October 2008 Newsletter

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Newsletter - October 2008
Chinmaya Mission Orlando - www.chinmayaorlando.org
“More important than what is Behind you and what is Ahead of you is what is In you. Seek it  Centred in it, act and live.”
 
 
 
   
- Swami Chinmayananda
Asatomaa sadgamaya
Tamaso maa jyotirgamaya
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
O Thou Infinite Spirit!
 
Lead us from unreal to real
Lead us from darkness to light!
 
Lighten our loads and brighten our minds
That no darkness shadows our paths!
 
Make us see everything in proper light
Keeping your vision always in our sight! 
 
Kindle lamps of learning in all our hearts
Shining Thy grace on all passing thoughts!
 
May the light ever radiate rays of peace
Spreading cheer and joy to all always!
           
Om Tat Sat
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The festival of Deepavali is the concretization of the Upanishad prayer “Tamaso Maa Jyotirgamaya”. By lighting a row of lamps we dispel the surrounding darkness and by lighting the lamp of knowledge in our hearts we dispel the darkness of ignorance. Year after year, down the corridor of time, Diwali has been renewing man’s faith in the ultimate triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness. It is a day of sharing our joy with others with exchanging of greetings and gifts.

The death of Narakasura is celebrated as Deepavali. It is said that even the Asura himself was conscious of the evil he had perpetrated and desired to attain Moksha at the hands of the Lord. “Let the happiness of every creature in the world be the compensation for the grief caused to me by the death of my son” was the prayer of the noble, bereaved mother of Narakasura. Even the dying son also asked for the same boon. Thus Deepavali is a special celebration for happiness of the world,  that was desired by two people in spite of their personal calamity.

Says Swami Chinmayanandaji in one of his messages:
“Lighting of lamps of Deepavali has a symbolic meaning for each level of personality. For the spiritual self, the lighting of the lamp represents the dawning of true Knowledge. For the intellect, the flame represents the lighting of intellectual understanding. For the emotional personality, the lighting fulfils love to an ideal.”

On this auspicious Deepavali, let us all dedicate ourselves to make life happier for all around us.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Blessed Self and Hari Om

As Gurudev once said: "A happier tomorrow is built only when we assert our will to live a divine life today"

Religion has been asking us to live and entertain these divine values of life. We must follow the path that is "Shreyas". Our actions need to be in the spirit of dedication and service to the Lord who is One and All.

May the Universal Mother bless us all to live in harmony and in attitude of surrender to our beloved Lord. During this auspicious occasion of Deepavali we will pray to Lord Shree Rama to bless us all and light the lamp of love and peace in our hearts.


In "His" Service

Love,
Dr. Shailaja Nadkarni
President,
Chinmaya Mission Orlando 

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Upcoming Events
Event Date/Time Venue
 Thanksgiving Holiday - No Balavihar classes  Sunday, November 30th 2008  Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Balavihar Diwali Celebration  December 6th 2008, 5:00pm - 8:00pm  Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Winter Break- No Balavihar classes 28-Dec-2008 and 04-Jan-2009
 Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Gita Chanting Competetion - Chapter 13                           Sunday, April 19th 2009                         Kaivalya Hall 
From the desk of Swami Tejomayananda
   At the recently held Chinmaya Mission West (CMW) Board Meeting in Maryland, Swami Tejomayananda conferred the guruji.giftitle of 'Acharya' to the following long-time Chinmaya Mission Sevaks.

  • Shailaja Nadkarni (CM Orlando) 
  • Sharada Kumar (CM Ann Arbor)
  • Vimal Chaitanya (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
  • Mahadev Parameswaran (CM Los Angeles)
  • Uma Jeyarasasingham (CM San Jose)


For more details please read the September 2008 CMW Newsletter by clicking here.

Meditative Melodies of Santoor! - Vibhu Agrawal

On September 27th, 2008, Chinmaya Mission Orlando hosted a concert of Indian classical music by Santoor maestro Pandit Nandkishor Muley. Pandit Muley was accompanied on tabla by Shri Shripad Jail.

