Editor's Message

  
Dear Readers,

In this special Janmashtami edition, we bring you a very important lecture by Shree Maharajji. He delivered this lecture during Janmashtami celebrations.  Shree Maharajji answers questions like: Why should we celebrate Krishna Janmashtami? Who is Krishna? What is the meaning of 'the birth' of Krishna?    Further, we present a beautiful leela (pastime) of little Krishna for you to relish. To help relieve your neck pain, we introduce you to some asans and pranayam.  Also, we share with you the latest updates of Satsang Centers, Bal-Mukund Centers, and the recently concluded JKYog Cruise Retreat with Swamiji at Florida.  Finally, don't miss our bhog recipe of the month - Nan-Khatai.

Best Wishes,
Editor's Desk
editor@jkyog.org
 
In This Issue
   
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛijāmyaham 
(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Verse 7)
 
God says to Arjun, "Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an increase in unrighteousness, O Arjun, at that time I manifest myself on earth."
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 HAPPY JANMASHTAMI   

chalata sakhi, laṭapaṭāta nandalāla 
Look sakhi!  Here comes little Kanhaiya, toddling along.

haule-haule dharaṇi dharata paga, bhole se gopāla 
The innocent Gopal places his tiny feet gently on the ground.
 
chalata chalata chhuṭi jāta pīta-paṭa, ha˝sati sabai braja bāla 
While walking, his dhoti falls down at times, and makes the gopis chuckle.
 
puni-puni pahirāvati pītāmbara, yaśhumati hota nihāla 
Yashoda's joy knows no bounds as she puts the dhoti back on him again and again.
 
jaha˝ dekhata māṭī chupake te, ḍārata mukha tatkāla 
Wherever he sees dirt, he at once quietly puts it in his mouth.

tarjani te 'kṛipālu' ḍarapāvata, mukha māṭī lakhi gvāla 
Says Shree 'Kripalu', "When they see him eating dirt, the cowherd boys threaten Kanhaiya by shaking their index finger."
Shree Maharajji's Lecture on the Occasion of Janmashtami

We are celebrating Krishna Janmashtami. Who is Krishna? What is the meaning of 'the birth' of Krishna? Why should we celebrate it? These are questions which we are about to get answers for. Let us first 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 paramha˝sānām cheta˝si iti kṛiṣhṇaḥ'

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

The Supreme God, Shree Krishna has three main forms -  Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Just like the three forms of water - steam, ice, and water itself (liquid). If we decrease the temperature of water it becomes ice, and if we increase the temperature, it becomes steam. Even though we have three forms, they are fundamentally the same. Similarly, there is only one God who manifests himself in three different forms.

tattvam  yajj˝ānamadvayam

Let us now understand the meaning and qualities of these three forms of God.

Brahman - This refers to the all-pervading form of God. Two main powers that are revealed in this form. The first is self-protection and the second is Swaroopanand (personal bliss). The other powers are present but are not manifest. Another important aspect of Brahman is that he is formless.

Paramatma - This refers to that form of God that resides in everyone's heart. The Paramatma also manifests in the personal form as Vishnu, and various avatars such as Narsingh and Varaha.  Many more powers are manifest in the Paramatma form, than in the Brahman form.

Bhagavan - God reveals all his powers in this form. This is the form of Shree Krishna, in which he manifests his divine Names, Form, Pastimes, Abodes, and Associates.

yo sau param brahma gopāl

It has been asked in the Vedas:

kam paramo devaḥ Who is this Supreme power? Who is Brahm?
kasmānmṛityurvibheti Who is the personality that is feared even by death?
kasya j˝ānenākhilam j˝ātam bhavati 
What is that, by knowing which everything is known?

The answers to these three questions are given in the Vedas -
kṛiṣhno havai hariaḥ paramam daivataṁ
The Supreme power is Shree Krishna.
govindānmṛityurvibheti
   Even death fears Shree Krishna.
gopījanavallabha j˝ānenākhilam j˝ātam 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 the Absolute truth and the essence of divine love and nectar. We, being a part of his divine personality, naturally love him.

Now comes 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 vikār jāna adhikārī

Only people with divine vision are able to perceive the divinity of his form. So his body is chidanandmaya, 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.

Now comes a question. What is the need of the Absolute and Supreme God to descend on earth?

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 an inseparable part of his nature. This is the reason why he comes to this world repeatedly and does various pastimes.

So 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. 

