Editor's Message

Dear Readers,
This edition of Sumiran is dedicated to the topic of 'Bhakti Enslaves God.' 

Our first article titled "Bhakti Enslaves God" explains that the Lord becomes a slave of his devotee when the devotee masters the three tenets of bhakti: ananyata, nishkamta, and nirantara.

However, one can only love God when one's mind is attached to God.  And the mind can only be attached when one understands God. Thus, our second article is titled "Who Can Understand God?"

This past weekend, Swamiji successfully concluded the first 2018 retreat in the USA! Follow his activities as we share the highlights from his tour on the West Coast and BM contributions. Finally, enjoy our bhog recipe of Date Nut Roll.

Best Wishes,
Editor's Desk  
In This Issue
नाचें जाकी माया वश बड़े बड़े ज्ञानी जन |
सोइ गोपी छाछ पर नाचे नंदनंदन ||
Whose external potency, Maya, makes even the great impersonalists dance to its tune - that same Nandanandan is made to dance by the gopis for a handful of buttermilk.
- Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj
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Bhakti Enslaves God 
So far it has been explained that divine love of God is very difficult to attain. It cannot be obtained by our effort alone, instead, it can only be attained by the grace of God. We have also learned that the bliss of Premanand is more than a million times greater than the bliss of Brahmanand experienced by the jñānīs. Now let us attempt to understand why this is so.
In verse 6.47 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna tells Arjun:

yoginām api sarveṣhāṁ mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā 
śhraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

"Of all yogis, those whose minds are always absorbed in Me, and who engage in devotion to Me with great faith, them I consider to be the highest of all."

Shree Krishna declares the bhakti yogi to be the highest, superior to even the best aṣhṭāṅg yogi and haṭha yogi. That is because bhakti, or divine love, is the highest power of God. It is such a power that binds God and makes him a slave of his devotee. Thus, he states in the Bhagavatam:

ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno hyasvatantra iva dvija 
sādhubhir grasta-hṛidayo bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ  

"Although I am supremely independent, yet I become enslaved by my devotees. They conquer my heart. What to speak of my devotees, even the devotees of my devotees are very dear to me." The bhakti yogi possesses the power of divine love and is dearest to God. Thus, he is considered to be the highest of all yogis.

Such an instance of a devotee was Mother Yashoda. Not only did she have the power to address the Supreme Lord as "Lala!" or "My son!" but she also ran after him in an attempt to tie him to the mortar wheel. Who can tie the Almighty Lord who is capable of running faster than the wind and is stronger than Indra's thunderbolt? And yet, the Lord allowed himself to be enslaved by Yashoda's love. As a result, she could successfully tie him.

In this verse, Shree Krishna has used the word bhajate. It comes from the root word bhaj, which means "to serve." It is a far more significant word for devotion than "worship," which means "to adore." Here, Shree Krishna is talking about those who, not merely adore him, but also serve him with loving devotion. They are thus established in the natural position of the soul as the servant of God, while the other kinds of yogis are still incomplete in their realization.

500 years ago, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said the same thing:

jīver svaroop hay kṛiṣhṇer nitya dās

meaning, we are the eternal servants of Shree Krishna. A true servant is one who has learned to sacrifice his happiness for the Lord's happiness. In doing so, one has mastered the three tenets of bhakti: ananyata (no other), nishkamta (selflessness), and nirantarta (constant remembrance). And it is only when one has perfected these three tenets that God becomes a slave of his devotee.

Thus, bhakti is śhrīkṛiṣhnākarṣhiṇī meaning, it enslaves Krishna too.
Who Can Understand God? 
It has been mentioned in the Vedic scriptures that one cannot understand God.

yasyāmataṁ tasya mataṁ mataṁ yasya na veda saḥ avijñātaṁ vijānatāṁ vijñātamavijānatām
Kena Upanishad 2.3

"One who thinks God can be known does not understand. One who thinks that God cannot be known, actually understands."

Just as a ray of light is incapable of understanding the nature of the sun, and the wave is incapable of understanding the ocean from which it originates, similarly, how can the anu or jeev ātmā (tiny soul) understand the Paramātmā (Supreme Soul)?

Some are inclined to question this as we are taught to think of God as our friend, father, or beloved. If one thinks of God as such a close relative, then it appears strange that one does not know Him; after all, one cannot love someone who is unknown. However, the Vedic scriptures give six reasons as to why one cannot understand God.

indriyebhyaḥ parā hyarthā arthebhyaśh cha paraṁ manaḥ 
manasastu parā buddhir buddherātmā mahān paraḥ

mahataḥ paramavyaktamavyaktāt puruṣhaḥ paraḥ 
puruṣhān na paraṁ kiñchit sā kāṣhṭhā sā parā gatiḥ

Kathopanishad 1.3.10-11 
"The sense objects are beyond the understanding of the senses, the mind is beyond the understanding of the sense objects, the intellect is beyond the understanding of the the mind, the soul is beyond the understanding of the intellect, Maya is beyond the understanding of the the soul, and God is beyond the understanding of Maya."

