This month, 'Sumiran' is picking up 'Spiritual Sadhana - your exclusive time for God' as the topic of the month.  In this issue, we will also be presenting articles on 'The Importance of Daily Spiritual Sadhana' and 'Spiritual Sadhana: Make it Your Top Priority.'  Readers will also find Bal-Mukund contributions, News & Updates, and Bhog Recipe.

साधना करु साधना करु साधना करु प्यारे |

साधना ते ही मिले तोहिं, साध्य हरि रति प्यारे ||

 

sādhanā karu sādhanā karu sādhanā karu pyāre

sādhanā te hī mile tohiṅ, sādhya hari rati pyāre

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says, "O dear humans! Practice devotion. Continue your devotional practice which is the only means to attain your supreme goal of divine love"

The Importance of Daily Spiritual Sadhana

 

Most people today realize the importance of taking out some time every day for physical workout.  Even out of most hectic schedules, people manage to allocate some time every day for yoga, walks, or the gym.  People today have become aware of the need for exercising the body. Given our sedentary lifestyles, if we don't set aside some time for physical workout, we will have to pay a heavy price in the form of diseases like obesity, diabetes, etc.

That is all about maintaining our physical health, but what about our mental and spiritual health?  All day long, we spend time in the worldly environment where the world pulls us in love and hatred, hankering, lamentation, tension, anxiety, and stress. We seldom realize that the worldly environment gradually takes a toll on us and impacts our wellbeing. We must do something to keep our mind in good health.  This is akin to the physical workout we do to maintain our body.

Therefore, you must do something on a daily basis to shut the world out, so that you have just one focus and that is to purify the mind.  Now, how will the mind be purified?  After all, to purify the mind, we must fix it on an object of meditation that is pure.  But the material realm is dominated by the three modes of nature - sattva, rajas and tamas (goodness, passion and ignorance) and is hence impure.  Therefore, if the object of meditation is from the material realm, it cannot purify the mind.

We will have to go beyond the material realm, in the divine realm of God - His Names, Forms, Virtues, Abodes, Pastimes, and Saints.  If we fix our mind anywhere in this area, it will become pure.  This is what Shree Krishna instructed Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita:

"I am divine.  If you fix your mind on me, it will rise above the three modes of Maya."

If you take out time every day to fill your mind with thoughts of devotion, surrender, and love to God, it can be called your personal practice of spiritual sadhana.  Just like by exercising for 1 hr in a day you reap the benefits of good health all through the day, similarly by practicing spiritual sadhana for some time in a day, you will reap the benefits of a spiritual consciousness throughout the day.

Shree Krishna also says in the Bhagavad Gita that we must do sadhana in isolation. Understand this through an example.  If you take milk and put it in water, milk and water become one. But if you wish the milk to remain separate from water, you can convert it into yogurt and then churn it to extract butter. Once milk becomes butter it can challenge the water, "I will sit on your head and float, you cannot mix into me, as I am no longer milk."  Similarly, separate from the world - away from television, people, etc., you can convert your mind into butter and then challenge the water, "you cannot do anything to me."

While doing spiritual sadhana, the position or asan does not really matter, however it is advised to keep your back erect so that you don't feel lazy.  Sit in any comfortable position and take your mind away from the world and attach it to God.  The focus will come with practice, but what is important is that we make this sadhana a part of our daily routine.  We all appreciate the importance of doing daily spiritual sadhana, but the biggest challenge lies in putting it into practice.   

Can we in the year 2015 resolve firmly to dedicate sometime every day for spiritual sadhana?
In This Issue
If you take out time every day to fill your mind with thoughts of devotion, surrender, and love to God, it can be called your personal practice of spiritual sadhana.  Just like by exercising for one hour in a day you reap the benefits of good health all through the day, similarly by practicing spiritual sadhana for some time in a day, you will reap the benefits of a spiritual consciousness throughout the day.    
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Spiritual Sadhana: Make it Your Top Priority 

Practicing spiritual sadhana is just as important as exercising every day.  But we all know how much people struggle to stick to their exercise regimens.  A sudden bout of inspiration to become fit and healthy is followed by a few days of excited visits to the gym and then both the energy and inspiration plummet.   People experience the same with spiritual sadhana, they practice it for a few days and then start finding excuses about how difficult it is for them to find time.  Lack of time is undoubtedly the biggest excuse quoted by everyone.

Office hours, household chores, social commitments, etc. are so high on priority on our daily to-do lists that it's almost impossible to squeeze in even a few minutes for sadhana.  Most of us in such a scenario would simply leave the matter to God's grace, "We will do sadhana when God will grace us". But the fact of the matter is that we don't need God's grace here. He has already graced us with a human form and an opportunity to associate with a Guru and do satsang.  All that is left to be done now is that we grace ourselves with some time to do sadhana.

