JKYog e-Magazine, Issue No.60

August, 2014 

 
"Even the governors of the universe seek shelter of Lord Krishna.  But Lord Krishna himself, the shelter of all, rolls on the ground and cries for the shelter of his mother Yashoda's lap."
~ Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj

This month 'Sumiran' team is picking up 'Janmashtami' as the topic  of the month.  In this issue we will be presenting articles on why is God in his personal form as Krishna our favorite?  Who is Krishna?  Readers will also find baby Krishna Arati, Devotees speak section, and 10 foods to fight the cold bug.

"O maiya! I haven't eaten mud."

"O maiya! I haven't eaten mud."

jākī bṛikuṭi vilās pralaya soi, sāńṭī lakhi ḍarapāyo

The Supreme Personality, who can annihilate infinite cosmic bodies simply by raising his eyebrows, has been bound by mother Yashoda's parental love and is seen getting terrified of a small stick in her hand.

dou kara-udara bańdhe dāmodara, dṛiga jhara jhari lāyo

Both of Shree Krishna's hands are tied in front of his abdomen and tears are continuously rolling down his eyes.

mati māriya maiyā! mohiṅ bhaiyā, gaiyā nita hańkavāyo

"Please don't beat me, Maiya! Bhaiya (brother Balaram) makes me drive the cows every day."

too barajati lālana! gaiyana bicha, bhooli kabahuń jani jāyo

You yourself have told me many times not to go in the midst of the cows under any condition.

āju na gayoṅ bahorana gaiyā, bhaiyā mohiṅ dhamakāyoṅ

Today I decided to obey you at any cost and refused to drive them. At this, Bhaiya threatened to complain to you and have me beaten.

  

hāre kāli khela mahań mote, yāhu te khisiyāyo

Another reason is that I defeated Bhaiya in a game yesterday, and he has been annoyed with me ever since.

kachhu basa chalyo na jaba maiyā, soṅ, jhooṭhī āya lagāyo

So because of these reasons, when he couldn't do anything else, he came and lied to you that I have eaten mud.  

maiyā kaha 'mukha kholī dikhāvahu', taba hari kachhu musakāyo   

Mother Yashoda said, "Well, open your mouth and show me!" At this, Shree Krishna smiled a little. 

 ati hī prabala yogamāyā-bala, roopa, virāṭa dikhāyo

By his all-powerful personal energy, Yogmaya, the Supreme Lord manifested his stupendous, awe-inspiring cosmic form in his mouth.

lakhi koṭina brahmāṇda eka mukha, yaśhumati ati akulāyo

At this staggering sight of countless universes in the little mouth of her Kanhaiya, mother Yashoda became overwhelmed with awe.

taba 'kṛipālu' bhaye saumya śhyām imi, dāmodara pada pāyo

Says Shree 'Kripalu', "Seeing mother Yashoda in this condition, the merciful Shree Krishna re-assumed the gentle form of a little child. In this way, he earned the title of 'Damodar'."

Why is God in his personal form as Krishna our favorite?

There is one Supreme Lord and he is all-powerful.  The Scriptures state that as he is perfectly complete, he possesses a form and is also formless.  In fact they go ahead and describe that worshipping God in his personal form is much sweeter and easier than worshiping a formless God.  They say that people, who worship the formless God, cannot see their Lord; they cannot witness his sweet leelas (pastimes); they cannot hear the enchanting sound of His flute, or feel the love of his embrace.  They can only experience him in their minds.  But the worshippers of God in his personal form are able to see the divine form of the Beloved Lord, participate in his sweet pastimes, and serve him to their heart's content.  They experience all the sweetness of the names, forms, qualities, pastimes, abodes and associates of God.

