Editor's Message

Dear Readers,
This edition of Sumiran is dedicated to topic of 'Eternal Quest for Happiness' as March 20th was celebrated as International Happiness Day all across the world. 

Keeping this in mind, our first article titled "Bliss of Divine Love is Supreme" explains that the happiness we receive from loving God selflessly is of the highest order. It is far sweeter than anything we have experienced.

To understand why we should love God, read our second article titled "The Quest for Happiness." The article explains that presently, all our actions are motivated by self-happiness. We all are searching for happiness though in the wrong places. The true, everlasting happiness that we are seeking can only be found in loving God.

Swamiji's USA tour started with a bang! Follow his activities as we share the highlights from his first week in the US. The season of Spring brings with it allergies. Boost your immune system by reading about it in our wellness section. Finally, enjoy our bhog recipe of Kheer.
Best Wishes,
Editor's Desk  
In This Issue
माँगू भुक्ति न मुक्ति राधे ,
माँगू तव पद प्रेम राधे, श्री राधे राधे |
O Radhey, I desire neither bhukti (material pleasure) nor mukti (liberation).  I desire only the love of your of your lotus feet.
- Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj
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Bliss of Divine Love is Supreme 
Divine love, as we mentioned previously, can only be attained by the grace of God. Such love is the quintessence of His Hlādini shakti, or God's personal power, which He does not grant easily to the souls.

Let us pause to consider why this is so. "No pain, no gain" is a famous adage. In the material realm, we realize that the rewards in any field are in proportion to the effort that is put in. Keeping the same principle in mind, the reward of para bhakti is sweeter than anything else ever experienced, and so the effort to attain it must also be of the highest extent. So, what is the sweetness of the bliss of divine love like?

Swaroopanand or Brahmanand is the bliss that the jñānis experience while Anubhavanand is the bliss that devotees experience upon seeing the four-armed Lord Vishnu. However, while there is immense joy in seeing Lord Vishnu, this bliss is devoid of the actual ras or true sweetness that is found in the Lord's pastimes. This is the bliss of Leelanand in which the devotees love the Lord as if He were their Friend, Son, or Beloved. This bliss of Leelanand is unlimited times more enjoyable than that of Anubhavanand or Brahmanand. If one were to multiply the bliss of Brahmanand a million times, it would still seem insignificant in comparison to one drop of Leelanand. Such is the nature of sweetness of divine love. Thus, the scriptures state:

brahmānando bhavedeṣha chetparārdhaguṇīkṛitaḥ 
naiti bhaktisukhāmbhodheḥ paramāṇutulāmapi 
Bhakti Rasāmṛit Sindhu 1.21 
"The bliss of Anubhavanand is higher than that of Swaroopanand, and the bliss of Leelanand is higher than that of Anubhavanand."

Sage Ved Vyas has very nicely expressed how rare the soul is who possesses selfless divine love for God:
muktānāmapi siddhānāṁ nārāyaṇaparāyaṇaḥ 
sudurlabhaḥ praśhāntātmā koṭiṣhv api mahāmune  
Shreemad Bhagavatam 6.14.5 
"Of all those who attain Brahmanand (liberation), only a few are successful in attaining true divine love of the Lord."

If Brahmanand was the same as Leelanand, then everyone who has attained liberation would have also attained divine love. But according to this verse of the Bhagavatam, this is not so. Instead the great Sage advises us that only select souls become eligible for Premanand.

There have been some liberated souls in the Vedic scriptures who attained the divine love of God. For instance, the four mind-sons of Brahma-Sanaka, Sanatana, Sananda, Sanat-kumar-during Satya Yug became attracted to the personal form of God after smelling a Tulsi leaf offered at the lotus feet of the Lord.

King Janak, the greatest jñāni during Tretya Yug, was so enchanted upon seeing Lord Ram that he forgot everything else. His hair stood on end and his heart overflowed with joy. His heart and mind that we were so calm and controlled suddenly felt racked by currents of love upon seeing the Lord. The King's heart and mind settled only after he understood the divine nature of Ram and Lakshman.

Uddhav, the Lord's friend during Dwapar Yug, whom the Lord had declared to be no less than Himself, was taught this lesson by the gopis of Braj. He was so lost in divine bliss that while it took him two days to cover the journey from Mathura to Vrindavan, it took him six months to make his way back!