Little Krishna's Pastime

One day Little Krishna throws a tantrum for no reason. He is pouting and Mother Yashoda is trying to please him. At the same time, he is rolling on the floor, stamping his little feet continuously. When Mother Yashoda doesn't go to pacify him, he immediately gets up and looking a little annoyed, with his body smeared with dust, runs a short distance, stamping his little feet and mumbling something to himself. Overcome with motherly love, Maiya feels unable to control herself anymore. Running, she catches hold of him and asks with much love "Lala, why are you making such a big fuss? What is that which you really want, tell me?"  Availing himself of this good opportunity, little Krishna then says with a lisp, "Maiya, bring me a bride."

Innocent Krishna says to his mother, "Maiya! Do get me a bride.  Becoming the bridegroom, I shall wear a crown on my head and will form a marriage procession consisting only of my friends. Maiya! Get me married today only, without any delay, otherwise I will not eat butter; I will not come to your lap, I will run away from this house this very day and will never return." Thus threatening his mother and finding her still unmoved, little Krishna threw his staff and black blanket before her saying, "Here, take your lathi (stick) and blanket, for I will no longer go to graze your cows." In the words of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, little Krishna further  warned, "I shall adopt the life of an ascetic and will go on begging from door to door in the name of Alakha (the Imperceptible Brahman)"

News & Updates


 
Yoga, Meditation and Lecture Program in Allen, TX

The Art of Mind Management program at Allen, TX was a grand success! With Swamiji's amazing lecturing style, the message reached directly to the hearts of devotees!  Many young children attended the Art of Mind Management lecture series in Allen, TX. Every single evening, Swamiji quizzed youth from the topic of discussion for that day. Indeed, it was amazing to see the performance of these bright children! Devotees offered aarti at the end of each lecture session at the Art of Mind Management week long series in Allen, TX.  Yoga and meditation program was also conducted by Swamiji there with full participation.   See pictures.

Swamiji's Program in Chicago

The only standing Mayor of Indian origin in USA presently, Dr. Gopal Lalmalani, Mayor of Oakbrook, came to welcome Swamiji to Chicago on the first day of his program at Clarion Inn, Elmhurst. The program was very well attended, with many westerners also in the audience.  See pictures

Cruise Retreat with Swamiji

The Spiritual retreat on the Three day Bahamas cruise was an experience that will be etched in my mind forever!  Surrounded by the soothing waters, filled with beautiful melodious kirtans and blessed by Pujya Swami Mukundanandaji's divine message given in the most simplified form, nourished our souls!

In the presence of Swamiji, we found peace and retreat despite the many temptations on the ship.  The day spent on the Island of Bahamas was well planned and executed with much frolic and joy!  We have never laughed so much! A most memorable retreat that can only be experienced ended too quickly!
 Smeeta Patel, FL      

Up-coming Events 2015

Aug 29th to Sept 3rd 

   Houston, TX 

 Sept 12th to Sept 18th

 Kendall Park, NJ

Up-coming Retreats 2015

Sept 5th to  Sept 7th

Dallas, TX

For details, click here

Yoga to Help Relieve Neck Pain

In this day and age, our body goes through a lot of wear and tear. With all that stress, travelling and a sedentary lifestyle eventually takes a toll on our body, its muscles and bones. One of the spots that most people tend to overuse is the neck. Cervicalgia, a term that is clinically used to describe neck pain, arises mostly from long, continuous hours of sitting in the same posture or a rough night of sleep and the lack of a workout. So, instead of suffering through endless sessions of physiotherapy and medication, here are some simple yoga poses and pranayama that can help you get rid of that neck pain in a second. 
 
Greeva Sanchalan (Neck Movement)


            
Procedure:
Sit in either Sukhasan or Vajrasan, keeping your head and spine erect. While inhaling (Radhey), turn your face to the right (as if looking at an object or a person), so that your chin comes above the right shoulder. Ensure you twist your neck as much as possible but slowly and without strain. While exhaling (Krishna), bring your face to the centre.  Repeat it on the other side. Practice about five times in either direction.
Variation - 1
Sit in either Sukhasan or Vajrasan, keeping your head and spine erect.  While inhaling (Radhey), tilt your head to the right so that the right ear touches the right shoulder, and while exhaling (Krishna), bring your head to the centre. Repeat it on the other side. Practice about five times in either direction.
Variation - 2
Sit in either Sukhasan or Vajrasan, keeping your head and spine erect. While inhaling (Radhey), tilt your head backward; while exhaling (Krishna), bring your head to the centre. While inhaling (Radhey), tilt your head forward and try to touch the chest with the chin; while exhaling (Krishna), bring your head to the centre; do it gently.  Repeat the exercise for five times.

