Newsletter - February 2012
|Chinmaya Mission Orlando - www.chinmayaorlando.org|
“When the mind is changed, the man is changed. When the man is changed, the year becomes new. Not only on January 1st. The day you change is the New Year for you. A New life for you. You are the Master of it.”
– Swami Chinmayananda
Happy New Year!
[Excerpts from Gurudev's New Year message from the year 1993]
You must have heard this in the last week a thousand times and at least a hundred times you must have said it. “Happy New Year! Happy New Year!” In fact, there is no "new" year. "Year" is but a measurement in a continuous stream of time that we have created for our own convenience. Time is the same –labeled as past, present or future – it is a concept. For our convenience, we have created divisions of days, weeks, months, years, centuries and millennia. Whether in the 1st or the 2nd century, 20th or even the 21st century, "time" is ever the same. But all that is floating in time and reaching us is constantly changing. Now, in India, there has already been a lot of expenditure of money and effort in cleaning and purifying the Ganges. The river is not impure, but individuals like you and I, living on both her banks, all along the thousands of miles of her pilgrimage, throw dirt and filth into the river and make her dirty. To purify the Ganges, you and I actually need to do nothing – just stop polluting it! Fresh gallons of water flowing downstream from the snowy Himalayan peaks will force out the polluted waters and the river shall be pristine and purified once again!
Be Cheerful, Be Positive. As Shree Swami Sivananda says "Be good and do good". See Divinity in all, within and without. Love all, embrace all. Accept everything.
Shree Swami Tapovan, embodiment and crest-jewel of tapah, a God-man who walked our earth, may he fill our heart and make us experience the divine sweetness within, through our Gurudev Shree Swami Chinmayananda.
In "His" Service
Acharya Shailaja Nadkarni
President, Chinmaya Mission Orlando
|Shiva Pradosh Pooja||05-Feb-2012||Chinmaya Mission Orlando|
|Chinmaya Mission Orlando|
|Holi Celebrations||11-Mar-2012||Chinmaya Mission Orlando|
|Geeta Chanting Competition (Ch 3)||25-Mar-2012||Chinmaya Mission Orlando|
|Hanuman Jayanti||07-Apr-2012||Chinmaya Mission Orlando|
During the past few months, we have been conducting cost engineering on the high-tag items of the construction. While this process was time-consuming and slowed down our building permit process, we felt it was essential to perform the due diligence to review and refine our plans, create a more efficient design, and attempt to reduce the overall construction costs. In the interim, we continued to work with Seminole County on the Site Plan, which was approved in December. We will be awarding the construction project to one of the two short-listed contractors this month. Both contractors have worked with us diligently so far and we are confident that either choice will be a good one.
We have come this far with God’s grace, Gurudev's blessings, and Guruji's guidance. As we offer this humble service to our children, we want to thank those of you who have pledged funds towards the construction. We humbly urge all of you to consider supporting the construction project. No amount is too small. We have received pledges of $5 a month and $1 a day and are grateful for the contribution. If you have pledged an annual amount, we request that you make the contribution for 2012 by February (perhaps to coincide with the auspicious occasion of Mahashivaratri) so we can meet our equity requirements during the loan process.
We welcome any suggestions and expertise you can share with us.
|Mahashivaratri is one of the most auspicious days; Shiva means auspiciousness. The night of Shivaratri symbolizes the darkness of ignorance. Shiva is the Ocean of Knowledge who leads humankind to knowledge. The devotee, who utters the names of Lord Shiva during Shivaratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths. May Lord Shiva bless us all on the occasion of Mahashivaratri and lead us to bliss. This year Mahashivaratri will be observed on Sunday, February 19th 2012 at Chinmaya Mission Orlando. The auspiciousness and purity which comes to our hearts by just remembering the Lord is beyond intellectual imagination.
More details about the Mahashivaratri 2012 schedule is available on the website.
Continuous remembrance of God by Swami Tapovan Maharaj
|[Excerpts from letters of Swami Tapovan Maharaj recently discovered and published in special edition of Tapovan Prasad Dec 2011, dedicated to Swami Tapovanam]
The first step in spiritual life is the clear knowledge and firm conviction that God alone is true, infinite and the very form of bliss. One who firmly believes in this does not have any attachment to external things or any desire for enjoyment arising from them. If not sense pleasures, people continuously crave for pleasures associated with ego. They revel in the temporary joy born of thoughts like, “I am very rich, I am a great leader, I am a great scholar, I am a great devotee, I am a great jnani…” and consider themselves fulfilled. Even great people who have renounced all kinds of worldly pleasures forget their goal because of their desire for these egocentric pleasures. Pleasures arising out of sense objects and indulgence in the ego will perish in a moment and result in great sorrow. Divine happiness arising out of remembrance of the Lord (Iswara-smaranam) alone is untouched by sorrow. Since God is eternal, the happiness arising out of Him is also eternal and has no association with sorrow. Those who have the discrimination to know this, revel in the constant remembrance of the Lord and not in anything else. Through remembrance of the Lord, they purify not only themselves, but the entire world. For one who firmly believes in the existence of God, there is no greater service to the world than the service through the remembrance of the Lord. All other kinds of service are inferior to this. So, do the sadhana of Iswara smaranam without a break.