Thus, bhakti is considered sāndrānanda viśheṣhātmā where the bliss of Premanand is unlimited times greater than that of Brahmanand.
The Quest for Happiness 
The Vedic scriptures teach us that everybody is searching for happiness, all the time. Before we accept this statement, let's examine and reflect if this is indeed true in our life. 

Everybody is Searching for Happiness


 The scriptures state:


sarveṣhāmapi bhootānāṁ nṛipasvātmaiva vallabhaḥ  
itare' patyavittādyāstadvallabhatayaiva hi 
Bhagavatam 10.14.50 
meaning, "everyone works for their happiness alone."
Consider a new born baby. The baby cries the instant it comes out. Why? According to the scriptures, it is crying for happiness. Think of its situation. It has been suspended upside down in a tight space for nine months. We would not be able to tolerate something like this so, we can understand its plight.
Let's move on and consider a one or a two-weeks-old baby. If one observes closely, one understands that babies inherently know when to cry. They do not have to be trained that when they are hungry or when they need a diaper change, they need to cry. They cry because it is their only way to communicate. However, also note that by crying they are calling attention to their discomfort or pain. They are looking for relief from the pain. Why? Because, they too, want to be comfortable; they are also seeking happiness. Who taught them to seek happiness?
We can understand when an adult or an old person seeks happiness because they have been conditioned to do so for their entire life. But when a week-old baby cries in search of happiness, we definitely have to stop and think about it.

As a young child, we are better able to express our desires, so we cry or throw tantrums to obtain the object of our wishes. We think it will make us happy. And it may for a short period of time. But once again, the point to note is that while we may teach a child to always speak the truth, to respect our elders, to forgive and forget, we never have to teach anyone to desire happiness.

As children or teenagers, we are willing to invest our time studying because good grades help us get admission to good colleges. Graduation from good colleges helps get good jobs. A good job provides the financial means to fulfill material desires such as buy a house, go on vacation, etc. All our actions are, thus, aimed at providing us happiness. Some actions may bring us happiness immediately, while some may bring us happiness later. But, the reason we do anything is because we believe doing so will bring us happiness in some shape or form.
Nature of Happiness

So when all our activities are directed at providing us happiness, why is it that the happiness we seek keeps eluding us?

Why is it that once we go on that dream vacation, it is long forgotten within six months? Why is it that a three-bedroom house is not big enough for us? Why is it that a Honda car is not good enough and instead we hanker for a Porsche or Tesla? Why is it that the first bite of the cake is the sweetest and after a few bites, we actually don't want any more cake and frown upon another bite?

The more we contemplate our happiness lies in obtaining these objects, the more we get attached and strive to achieve them. And as we attain the objects of our desire, after some time, we realize that they cease to bring us the joy they once did. This is when we start thinking that the next new smartphone or bigger car or a vacation would bring us the happiness we seek. Initially it does. However, soon the discontentment sets in again. And the cycle keeps repeating itself.

In other words, why is it that the happiness we experience is not everlasting? Why is it that the intensity of happiness we experience diminishes over time? Why is that the same object does not continue to give us the same intensity of happiness forever? Why is it that different people find happiness in different things and to varying extents? In other words, what is wrong with worldly happiness?

According to the scriptures, once a desire is fulfilled, it leads to greed. Sage Ved Vyas, in the Bhagavatam stated:

yatpṛithivyāṁ vrīhi yavaṁ hiraṇyaṁ paśhavaḥ striyaḥ 
na duhyanti manaḥ prītiṁ puṁsaḥ kāmahatasya te
Bhagavatam 9.19.13 
meaning, "happiness obtained from material objects will only end up in hankering for more."

If the search for happiness is a vicious cycle how do we break free and find our way out?

Why do we all Inherently Seek Happiness?

In order to answer this question we first need to understand why do we all desire happiness? Does anyone seek misery or pain? Some elevated saints such as Mother Kunti asked for hardships from Shree Krishna but most of us seek happiness. Why?

Due to our misidentification with the physical body, we constantly strive to fulfill the desires of the five senses. For endless past lifetimes, we have learned that happiness can be found in the material world. Thus, we have been conditioned to derive our happiness from friends and family, bigger and better houses, cars, jewelry, clothes, comfort, respect, etc.

However, the Vedic scriptures teach us that the happiness we seek is in God. We are a tiny part of an energy of His. As such, it is only natural that the part desires to be one with the whole. For instance, a fire always strives to reach upwards. It is a part of the energy of the sun and hence, tries to reach up. Similarly, an apple falls down. It grew from the earth and seeks to become one with it.

