JKYog e-Magazine, Issue No. 63

November, 2014 


This month 'Sumiran' is picking up 'Dedicating your creative hobbies to God' as the topic of the month.  In this issue we will also be presenting an insight into what Shree Krishna tell's Arjun about transforming every single activity into divine service.  Readers will also find Bal-Mukund Contributions, Current News and Bhog Recipe.

मन हरि में तन जगत में, कर्मयोग तेहि जान | 

तन हरि में मन जगत में, यह महान अज्ञान || 

mana hari meṅ tana jagata meṅ, karmyoga tehi jān

 tana hari meṅ mana jagata meṅ, yaha mahān ajńān

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says, "True karm yog is when your mind is absorbed in Shree Krishna's love and you are doing your duties with your body.  But, if one's mind is attached in the world and physically he is doing devotional formalities, then he is the most ignorant person."

Working for the pleasure of God   

Hobbies are things we do passionately in our free time for fun.  People of all ages have their favorite hobbies that they like to invest their time in because it gives them happiness, relaxation and an opportunity to learn.  Considering how much we enjoy engaging in our hobbies, is there a way we can make them a part of our spiritual growth? 
   
Shree Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita said:

"Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, and whatever austerities you perform, O son of Kunti, do them as an offering to me."
(Bhagavad Gita 9.27)


This implies that whatever activity we perform, we should mentally offer it to God.  Now, whenever we perform any activity there are 2 aspects to it: 1) The external activity we do., 2) Our internal attitude towards it.  We could perform the same mundane activity with different consciousness and that makes all the difference.  If an activity is performed by a worldly minded person to increase his own comfort, wealth or fame, he gets bound by both good and bad karmic reactions. His karmic reactions result in his continuity in the cycle of life and death. Whereas, if a spiritually minded person performs the same activity for the pleasure of his beloved Lord, he renounces selfishness. Thus he is freed from the fretters of good and bad results.

A person who dedicates all his actions in the service to God becomes united in consciousness with God. Such a yogi becomes liberated in consciousness even in this body. And, upon leaving his mortal frame, receives a divine body and eternal service in the divine abode of God.

Thus by simply changing our internal attitude toward everything we do, we can reap great spiritual benefits. By transforming our internal attitude, we can transform even the mundane activities of material life into divine service of God.  Therefore, let's take a step towards this transformation by dedicating all our hobbies to God.  Earlier we engaged in our hobbies because it made us happy; now let us do them so that we can make the Lord happy.
 
In This Issue
Whatever social duties one may be engaged in, whatever vegetarian food one may be eating, whatever non-alcoholic beverages one may be drinking, whatever Vedic rites one may perform, whatever vows and austerities one may observe, should all be offered mentally to the Supreme Lord.
Source : Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God, 
     Commentary by Swami Mukundananda 
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Dedicating your creative hobbies to God  

Let's take a look at 5 most popular hobbies that you can dedicate to God.  This list is certainly not exhaustive.

1. Cooking    

Cooking is not only a women's hobby but is getting increasingly popular among men these days.  Whether you like to cook your favorite dishes or experiment with different cuisines, you can offer it all to God.  Next time you cook, do it with the consciousness-
"The food I am preparing is for my beloved Lord, If he accepts my offering, I would be blessed to eat the remnants of his food."

 

2. Painting    

Historically in India the art of painting has been essentially religious in purpose.  The themes of most paintings were Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology.  Some examples of Indian art genres are - Mysore paintings, Madhubani paintings, Pattachitra, etc. Now regardless of what type of paintings you like to make, you could also dedicate them to God.  If you like to put down the beauty of the world on a canvas, what can be more charming than the beauty of the Lord?  

3. Music   

Traditionally in India music is known to include all three forms of arts i.e. vocal music, instrumental music and dance.  In fact the origin of music is dedicated to Lord Brahma and Goddess Swaraswati.  So even before you think of dedicating any of your musical hobbies to God you can rejoice that it enjoys a deeply spiritual status in Indian tradition. However, modern day music compositions are rarely dedicated to God. But if you want to reap spiritual benefits from your hobby - sing the glories of God and dance in spiritual ecstasy.  

4. Reading       

Book reading is undoubtedly one of the most popular hobbies. Today there is absolutely no dearth of reading material and anyone who is an avid reader will find abundant choices to pursue this hobby.  However, what is to be kept in mind is the kind of books one reads.   Because what you read directly impacts your mind and in turn influences your personality.  If you read inspirational and spiritual books for enhancing your spiritual growth and love for God, it will certainly be pleasing to God.