In verse 13.16 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna explains to Arjun,

sookṣhmatvāt tad avijñeyaṁ doorasthaṁ chāntike cha tat

"He is subtle, and hence, He is incomprehensible."

Understand that the origin or source of any material which has a form is subtler and longer lasting than the object itself. For instance, the yarn or thread from which cloth is made is subtler than the fabric itself. Similarly, God is far more subtle and permanent compared to the individual souls. If the gross mind and intellect cannot understand the individual soul that is subtler than itself, then how can they understand the subtlest entity that exists?

divyohyamoortaḥ puruṣhaḥ 
"God is divine, and the senses, mind, and intellect are material." Our gross body, is made from the five material elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. Therefore, it is material in nature. The senses, mind, and intellect, while subtler than the gross body, are also made from God's material energy. Thus, they are also material. According to the Vedic scriptures, God is divine. Then, how can the material understand the divine?

tameva bhāntamanubhāti sarvaṁ tasya bhāsā sarvamidaṁ vibhāti 
Kathopanishad 2.2.15 
"He is the Supreme illuminator, and the senses, mind, and intellect are illumined by Him." Only when He illumines the senses, mind, and intellect can one understand Him.

yanmanasā na manute yenāhurmano matam 
tadeva brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate 
Kena Upanishad 1.5 
"It is through inspiration from God, that the senses, mind, and intellect perform their various functions." While we have a free will to choose and make decisions, He alone provides the inspiration to think and act. Since our senses, mind, and intellect are inspired by Him, by their own energy, they can never comprehend their Inspirer.

Fifth, God is an abode of various, simultaneously existing contradictory qualities.

aṇoraṇīyān mahato mahīyān ātmā guhāyāṁ nihito'sya jantoḥ 
tamakratuṁ paśhayti vītaśhoko dhātuḥ prasādān mahimānamīśham 
Śhvetāśhvatara Upanishad 3.20 
He is smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest. He is lighter than air and heavier than anything one can imagine. Since it is beyond one's ability to exhibit such behavior, how is it possible to understand someone who not only exhibits contradictory qualities and attributes, but also exhibits them simultaneously?

Sixth, the Vedas refer to Brahman or the Supreme Being as possessing three aspects, all of which are unknowable.
etajjñeyaṁ nityamevātmasaṁsthaṁ nātaḥ paraṁ veditavyaṁ hi kiñchit  
bhoktā bhogyaṁ preritāraṁ cha matvā sarvaṁ proktaṁ trividhaṁ brahmametat 
Śhvetāśhvatara Upanishad 1.12

Bhoktā Brahman or the enjoyer are all the individual souls or jeev. They are a part of an energy of God. As a part, they are incapable of understanding the whole. Bhogya Brahman is referred to as that which is enjoyed or Maya. This too is an energy of God. It has three aspects to it: sattva guna (mode of goodness), rajo guna (mode of passion), and tamo guna (mode of ignorance). Preraka Brahman refers to God Himself.

If these three aspects are known, then one can be freed from Maya, but they are unknowable as they are beyond the comprehension of the human intellect.

However, in verse 10.11 of the Bhagavad Gita, it is explained that the jeev ātmā can only understand God when He grants the soul His śhuddha sattva energy. Thus, it is only on the basis of God's divine energy that can one understand Him.

And, in verse 18.55 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna explains that the secret of the personal form cannot be known through karm, jñāna, aṣhṭāṅg yog, etc. The mystery of God's form, virtues, pastimes, abode, and associates can only be comprehended through unalloyed devotion. The devotees understand God because they possess the eyes of pure love. Thus, it is love alone that opens the door to the impossible and makes way for the inaccessible. And that's why only his devotees can understand him.

JKYog 2018 Retreats and Hindu Family Camp
The recently concluded JKYog West Coast retreat 2018 was a blissful, divinely blessed time for all who were fortunate to attend. Devotees lost themselves in the nectar of the Narad Bhakti Darshan lectures delivered by H H Swami Mukundananda and danced with joyous abandon during the ecstatic chanting sessions. Of note also were the beautiful bhajan and classical dance performances by the talented retreat attendees that filled the audience with the emotions of devotion. When the retreat ended, people were spiritually recharged yet sad to leave and longing for more as evidenced by the numerous testimonials.

Every retreat with Swami Mukundananda is an opportunity like no other for the whole family, to deepen and solidify the relationship with God without external disturbances. JKYog provides accommodation and meals at cost. The children and teenagers have their own parallel volunteer run sessions, while the parents enjoy the bhajans and lectures worry free. Children up to the age of 11 are enrolled in the Bal Mukund program where they are taught arts and crafts, spiritual values and play fun games. Older children attend the youth program consisting of Bhagavad Gita classes, music classes, team games and communication and leadership coaching. The children and youth are given the opportunity to exclusively interact with Swamiji and ask him questions. The youth get to display their newly learned vocal, dholak, cymbals, shaker and harmonium skills to the retreat audience.
If you are feeling bad about a missed opportunity to attend a JKYog retreat, cheer up because there are at least two more spiritual treats being offered by JKYog this year:
The Memorial Day East Coast Retreat will be held in Pennsylvania from May 26 - May 28, 2018. The Fall Retreat will be held in Dallas, Texas from September 14 - September 16. Register now to save your spot!

