August 2010 Newsletter


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Newsletter - August 2010
Chinmaya Mission Orlando - www.chinmayaorlando.org
"To remember the ever present Divine at all times, even while acting in the world, is the most positive practice for a seeker who is striving to evolve. He will thereby transform his inner personality from its present condition, to a state of harmony and efficiency."
   
- Swami Chinmayananda

Keeping a Spiritual Diary
by Swami Chinmayananda

Even after following all the prescribed spiritual practices faithfully, you may run into obstructions in your efforts at meditation. In almost all cases where a seeker complains of lack of progress, it is because his subtle body has grown grosser. Do not be misled into thinking that your lack of progress is because of "destiny" or "a bad day" or the withdrawal of God's or your Guru's grace! During an unconscious moment of relaxation, the sensuous world has invaded your inner world through the sense organs and brought GurudevSmileforth from your subconscious mind the lower tendencies. The only way out is to gather up your strength and fight out the battle with your baser tendencies. In order to protect the growing spiritual wealth in you and not suffer the sorrow of setbacks, it may help to post twenty "soldiers" around you, in the form of twenty questions to put to yourself at the end of each day's activities. Keep track of the questions and answers in the form of a spiritual diary that you keep strictly and continuously for three months, but never for more than six months at a stretch. You must not let yourself become habituated to diary-writing. At any time that you feel a setback in your spiritual growth, take up the diary again for a week. It is the experience of many masters and thousands of seekers that this diary keeping is the sovereign remedy for spiritual fervor turned into sour skepticism.

 The Twenty Questions

The following are the twenty items that constitute your diary. The list is compiled to suit all temperaments. Select fifteen items out of the twenty and pursue them diligently. Enter the items as heads for fifteen columns, and indicate each day your report on yourself under each category. At the end of the month, study the chart you have made to determine the schedule of your progress or decline for that month.

We will publish the twenty items in the form of a series. This newsletter will cover the first five items and the rest of them will be covered in the subsequent newsletters.

  1. How many hours did I sleep? Normally six hours of sleep are sufficient for a quiet-living spiritual seeker.
  2. When did I get up from bed? You should be out of bed between 4:30 and 6:00 a.m. The early mornings quiet will assist you in your spiritual evolution. The great masters have found, from their own personal experience, that this part of the day is most beneficial for spiritual practice. In the early stages, you may need an alarm clock to awaken you. If you find yourself being too sleepy after getting up, let a brisk shower freshen you up.
  3. How long did l practice concentration? Begin with small doses, and increase the period of concentration slowly and steadily.
  4. What religious books am I now reading? Reading the lives of the great masters and their declarations of Truth in a spirit of inquiry will greatly help you in thinking intelligently. In reading such books, do not be content with their story content alone. All such stories have deep symbolic and philosophic significance, and your aim should be to unravel the deeper meanings.
  5. For how long was I in companionship with the good (satsanga)? Satsanga here does not mean merely attending prayer meetings and religious discourses. Once you have developed the spirit of inquiry, you will automatically seek out friends interested in discussing religious topics with you. Where such friends are not available, good books will serve as good company; discover companionship with them.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

Blessed Self, Hari Om

Jai Jai Jagadishwara
Jai Gurudev

Every moment is a new moment.  Every day is a New Day. Living moment-to-moment, and always living in the present moment; aiming at perfection in the discharge of our duties; not losing sight of the Goal, and always being alert and vigilant is the Art of Living.

Shree Gurudev always pointed out that "there are infinite possibilities in all of us and one must learn the art of tapping these mighty resources within".   We must put forth our sincere efforts into the work in hand. Let us realize that what we have done so far is nothing and that we can still do much better.

We must create a pure and holy atmosphere for our beloved children to learn the basic values of life in such a way that they unfold their personality like a bud blooming into a flower. With a vision of "One in All and All in One" we must strive for the best with Love, Harmony and Respect for all.

The 2nd phase of construction is about to start.  It includes a large hall and class rooms & a Library.  Let us work together in Yagna spirit which will cultivate purity and love in our hearts for all.

May Gurudev bless us all to evolve towards Divine Love.

In "His" Service

Love,
Dr. Shailaja Nadkarni
President,
Chinmaya Mission Orlando

Upcoming Events
Event Date/Time Venue
Start of Balavihar 2010-11 session
Sunday, Aug 22nd 2010 at 9:00am Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Start of Tabla and Vocal classes for 2010-11 session by Pt. NandKishore Muley Sunday, Aug 22nd 2010 at 1:00pm. Click here to register
Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Discourse by Param Pujya Sadhvi Ritambhara Devi (Didi Maa) Wed, Aug 18th 2010 from 6:00pm-8:30pm. More details click here. Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Gyana Yagna by Sw. Prakashananda
October 2010 (Details awaited)
Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Construction Update 
Hari OM!

As the Chinmaya family enjoys the new kitchen and dining hall, plans are moving nicely for the additional classrooms and main hall expansion.  The board approved the phase II plan and details are being undertaken for the best options from devotees and the Executive Committee.