In the Vedic tradition, we are fortunate that we have descriptions of the personal forms of God, such as Shree Krishna, Shree Ram, Lord Shiv, Lord Vishnu, etc.  Contrary to the false notion of people, Ram, Krishna, Shiv, etc are not different Gods. There is one almighty Lord; and they are just different forms of the same Supreme Lord.  Understand this from a simple point that even one person has many different personalities.  When a man goes to office, he is dressed formally.  When he takes a walk in the park, he is dressed semi-formally.  And when he is at home, he is dressed very informally.  His wife does not become confused, thinking, "I had married one man.  How come I have three husbands?"  She knows very well that these are three different appearances of her one husband.  Similarly, Krishna, Ram, Shiv, Vishnu, etc are all different forms of the same one God.  We should not consider any one of these as bigger or smaller than the others. 

Although there are different forms of the one Supreme Lord, yet it is advisable to focus your devotion on a single form. There is a Hindi saying;

 eka sādhe saba sadhe, saba sādhe saba jāya

"If you focus all your attention on a single activity, you will succeed in it.  But if you try to succeed in multifarious things at the same time, you will fail in all of them."  With the same logic, if you try to love all the forms of God, you will end up loving none.  But if you focus your mind in devotion to one form, you will develop love for all of them.  So you must choose one form to worship, which is called "Ishta Dev", or the devotee's chosen form of God for devotion. But then how do you choose your Ishta Dev?

In deciding this, you must consider which form of God is attractive to the mind.  If your Ishta Dev has a beautiful form, you will find it much easier to meditate on him.  Also, if your Ishta Dev has wonderful pastimes, it will be very helpful in your devotion.  To turn your mind towards God, leelas also play an important role.  By hearing and chanting those leelas, devotees increase their love for God.  From both these view points, devotion to Shree Ram and Shree Krishna is both sweet and easy.  Hence, They are also the most popular Ishta Devs in India.  Their sweet pastimes are lovingly sung and remembered in temples and houses in every part of the country. 

Amongst them, Shree Krishna manifests four special nectars, above and beyond any other Avatar of God:

1.    He has an exceptionally attractive form (His famous three-fold bending form with a flute on His lips).
2.    The amazing sweetness of His flute attracts even Lord Shankar.
3.    His sweetest childhood pastimes enchant the minds of people of all ages.  
4.    Loving leelas that reveal how God forgets his Almightiness because of the love of His devotees.

For all these reasons, God in his Shree Krishna form is our favorite.  For Spiritual aspirants it is highly recommended to make Shree Krishna and his Divine Consort, Shree Radha Rani, as your Ishta Dev. On the basis of their loving leelas it will become much easier to focus the mind in the divine realm and attain the goal of God-realization.   However, if you decide to choose any other forms of God, that is also fine.   
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In This Issue

The reason for God's descension on earth is to attract and grace the individual souls, who are under the clutches of Maya, towards his divine name, qualities, forms, pastimes and to make them eternally gratified.  God descends on earth to provide a divine form and divine qualities for human beings to absorb their minds in. 
Devotees Speak
Poem : "I love Krishna"

Oh Krishna in shimmering blue,
Your Pitambar drenched in golden hue,
Your Kadamba garland dripping morning due,
Why this sight for just a few?

I searched for you in the Mathura's bounds,
I looked for you in Gokul's playgrounds,
I listened for you in Vrindavan's sounds,
I roamed around in Govardhan' mounds.

Are you the Himalayas as the learned say?
Are you the Ganges roaring away?
But your personal form oh my Lord,
My heart longs for night and day?

Will I reach you at this pace?
Will I behold your peerless face?
Will I submerge in your embrace?
And dissolve in your ocean of grace?"
 

Champa Srinivas
(Dallas,TX)

"I love Lord Krishna very much. His pranks and lessons have impressed me a lot.I keep thinking about how smart lord krishna is and keep sharing about his leelas to my friends."