The icing on the cake of spiritual getaways is the brand new JKYog Hindu Family Camp at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas from July 4 - July 10. 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 our beloved Swamiji! Soak in the bliss of divine kirtans, meditations, and enlightening lectures by Swami Mukundananda and Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Participate in the intimate, light hearted Mehfils with Swamiji. Adult music classes are being offered for those who want to learn music. Kids have tons of activities to choose from ranging from music, theater, spiritual wisdom and painting classes to personality development and volunteer opportunities.
As you can see you are spoiled for choice this year in terms of the spiritual opportunities to relax, recharge and rejoice.
The scriptures say one must never delay the performance of a good deed. So, what are you waiting for? Hurry and Register today for JKYog Retreats and Hindu Family Camp - transform your life spiritually and never look back.
Are you looking forward to the very best family camp for the upcoming 2018 summer?

You're invited!

July 4th, 2018 (Wednesday) 7:00 am to
July 10, 2018 (Tuesday) 10:00 pm

Last summer, the grand inauguration of Radha Krishna Temple in Allen was celebrated and this summer, we are very excited to bring to you our very first week-long JKYog Hindu Family Camp from July 4 - 10, 2018.

Between the specially designed creative programs for children and youth, the variety of wonderful activities offered for adults, and the divine presence of H.H. Swami Mukundananda ji, we assure you that it will be your favorite family trip of 2018! What a great way for parents and children to rejuvenate their devotion and make sweet memories in the gorgeous Radha Krishna Temple setting!

Registration Fee: $150/person for whole week

Daily Sadhana- Spiritual Practice Made Easy!
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Featured Video

Power of Bhakti - Love that Binds Almighty God
Watch this video where Swamiji explains the power of bhakti. Bhakti is so powerful that it enslaves God too.

In this video, Swamiji explains that Krishna grants the devotee his swaroop shatyanand bliss. He then relishes the same bliss by sitting within their hearts.  

This swaroop shatyanand bliss is higher than the bliss he experiences himself (swaroop anand). In this manner, he bestows upon his devotee a higher status. And since the bliss of swaroop shatyanand is higher than that of swaroop anand, he gets enslaved by it as well.
For more spiritual inspiration, please click below to subscribe to 
JKYog YouTube channels for videos in English and Hindi!

News & Updates





Phoenix, AZ was the first city to host Swamiji this year! Swamiji started the week long program tour with a narration of the Ram Katha. Local devotees were very excited to have Swamiji in their midst for the actual Ram Navami celebration!

Pasadena, CA had the honor of being the city where Swamiji inaugurated his lecture series for the year, "Seven Divine Laws for Happiness and Fulfillment." The topic was received enthusiastically as the temple hall was packed everyday.

Swamiji continued the West Coast tour with the Bay Area. The topic of Seven Divine Laws for Happiness and Fulfillment was also presented here. People listened attentively as Swamiji explained with humorous stories and real life examples.

Swamiji narrated the Shreemad Bhagavad Katha in the Veda Temple at Milpitas, CA from April 14-18. The audience listened with rapt attention to the Bhagavad stories. Krishna janam was celebrated with much singing & dancing on the last day.

Devotees of the Bay Area and Pasadena, CA enjoyed a morning walk with Swamiji on the first Sunday. They were grateful to have him in their midst. As usual, the newcomers were full of questions for Swamiji.

Click here for more photos.

Apr 28 to May 4       
Kendall Park, NJ    
May 5 to 11 
Chalfont, PA
May 12 to 18 
Chantilly, VA 
For more details, click here
May 19 to 24 
  Ozone Park, NY  
May 26 to 28  
East Coast Retreat 
Jun 2 to 8    
Tampa, PA   
Jun 9 to 15 
 Morrisville, NC 
Bring spirituality closer to you and your family. Spend quality time nourishing the body, mind, and soul in the inspiring company of Swami Mukundananda

East Coast Retreat
Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28)
Feasterville-Trevose, PA

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Bay Area Bal-Mukunds put together a special performance in front of H.H. Swami Mukundananda ji! The hall was full of color and excitement as the kids dressed up as Radha and Krishna danced and exhibited their talent! 


Bhog Recipe

Date Nut Roll

  • 2 cups Mejdool dates
  • 1/4 cup dry milk power
  • 1/2 cup pistachio cut in halves lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup almonds crushed in small pieces
  • Pinch saffron

Remove pits from the dates. In a nonstick pan medium heat, cook dates until it starts melting. Stir in dry milk, pistachio, and almonds. Cook for five minutes.
Cool for few minutes until you are able to roll by hand. Put the mixture into a flat surface and spread by hand. The thickness should be about 1/4" and width should be about 2 inches. Roll it until it looks like a tube. Put it in the freezer. Cut into 1/2 inch round circles.

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