The concept design and initial budgetary discussions with Guruji were very positive, and his valuable input is now being incorporated into the master plan for our Mission grounds.  Our construction committee (actively run by Ms. Anuja Agrawal and others) is working diligently and moving forward with our new addition.  It is certain that we will have a wonderful atmosphere serving our ever growing school and Ashram.

This exciting Phase II plan will include expansion of the Kaivalya hall, a large library, improved Acharyas quarters, 10-14 classrooms, and shower facilities (for small camps), etc.  All this will be surrounded by a wonderful garden to include the Krishna Sanctuary, play areas, and ample parking facilities. The team is currently discussing a fountain/water feature to enhance the overall beauty of our wonderful Ashram.

All this is possible by Parameshwara's blessings and Gurudev's grace (under Guruji's guidance), as we offer this humble service to our children.  Please share with us any comments, and we ask for your involvement in this
exciting and wonderful effort.

Respectfully,

Jogi Pattisapu
Construction Committee
 Messages by Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda

Guru Purnima 2010 Message

In the Guru Stotram, we chant that the Guru is Brahama, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The Guru is like Brahama because he creates devotion and a desire for spiritual knowledge in our minds.guruji

Guru makes our desire for liberation firm, intensifies it, nourishes it, and protects it. So he is verily Lord Vishnu. Thirdly, in the role of Lord Siva, he destroys the accumulated garbage in our minds - likes, dislikes, greed, anger and many such impurities that we do not know how to get rid of.

On this Sacred Guru Purnima day, we pray to entire Guru-parampara to give us the devotion and determination to reach the supreme truth.

Mahasamadhi Day 2010 Message

The essence of all sadhana is to lift the mind and reach the state that is the nature of the Self. In the fire of the Truth, let the mind become no-mind. Everything else - practices, paths, instructions - all are mere details!

Our Pujya Gurudev's grace and blessings are a living presence and an infallible certainty.
CMO Summer Camp 2010 - "Shri Rama, Rameti, Rameti" by Bhavana Madapura.
It was camp time at Chinmaya Mission Orlando from July 12th- July 17th!! With Pujya Gurudev's blessing and grace and the dedicated hard work of all the volunteers in the true yagna spirit, the camp was a great learning experience for all of us and the children.

The theme of this year's camp was Shri Rama. We had kids participating in the camp from ages as young as 4 years to 13 yrs old. The day started with morning prayers, followed by chanting session and yoga session by our Acharya Dr. Shailaja Nadkarni.

Click to View more picturesThey learned Shanti mantra from Taittiriya Upanishad, shlokas about the importance of food, how to be a good student, and never to criticize food. It was beautiful how well the children chanted and memorized the shlokas. In the yoga session they learned Soorya namaskara, many Hatha yoga asanas and Pranayama.

The philosophy classes were geared towards teaching the children about Shri Rama katha and the ideal quaities, the concept of Dharma Rath in Tulsi Ramayan of Lanka Khand, where Shri Rama explains to anxious Vibheeshanji as to what makes up the Chariot of Victory which leads one who possesses it to the great goal in life as against the chariot of Ravan which symbolises Adharma.

The wheels of the chariot are valor and fortitude, the flag is truthfulness and good conduct, the 4 horses are strength, discretion, self control and benevolence, while the reins are forgiveness, compassion, and eveness of mind. The driver is the adoration of God, shield is dispassion, sword is contentment, axe is charity, lance is reasoning and reflection, bow represents the highest wisdom, the quiver is a pure and steady mind and arrows are quietude, religious observances. Body shield is homage to one's own preceptors.Click to view more
Everyday at specific times, the children enjoyed delicious, nutritious snacks and lunch prepared by the volunteers in the kitchen and served in AnnaShree, our new dining hall.

Bhajan time was a melodious time where the children learnt many bhajans about Shri Rama, Hanuman, Durga Devi and Lord Krishna.

Craft time after the rest time every day was eagerly awaited by all kids where they got to apply their creativity with theme based arts and crafts specifically designed for the camp. They made bows and arrows, crowns, greeting cards, rakhis, garland making, and Shri Rama katha journey of Shri Rama through India.

The day camp ended on Friday July 17th with all the kids performing a skit on Dharma Rath where they creatively assembled a physical rath on stage. The skit was accompanied with Bhajans and Chanting. Delicious dinner was served as Mahaprasad for everyone who attended the skit.

The fun continued with camp fire, songs and toasting of marsh mellows!! after which many kids stayed back for sleepover. It was a truly memorable experience for the children.

The memories, friendships and learning at Chinmaya Mission is an important part of these children growing up in America where they learn about the values of our Hindu culture and assimilate them with the American way of life. They get the best of both worlds!!

We are ever grateful to Gurudev and for all the volunteers who keep his vision alive and pass it onto the younger generation.