God has given us 24 hours, now we need to utilize a portion of those 24 hours for the elevation of our own soul. For the sake of the body we run around 24 hrs. a day.  This body has no value when the soul departs, it is worthy of being devoured by jackals and vultures.  For the sake of that body we have 24 hours but for the elevation of our own soul we find it difficult to take out time.  So the truth is that any person who says that he/she doesn't have time to do sadhana is judging wrongly.  It is not that we don't have time; we have simply not made spiritual sadhana a priority in our lives. When we will decide that spirituality is a top priority in life, we will automatically take out time. 

Let us look at how we spend our time through a popular management tool called the Action Priority Matrix (or Time Management Matrix).   This tool uses 4 quadrants to determine the tasks you need to do and then deciding what should be made a priority.

 According to the tool, there are some issues in our life that are both urgent and important like an unplanned business meeting (See quadrant 1).  Then there are some things that need not be done urgently but they are important.  Some common examples are exercising, reading books, and spiritual sadhana (See quadrant 2).  Then there are activities that are urgent but not really important like a phone call or somebody dropping by, etc. (See quadrant 3).  Finally there are activities that are neither important nor urgent, they are simple time wasters and should be immediately eliminated.  Examples are net surfing, watching T.V, gossiping, etc. (See quadrant 4).

This tool can be used to organize your priorities on an everyday basis. Make a list of all the things you do in a day and on the basis of priority put them in their respective quadrants.  Now calculate the total time you are spending in each of the quadrants.  You will realize that you may be spending maximum part of your day in quadrant 1, 3 or 4.  This means you are foregoing things that will ultimately matter to you, things that are important but don't seem urgent.  You are so busy dealing with urgent or unimportant issues that you have no time for spiritual sadhana.

Stephen Covey in his book 'First Things First' popularized this concept of 'Time Management Matrix' and emphasized that if people want to lead fulfilling lives in the long-term, they must invest more time in quadrant 2.  People must look at ways to expand quadrant 2, so that they can achieve their long-term goals and do things that really matter.  And what is our long-term goal?

Our goal is to purify our mind and attain the goal of God-realization. And we will attain that goal by making spiritual sadhana a top priority in our lives.  We may feel spending some time exclusively with God is not urgent, but remember, it is certainly the most important.  Irrespective of the other urgent issues in life which will come and go, take out at least 1 hour every day for spiritual sadhana.  Without wasting any more time, firmly resolve that in the year 2015 you will make spiritual sadhana your top priority.   

News & Updates

Swamiji is now in Singapore, for a series of talks on 'The Art of Mind Management' and 'Wellness for Life'. The first day of the program was a huge success as it witnessed a turnout of nearly 250 people. As always, Swamiji mesmerized the audience with his enlightening talk and deep insightsSee pictures


JKYog Satsangs - An Essential Boost to Your Spirituality

Next time you see a flock of birds flying overhead in V formation, think of satsang. When these birds migrate, flying hundreds of miles in a short timespan, they fly in the tail wind of the bird in front of them to make their energy and effort less or their progress more along the journey. Without that tailwind they would tire sooner and be able to fly shorter distance.

Similarly, we can only increase our spiritual wealth and progress through association with a saint. Just like the bird's tail wind, we can make great strides through this association.

JKYog satsangs are not just a navigation tool along life's journey, but are a regular essential staple for nourishing the soul and nurturing its spiritual growth. Immersing ourselves in beautiful soul-enriching kirtan purifies our hearts and deepens our relationship with God and Guru.

JKYog Satsangs are regularly held in satsang centers in the US and around the world. At satsang, in addition to kirtan, participants listen and discuss a video lecture by Swamiji, and end the session with aarti and prasadam.

"The beautiful kirtans warm all our hearts. Attending satsang gives me a sense of inner peace and nourishes me inside" - Tripti Dhamankar, Dallas, TX.

To find a satsang center near you, visit jkyog.org or info@jkyog.org


Dallas Center 
LA Center
NC Center 
JKYog and Radha Krishna Temple Volunteers Rally Community Support for Local Homeless Children  

As a part of the Little Hands Big Hearts collection drive, JKYog and Radha Krishna Temple volunteers endeavored over the past two months, reaching out to the local community in the spirit of selfless service.  Businesses, individuals, and families across the DFW metroplex have come together in collecting a truckload of essential children's items.  