Benefits:
Greeva Sanchalasan relieves tension from the neck and shoulders. It removes prāṇic energy blockages from the neck region. It also helps in curing a stiff neck.
Contraindications:
Greeva Sanchalanasan should not be performed by elderly people with low or high blood pressure, and also by those who are suffering from cervical spondylitis.

Jyeshthikasan (Superior Pose) 
 
Procedure: Lie flat on your stomach, legs together and palms touching the sides of your thighs with your chin on the floor.Stretch your legs and then place the forehead on the floor.  Interlock the fingers of both hands and rest the palms on the back side of the head.  Make sure your elbows lie on the floor.  Close the eyes in this position.  Breathe slowly and evenly and relax the whole body, with the focus on the natural and rhythmic breathing process.  Be in this asan for one to two minutes.

Benefits:  Jyeshthikasan mainly helps alleviate various spinal complaints such as cervical spondylitis, stiff neck, and the upper back. It also offers relief from herniated discs.

Ujjayi Pranayam
 
Sit in any meditative position with the spine, neck, and head straight. Now, relax your shoulders and place the hands in any mudra on the knees.  Then, close both eyes and relax the entire body.  Concentrate on the nostrils, feel the air going in and coming out through the nostrils. After 2-3 normal breaths, shift your concentration to the throat. Then, inhaling (Radhey) deeply and slowly through either of the two nostrils, contract the throat as if you are breathing through a narrow pipe (in the throat).  Due to the constriction of the respiratory passage, the incoming breath will produce a soft sound like "urrmh," as if you are snorting. It may be a low sound, and though it should be audible to you, someone sitting a few feet away from you may not be able to hear it. Then close one of the nostrils with your thumb and exhale (Krishna) completely through the other. You may use either of the nostrils for exhalation, but alternatively.  The time for inhalation and exhalation should always be the same. This is one cycle of Ujjayi Pranayam; repeat up to 15-20 cycles.



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 A sneak view into Bal-Mukund at Singapore
The Bal-Mukund Singapore team was inaugurated by Swami Mukundanandaji in January 2015 and since then the center has done a phenomenal job in inculcating the Vedic knowledge in the lives of the budding generation. The Bal-Mukund Kids love the great variety in the structure of the program which starts with Yoga and Pranayaam, then meditation and chanting, then values through story time followed by art and craft or games time and then Yugal Arti. Swamiji's meditation is such a valuable gift to both parents and children who now feel a closer affinity with the Lord through having Him as our close friend and relative.  

Within our first year, besides the inauguration program, the Singapore center has held multiple celebrations, not to mention the special mothers' day celebration at the beach, Ram Navami celebration, Holi celebrations and the list continues. The Singapore Bal-Mukunds practically implemented the value of Kindness and empathy by helping raise funds for the Nepal's Earth Quake victims.

Parents have given feedback on how their children love the program so much that parents  use it as a trump card to get their child to complete their homework and chores at home. They say their child happily gets the work done in order to be rewarded with attending the Bal-Mukund class!! The enthusiastic coordinators, dedicated volunteers and the active parent supporters have made Bal-Mukund a wonderful program for the kids. Wishing them all the best as they continue to transform the lives of the younger generation!!!

 

Bhog Recipe

Nan Khatai
  Ingredients:  
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour (plain flour or maida)
  • 1/3 cup fine sooji or semolina
  • 1/2 cup gram flour (besan)
  •  Pinch of baking soda (a little less than 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seed coarsely powder (ilaichi)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • sliced almond and sliced pistachio for decoration
     
Directions:  
1.    Pre heat the oven to 375 degree.
2.    In a bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, gram flour, sooji, baking soda and cardamom powder and set aside.
3.    Let the butter come to the room temperature
4.    Add butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat for two to three minutes until light and fluffy.
5.    Add the flour mix to butter and sugar mixture and knead them together to make smooth dough.
6.    Divide the dough into about 24 equal parts and make them into balls.
7.    Press each ball between your palms lightly; every piece should be about 3/4 inches in thickness.
8.    With a sharp knife softly draw a tic-tac-toe design on the top and put few pieces of almonds and pistachios and press them into the dough gently.
9.    Put Nan khatai on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 11-13 minutes or until Nan khatai are lightly gold brown.
10. After they are lightly golden brown remove the cookie sheet from the oven.  Let the Nan Khatais cool down for two to three minutes before taking them off the cookie sheet.  Enjoy!
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