May 2010 Newsletter


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Newsletter - May 2010
Chinmaya Mission Orlando - www.chinmayaorlando.org
“There is no companion like solitude. One who knows how to tune himself to the inner silence, even in the midst of the din and roar of the marketplace, enjoys a most recreative solitude.”
   
- Swami Chinmayananda 

Pujya Gurudev – As I See Him by Swami Tejomayananda

The Upanishads, Gita and innumerable spiritual texts and works use the most fascinating and powerful words to “describe” the indescribable Brahman. Every one of these words also describes Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda. Brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati – the knower of Brahman is verily Brahman. How can I ever “describe” Him better than these great scriptures? Yet I will try. Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram and Updesha Saram describe the Lord as ashtamurti – eight faceted divinity. For us, Pujya Gurudev is indeed the Lord Himself. Hence I will present some of my ideas and reminiscences about Him through few of His countless facets.

A peerless personality
Even though the guru is the supreme Self, still he has an individuality and a personality that attracts devotees and disciples towards Him. He blesses them with knowledge and devotion. Pujya Gurudev had a many-faceted personality that is difficult to capture in a few words or names.

A cosmic charmer
His presence was most appealing. It spoke more than His words and taught more than
His lectures. I see His presence in His pictures also. Just to be with Him was a great joy and an experience in itself. No one was immune to His cosmic charm.

A vast visionary
His vast vision for the mission was essentially two-fold. The first aspect was external, relating to activities and projects, while the other was internal, the unfoldment of the personalities of the members while undertaking those projects. The outer activities started by Him have expanded, grown and benefited the society, but unfoldment by itself is subjective, and each worker will have to sincerely and honestly evaluate himself or herself. The very fact that thousands of people have been working for such a long period of time shows that they have been getting something or else they will not work. So we have succeeded to a great extent. However, never think of stopping at a final goal. Both outwardly and inwardly, the sky is the limit.

A magnificent mentor
I also had the great fortune of learning from Him. Actually, I felt that He used to teach just me. Every now and then, He would ask questions, and if out of ten questions, I did not answer just one or did not answer quickly enough, He would say that I did not know the answer or that I was sleeping through the class! Or, sometimes He would speak and pause in the middle of the sentence and wait for me to complete it. And if I spoke softly, He would ask me to go out on the banks of the Ganga and speak so loudly that the man on the other side could hear me! Of course He knew what I would be doing for the best part of the rest of my life!

A lamp of love
I consider myself extremely blessed to have come in contact with Him and served Him. The most striking quality that I saw in Him was His unconditional love for me that made Him forgive me many a time. I know that is true of any one who reached His feet. He was, is and ever will be an akhanda jyoti of love, light, devotion and knowledge perfectly integrated.
May His blessings be ever upon us all to serve Him.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Blessed Self, Hari Om

Dharma is defined in scripture as "Yato'bhudaya-nihshreyasa Siddhih Sa Dharma". It means "That which promotes progress and liberation promotes spiritual evolution that is Dharma".

Dharma, the ethical value of our life should be the foundation of all our progress. For progress to be true, life must be based on ethical values. Let us all develop those values and live a life in harmony with all conducting our duties in Yagna spirit and with spirit of sacrifice.

With Lord's grace and Shree Gurudev's blessing our "Anna Shree" and Kitchen are working beautifully. This is all because of dedicated selfless sevaks and sevikas.

We are now progressing towards the 2nd phase of our construction:

1) Extension of Kaivalya Hall.
2) Larger library and book store.
3) Addition of classrooms.

We need everybody's help and co-operation to achieve this.

With prayers for great health and long life to Poojya Guruji.

In "His" Service

Love,
Dr. Shailaja Nadkarni
President,
Chinmaya Mission Orlando

Upcoming Events
Event Date/Time Venue
Last day of Balavihar 2009-10 session (Awards Ceremony)
 Sunday, May 30th 2010 at 9:00am  Chinmaya Mission Orlando
CMO Movie Night & Fireworks  Sunday, July 4th 2010 (6:30pm)  Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Kids Summer Camp
 July 12th 2010 to July 17th 2010
 Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Guru Poornima
 Sunday, July 25th 2010
 Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Start of Balavihar 2010-11 session  Sunday, August 15th 2010          
 Chinmaya Mission Orlando 
"Anna Shree" CMO Dining Hall Inauguration

By Lord Shiva’s grace and Pujya  Gurudev’s blessings and in the auspicious presence of Swami Shantananda, we inaugurated “Anna Shree”, our new Chinmaya Mission Orlando dining hall, on Feb 21st 2010. Swami Shantananda, the resident acharya of Chinmaya Misssion New Jersey, performed the ribbon cutting ceremony amidst Vedic Chantings. 

ribboncut.jpg

The students of Balavihar celebrated the inauguration of Anna Shree by performing various cultural activities. The day’s proceedings started with a beautiful invocation dance by Pooja Chandrashekhar and ended with a play on “Divine Mother Annapurna Devi and Lord Shiva” - that brought out the importance of food and how each one of us can do our part in keeping the environment clean and green.