5. Writing  

Writing is a hobby of self-expression.  It gives language to thoughts, ideas and feelings that brew in the mind.  In the spiritual journey this hobby can be a constant companion.  Even for a beginner (both as a spiritual aspirant and a writer), it is a great idea to maintain a spiritual journal. Whatever inspiring thoughts you come across or feel from within note them down.  Revisit your writings in every few days and you will literally be able to read the lessons of your spiritual growth.  Or if you are already an accomplished writer, you can just write to glorify the Lord.  

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 News & Updates



Jagadguruttam Mahaprayan Divas at Bhakti Dham, Mangarh                      

Jagadguruttam Mahaprayan Divas was held at Bhakti Dham, Mangarh on 4th November, 2014. Thousands of devotees from all over India and around the globe gathered for this special occasion. On that day, a Shraadh Pooja was performed at 8 am and a Brahm Bhoj was organized at 4 pm. A free distribution program of utility & food items and a monetary gift was also held for around 1200 poor villagers. 


 

Pind Daan and Tarpan at Gaya 

Later, the Pind Daan and Tarpan ceremony for Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and Amma were performed at Gaya on 6th November, 2014.

 See pictures 


 

Grand feast and gift distribution for Sadhus and Widows of Vrindavan and Barsana

In loving memory of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, a Vishishtha Atithi Bhoj (feast for mahants) was organized on 11 Nov, 2014 in Prem Mandir premise at Vrindavan. The guests were welcomed by washing their feet and were offered garland before the feast. Later they were also offered send-off gifts. 

The next day, 7000 sadhus of Vrindavan were invited for the grand feast.  They were also offered gifts and dakshina.  On 14 Nov, a feast for 4000 widows was organized.  They were also offered money and gifts.     

See pictures 

Swamiji visited various centers of Odisha in his short tour of 4 days.  He covered Jajpur, Kendrapada, Chasakhand and Cuttack.  Devotees were blessed to have darshan and satsang with Swamiji.   

Monthly satsang was also held at Jagadguru Kripalu University, Banara, Cuttack on Nov 23.    

See pictures 

Lectures

Importance of Human Life

by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj 

 

The human body, which is the means of practicing devotion, is temporary.  In other words, it may be snatched away at any time.


A baby is born.  It is a healthy baby.  It cries and then becomes quiet.  What happened to that child? He died. Another one survives one day and then dies.  A young man writes his I.A.S. exams. He meets with an accident on the way home and dies. A couple is getting married.  The young man and woman are circling around the fire for the seventh and the last time.  The bridegroom feels faint, he falls down.  He dies.  How strange this is! Death does not look at what is going on in life; it comes at whatever time.  And it does not care whether one is a king or a beggar. It does not discriminate between a scholar and an illiterate man.  It visits both the beautiful and the ugly. There is no concession for anyone. Everyone's time is fixed.  The exact amount of seconds you have been granted in the human body are already fixed. Death is certain.  But, we tend to forget this.  We say, "Oh, I am only ten years old; I am only 25 years old; I am only fifty."  This is how we think. We never think that we may or may not live to see the next moment.  What if this body is snatched away from us? And after death you will attain the result according to the thoughts in your mind in the final moments of your life   

  

This is why both the points must be kept in mind simultaneously and very carefully. God must be remembered at all times, but you must not procrastinate. You must not wait for even the next moment to remember God.  If we constantly reflect upon the transitory nature of human life, we will cease to be careless.  We will always be careful.  After all, you are always careful to keep your clothes on; you do not take them off and throw them away.  You are careful at all times.  You are driving on the road. While driving you are always mindful of the traffic in front of you, behind you and on your side.  You are careful all the time, otherwise you will meet with an accident and die.  Similarly, we must be very careful in life at all times. In other words, we must keep death in mind at all times.  Who knows when Death may come! Everyone is powerless before death.  No yogi, no ascetic, no meditator, no God-realized saint can avoid it.  Everyone has to leave at the right time. Jagadguru Shankaracharya left his body at the age of 32.  He passed away at such a young age. Though a great Saint, yet he could not conquer death. Saints do not interfere with God's rules. They leave their body when they are me ant to leave.  King Dashrath, who had Lord Ram as his son, died, but Lord Ram did not save him.  The Almighty Lord  Ram did not save his own father. Abhimanyu died. The Kauravas killed him by trickery. He was the son of Arjun, one of the greatest Saints; he was the nephew of God Shree Krishna. Moreover, Ved Vyas ji, a descension of God, had performed his marriage to Uttara.  Three divine personalities could not save Abhimanyu and his wife Uttara became widow at the age of sixteen.