About Lord Krishna......He was born in Vrindavan, to Devaki and her husband Vasudeva on 18 July 3228 BC. When Mother Earth became upset about all the sin going on Earth she thought of seeking help from Lord Vishnu.  She went in a form of a cow to visit Lord Vishnu and  asked for help. Lord Vishnu agrees to help her and promises her to be born on Earth.On Earth in the Yadava clan, a prince named Kansa sends his father Ugrasena (King of Mantura) in prison and himself becomes the King .Lord Vishnu himself later appears to Devaki and Vasudeva and tells them that he himself will be their eight son and kill Kansa and destroy sin in the world.

Coming to the childhood of Krishna,  I really love how naughty he was and his pranks made me crack up all the time. Like eating butter when nobody else is looking. His brother Balaram also joined him to steal butter. Krishna killed the demoness Putana, disguised as beautiful woman, and the tornado demon Trinavarta both sent  to kill Krishna. He killed the fire demon. Balaram killed the fire demon's friend. He tamed the serpent Kaliya, who previously poisoned the waters of Yamuna river thus leading to the the death of the cowherders. In Hindu art  Krishna danced on the multi hooded Kaliya. Krishna lifted Govardhana hill and taught Indra, the king of the devas, a lesson to protect native people of Vrindavan from disaster by Indra . The stories of Krishna of his play with the gopis (milkmaids) of Vrindavan, especially Radha (daughter of Vrishbanu. Krishna's childhood reinforces the Hindu concept of lila, playing for fun and enjoyment and not for sport or gain. Usually when Krishna plays his flute the gopis immediatly rush their and start singing and dancing.

Shreya
I think Krishna has not changed my life he has just changed my soul. He has just taken it up and this has been done with the help of Kripaluji. He has instructed me that there should be only one aim in life and that is to get "Krishna in any way". And without even asking a single question I have just followed his instructions. It would not have been this easy without his guidance.

Since Krishna entered in my life, am just happy on my own. I always feel like that he is here with me for ever n ever. He is the only existence. I have felt him many times but always got late in recognizing him due to these material senses.

Earlier, I had many materialistic desires but now my only desire is "Krishna - my love , my God, my friend, my everything"

Deepshikha

Life before having heard philosophy of Shree Krishna Bhakti got spent just like that in oblivion. There were worldly actions alone and loving God was never attended.

 

Only when I started listening to Satsang, there emerged the place of God. Seeds were sown right from 'a' which started sprouting unknowingly with the Grace of Guru.

 As a result there were noticeable changes. The person who was full of aggressiveness, cruelty, etc. seemed to have been developing shades of mildness, pity.

 Today still after having received so much there is a lot more yet to be acknowledged and thanked for.

Shardul Kulkarni
Myself Yuvraj Singh from India and I wanted to share some thoughts on how Shree Krishna bhakti adds joy to my life. After coming in contact with Shree Maharajji's teaching I found that to walk on the path of bhakti is very tough as it seems by the lectures of Shree Maharajji.  It requires the guts to accept ones own faults and to say this in public which I do not have. But the problem is if you do not do this then where are you heading in your life? You are heading nowhere if you are not following Shree Maharajji's instruction.

Dear Swamiji I need your help in this regard. What should I do? Although I know you cannot do anything as I have to obey Shree Maharajji's instruction but I do not have courage.

I always think what people will think of me if I do this or that . I always want to pretend good on the face of others but actually I bear ill feelings towards others. Everyone wants to walk on the path of bhakti which Shree Maharajji described in his words but my ego is far far far  bigger than selfless love of Shree Radha Krishna. I think only Shree Maharajji's grace which is not written in vedas or the grace which Shree Maharajji himself did not know about, alone can give me that divine bliss. If you can help me please give me your suggestion or association in whatever form available.