The 4000 sq. ft. dining hall with a complete commercial kitchen is already serving lunch for more than 250 kids and adults every Sunday since its inauguration. The "Yagna Spirit" can be seen every Sunday in the volunteers working in the kitchen and the dining hall. Each Sunday, generous donors sponsor the Mahaprasad at the mission.
 

"Acarya" - Swami Chinmayananda

The Sanskrit word Acarya is commonly translated as “teacher”. It is often added to a person’s name to denote respect, as in Shankaracarya.

Acarya is derived from the root "car", which means “to follow”, or “to make others follow”. To this is prefixed "a", meaning “completely or totally”, and at the end is added the agent noun affix "nyat", meaning ‘the one who”. These elements together form the acarya, which means “the one who follows the scriptures (dharma) completely,” and/or “the one who causes others to follow them.” Thus the word implies more than the simple translation “teacher”; it also means one who follows what he teaches. Hence it seen that there are two basic aspects of the meaning of acarya: on the one hand he is one who teaches, while on the other hand he is an example of
swamichinmayananda.jpgthat which he teaches.

This two fold aspect of the meaning is
largely due to the subject matter being taught. An acarya of Vedanta is trying to make the student see the truth of himself through the use of the scriptures. If the teacher himself does not see this truth, his words will become mere repetition of the words of the scriptures. He will be unable to point out areas of misunderstanding, since he himself has misunderstood. In other areas of knowledge this is not as critical. In fact, it is never possible to master all aspects of any given area of knowledge, and such mastery is not expected of a teacher. There is always something more to be learned. This is not the case, however, in Vedanta. If one misses the fact that in truth one is Infinite, one necessarily becomes the finite. This misunderstanding is significant. In fact, it is equivalent to the understanding one had before being exposed to the teaching; nothing at all has been learned. The teacher must therefore be an example of that which he teaches. He must completely understand the import of the scriptures.

In the hands of a true acarya, the scripture becomes a tool to aid him in making the student see the truth of himself; the scripture by itself is impotent. It is the acarya, by the clarity of his vision, who validates the words of the scripture. For this reason all the reverence usually given to the scripture is also given to the acarya. He becomes a living scripture, capable of making others see the truth of themselves.
 

Importance of Bhagavad Geeta Chanting for Children by Dr. Shailaja Nadkarni

As Poojya Shree Swami Chinmayananda used to explain - All children must learn at least the 12th and 15th Chapter of Bhagavad Geeta. If they can learn more, it is even better.

Geeta is the essence of Upanishads. It is taught by Lord Shree Krishna Himself to Arjuna. Lord's utterances are Shuddha Mantras, which purify oneself instantaneously. Children, even if they do not understand the meaning, also get purified.

As they grow and start understanding it advances our spiritual journey and brings the value in life. Bhagavad Geeta is our mother who nourishes us with nectarine teaching and leads one to the ultimate goal of life - Liberation from all bondages. May the young ones learn chanting.

Gita Chanting 2010 Winners
Click on the picture to enlarge
 
Gita Chanting 2010 Competition - Winners
Under 5 Years
1st Place Ananth Abbaraju
 2nd Place Sahana Joshi, Tara Chandra
3rd Place Manasi Prasad
5 to 6 Years
1st Place Ritisha Suresh
 2nd Place Aditya Nambiar
3rd Place Maitri Jajoo
7 to 8 Years
1st Place Pranav Abbaraju, Pranav Gupta
 2nd Place Priyanka Chandra
3rd Place Sanjana Prasad
Over 8 Years
1st Place Vansh Nambiar
 2nd Place Nikhil Reddy Banda, Ankit Jajoo
3rd Place Archana Banda, Karthik Sreeram
Special Recognition
  Kashyap Sreeram (7-8 years)
  Aishwarya Babuji (7-8 years)
Enchanting Tales

Parables of Ramakrishna Parmahamsa - Three robbers and a rich man.

Once a rich man was passing through a forest, when three robbers surrounded him and robbed him of all his wealth. After snatching all his possessions from him, one of the robbers said: "What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him".

Saying this, he was about to strike their victim with his sword, when the second robber interrupted and said: "There's no use in sri_ramakrishna.jpgkilling him. Let us bind him fast and leave him here. Then he won't be able to tell the police". Accordingly the robbers tied him with a rope, left him, and went away.