Please click to view more concert pictures...The evening began with a short recital by the students of Pandit Muley. The first performance was a beautiful Shiva bhajan by students learning Indian classical vocal music from Muleyji. This put the audience in the right mood to enjoy a great evening of music. The vocal recital was followed by a short presentation from Pandit Muley’s beginner tabla students. Muleyji's senior tabla students followed, demonstrating their mastery of the tabla and giving the junior students a glimpse of what can be achieved with the guidance of a teacher and, of course, a lot of practice!  

Pandit Muley and Shripadji then took the stage for the main event. The melodious sounds of santoor filled the hall and Muleyji’s mastery of this complex instrument was evident. The music was truly meditative and Shripadji’s tabla accompaniment further enhanced the ambience. The music kept the audience enthralled for about an hour, leaving them with a truly therapeutic effect.

For many, this concert was their first exposure to Indian classical music. Just as Balavihar classes offer children an opportunity for spiritual advancement, this concert provided a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of India.

Pandit Muley is currently conducting several classes at the Chinmaya Mission, teaching tabla and vocal music. This increased exposure to Indian classical music has whetted our appetite and we look forward to many more events of this nature in the future.

To learn more about the Tabla/Vocal classes offered at Chinmaya Mission Orlando or to enroll click here.

Enchanting Tales

The parable of the snake that refused to hiss
 

sri_ramakrishna.jpgRamakrishna Paramahamsa narrated this story saying, "A man living in society should make a show of tamas to protect himself from evil-minded people. But he should not harm anybody in anticipation of harm likely to be done him."

Some cowherd boys used to tend their cows in a meadow where a terrible poisonous snake lived. Everyone was on the alert for fear of it. One day a brahmachari was going along the meadow. The boys ran to him and said; 'Revered sir, please don't go that way. A venomous snake lives over there.' 'What of it, my good children?' said the brahmachari. 'I am not afraid of the snake. I know some mantras.' So saying, he continued on his way along the meadow. But the cowherd boys, being afraid, did not accompany him. In the mean time the snake moved swiftly toward him with upraised hood. As soon as it came near, he recited a mantra, and the snake lay at his feet like an earthworm. The brahmachari said: 'Look here. Why do you go about doing harm? Come, I will give you a holy word. By repeating it you will learn to love God. Ultimately you will realize Him and so get rid of your violent nature.' Saying this, he taught the snake a holy word and initiated him into spiritual life. The snake bowed before the teacher and said, 'Revered sir, how shall I practise spiritual discipline?' 'Repeat that sacred word', said the teacher, 'and do no harm to anybody.' As he was about to depart, the brahmachari said, 'I shall see you again.'
"Some days passed and the cowherd boys noticed that the snake would not bite. They threw stones at it. Still it showed no anger; it behaved as if it were an earthworm. One day one of the boys came close to it, caught it by the tail, and, whirling it round and round, dashed it again and again on the ground and threw it away. The snake vomited blood and became unconscious. It was stunned. It could not move. So, thinking it dead, the boys went their way.

"Late at night the snake regained consciousness. Slowly and with great difficulty it dragged itself into its hole; its bones were broken and it could scarcely move. Many days passed. The snake became a mere skeleton covered with a skin. Now and then, at night, it would come out in search of food. For fear of the boys it would not leave its hole during the day-time. Since receiving the sacred word from the teacher, it had given up doing harm to others. It maintained its life on dirt, leaves, or the fruit that dropped from the trees.

"About a year later the brahmachari came that way again and asked after the snake. The cowherd boys told him that it was dead. But he couldn't believe them. He knew that the snake would not die before attaining the fruit of the holy word with which it had been initiated. He found his way to the place and, searching here and there, called it by the name he had given it. Hearing the teacher's voice, it came out of its hole and bowed before him with great reverence. 'How are you?' asked the brahmachari. 'I am well, sir', replied the snake. 'But', the teacher asked, 'why are you so thin?' The snake replied: 'Revered sir, you ordered me not to harm anybody. So I have been living only on leaves and fruit. Perhaps that has made me thinner.'

"The snake had developed the quality of sattva; it could not be angry with anyone. It had totally forgotten that the cowherd boys had almost killed it.

