Editor's Message

Dear Readers,

Gopi Prem Divas or Valentine's Day is celebrated in the month of February. Therefore, we dedicate this issue of Sumiran to celebrate our growing love for Radha Krishna. Our main article titled 'Nature of Bhakti' highlights the qualities of divine love. The second article is a speech from Maharajji that he gave on the topic of Gopi Prem in 2004. We also have highlights of the 4-day-sadhana shibir  that Swamiji conducted at Puri, Odisha. Finally, read through our BM contributions and bhog recipe. If you happen to try it, do share your experience with us!

Best Wishes,
Editor's Desk
In This Issue
प्रेम में न नेम मना, आँसू दै के ले ले सजना

prema meṅ na nema manā,
āṅsoo dai ke le le sajanā
There are absolutely no rules and restrictions on the path of devotion.  It is only through your (selfless) tears that you can attain your Beloved.     
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Nature of Bhakti
We all have learned that Shree Krishna can only be attained by loving devotion or bhakti.  In Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna explains the concept of Bhakti Yog - its nature, and the importance of attaining him. The leelas of Shree Krishna's childhood are full of love and devotion-from the parents to the Gopis (cowherd maidens) everyone loved Krishna.

We all have also heard stories of how the greatest jñānis of each yug realized that they would be unable to attain Shree Krishna without bhakti. Examples include the four kumaras - Sanat, Sanaka, Sanatana  , and Sanandana - during Satya Yug, King Janak during Treta Yug, and Uddhav during Dwapar Yug. The three basic criteria for bhakti - ananyata (exclusive), nirantar (constant meditation upon the personal form of God), and nishkamta (selflessness) have also been elaborated upon numerous times.

But what exactly is this concept of loving devotion or divine love that is being discussed? As material beings, we understand material love wherein there is a lot of give and take. The underlying sentiments and the associated implicit messages are typically, "I do this for you so it's your turn to do this for me." However, Shree Maharajji labels that as lust, not love. In order to move past lust and onto love, the nature of bhakti is explained in the Narad Bhakti Darshan as follows.
guṇarahitaṁ kāmanārahitaṁ pratikṣhaṇ
vardhamānamavichchhinnaṁ sookṣhmataramanubhavaroopaṁ

1. It is ever increasing irrespective of the behavior of the beloved. As strange as this sounds, the nature of bhakti is such that it is always increasing. Think of it as an upward sloping straight line. So no matter what happens or how the beloved behaves with us, we constantly forgive him. In the material realm, this could be considered so extreme that where there is a reason for love to be destroyed but it is not destroyed - that is true love. Such love cannot be cut or reduced.

2. Don't see the qualities of the beloved. In order to maintain this upward sloping straight line, it is recommended we become blind to the faults of the beloved. In our daily material life, when we claim to love another, it is based on certain behavior patterns we perceive and label as "good." For instance, we love our spouse or significant other when they do things for us that we like or when they make sacrifices for our sake. Similarly, they also reciprocate the love when we make sacrifices for them.
But what happens when they behave in a selfish manner towards us? At that time, there are many negative thoughts that come to mind such as "I don't like you right now" or "Wait and watch until it's your turn" or "How selfish! After everything I've done for you, why can't you do this much for me?" etc. As soon as we see or experience or perceive the negative qualities, our so called "love" diminishes and could potentially die. 

3. Complete selflessness (nishkamta). In other words, we don't desire anything from the beloved. Instead, we channel all our desires into aligning them with the beloved's and fulfilling them. This ensures that selfishness is gradually eroded to such an extent that there is no trace of it left behind.

If we claim to "love" Guru and God because they fulfill our desires for material happiness such as more wealth, increased stature in society, peaceful relationships with others, etc., then as soon as they stop doing such things for us, our so called love for them will also die.

So instead of continually asking them for things, let's strive to give to them in return. Let's align our desires such that our only desire is to fulfill all their desires. By maintaining such an attitude, it ensures that the straight line stays in an upward direction.

4. It is to be experienced (anubhav rupam). Theoretical knowledge is not enough and experience without the knowledge will be misleading or a waste. This pure love is to be experienced because, unlike material love, it is subtle - so much so that it pervades our entire body, mind, and intellect-to such an extent that we are only constantly thinking of the beloved and his/her happiness alone.