One should put in more effort in Atma-Sadhana. Along with one’s other duties, one should create time for contemplation on the Self, worship of the Lord and study and reflection on the scriptures. Till the mind becomes absolutely pure and full of discrimination and dispassion, one should perform all one’s duties. However, without worrying about the gains or losses accrued through them, one should perform them with equanimity of mind in the attitude of worship of the Lord.
Moksha (liberation) is knowing the Atma-tattva and reveling in it. That is the highest goal of life. All other sadhanas like performing selfless actions, worship of the Lord, contemplation on the Self, sravana, manana, dhyana etc., are the means for that. After all, one has to reach the goal!
It should be considered as an essential duty to practise Atma Vidya according to one’s capacity, One should reflect on scriptural works and the Upanishads which give us knowledge of the Self. Contemplate on the Self, along with that make it a daily practice to worship the Lord also. Whatever actions you undertake, should be performed with complete selflessness. These should be considered unavoidable and practised daily, continuously, without any break. Atma Vidya alone is capable of making a person completely happy.
Quotes of Swami Tapovan Maharaj:
| Three robbers – by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Once, a man was going through a forest, when three robbers fell upon him and robbed him of all his possessions. One of the robbers said, “What’s the use of keeping this man alive?” So saying, he was about to kill him with his sword, when the second robber interrupted him, saying: ‘Oh, no! What is the use of killing him? Tie his hand and foot and leave him here.” The robbers bound his hands and feet and went away. After a while the third robber returned and said to the man: “Ah, I am sorry. Are you hurt? I will release you from your bonds.” After setting the man free, the thief said: “Come with me. I will take you to the public high way.” After a long time they reached the road. At this the man said: “Sir, you have been very good to me. Come with me to my house.” “Oh, no!” the robber replied. “I can’t go there. The police will know it.
“This world itself is the forest. The three robbers prowling here are Satva, Rajas, and Tamas. It is they that rob a man of the Knowledge of Truth. Tamas wants to destroy him. Rajas bind him to the world. But Satva rescues him from the clutches of rajas and tamas. Under the protection of Satva, man is rescued from anger, passion and other evil effects of tamas. Further, Satva loosens the bonds of the world. But Satva also is a robber. It cannot give man the ultimate Knowledge of Truth, though it shows him the road leading to the Supreme Abode of God. Setting him on the path, Satva tells him: “Look yonder. There is your home.” Even Satva is far away from the knowledge of Brahman.
|Why do we do what we do?|
Why do we fast?
Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food. Fasting in Sanskrit is called Upavaasa. Upa means "near" + vaasa means "to stay". Upavaasa therefore means staying near (the Lord), meaning the attainment of close mental proximity with the Lord. Then what has Upavaasa to do with food? A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking, eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our minds dull and agitated. Hence on certain days man decides to save time and conserve his energy by eating either simple, light food or totally abstaining from eating so that his mind becomes alert and pure. The mind, otherwise pre-occupied by the thought of food, now entertains noble thoughts and stays with the Lord. Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered to with joy.
Also every system needs a break and an overhaul to work at its best. Rest and a change of diet during fasting is very good for the digestive system and the entire body. The more you indulge the senses, the more they make their demands. Fasting helps us to cultivate control over our senses, sublimate our desires and guide our minds to be poised and at peace. Fasting should not make us weak, irritable or create an urge to indulge later. This happens when there is no noble goal behind fasting. The Bhagavad Geeta urges us to eat appropriately - neither too less nor too much yukta-aahaara and to eat simple, pure and healthy food (a Saatvik diet) even when not fasting.
|Night Prayer for forgiveness
karacharana kritaM vaa kaayajam karmajam vaa .
shravaNanayanajaM vaa maanasaM vaaparaadham
vihitamavihitam vaa sarvametatkshamasva .
jaya jaya karunaabdhe shriimahaadeva shambho
Dear Bhagwan, 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 Bhagwan Shiva, who is the ocean of kindness.
|Delicious Living - Sankranthi Ellu Bella – Sesame, Jaggery Mixture|
There is a saying in Kannada "Yellu bella thindu olle maathadi" which means "Eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak only good". So Ellu Bella has got its own importance in Sankranthi festival, which is a festival to mark the movement of the sun to Uttarayana.
|Word Search Puzzle|
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