"The brahmachari said: 'It can't be mere want of food that has reduced you to this state. There must be some other reason. Think a little.' Then the snake remembered that the boys had dashed it against the ground. It said: 'Yes, revered sir, now I remember. The boys one day dashed me violently against the ground. They are ignorant, after all. They didn't realize what a great change had come over my mind. How could they know I wouldn't bite or harm anyone?' The brahmachari exclaimed: 'What a shame! You are such a fool! You don't know how to protect yourself. I asked you not to bite, but I didn't forbid you to hiss. Why didn't you scare them by hissing?'

It is important to remember that whatever we experience in the present as destiny is the product of our past actions; and whatever we do in the present will make our future destiny. To accept destiny ( Prarabdha ) is only one part of the Law of karma ; the second part is to act and put in Self - effort (Purushartha) . Sri Krishna Paramatman advised Arjuna (& us) in the Gita to do our ordained duties and surrender everything else to God. The snake in the story did the surrendering but did not put any effort, thus wasting its life.

Why do we do what we do ?

Why do we offer food to the Lord before eating it?

Indians make an offering of food to the Lord and later partake of it as prasaada - a holy gift from the Lord. In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer naivedyam (food) to the Lord.

foodonleaf.jpgThe 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 that 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 partake of 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
 

praanaaya swaahaa,
apaanaaya swaahaa,
vyaanaaya swaahaa,
udaanaaya swaahaa,
samaanaaya swaahaa,
brahmane swaahaa

After offering the food thus, it is eaten as prasaada - blessed food.

Divine Chants
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Mangala Aarati prayer
 
Karpoora-gauram karuna-avataram
Samsara-saaram Bhujagendra-haaram
Sadaa-vasantam Hridaya-aravinde
Bhavam Bhavanee-sahitam Namami
  
 
I salute to that Ishwara along with Bhavani (Shiva and Parvati) who is as white as Karpur(camphor), an incarnation of compassion, the essence of this world, who wears a bhujagendra(snake or serpent) around his neck and is ever present in the lotus abode of our hearts.

 

Delicious Living - Banana Nut Bread

Recipe for Banana Nut Bread by Ms. Shubha Gupta

Ingredient List
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6 ripe bananas
less than 1/2 cup sugar (adjust according to sweetness of bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 or more walnuts chopped (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

 Mash the ripe bananas into a smooth puree.
Mix the sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into the banana puree.
Gently stir in this puree mixture into the all purpose flour till well mixed.
Pour this into a greased bread loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 - 55 minutes, till the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center, comes out clean.
(The baking time will vary depending on the type and size of the baking dish)
Remove from oven and let it cool.

Other Options: 

Bake in muffin pan to make Banana Nut muffins
Can add raisins
Can add powdered cardamom to the banana puree, for a more Desi taste

Poem in Hindi by Ms. Geeta Pandit Riddles

 

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1) There is a ping-pong ball fallen in a hole. The hole is just a little bigger than the ball around it, but it is much deeper, deeper than anybody's arm length. How will you take out the ball out? Remember that the hole is much deeper than anybody's arm length.

2) A woman unwrapped a lump of sugar and put it into her coffee cup. Her lump of sugar didn't get wet. How can this be?

3) Take a sheet of newspaper. Now make two people stand on that newspaper so that they are face to face and they do not touch each other. You cannot tear the newspaper sheet.

4) A boy went to a dentist to get his cavity filled. The boy was the dentist's son, but the dentist was not the boy's father. How can this be?

Scroll down for answers

Diwali - Word Search Puzzle Puzzle Answers

Find the following hidden words in the puzzle

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music
candles
party
festival
masti
pooja
mandir
diya
fireworks
children
diwali
lakshmi
fun

 

 

Answers for the riddle

1)Fill the hole with water and the ball will float up. 


2)The woman put her sugar lump in dry coffee powder. 


3)Any doorway will do. Place the sheet of newspaper in the doorway such that it is half at this side of the doorway and half is at the other side of the doorway. Close the door. Now two people can stand on the same sheet of newspaper without touching each other. 


4) The boy was really the dentist's son and the dentist was really the boy's parent. The dentist was the boy's mother.  

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Copyright © 2008 Chinmaya Mission Orlando