It is love that opens the door to the impossible and makes way for the inaccessible. And it is this love that pushes us to reach heights we once considered impossible. We love the other because it is our inherent nature to do so. So let's aim to fulfill our purpose in life by loving God and Guru alone.
Gopi Prem
How can I explain Gopi prem when no one even understands prem (love)? This is similar to asking a dumb person to describe his experience of eating a rasgulla. Ask him, "How is it?" He is dumb... he cannot talk, so how can he explain? And even if he can talk, my opinion is that even he cannot describe. Why is that so? Because it is something related to the inner bliss, bliss of the soul, it is meant to be experienced and is not a subject of words. Words fall short of explaining it.

In short, understand that desire is against love. Desire and love both cannot reside together at the same place. Either you have desires in front of God, or love. God says:

nirapekṣham munim śhantam nirvairam samadarśhanam 
anuvrajamyaham nityam pooyeyetyaṅghrireṇubhiḥ 

"I walk behind the selfless devotees." "To protect them?" "No no!" pooyeyetyaṅghrireṇubhiḥ  "The footdust that flies should fall upon me, and I will become purified. With this feeling, I walk behind the devotees, the selfless devotees, those who have no selfish desires."

yatte sujātacharaṇāmburuhaṅstaneṣhu
bhītāḥ śhanaiḥ priya dadhīmahi karkaśheṣhu
tenāṭavīmaṭasi tad vyathate na kiṁsvit
koorpādibhir bhramati dhīr bhāvadāyuṣhāṁ naḥ (Bhagavatam 10.31.19)

When the gopis are very disturbed in Shree Krishna's absence and they meet Him, they place His heel on their heart to relieve the pain. The heel of the foot is placed on the chest to pacify the pain of separation. So they place it gently that their breasts should not poke his soft feet. Think! You must have also loved mother, father, brother, wife, husband. When you hug a small child, if he is lost and found after 2-4 days, how tightly you hug him! Poor thing struggles. How can he overcome your strength? But you are not concerned with that, you find your happiness by hugging him tightly. And these gopis, whose embrace contains unlimited happiness, and even in that they remember that He must not be troubled. In worldly happiness, we do not keep track of this. It's because the desire is for our happiness, that's why. And the gopi's only desire is happiness of Shree Krishna.

Such is the love of the gopis. This is why God had to say:

na pāraye 'haṁ niravadyasaṁyujāṁ sva-sādhukṛityaṁ vibudhāyuṣhāpi vaḥ 
yā mābhajan durjaragehaśhṛiṅkhalāḥ saṁvṛiśhchya tadvaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā

"O gopis! I am so indebted to your love, your surrender. I am not able to repay My debt for your eternal service, even within a lifetime of Brahmā. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation."

This is gopi prem. The gopis bring even God's Godliness down to zero. Zero! This is illustrated in the leela below.
gomaya maṅḍita bhāl kapolam

One gopi tells Krishna, "O Kanha, pick up this cow dung."

"Pick up the cow dung? Am I a servant? You pick it up!"  

"Don't talk too much... I'll give you butter for picking it up.  Listen, I will pick it up from one side, you from the other. For each time you pick up cow dung, I will give you a ball of butter. Now will you pick up?" 

"Yes, I will pick up now. But tell me one thing. You also don't know how to read or write, I also don't know how to read or write. So who will count how many times you make me pick it up? Tell me this." 

So the gopi said, "It is like this, for every time you pick up, I will place a tikka of cow dung on your cheek. I'll just keep placing the tikka, later we will get it counted by someone. I'll give you that many handfuls of butter."

Krishna was fooled. "Ok, ok, ok, I'll pick it up," he said.

Now Krishna had such a small cheek. Only five, six, eight tikkas fit, but then the entire cheek was covered. So she started placing on his forehead.

Krishna's entire face was full of cow dung. He said, "Now give me the butter."

"Where is the butter here? Come home!" replies the gopi.

This is the language of the gopis. Not 'please come' or 'I humbly request you to grace my house' but 'Come home!' 

Krishna walks behind them like a beggar. They go home and the gopi takes a mirror in her hand. "At least look at your face," she says
"Oh!" Krishna walks away as quickly as his little feet can carry him. The bucket was full of water. And Krishna and washed off his face "Now get the butter," he said.      
"You washed off the tikkas from your face, now how to know how many handfuls of butter I need to give? Why did you wash?" asks gopi, playfully.