Yuvraj Singh 

It all started in 2005 when I first had the divine darshan of Shree Maharajji. I failed , because I was unable to digest his teachings, got confused and then unable to manage I backed out. I dont remember the day when suddenly in 2008 in the mid of my engineering days I started worshipping him. Over the years , by his profound special grace , he has captured my imagination so miraculously, that I feel him everywhere, anytime. He is the only Divine entity my mind knows now and meditates on. Just hand your strings to him, he will take charge of you. This also he will do. You  have to do absolutely nothing. His ways ,his subtle grace only you can feel and experience, but never utter. For me its like the lost ship whom the shepherd rescued.  Feeling blessed that I am in Maharajji's hands. Radhe Radhe.
Pankaj Agarwal, Bhubaneswar
'Devotees Speak' section is a new addition to Sumiran, your monthly spiritual energizer.  We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences with other readers through this section.  Write in to us at

Up-coming Events 2014

Sept 6th to 12th 

Chicago, IL

Sept 13th to 17th

 Canton, MI

Up-coming Retreats 2014

Chicago, IL Retreat

Date: Sept 19th (Friday) to Sept 21st (Sunday), 2014 

Venue: Clarion Inn, 933 S Riverside Dr, Elmhurst, IL 60126  

Click here for ONLINE registration  

 

Austin, TX Retreat  

Date: Oct 10th (Friday) to Oct 12th (Sunday), 2014 

Venue: Radha Madhav Dham, 400 Barsana Rd, Austin, TX 

 

For details, click here

News & Updates

 

 

 

Janmashtami Celebration 2014
A four-day sadhana shivir was held at Shyama Sham Dham, Vrindavan from Aug 14th to 17th followed by Janmashtami celebration at Prem Mandir, Vrindavan on Aug 18th under the presence of JKP President, Sushree Vishakha Tripathi Ji, Sushree Shyama Tripathi Ji and Sushree Krishna Tripathi Ji.  Chanting of Shree Krishna leelas and pads, special arati of Baby Krishna were the main highlights of the celebration.  Prem Mandir was elaborately decorated with displays of Shree Krishna's appearance, and the exterior was lit with thousands of glittering lights.

Huge crowds swelled at Prem Mandir for over 5 days of the Janmashtami celebration creating a very festive atmosphere.

Click for more photos

Construction of the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas
The construction of the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas has begun in full swing. Work began on construction for the foundation of the temple building. Swami Mukundananda visited the construction site with local devotees.  Click to see more photos

Plano Mayor LaRosiliere Welcomes Swamiji 
Honorable Mayor Harry LaRosiliere of Plano, TX, attended Swami Mukundananda's program on Wednesday night, August 13th, welcoming Swamiji to his city. He praised JKYog's efforts in the field of holistic health of the body, mind and soul. In appreciation of the noble endeavors and undertakings of JKYog in the service of humankind, the Mayor presented the following "special recognition" certificate:

THE CITY OF PLANO 
The Plano City Council is privileged to welcome Swami Mukundananda and Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog Participants.

Whereas, Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog (JKYog) was established to help mankind achieve spiritual and physical well being in order to achieve health of body, mind, intellect, and soul. The combination of physical exercise must be combined with the spiritual and material experiences in order to develop the many aspects of our personality.

On this special occasion, we join with Swami Mukundananda, honored guests and students who have gathered to participate and increase their knowledge of spirituality and yoga. This session will have a positive impact on participants by cultivating their spiritual awareness and holistic health while raising their quality of life.

Therefore, I, Harry LaRosiliere, Mayor of the City of Plano, TX, do hereby extend our appreciation on behalf of the Plano City Council. 

*********************** 

Swamiji conducted Yoga, Meditation and discourses programs at Fort Lauderdale, FL, Plano, TX, Fort Worth, TX, Houston, TX.

 

Swamiji's USA 2014 tour pictures will be posted on

www.facebook.com/JKYogActivities  page on Facebook.

Kindly visit the page and click on the LIKE  button.

Lectures

Who is Krishna?   

by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj  

 

The one who attracts and entices everybody's heart, the Supreme Soul, is Krishna. Even Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shankar, are attracted to Shree Krishna. He attracts his own self! Is it not astonishing?  

  

Let us understand the meaning of the word 'Krishna'. 