Little Hands Big Hearts has engaged the JKYog and Radha Krishna Temple's youth group. It provided the young volunteers an up-close opportunity to comprehend the plight of homeless children, and a hands-on learning experience in helping them, as well as inspiring others to open their hearts.   

Youth  visited  Captain  Hope's  Kids,  interviewed  the  Executive  Director,  and   had  a great  experience in helping other kids in need. Please click here to see the video sharing their experience posted on the Radha Krishna Temple blog.  

Another hands-on service opportunity is scheduled for February 7th, when volunteers will be taking all donations to Captain Hope Kids, to unload and sort.

Little Hands Big Hearts has been a great way to make a positive contribution to the local community, and bring hope to those in need.


In store donations at India Bazaar

 Volunteers gather donations

 Facepaint for donations to LHBH

UNIQUE HISTORY of the RADHA KRISHNA TEMPLE SITE   

The grounds under the temple site have their own unique history.

Aerial view 
Up till now, the temple site has never been developed.  In the recent hundreds of years it has either been wooded or most recently served as farm land.   Going much further back in time, about 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, this country was divided by the Western Interior Seaway, during some of the Cretaceous Period called the Skull Creek Seaway.  The seaway covered the entire state of Texas including all the states above it all the way up into Canada.   

 

Temple fossil

Therefore, temple site was a sea bed at one time over 90 million years ago.  During the excavation and grading phase of construction numerous sea fossils have been discovered.  Most of the fossils we have found are sea shells that are over 90 million years old.  

The first few feet of ground underneath the temple site are composed of limestone which is quite dense.  Below that is very dense blue shale rock.  Shree Krishna has already made for us quite a solid foundation for the temple!

How beautiful and auspicious it is to know that this site has been destined to remain a virgin piece of land awaiting for Shree Radha Krishna to dwell there!

At the ground breaking ceremony, the one minute rain shower of Shree Krishna's blessings magically came down precisely at the moment that Swamiji placed the shovel in the ground for the first time.  All who witnessed this were awestruck!

Construction site 

While the physical underground infrastructure is now in place for the temple, we need to continue to build our support with the community we serve. We would greatly appreciate your continued support as we proceed forward with construction.  Please help us build the temple one brick at a time - you can sponsor any number of bricks - click here today for details and help us manifest this divine temple for Shree Radha Krishna.

Lecture

Do Not Seek Worldly Things from God

by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj 

 

Whether it is a sage, an ascetic, a yogi, a Saint or even God, everyone has to leave the world at the appointed time.  The world may say that so-and-so died of heart attack, or cancer, but the fact is that his time to die had arrived.  

 

Even God does not stay a moment longer than the scheduled period of his descension.  Then how can anyone else stay beyond his appointed time?  You may have heard of an incident in Ayodhya in this context.  Yamraj came to Lord Ram to tell him that the period of his descension was over.  When Yamraj comes to God and the Saints, he places his head at their feet and says, "I have come to inform you that the period of Your descension is complete.  You may choose to stay or leave.  I am merely fulfilling my duty."  He cannot force them to leave as he does for others.  Yet, the supremely independent Ram did not stay a moment longer than his planned 11,000 years.  At the exact time, to the second, he left the world.  And this is true for every descension of God, and every Saint, whether it be Tulsidas, Surdas, Meera,or Kabir.  Seeing that even God, who is the lawmaker himself, does not violate this rule, then why should the Saints, who are his servants break the law?

 

There is an incident about Ramakrishna Paramhans.  He developed throat cancer.  Everyone knew that the Saint's death was imminent.  He was famous in Kolkata and all over Bengal as a Saint who had transformed many lives.  So, people went to him and said, "You have attained perfection.  To rid yourself of cancer is child's play for you.  Just ask God to cure you, and your cancer will disappear."  Ramakrishna Paramhans replied strictly, "Should I divert my mind from God to worrying about cancer?  And how can I ask God to do such dirty work for me?  I have loved God only with the desire to serve him.  I cannot engage in such pettiness and ask for his help just for the sake of this wretched body.  Moreover, even if I am cured, I will still have to leave my body at the appointed time."