Thus, no one has any control over death.  Death is very powerful.  For this reason we must be cautious at all times. Think: What if I die the next moment? What will happen then? Be prepared; be ever prepared.  Always remain in the remembrance of God so that you may think of him in the final moments of life and reach his divine abode after death.   

 

Bhakti Shatak 

Explained by Swami Mukundananda 

 

Bhakti Śhatak is one of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's principle writings, with hundred golden couplets of inspiring quotes, advice, and guidance for sincere devotees seeking to firmly establish themselves on the path of bhakti.   

Continuing with the explanation of the verse:


saba sādhan sampanna kahań, poochhata saba saṅsār
sādhanahīna prapanna kahań, poochhata nandakumār

You will receive God's grace when you perceive yourself to be sadhan heen. Sadhan heen means to feel from within your heart, "I have no support other than your grace."  It is not an external state; otherwise we can say that a poor man is sadhan heen because the poor do not have material benefits like others.  He may be poor, but he may still take the support of his own personal things.  When we talk about taking support, it is the internal support.  Somebody may be very poor and yet think, "The 500 dollars I have is my protection for my old age.  Somebody may be a millionaire and thinks, "My faith is in none of these.  My faith is in the grace of God."  So the millionaire is in the state of sadhan heen.  Internally, where is your faith?  What do you think is your protection in this world with danger at every step?  

Let us look at an example from the Mahabharat.  Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas was being insulted openly in court by being stripped of her clothes by Duhshasan.  Initially, Draupadi had faith that her mighty husbands would save her.  When they did not respond to her entreaties, she turned to the elders in the assembly Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Vidur, Bheeshma, etc., who were authorities on religious principles.  When she saw no help coming from them either, she tried to protect herself and clenched her sari between her teeth.  Shree Krishna still did not come to her help.  When Duhshyasan pulled her sari with a jerk, she lost hold of it, and was totally helpless.  Now, she surrendered herself completely to Shree Krishna She realized my ashray is God only.  In other words, she came to a state of doing nothing.  It was only when she ceased to expect protection from other sources, that she was protected by God.

The day we become sadhan heen like Draupadi, that kind of surrender and the complete faith in the grace of God, that very day, divine grace will intervene.  How will we attain God?  By his grace.  Our assets are to be used to attract his grace.  But our efforts are never sufficient to purchase his grace, "I have done this much of sadhana, O God! Bestow your grace upon me."

Understand this with an example:  As long as a bird has a piece of food in its beak, it is noisily pursued by other birds and does not get a moment's peace.  The moment the bird lets go off the piece of food, it attains peace immediately because the other birds now leave it alone.  However, even if one lets go of everything and surrenders to God, it cannot be the price for his grace.  This is because what God gives is divine, unlimited and perfect. What we let go off is material, limited and defective.  Besides, of what use are material things to God?

So our faith should be in God's grace and thus Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says in this verse, "The world runs after those who possess the support of material opulence.  However, Shree Krishna loves those who have no other support and are completely surrendered to him."

JKYog Presents

Bal-Mukund

Personality Development Classes for Children

Highlights:

·   Character Building Values

·   Yoga & Meditations

·   Bhajans, Shlokas & Prayers

·   Inspiring Stories

Showcase:

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

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Books & CDs

Bal-Mukund Center Activities

Value of the month and Deepavali crafts
Integrity in word, thought and deed is the focus of our Bal-Mukunds this month! They are encouraged to always remember to keep this beautiful value as an integral part of their everyday lives. They are being entertained with stories that stress on the importance of Integrity, class discussions in which they share their experiences related to this value and they are also doing age-specific worksheets that further instill the importance of  this in their young minds. Our National coordinators are working dedicatedly to ensure that all the beautiful KRIPALU values are are introduced to our Bal-Mukunds in an organized and effective way! 
Deepavali crafts also created much cheer amongst the Bal-Mukunds. CO, NC and CT classrooms were buzzing with craft activities as the children worked happily to create cheerful and relevant Deepavali art works that they can both display and use! As they are introduced to a craft their eyes light up with excitement and the joy they demonstrate as they proudly carry their completed master pieces out the door, is priceless to observe. Be part of the process and experience their bliss as you glance through some pictures that captured their efforts at work!     See pictures 

 

Diwali Craft by NC Center

Diwali Craft by CO Center

Integrity by CT Center 

Bhog Recipe

Almond and Cashew cookies - Vegan and Gluten free
Ingredients: 

1.5 cups of almond meal

1.5 cups of cashew powder

5-6 strands of saffron

2 tsp of cardamom powder

1 cup of sugar

Almond milk (approx. 1/4 cup) 


Method:
 
Mix the above ingredients into tight dough and roll out to 2-5 mm thickness.  Cut with cookie cutters and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins on a silpad.  
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