 

kṛiṣhirbhvāchakaḥ   śhabdaḥ  ṇaṣhch  nivṛitti  vāchakaḥ tvayoraikya  parabrahm  kṛiṣhṇa  ityabhidhīyate    (gopālatāpaniyopaniṣhat)

In the Vedas, the meaning of the word 'Krishna' is Satchidanand Brahman (the absolute divinity full of bliss, knowledge and eternity).

 

 'karṣhati paramhańsānām chetańsi iti kṛiṣhṇaḥ' 

 

The one who attracts and entices everybody's heart, the Supreme Soul, is Krishna. Even Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shankar, are attracted to Shree Krishna. He attracts his own self! Is it not astonishing?
The Supreme God, Shree Krishna has three main forms -  Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān.  There is only one God who manifests himself in three different forms.  Let us now understand the meaning and attributes of these three forms of God.

 

Brahman - Brahman is the aspect of God that is everywhere in creation.  In this omnipresent aspect, God does not manifest his forms, virtues, pastimes, etc. He is merely existent, eternal, knowledge, and bliss. The path of jńāna yog gives the realization of God as the all-pervading formless Brahman.   

 

Paramātmā - Paramātmā is the aspect of God that is seated in everyone's hearts.  Seated within, he notes all our thoughts and actions, keeps an account of them, and gives the results at the appropriate time. However, he does not display any pastimes. The path of aṣhṭāṅg yog leads to the Paramātmā realization of God, residing within our hearts.

 

Bhagavān - Bhagavān is the aspect of God in which God manifests in his personal form.  God reveals all his powers in this form. This is the form of Shree Krishna, in which he manifests all the sweetness of his divine names, form, pastimes, abodes, and associates.  As Bhagavān, all the powers and aspects of God's personality, which are latent in the other forms, get revealed. The path of bhakti, or devotion, leads to the realization of God in his Bhagavān aspect.   

kṛiṣhno havai hariaḥ  paramam daivataṁ

The Supreme power is Shree Krishna. govindānmṛityurvibheti  Even death fears Shree Krishna.  And gopījanavallabha jńānenākhilam jńātam bhavati  By knowing Shree Krishna everything becomes known.  So, Shree Krishna is the ultimate Supreme personality who is the ocean of divine love and eternal bliss. Shree Krishna is Absolute truth and essence of divine love and nectar.  We, being a part of his divine personality naturally love him.       
               
Next is the question of Shree Krishna's birth.  If we say that he was born, then it means he will die one day.  Shree Krishna himself says:
jātasya hī dhruvo mṛityurdhruvam janma mṛitasya cha

"Arjun! The one who is born dies one day." That implies Shree Krishna also died. Is the Supreme Lord also caught in this cycle of life and death?  No, let us first understand the meaning of the birth of God. For the Supreme Lord, birth means to manifest and death means disappearance.  During Shree Krishna's descension period, he first appeared in front of mother Devaki in the form of the four-armed Maha Vishnu, with his Sudarshan chakra, conch, mace, and lotus.

 

tamadbhutam bālakamambuje kṣhaṇam chaturbhujam śhankha gadayudayudhaṁ

 

Having seen this form of God she asked him to appear as a normal child.  When Devaki closed and opened her eyes bhaye prakaṭ kṛipalā dīn dayālā God manifested himself as a sweet smiling child.  So, it was not like a material birth that takes place from the mother's womb.  Shree Krishna had a divine birth, and similarly his body was also divine. 

chidānandamaya deha tumhārī
 vigata vikāra jāna adhikārī  

 

Only people with divine vision are able to perceive the divinity of his form. Thus, his body is chidanandamaya, full of knowledge and eternal bliss.  We have a body and a soul.  The soul is immortal but the body is destructible.  But the body and soul of God are one.  His body is divine by nature, full of bliss.

 

Every sense organ of God's body can perform the functions of the other senses.  For example, God's eyes can see, think, smell, and take decisions.  This is unlike human senses, where our eyes can only see and ears can only hear, etc.  Each one of the senses of God can perform the functions of all the other senses.  

