Aranya Kand (Leelas of Rama) – Nectar to the Ears

Finally, I heard the complete rendition of Sri RamcharitManas by Pujya Swami Tejomayananda, of Chinmaya Mission. It is nectar, nothing else can equal to it. I fell in love with it, and keep falling in love with it. There is no abridgment of RamCharitManas in this rendition.

IT IS THE MOST WORTHY ENGAGEMENT OF THE MIND TO LISTEN TO THIS RENDITION !

Particularly, very close to my heart, is the Aranya Kand that Swamiji has rendered with love and devotion pouring out from his heart. Rama’s Leelas are wonderful in Aranya Kand. It is like nectar.

Please purachase the Tape set, if you can and enjoy the taste of nectar.

Yours, In Service of Lord and Gurudev,
Aparna Hari

Radha’s Prem – A Drama by Gurudev Swami Sivananda

Dear All,

Hari Om !
Jaya Radhe !

Radha’s Prem is a drama written by Gurudev Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj to teach us the sublime feeling of love and devotion of Radha Rani towards Lord Krishna. Gurudev Sivananda is an excellent story-teller and drama writer. He is unconventional and unique in the sense that he caters to the student’s interest – may be in art, literature, theatre – and uses these means to induce and develop love and devotion towards Lord in the heart.

This drama is a wonderful teaching for all of us about important concepts of devotion and love, taught in very simple and endearing terms. I have read the whole drama and really fell in love with it. Radha Rani is the supreme personification of love and devotion. Her grace is needed for us to develop love for her and her lord.

This drama is so conveniently written that it can be easily enacted for any good occasion, and thereby learning for ourseleves the sublimeness of love at God’s feet.

I have uploaded Radha’s Prem in the Downloads section. You can download it from there, or alternatively you can download Radha’s Prem here. Be highly benefitted by Gurudev’s grace and Radha Rani’s grace.

Jaya Radhe !

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

Nama Aparadha or Offences against Lord’s Name

Dear all,

Hari Om!

We came across the term “Nama-Aparadha” explicitly during the Labor-Day retreat with Didiji at Milwaukee, USA. Didiji recited some couplets written down by Jagadguru Kripalu ji Maharaj about Nama-Aparadha. Due to the time constraint we could not ask much about this to Didiji.

After returning from the retreat, we looked up to the Bhakti Yoga book by Gurudev Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj, and there Swamiji has clearly penned down what “Nama Aparadhas” constitute and how these become obstacles in the practise of Bhakti or Devotion.

“Nama-Aparadha” is the mistake or wrong committed when taking the name of lord during our japa sadhana. After reading the namaparadhas, we started realising how the mind, without our knowledge of the thought itself, is committing so many nama-aparadhas. If we are not progressing in Japa Sadhana as we should, then mostly we are stuck or caught at this point where were are involuntarily / voluntarily engaged in committing sins or mistakes against the Divine Name.

Realising that our mind is committing nama-aparadhas, we can actively disengage it from such grave mistakes and progress upward in Sadhana. It has helped me immensely and I hope it helps you too.

I am pasting here, what Gurudev Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj has written in his book, “Bhakti Yoga”:

“It is true that utterance of Divine Name can absolve us from all sins and enable us to attain salvation or love of God (both of which are so difficult to get) but that is possible only when the Name is uttered with faith and reverence and the practice is free from all taints of sin against the Name viz., the following ten offences:

1. Vilification of saints and devotees.
When a Saint or a devotee is vilified by somebody other than you, it is not good to sit there and listen. Move away from such a company. Let not our minds do jugglery and compare the saints, saying this saint is greater than that saint etc. Saints are the embodiments of God. (by Aparna Hari)

2. Differentiation among (Divine) Names.
We often do this. With all our ignorance (but deluding ourselves to be the smartest people on earth), we compare the divine names. We say this mantra is greater than this mantra etc. We tend to be sarcastic towards someone who chants other divine names. Often, lot of people say that Siva is less than Vishnu or vice versa and try to vilify the names. This is a serious mistake on the part of a spiritual aspirant. If he does this, it is better he pack up his bags and leave spirituality and engage himself in materialism. (by Aparna Hari)

3. Irreverence towards preceptor (Guru).
It is out foremost duty to serve our Guru. His words and instructions are to be carried with reverence. But we think we are smarter than our Guru and try to question him, test him and do all sort of bad things, like how we evaluate a candidate in the interview. Please let us not do that. Those who revere Guru more than the Lord himself, are dearer to the Lord. (by Aparna Hari)

4. Speaking lightly of the scriptures.
We “discuss” scriptures. We “Question” with all our small minds about “Why Rama committed the mistake of killing vali” and such. We think that we understand everything, but we don’t. Such questions, arguments and debates are not to be carried out. After all, our human mind is the most impure thing. We have to first make an effort to purify it. We should not make fun of any scripture. (by Aparna Hari)

5. Treating the glory of Name as nothing but exaggerated praise.

6. Commission of sins under the cover of the Name.

7. Ranking the Name with other virtues and practising fasting, charity, sacrifice etc.
Divine Name itself is sufficient to liberate us from suffering and cycle of births and deaths. We all should try to realize Its magnificent power. (by Aparna Hari)

8. Recommending practice of Name to irreverent and ungodly persons who are not prepared to hear such advice.

9. Want of love for the Name even after hearing its glory.
Even after hearing the glory of Divine Name, we don’t have love for it. We should develop love. Love works miracles. (by Aparna Hari)

10. Emphasis of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and attachment to ¬objects of enjoyment.
“Ram ka bhajan karte ho, lekin ravan par bharosa karte ho” – these were the words spoken by Hanuman ji to Vibhishana ji when he goes to Lanka in search of Sita. Vibhishana then leaves everything and comes to Rama. We are much much more materialistic. We have slots for everything. Few minutes of Bhajan and we feel. “Vow! What a spiritual candidate I am !” Let us leave such Ego, and Pride and become humble like a blade of grass. Ego and Pride are obstacles in Sadhana and Surrender. (by Aparna Hari)

If through inadvertence one lapses into any of the above ten sins, the only way to absolve from it is to repeat the Name again and repent for the mistake.