After a while the third robber returned to the rich man and said: "Ah! You're badly hurt, aren't you? Come, I'm going to release you". The third robber set the man free and led him out of the forest. When they came near the highway, the robber said, "Follow this road and you will reach home easily". "But you must come with me too", said the man. "You have done so much for me. We shall all be happy to see you at our home". "No", said the robber, "It is not possible for me to go there. The police will arrest me". So saying, he left the rich man after pointing out his way.
Now, the first robber, who said: "What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him", is tamas. It destroys. The second robber is rajas, which binds a man to the world and entangles him in a variety of activities. Rajas makes him forget God.

Sattva alone shows the way to God. It produces virtues like compassion, righteousness, and devotion. Sattva is like the last step of the stairs. Next to it is the roof. The Supreme Brahman is man's own abode. One cannot attain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one transcends the three gunas.

Why do we do what we do ?

Why do we chant Om?

Om is one of the most chanted sound symbols in India. It has a profound effect on the body and mind of the one who chants and also on the surroundings. Most mantras and vedic prayers start with Om.

All auspicious om.jpgactions begin with Om. It is even used as a greeting - Om, Hari Om etc. It is repeated as a mantra or meditated upon. Its form is worshipped, contemplated upon or used as an auspicious sign.

Om is the universal name of the Lord. It is made up of the letters A (phonetically as in "around"), U (phonetically as in "put") and M (phonetically as in "mum"). The sound emerging from the vocal chords starts from the base of the throat as "A". With the coming together of the lips, "U" is formed and when the lips are closed, all sounds end in "M".

The three letters symbolize the three states (waking, dream and deep sleep), the three deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), the three Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sama) the three worlds (Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah) etc. The Lord is all these and beyond.

The formless, attributeless Lord (Brahman) is represented by the silence between two Om Chants. Om is also called pranava that means, "that (symbol or sound) by which the Lord is praised". The entire essence of the Vedas is enshrined in the word Om. It is said that the Lord started creating the world after chanting Om and atha. Hence its sound is considered to create an auspicious beginning for any task that we undertake. The Om chant should have the resounding sound of a bell (aaooommm).

Divine Chants
Vedic Aarti
 
Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandra taarakam
Nemaa vidyuto bhaanti kutoyamagnih
Tameva bhaantam anubhaati sarvam
Tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhaati
 
aarti.jpgHe is there where the sun does not shine, Nor the moon, stars and lightning. Then what to talk of this small flame (in my hand), Everything (in the universe) shines only after the Lord, And by His light alone are we all illumined.
 
The above prayer reveals what sages of the Upanishadic period realized and gracefully expressed for our benefit what really can't be described.
Delicious Living - Cucumber Dosa by Archana Magadi

This is a typical South Karnataka snack. When you are bored of eating the same kind of dosa, then try the cucumber dosa. You will like it because it is healthy, less calories and tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium size cucmbers
  • 2½ cups of Sooji /Coarse Rava (Idli Rava could also be used)
  • ½ cup grated coconut (optional)
  • 3 green chillies 
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Grate the cucumber(Outer skin and the seeds of the cucumber can be retained). 
  • Chop the green chilies and cilantro very finely.
  • Add the Sooji/Rava, green chilies, cilantro to grated cucumber and mix well. If you want, you can add the grated coconut to this mixture.
  • Add salt as required.

Note: This mixture will be coarse and not watery like a dosa batter. No water is required. Just the water from the grated cucumber is enough.

Procedure:

Heat a tava and grease it a little bit. When the tava is warm, take a handful of the cucumber mixture and place at the center.

Pat the mixture using finger tips and spread it around starting from the center to form a circle. Use little water to spread this out if it becomes hot to hacucumberdosarecipe.jpgndle.

This spreading should not be either too thick or thin, make it as even as possible.

Make about 4-5 small holes around the periphery and center of the circle using a spatula.

Put about 1 tsp of oil around the dosa and also 1 tsp into the small holes.
Cover this with a lid and let it stay for a minute on high heat.

After a minute if the backside of the dosa has turned brown color, then turn it around and cook for a while.
 If it has not turned brown, then let it stay for a while or the dosa will break when trying to turn it around.
 Word Search Puzzle

Find the following hidden words in the puzzle

  • GURUDEVpuzzlemay2010.jpg
  • PADUKAS
  • MOTHER
  • SWAMIJI
  • TAPOVAN
  • KAIVALYA
  • VIBHOOTI
  • CHINMAYA
  • SIDHABARI
  • ANNASHREE


 


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