 

paśhyatyachakṣhu saśhṛiṇotyakarṇaḥ

Not only are God's sense organs so powerful but he can also hear without ears and see without eyes! This is unbelievable for us humans!

 

Now, arises a question.  What is the need of the Absolute and Supreme God to descend on earth? Why does he leave his divine abode and come to this material world?  Does he want something from us humans? No, he is complete and content in himself.  He does not have the need to search for anything from outside to fulfill or satisfy himself.

 

There are many reasons for God's descension.  But the main reason of his descension is to shower his causeless grace and mercy on everyone.  Grace and mercy are inseparable part of his nature.  This is the reason why he comes to this world repeatedly and does various pastimes.

 

When God descends on the world, he reveals the glory of his personal and all-blissful form, his divine names and his pastimes. This provides a basis for the material conditioned souls to engage in his devotion.  By meditating on his form, and listening to is his pastimes, they get a means for enhancing their devotion.  If God had not taken any avatars (descensions), the souls in the material world would not have had any basis for engaging in devotion, because the formless Brahman is exceedingly difficult to worship.  

 

Thus, the main motive of celebrating Janmashtami is to understand the secret behind Shree Krishna's divine descension and our eternal relationship with him.  We must aim to build a firm relationship with him and constantly realize his presence with us so that we progress quickly on this path and cleanse our mind.  By the grace of our Guru, we can then receive divine love with which we can relish the sweet leelas of Shree Krishna and enjoy the eternal bliss of divine love.

Bhakti Shatak 

Explained by Swami Mukundananda 

 

Bhakti Śhatak is one of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's principle writings, with hundred golden couplets of inspiring quotes, advice, and guidance for sincere devotees seeking to firmly establish themselves on the path of bhakti.   

Continuing with the explanation of the verse:

 

kāma krodha mada lobha kahaṅ, mana moorakha! mata chhoṛa!
rasika śhiromaṇi śhyām ḍhiga, de ina ko mukha moṛa

We must understand where true happiness is.  We all seek happiness, but we must realize that the happiness we need is in God. This fact needs to be contemplated upon and then we must repeatedly think, "True happiness is in God; the bliss that I seek is in God."  This contemplation will take the mind towards the realm of God.  It will develop the desire for him in our hearts.  Whatever desires we had in the material world, we need to divert them in the direction of God.  It is the same formula that is now transferred towards Shree Krishna.  We contemplated happiness in the world and we got attached to it. Now contemplate happiness in God and we will get attached there as well. 

What will happen when you get attached to Shree Krishna?  The desire for Shree Krishna will arise, "When will I see him; when will I hear him; when will I serve him?"  Now increase this desire many times.  And the desire for Shree Krishna is not a bad thing, infact it will purify us.  That desire itself is devotion.  What is devotion?  A strong desire for God.  And if that desire is fulfilled, it will lead to spiritual greed, "I want more love for God; I want more opportunity to serve him." If it is not fulfilled it will lead to anger upon oneself. "How careless am I, that even after receiving so much of grace I have not been able to attain love for Shree Krishna."  All these faults - anger, greed, desire - they will all be diverted towards Shree Krishna.  Thus, these defects which were our enemies will now become our friends.  If you want to battle desire, turn it towards Shree Krishna and increase your desire infinitely. 

All God-realized Saints had a burning desire for God.  One saints says:

he deva! he dyati! he bhuvanaikabandho! he kṛiṣhṇa! he chapala! he karuṇaikasindho! he nātha! he ramaṇa! he nayanābhirāma! hā! hā!  kadānu bhavitāsi padaṁ dṛiśhorme

The Saint  says, "O Shree Krishna! When will that day come when I will see you?"  So the desire has transformed towards God.  And when anger overcomes the devotee, he gets angry on himself.
 
hā raghunandana prāna parite tuma binu jiyehu bahut dina bīte

"O Shree Krishna!  So many days have gone by yet I have not attained you.  How fallen I am."  He is now angry with himself.  The devotee feels envious by looking at the other devotee and thinks, "We both joined the satsang at the same time and look at this fellow.  He progressed so rapidly with so much of enthusiasm. He is always shedding tears during keertan.  Look at me! Hard hearted and unimproving. I must also progress speedily like him." He is envying the progress of another devotee and pushing himself to go further with speed.  And the greed is to increase the love for God.

sītā rām charaṇa rati more anu dina baḍahi anugraha tore

"May my love for you increase more and more every day.