Namaparadhayuktanam namanyeva harantyagham;
Avishranyaprayuktani tanyevarthakarani cha. (Padma Purana)

The Name itself is the best atonement for sins committed against the Name. Through constant Kirtan of the Name all our desires can be fulfilled.

You enjoy all divine Aisvarya of the Lord. ”

Gurudev Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj

Yours, In Service of the Lord,
Aparna Hari

Gurudev Chidananda Maharaj’s 91st Birthday

Dear all,

Hari Om !

Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya.
Om Namo Bhagavate Chidanandaya.
Om Namo Bhagavate Krishnanandaya.

Gurudev Chidananda’s 91st Bday Celebration at our house, Milwaukee, WI

Today is the 91st birthday of Parama Pujya Gurudev Chidananda ji Maharaj. Let us pray to Gurudev for knowledge, wisdom and his grace. Let us pray for his good health and well-being.

I am posting the Ashtottara Sata Namavali or 108 Namavali of Gurudev Chidananda ji Maharaj.

DOWNLOAD Ashtottara Sata Namavali of Gurudev Chidananda ji Maharaj !

Yours, In Service of the Lord,
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

Happy Radhashtami !!

Radha Rani

Dear All

Jay Radhe !

We wish you all a very Happy Radhashtami. Let us pray with sincerity and longing to the Divine Mother Radha Rani to fill our hearts with pure love and devotion to her and her Lord, Krishna.

Today, there are going to be festivities at Hare Krsna Temple, ISKCON at Lunt Avenue in Chicago. And guess what, there are 108 Food offerings for Mother !!

We drove down to ISKCON in Chicago (2 hrs from Milwaukee), and were just in time, to take part in the “Panchamrutha Snana” (Panchamrutam is a mixture of Milk, Yogurt, Honey, Ghee, and Banana) to the idols of Krishna and Radha. The idols were beautifully decorated with clothes made of real flowers. There was a discourse on the pastimes of Mother Radha Rani, given by HH Romapada of ISKCON, and it was very nice.

There were all in all “240 food offerings (naivedyam)” for mother and we tasted them. They are so delicious. We took part in some chanting and at the end, drove back to Milwaukee.

Let us meditate on the beauty of Radha Rani and sing this beautiful song, written by Sri Kripalu ji Maharaj, and which I have learnt during our recent retreat with Didi ji:

 
जय राधे जय राधे राधे जय राधे जय श्री राधे
 
नहिं भूलूं तोहि पल छिन आधे          

अस अनुकम्पा करु राधे  
 
महल टहलिनि मोहिं बना दे          

पैया परु लागें बलैया देउ लागे  
 
कुण्ज कुण्ज बिच कुण्ज बिहारिणि          

विहरति नित प्रति श्री राधे   
 
गहवर वन में लतन पतन में          

व्रज कण कण मे श्री राधे   
 
पूरब राधे पश्चिम राधे          

उत्तर राधे दक्षिण राधे 
 
ऊपर राधे नीचे राधे          

जित देखूं तित श्री राधे 

O Divine Mother Radha Rani ! Please bestow grace upon me that I do not forget you even for a fraction of moment.

Mother Radha Rani ! Make me your servant-maid in the palace, where I can wait upon you and do every service to you.

Mother Radha Rani ! In the beautiful groves of Vrindavan, you manifest your pastimes.

Mother Radha Rani ! You are manifest in each and every flower, leaf, creeper and the groves, and Vraja is permeated with you.

Radha Rani is everywhere present in all directions of this universe.

Above, Below, everywhere is Mother Radha Rani. Wherever I see, I see my Divine Mother, Radha Rani.

-Yours,
In Service of the Lord,
Aparna Hari

Mudworm, House-fly and Honey-bee

We have received the latest copy of “The Vision”, a wonderful spiritual booklet published by Anandashram in Kerala. I was reading through the “Papa Answers” section and found this insightful teaching of Papa. I quote here in Papa’s words:

“There are three kinds of minds. One is like a mudworm, the other like a house-fly and the third like a bee. The mudworm dwells always in mud and enjoys its life. Suppose you see a mudworm rolling in filth and out of compassion for it, you take it and place it on a clean spot. It won’t be happy there. It will die soon unless you put it back in filth. The house-fly sits on sweet and fragrant things, and also on filth. It enjoys both. It is with the sweet for sometime and then goes frorm there to remain in filth. The honey-bee sits only on flower and sucks honey. It will never sit on filth. So, the mind that we generally have (some times spiritual thoughts, sometime materialistic and bad thoughts) is like a house-fly. Our mind must be like a honey-bee, always finding delight only in the thought of God .”

Papa Ramadas

Let us try to divinise our minds as Papa says !
Yours,
In Service of the Lord,
Aparna Hari

Surrender Unto The Divine