter dedicated to “Sandhya Vandanam”. It is a very valuable chapter which in detail covers the process of Sandhya Vandanam, its purpose and necessity and also inclused some techniques and secrets that Pujya Swamiji himself has learnt from elderly saints etc. If you want to learn the intent of the ritual or expand on your knowledge of Sandhya Vandanam, it is very beneficial to read this chapter.

Part of SandhyaVandanam is the prayer called “Aghamarshana Suktam” which literally means prayer to destroy impure and sinful tendencies, mistakes etc. It is a very powerful Suktam which invokes Divine blessings and which when recited daily removes impurities from one’s mind and makes it pure. This prayer is an important part of Sandhya Vandanam.

I was inspired after reading the book to learn the Aghamarshana Suktam and recite it daily. Though as a woman I don’t have the Sandhya Vandanam ritual, I can still chant it.

I am still learning the Suktam and I hope in this year, this Suktam will form an integral part of my daily prayers.

You can download the Text (PDF) by clicking below and also listen to the rendition of this Suktam:

Yours,
In Service of the Lord and Gurudev,
Aparna Hari

 

Inspirational Spiritual Calendar

Dear All,

Hari Om. Namaste.
Happy New Year to all of you !

I have taken up a personal project of preparing a Spiritual calendar with daily inspirations, spiritual techniques and instructions which we can use for growing spiritually and strengthening our sadhana. I am very happy to have completed this project and bring before you this calendar which I think will be very valuable to all the sincere spiritual seekers.

I mainly gathered the wisdom from Swami Sivananda ji’s books “Precepts for Practice”, “Divine Nectar” and “Concentration and Meditation” books which I think are extremely valuable. I have tried to put the daily wisdom as I thought would be fit for all of us.

All the images I have used in this calendar are public and open source, so there are no copyright violations.

I am attaching the whole calendar here. Click on the below image to download the PDF. (Please be patient as it is a file of 43 MB and may take some time to load).
Download Spiritual Calendar here:

You need to do some work to make these PDFs into a physical calendar that you can put it on your desk or mantelpiece and flip it daily. This calendar format is meant to look in this way.
Sample Appearance of the Calendar:

You can give this PDF to any printing company who have experience with making calendars (spiral bounding) and ask them to prepare it for you.
Or, for your personal use, you can follow the below simple process to make one:

1. Print the full PDF with 2-sided printout (color or grayscale, according to your choice). Totally you will have 31 sheets.
2. Cut each page along the lines that you see on the printed paper. Each paper (with 2-sided print) should give you 6 pieces of paper after cutting along lines (that is 12 sayings).
3. You need to have certain materials to punch holes in each cut paper.
4. Arrange with “Daily Inspirations” page as 1st and “happy New Year” page as 2nd, and then “Jan 1” as the 3rd page, then continue arranging.
5. Have a thick cardboard backing for these pieces of paper so that it can support the calendar to stand.
5. You need to spirally bind all these pieces together.

I know it sounds like a lot of procedure. You can follow the procedure if you have the capability and materials with you. It is easy to get it done if you are in India. In US, I think you can take these printed sheets of paper to OfficeMax or some company like that and they will charge some money to make this for you.

I hope you like this calendar and make use of it.

In Service of the Lord and Gurudev,
Yours,
Aparna & Hari