As a creation of God, we are no different. We too seek to become one with the Supreme Soul. That Supreme Soul is God. Since He is pure happiness, we too long for that happiness; we are just searching for it in the wrong places.

The happiness obtained from loving God is everlasting, ever fresh, and ever increasing. It never diminishes. We do not have to seek it elsewhere. And it can never be snatched away from us; it is eternal. We simply have to redirect all our desires and efforts to loving Him. Once we do that, we will attain the unlimited happiness we have been seeking for endless lifetimes and our search will end, forever.

Get ready for the first ever JKYOG Hindu Family Camp at Radha Krishna Temple, Allen!!

Packed with exciting activities for adults and children alike, it promises to be a whirlwind week of fun for the whole family in the uplifting spiritual company of Swami Mukundananda!

Registration Fee:
$75 (Early bird discount up to March 31)
$150 (Registration after March 31)

Take advantage of this amazing deal now and get the best experience!

HURRY! Early Bird Offer ends March 31st, 2018!!! 

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!

Featured Video

Devotional Secrets from the Ramayan
Regardless of who we are, where we live, and what we do in life, all our actions are motivated by a specific underlying purpose. We may be searching for different things in different places but ultimately we all are searching for happiness.
The eternal happiness that we have been seeking for endless lifetimes can only be found in loving God. While our end goal is to love him unconditionally and selflessly, our starting point varies. 

Watch this video where Swamiji explains that no matter what our starting point, we should grab the opportunity to love God just as if a beggar wins a lottery and does not let go of the money. Once we have this golden opportunity, we should use it to grow stronger and elevate our devotion and ourselves.
For more spiritual inspiration, please click below to subscribe to 
JKYog YouTube channels for videos in English and Hindi!

News & Updates



H.H. Swami Mukundananda received a very warm welcome from all the devotees, kids, and youth at Radha Krishna Temple. Swamiji, the founder of the Bal -Mukund character building program for children, met with Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas Bal-Mukund children on his first stop returning to the US. Giving high importance to preparing the youngest generations to reach their full potential, he spent some time with the children in a Q&A session.

The Bal-mukund children were quite eager to meet Swamiji and listened very attentively to his answers. Children asked many astute questions about life, karma and scriptures. Gauging by the complexity of their questions one could see that they had been absorbing and assimilating the invaluable knowledge and experiences in the Bal-Mukund program throughout the year.
Swamiji graced them with motivational and inspirational answers to keep them striving to meet their full potential.
Swamiji kick started the US tour with Holi Fest and Ram Navami celebrations in Dallas, TX.  
Colors of all kinds splashed all day at the Dallas HoliFest - more than just the powdered colors that crowds of people painted on one another. Colorful music filled the ears, colorful rhythms splashed minds and hearts, while eyes feasted on extravagant costume and vivid colors that filled the air. All the colors of Bal-Mukund children's specially choreographed dance and orchestra, the unique Bollywood, and hip-hop fusion dancers , to DJ Manish's lively rythyms, topped with the inspiring messages of Swami Mukundananda, all together made such a blissful festival of colors at Fair Park in Dallas.
Radha Krishna Temple's Ram Navami Mahotsav celebrated Lord Ram's divine pastimes with full fanfare. Four days of programs were packed with devotional bliss. The celebrations began with two nights of discourses by H.H. Swami Mukundananda ji, who shared beautiful leelas of Sita Ram and intertwined various practical tips for deepening one's devotion in context of today's modern life challenges.  After the pravachans, visitors could swing Baby Ram's jhula. Volunteers served delicious Mahaprasad and everyone had the treasured opportunity to associate with Swamiji in a more casual setting.
The devotional bliss flowed from a wide variety of cultural performances at Radha Krishna Temple over the final two days of Ram Navami programs. Children from the temple's Bal-Mukund character building program also impressed the audience with their depth of knowledge about Lord Ram and his divine pastimes through their on-stage performances. The audience enjoyed the jubilant energy of many Ram musical performances including Ram bhajans in Carnatic-fusion style, and also in Kathak style. Three young veena musicians performed three classical instrumentals glorifying Lord Ram.  