The important lesson we all learn is that the teachings of the teacher about the Dharma Rath is effective only when we sincerely strive to put into practice and build our own Dharma Rathas and successfully drive it towards the great goal of Life!!

Hari OM. 
Enchanting Tales
This story is about a farmer's daughter whose duty it was to carry fresh milk to customers in various villages. One of the customers was a priest. To reach his house, the milkmaid had to cross a good-sized stream. People crossed it by a sort of ferry raft, for a small fee.

riverOne day the priest, who performed worship daily with the offering to God of fresh milk, finding it arrived very late, scolded the poor woman. "What can I do?" she said, "I start out early from my house, but I have to wait a long time for the boatman to come." Then the priest said (pretending to be serious), "What! People have even walked across the ocean by repeating the name of God, and you can't cross this little river?" This milkmaid took him very seriously. From then on she brought the priest's milk punctually every morning. He became curious about it and asked her how it was that she was never late anymore.

"I cross the river repeating the name of the Lord," she replied, "just as you told me to do, without waiting for the ferry." The priest didn't believe her, and asked, "Can you show me this, how you cross the river on foot?" So they went together to the water and the milkmaid began to walk over it. Looking back, the woman saw that the priest had started to follow her and was floundering in the water. "Sir!" she cried, "You are uttering the name of God, yet all the while you are holding up your clothes from getting wet. That is not trusting in God!"

Never under-estimate the power of faith!
Why do we do what we do ?

Why do we not touch books, paper, or people with our feet?

To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at all times. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular. But in ancient India every subject - academic or spiritual - was considered divine and taught by the Guru in the Gurukula. The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in Indian culture. From an early age, this wisdom fosters in us a deep reverence for books and education. This is also the reason why we worship books, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswathi Pooja or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. In fact, each day before starting our studies, we pray:

Saraswatinamasthubhyam
Varade kaama roopini
Vidyaarambham karishyaami
Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa

O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of  Boons and fulfiller of wishes,  I prostrate to You before Starting my studies. May You always fulfill me.

To touch another with the feet is considered an act of misdemeanor. Why is this so?  Man is regarded as the most beautiful, living breathing temple of the Lord! Therefore touching another with the feet is akin to disrespecting the divinity within him or her. This calls for an immediate apology, which is offered with reverence and humility.
Divine Chants
Night prayer for forgivenessPrayerHindu1

Kara-charana-kritam vaa kaayajam karmajam vaa
Shravana-nayanajam vaa maanasam vaa(a) paraadham
Vihitamavihitam vaa sarvametat kshamasva
Jaya jaya karunaabdhe Shree Mahaadeva Shambho.

Meaning:

Kara Charana Kritam = (faults) committed by (my) hands or feet
Vaak = (or by) Speech
Kaayajam Karmajam Vaa = or (through) actions associated with (my) body,
Shravana Nayanajam Vaa = (faults)associated with (my) ears and eyes
Maanaasam Vaa aparaadham = or faults of the mind
Vihitam Avihitam Vaa = (faults born of actions) knowingly or unknowingly
Sarvam Etat Kshamasva = Forgive (me for) all these
Jaya Jaya Karunaabdhe = Victory be unto you, Ocean of sympathy
Shri Mahaadeva Shambo = O Shambu, the Great Lord.

Oh Lord kindly forgive my wrong actions done knowingly or unknowingly, either through my organs of action (hand, feet, speech) or through my organs of perception (eyes, ears) or by my mind. Glory unto Thee O Lord, who is the ocean of kindness.
Delicious Living - Chickpea Salad by Kavita Singh

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Serving for Six

Ingredients:
1.  Two 15-ounce canned chickpeas - well drained and rinsedchickpeasalad
2.  1 1/2 cups english cucumbers - finely diced
3.  1 1/4 cups celery - finely diced
4.  1 cup red onion - finely chopped
5.  1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
6.  1 cup raisins
7.  5-6 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
8.  1 cup chopped cilantro
9.  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10. 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
12. 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
13. 1 1/2 teaspoon chaat-masala
14. 2-3 chopped green chillies
15. A few Anaar dana (pomegranate seeds)
 

Preparation:
Pour drained chickpeas into a large bowl.
Add and mix diced cucumbers, celery and onions.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and all dry seasoning plus cilantro and mix well.
Add red chili powder and chaat masala to taste.
Add and mix peanuts and raisins just before serving to ensure crunch.
Garnish with cilantro, green chilies and fresh Anaar dana.

Your salad is ready to be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Can be enjoyed by itself or with roasted papad or papris.

 

 Word Search Puzzle

Find the following hidden words in the puzzle

  • GURUDEVpuzzleaug2010
  • PADUKAS
  • GURUJAYANTHI
  • MAHASAMADHI
  • CHINMAYA
  • SADGURU
  • GURUJI
  • TAPOVAN
  • SHIVANANDA
  • SANDEEPANY
  • MASTER
  • GYANA
  • BALAVIHAR
  • YAJNA
  • SATSANG
  • SAMADHI
 

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