In this verse, Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says that by repeated contemplation, you can turn all these defects towards God and they will all become your friends.  This will take your mind in the realm of God and this contemplation will lead to attachment in him.  It will develop in you the desire for God. One can divert contemplation towards God by having a firm conviction that the bliss we want is in him, as he is the ocean of bliss. 

How to contemplate upon God?  You can contemplate upon his wonderful divine qualities.  You think again and again how kind hearted he is, how compassionate he is.  Think how beautiful Shree Krishna is.  It is a mental and intellectual practice that bears tremendous results.  If you were to repeat this thought again and again, your state of mind would change.

Modern science tells us that our brain consists of a hundred billion neurons and these neurons are interlinked with each other through various tissues creating trillions of pathways.  If we repeatedly think in a particular manner it creates a pathway in the mind.  Now, if we wish to create or make our mind such that it repeatedly goes towards God, you repeat that thought again and again.  Repeatedly contemplate the innumerable glories of God.  Even more important than this is the contemplation, "Shree Krishna is mine.  The world is not mine."  For a hundred million times in infinite lifetimes we have thought that the material world is mine.  Now if you want to take the mind towards Shree Krishna you have to think many times. You have to deepen this thinking again and again.  Convince yourself in various ways that Shree Krishna is mine.  How would you you do it?  By thinking, "I am a tiny part of him.  He is my creator; my relationships with him are eternal; He is my selfless relative when worldly love is all selfish."  Bring these pieces knowledge to your intellect and with your intellect, you force your mind to think in that manner again and again.  When this knowledge dawns upon our mind that our original and real relationship is with Shree Krishna, our hope, faith and attachment are naturally drawn towards Shree Krishna.

What will happen as we keep on contemplating? When we contemplate upon God, the mind will get attached and the attachment to Shree Krishna will increase.   This attachment will create longing for God, "When will that day come when Shree Krishna actually comes and grants me his divine vision?  When will that day come when I will possess the rich love for God and serve him?"  This yearning will lead to tears of love for God and those tears we shed will purify our heart.

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'Bal-Mukunda Ananda' - A Volunteer 's Perspective
Janmashtami's in the air as I reminisce about the joys volunteering at Bal- Mukund has brought my way. Just like baby Krishna filled the lives of everyone who came in contact with Him with boundless happiness, Bal-Mukund has saturated my life with countless sweet memories that'll last a lifetime.

The 2 years spent seeped in imagining, planning and executing engrossing activities for all the precious Bal-Mukunds, seemed to have flown by in a a blink of an eye. Their captivating smiles, innocent questions and sweet selfless expressions of affection, fade all effort expended into oblivion.

Time spent in Bal-Mukund with the children is the purest way to revisit one's childhood! They inspire you to live in the moment and experience bliss 'now"! They live life as if there is no tomorrow and their thoughts, words and deeds are in complete unison. They've taught me the importance of the 'present' moment, the preciousness of an unexpected hug, the beauty in the sense of responsibility, the ability to appreciate diversity in comprehension, thought and expression, and to love without expectations. They've, in innumerable ways, made me grow and mature as an adult and have yet, ensured the child in me lives on. 

Who's teaching who you ask? We all do our bit, I submit. But the 'Ananda Bal-Mukunda' has given me and continues to, is a priceless treasure I will cherish for a long time to come.