"You are so cunning! My hand is so tired from picking and picking."

"Good, ok!" She put the pot full of butter in front of him and said. "Eat to your heart's content."     
These gopis treat Krishna like a servant and make him dance. This is gopi prem.  
Arjun asked, "I have heard, read a lot about the gopis. You also tell me something." "What should I tell you Arjun!"

sahāyā guravaḥ śhiṣhyā bhujiṣhyā bāndhavāḥ striyaḥ 
satyaṁ vadāmi te pārth gopyaḥ kiṁ me bhavanti na (Aadi Puran)

"These gopis are my assistants, helpers. And my Guru. Listen to this! They are my Guru. I learn about love from them. I ask for it, by spreading out my hands like a beggar. They are also my disciples. And they are my relatives, friends, and women too. They are my everything. What are they not, Arjun!"

na tathā me priyatam ātmayonirna śhankaraḥ 
na cha saṅkarṣhaṇo na śhrīrnaivātmā cha yathā bhavān (Bhagavatam 11.14.15)

"How dear the gopis are to me... even my son, Brahma, is not that dear. Not even Shankar. Not even my elder brother, Balaram. Not my wife Laxmi either. And, even my soul is not so dear to me." This is what gopi prem is.

With just their devotional sentiments, the gopis attained such a high status, but the great Jagadgurus who have attained the knowledge of the Vedas, Shastras and the Puranas are not considered in the same class. The gopis did not know how to read or write. They were labeled as 'characterless' or fallen women. With their husbands at home, they are secretly in love with someone else (Shree Krishna). They reached such a high spiritual status that no one could reach."Let that become my goal," is what Shankaracharya says. Such is the fame of the gopis that one who does not believe in the personal form of God with qualities, even he worships them! 

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Do you sometimes experience that your mind is out of your control? No matter how hard you try are you unable to control the mind and bring positive or beneficial thoughts in your mind?

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News & Updates


Over the Republic Day weekend in January, a four-day Bhakti Yog sadhana shibir was conducted at Shree Jagannath Dham, Puri.  In addition to the devotees who came from different centers in Orissa, devotees also came from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Delhi, and as far as the US. Given the association of Puri and Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Swamiji's lecture topic on Mahaprabhu's Shikshashtak was very apt.  Swamiji also led kirtans at the world famous Jagannath Temple and Ghambira (where Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent the last 12 years of his life in mahabhav).  The parikramas led us to the beach and sea-shore where the devotees could not stop dancing to the kirtans.  

Beginning in February, Swamiji did a short tour of the Delhi centers and then gave a seven-day lecture series on Ram Katha Rahasya at Lal Mandir in Patel Nagar. The Delhi devotees were mesmerized and totally engrossed in the lecture as little kids hearing it for the first time. Click here for photos 
Swamiji completed yet another highly successful lecture series on the topic, "7 Mindsets for Success in Life and Beyond" in Singapore with hundreds of people attending the lecture everyday. Click here for photos.

Jagadguru Kripalu Yoga and Naturopathy Hospital was one of the co-organizer of the National Natural Food Festival and Yoga-Naturopathy Seminar- 2017 held at Janata Maidan, Bhubaneswar, Odisha from 10th Feb to 12th Feb. Naturopaths, doctors, and Yoga practitioners from all over India took part in the festival. Click here for photos. 
Swamiji's Upcoming Events, 2017  
Feb 27th  
Kathmandu, Nepal   
Feb 28th to March 3rd 
Birgunj, Nepal 
March 5th to 7th 
March 8th to 15th  
March 17th to 20th
  Banara, Odisha
March 31st to April 5th  
Orlando, FL 
April 5th
Orlando, FL
April 6th to 12th
 Tampa, FL 
Save the Dates for Upcoming Retreats with Swamiji This Year
April 21st to 23rd 
Tampa, FL    
May 27th to 29th  
Visalia, CA  
Jul 14th to 16th
  Reading, PA
Sept 2nd to 4th   
 Dallas, TX  
For details, click here
Daily Sadhana- Spiritual Practice Made Easy!
Daily Sadhana is a unique online service which allows spiritual seekers to acquire spiritual knowledge anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace!