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The Bal-Mukund - Connecticut Center children showcased their learning from Bal-Mukund in the "Bal-Mukund Talent Show" that was conducted on Sunday, March 11th. Parents, friends, and families were filled with awe and wonder seeing the little children perform so beautifully and with utmost mastery. The program started with lighting of ceremonial lamp as in any traditional Indian events. This was followed by the children reciting shlokas. Kids presented posters on various topics like National Symbol of India, Festivals of India, KRIPALU values such as Kindness, Integrity, Be Positive, etc. Kids of age group 8 and above presented power points on many topics including, KRIPALU values, festivals, religious places in India, landmarks of India, dances of India such as Bharatnatyam, etc. The entire atmosphere was very vibrant and positive hearing the wonderful presentations by children. The kids then sang the beautiful bhajan on Lord Ram, "Bhaj Man Mere Atho Yam" on the event of upcoming Indian festival of Ram Navami.

The entire room was festive and colorful with all the children adorned in their traditional Indian attire. The event concluded with distribution of trophies to prize winners and goodies to all children. It was a wonderful day, very well planned, and executed by the volunteers of Connecticut center. 
Wellness for Life
Five Natural Ways to Boost Immunity

The immune system is a complex web of cells organs and proteins that protects or neutralizes the body from hundreds of microbes and bacteria in the atmosphere. Boost the defense mechanisms of the body to combat the pathogens like bacterium, virus, flu and other disease, by five basic natural essential ingredients.

1. Vitamin C
One of the top immune boosters is vitamin C. Deficiency in vitamin C results in a weak immune system and reduces the resistance against certain pathogens. Citrus fruits such as sweet limes, guava, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, papaya and pineapple along with kiwis and berries contain large amounts of this vitamin C. But the king of all sources is Indian Gooseberry or amla with a vitamin C concentration of 600 mg to 1800 mg of ascorbic acid in every 100 g. Fresh amla juice contains 20 times as much vitamin C as is present in orange juice.

2. Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that have healthy live bacteria. The best probiotic food is curd (home made) which has healthy bacteria very beneficial for people with lactose intolerance. Remember this bacteria is killed in processed curd. Buttermilk is low in fat and calories and contains important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorus. The healthy bacteria strengthens the digestive system and makes the immune system strong. Tempeh is a good substitute for meat or tofu. It is a  probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans and a great source of vitamin B12.

3. Garlic
Garlic when crushed or chewed has powerful enzymes and antimicrobial agent which acts as immune booster. The garlic bulb contains sulphur which wipes out bacteria. It also has antioxidants the fights free radicals in the blood stream.

4. Turmeric - Super Food
Turmeric's list of properties is multiple, of which some include being an antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. Turmeric's miracle active compound is curcumin which is rich in antioxidant which are compounds often found in plants that can protect the body's cells from damage caused by activated molecules known as free radicals.

There are immune-supportive herbs such as eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticocus), Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), or astragalus (A. membranaceus).

5. Healthy Lifestyle
The first step for a strong and healthy body is a healthy lifestyle. The immune system functions at its optimum when it is supplemented by healthy diet and living.
  • Adequate sleep and stress free living by regular practice of yoga and pranayam. Sleep deprivation and stress overload increase the hormone cortisol which weakens the immune function.
  • Tobacco and alcohol undermines basic immune defence, raises the risk of bronchitis and makes lungs vulnerable to infection.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, which will provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs. A study in older adults showed that boosting fruit and vegetable intake improved antibody response to the Pneumovax vaccine, which protects against Streptococcus pneumonia.
  • Vitamin D - Get natural dose of vitamin D catch some sun rays. Sunlight triggers the skin's production of vitamin D, 10-15 minute of exposure in the morning sun is enough. Few foods contain this vitamin and low vitamin D levels leads to greater risk of respiratory infection.

Bhog Recipe

Rice and Jaggery Kheer
A new twist on a traditional dessert

  • Whole (full cream) milk - 1 liter
  • Basmati rice (soaked for 30 mins) - 1/4th cup
  • Jaggery - 7 tbsp 
  • Cardamom powder (elaichi powder) - 1 tsp 
  • Chopped almonds - 2 tsp
  • Saffron - 5-6 strands in 1 tbsp of rose water

  • Heat a pan. Add milk once the pan is hot. 
  • Add the rice once the milk starts boiling. Keep stirring so that the rice does not stick to the bottom
  •  After one boil, turn the flame to low. Keep stirring and allow the milk to become thick (reduce by quarter). 
  • Once the milk has become thick enough to your liking, add jaggery and let it dissolve for about 3-5 minutes. 
  • Once the jaggery is complelety dissolved, remove the pan from heat and pour the kheer in a serving bowl. 
  • Let it cool down for 30 mins. Refrigerate for two hours.
  • Garnish with cardamom powder, chopped almonds and the soaked saffron strands before serving.
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