Sometimes as a smile that flickers on the lips, sometimes as a song that bursts forth from the heart, sometimes as a simple bowing of the head, gratitude for this beautiful opportunity to volunteer at Bal-Mukund constantly expresses itself.
Alka Chauhan Singh

10 Foods to Fight the Cold Bug!

We have all at times suffered from the common cold.  There are over 200 varieties of viruses that cause the cold.  The rhinovirus is one of the popular ones causing us so much discomfort.These viruses usually affect our upper respiratory system, which can include some or all of our chest, throat, and nose.  These viral infections are greatly contagious, and are easily spread through coughing and sneezing.
 
The notable and common symptoms of the cold include fever, headache, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, inflammation of sinus cavities, coughing and sneezing.  Though there is no cure for the common cold that is known, people often resort to over the counter medicines and home remedies.  Various foods also work wonders in preventing and fighting the cold.  We will look at ten such super-foods that will aid us in increasing our immunity overall.

1.  Green Tea:  Green tea is a good source of antioxidants, particularly in catechins.  Drinking warm green tea as a beverage with some honey and lemon can help when under the attack of a virus.

2.  Garlic:  Garlic has a long history of being used as a herbal medicine for colds and coughs.   Garlic is an all in one bulb that has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.  Garlic is best consumed raw for maximum health benefits.  Eat one to two raw garlic cloves or add a few drops of garlic oil in your food and drinks regularly to prevent as well as fight common colds.

3.  Oranges:  Oranges are loaded with vitamin C.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals, and damage to cells from other toxins and pollution.  It is valuable to boost your immune system.  It also aids in the synthesis of white blood cells that fight infections.  Oranges can be consumed as is, or by extracting it in juice form.  Fresh orange juice is best, since it is not burdened with added sugars.

4.  Blueberries:  Blueberries are also full of vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants that again strengthen your immune system, which helps to ward off infections.  They also contain a compound called quercetin, which can lower your possibility of catching a cold.  Blueberries can be taken fresh or frozen.  

5.  Mushrooms:  According to the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, mushrooms have powerful immunity boosting effects.  Mushrooms increase the formation of antiviral proteins that can eradicate or deactivate the foreign invaders that make you ill.  They also contain polysaccharides that help your immune system.  

6.  Yogurt:  Yogurt is full of live and active cultures.  These live bacteria are the good kind of bacteria that our gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) needs to ensure proper functioning of our gut.  These live cultures also work to offset the bad bacteria that reside in our GI tract alongside the good bacteria.  Since, 70% of our immunity is in our digestive tract, it is imperative that it is healthy.  Yogurt is a probiotic food that enhances the functioning of our digestion, and therefore increasing our immunity against viral infections and so forth. 

7.  Sweet Potatoes:  Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.  Vitamin A is vital in keeping the mucous membranes in the throat, nose and lungs strong and healthy.  These membranes act as a barrier to the cold bugs, so that you don't fall sick, and if you do, your symptoms will be milder and recovery will be quicker.  Other sources of beta-carotene include carrots, cantaloupes, and red and orange peppers.

8.  Brazil Nuts:  Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium.  Selenium is a mineral that enhances our immunity and helps fight nasty colds and virals.  This mineral helps in the formation of T-cells which play a big role in combating infections.  These nuts also contain zinc, iron and vitamin C, which are again good for overall health.  Our bodies only require a small amount of selenium, and just one or two of these nuts contain your daily recommended amount, so have them sparingly.

9. Pumpkin Seeds:  Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc.  Zinc is a mineral that makes the immune system robust, by helping to eradicate the viruses that cause the common cold, with its antimicrobial properties.  Foods high in zinc can also help reduce the duration of symptoms.  Pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed as a snack, or can be sprinkled on top of salads, soups or yogurt.  

10.  Red Bell Peppers:  Red bell peppers are loaded with anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, and vitamin C, which boost our immune system.   They also have nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties, which make our bodies healthy.    One cup of raw red bell pepper is enough to satisfy your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. 
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