Holi Hangama

A fun-filled program brought to you by Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas

26 MAR
12:00 PM to 5:00 PM  

3700 Hogge Dr, Parker, TX- 75002

  Contact: 408-674-6602   

  • Rich Cultural Program

  • DJ, Dance and Color Play

  • Lentil Rangoli Competition

  • Games, Food and Desi Bazaar

  • Cooking Without Fire Competition

  • Keynote Speech by Swami Mukundananda

Wellness for Life
Home Remedies for Acidity
An excess or imbalance of digestive acids produced by the stomach can cause a stomach ache, gas, nausea, bad breath and other symptoms. It is a common problem that affects people of all ages.

Those who suffer frequently from acidity problems may refer to having an "acid stomach." Eating spicy foods, lack of exercise, irregular eating habits, stress, or drinking alcohol frequently can lead to acidity problems.

A change in our lifestyle and diet can help us ward off acidity. Remedies can be obtained straight from the kitchen. Resort to some simple home remedies to treat acidity:
  • Drink atleast 8-10 glasses of water. A little water will help neutralize and flush out excess acid from your stomach.
  • Eat two servings of fresh fruit everyday and include salad in each meal.
  • Include fresh sprouts in each meal either raw or conservatively.
  • Substitute in between snacks with fruits and nuts.
  • Develop the habit of enjoying freshly squeezed lime in one glass of water, at least one lime a day also suffices our vitamin C need of the body. Lime and other citric food taste acidic but are acidic only for the first hour in the body but leave an alkaline effect on the body after being assimilated.
  • Minimize on fried food, processed and stale food. Eat fresh cooked food
Basil Leaves
The soothing and carminative properties of basil leaves can give you instant relief from acidity, gas and nausea. Basil leaves can be simply chewed raw or it can also be boiled in a cup of water for few minutes mix honey and drink it as herbal tea.

Cinnamon is good for your digestive health. It works as a natural antacid and helps dispel stomach gas. Boil half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder in a cup of water let it simmer for few minutes and drink it or cinnamon powder can be used in cooking with soup and salad

 Click here to read the entire article. 
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Bal-Mukund CT Talent Show
The enthusiastic Bal-Mukund team at CT organized a talent show. The community hall was full of enthusiastic kids and their parents. While kids were eagerly waiting for their turn to participate, parents were ready with their cameras to capture precious moments. The program started with shloka recitation followed by Bhajans with participation from all the kids. Parents also joined the melodious Bhajan singing dedicated to Lord Rama and Krishna. Little kids put on plays "Ram Darbar" and "Krishna Leela". It was fantastic to see little kids dressed up and act like Ram, Lakshman, Sita, Hanuman, Krishna, Yashodha, Devaki, Nandbaba, Vasudeva, Gopi and Gopas !!

Elder Bal Mukund children either came dressed up as great leader or Saints from India like Rabindranath Tagore, Soordas, Vallbhacharya or presented PPT on India's contribution to the world, Monuments of India, Hindu Scriptures, Yoga etc.

Excitement got doubled while kids were rewarded with the popular choice awards from audience and Bal Ratna trophy !! Tears were seen in many parents' eyes, while everyone stood up to sing National Anthem. 
Click here for more photos. 

Bhog Recipe

  Lentil Dhokla 
  Preparation time: 25 minutes 
  Cook time: 15 minutes 
  Serves: 4 people

  • 1 ½ cup chana daal (gram daal)

  • 1 cup rice

  • ½ cup urad daal (split black dal)

  • 2 green chilies

  • Small piece of ginger ½ cup yogurt

  • 2 teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

  • Salt to taste

  • Chopped cilantro (for garnishing)

  • Grated coconut (for garnishing)


  • Rinse rice, chana daal, and urad daal with water.
  • After rinsing, soak them together in water for 6 hours.   
  • Drain well and grind rice, chana daal, and urad daal in a food processor.
  • Grind green chilies and ginger along with it. The batter should be as thick as idli batter.
  • Mix yogurt into batter and keep batter covered overnight, allowing fermentation.
  • For preparing dhoklas, first grease a pan with little oil.
  • Add oil and baking soda to the batter and mix it well. Don't mix the batter too much.
  • Pour the batter on a greased pan and put the pan in the steamer. If you don't have a steamer, you can use a pressure cooker without the whistle.
  • Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
  • After steaming is over, remove the dhoklas and slice them.
  • Sprinkle red chili powder and roasted sesame seed on top.
  • Serve dhoklas hot with green chutney.
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