 

So, Ramakrishna Paramhans said, "Everyone has to leave at the scheduled time.  I have no objection to this hole in my throat.  This body has nine holes anyway - the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, etc.  So what if there is one more!  It would be very wrong to bother the divine Mother over it."  Thus, asking God for worldly favours is the greatest folly.  This should not be done even after becoming a devotee.  It is said in Bhagavat:

 

yatpṛithvyāṁ vṛīhiyavaṁ hiraṇyaṁ paśhavaḥ striyaḥ 
nālamekasya paryāpt tasmāttṛiṣhṇāṁ parityajet

"Even if one is given the wealth of infinite universes, his desires, cravings and longings will not reduce in the least."   
tṛiṣhṇā tu taruṇāyate (Hitopadesh)
"When you try to satisfy desires, they grow stronger."  Thus, worldly opulence, no matter how great, cannot provide true happiness.  So, it is foolish to desire worldly objects.  But, to ask for them from God is even greater foolishness.  Devotion, which is practiced with the aim of attainment of material desires, has many dangers.  Firstly, it is clear that the devotee is not yet sure where true happiness lies - in the world, or in God?  If it is in the world, then what is the need of God?  If it is in God, then what is the need for this world?  If our goal is to attain happiness, then going to God, who is the source of unlimited bliss and asking him for the world, which is a source of misery, evidently implies that we still have hopes of getting unlimited happiness from the world.   When our goal itself is not right, then how can we practice devotion?

 

In the material realm, ninety-nine percent of the people desire worldly things.  These desires are often fulfilled by their own prarabdh (destiny).  When material possessions are acquired by people according to their destiny, they misunderstand it as the blessing or grace of God.  When people pray to God and wish for a material thing, if that desire is fulfilled, people think that it was due to the blessing they received from God.  And, when they do not receive these possessions due to their destiny, they start cursing or criticizing God, and even think it as a sign of God's anger.  This is dangerous as it has a harmful effect.  A person will be a believer as long as he acquires worldly possessions, and when the material desires are not fulfilled, this faith in God immediately disappears and he can even become an atheist.   

 
Not even God can grant a person worldly gains, if it is not destined for him.  Whatever worldly happiness is destined for each person is given to him according to his fate.  The results of past actions are awarded in the present life.  In Ramayan, the Almighty Lord Ram could not save his father Dashrath.  In Mahabharat, Abhimanyu's uncle was God Shree Krishna himself, his father was the great Saint, Arjun, and the person who conducted his marriage was God Ved Vyas.  Yet, they could not save him from being killed in the battle.  Then how can God change the destiny of an ordinary person?   

 

Lastly, lack of worldly happiness is actually God's grace, because in this state we remember God.  Kunti also asked for this wish from God, "O Shree Krishna! Give me sorrow and pain, so that due to the lack of material pleasures, I can chant your glories."

 

God is all-knowing and whatever he does, is for our benefit, then why do we interfere and ask him for anything?  We do not know what is best for us.  Therefore, if we always remember that God is Omniscient and leave everything to him, then the disease of asking will never arise. 

JKYog Presents

Bal-Mukund

Personality Development Classes for Children

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   Character Building Values

   Yoga & Meditations

   Bhajans, Shlokas & Prayers

   Inspiring Stories

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Bal-Mukund welcomes all contributions of creative works from children in different areas including poetry, moral stories, art work, etc.

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 Celebrations Galore at Bal-Mukund!

The onset of the New Year has brought with it a slew of celebrations at all our Bal-Mukund centers! Makar Sankranti was in the air as our centers in AZ, CA, CO, CT, NC, TX celebrated it with enthusiasm and festive fervor. All our Bal-Mukunds were  given a detailed presentation on it which explained the what, how, and why aspects of this auspicious festival. They learned how, this festival is celebrated in certain distinct ways all over the country. The diversity of our Motherland reflects in all aspects of her social, physical, cultural, and spiritual life as is established by Makar Sankranti being celebrated as Pongal in the South, Tilgul in Maharashtra, and Uttarayan in Gujarat.

The children's crafts reflected the spirit of Makar Sankranti as did the treats they were lovingly offered and which they absolutely relished! From kites, to rangolis, to putting creativity on paper through art work, they explored the beauty of this festival. Though living in lands far away from their Motherland, they continue to remain in touch with their rich cultural roots due to the efforts of all the Bal-Mukund coordinators. Dedicated Bal-Mukund coordinators strive hard to try and manifest these festive gems for our younger generation to experience and gain from.

For information on our Bal-Mukund programs worldwide, contact info@bal-mukund.org

 

Bhog Recipe

Banana Nut Cake

Ingredients: 
1 cup whole wheat
cup flour
1 cup (little less than) sugar
  tsp. baking Soda
tsp. baking Powder
1 big banana
cup walnuts
cup oil
1 cup milk or water
5 by 7 cake tin
Method
Sift flour with baking soda and baking powder.  Add sugar, mashed banana, and one by one, add all the other ingredients.  Mix with wooden spoon gently.  Bake in hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes depending on oven. 
Contact us

The Editor JKYog:  XVII/3305, 1st Floor, Ranjit Nagar
(Near PUSA), New Delhi - 110008, India

7405  Stoney Point Dr, Plano
TX 75025, USA