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JKY e-Magazine, Issue No. 6                                                December 2009

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In This Issue
Gems of Wisdom - Shree Maharajji
Upcoming Events
Current News
Stay Connected
Graces of God - Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj
Secrets of Spiritual Sadhana - Swami Mukundananda
Ask Swamiji
Trivia Time
Jagadguru Kripalu Yog


The world itself is a teacher that is always teaching the individual soul by constantly showering unhappiness and pain, thereby feeding detachment. This detachment from the world constantly pushes the soul towards God.  Maya is like the loving mother who slaps her child so that the child does not walk on the wrong path, and pushes the child towards God.
One who aspires for Divine love should aim to be more humble than a blade of grass and more forbearing than a tree.  Believe all to be superior to oneself, and believe oneself to be the most sinful of all.  This feeling will destroy the ego and give rise to true humility, only then will the mind and heart be purified.
Just as by watering the root of a tree, its branches, leaves, flowers and fruits etc. automatically receive water, in the same way all the various gods and goddesses are automatically worshipped when the Supreme Lord Krishna is worshipped.  But on the other hand, if one puts water on all the leaves, flowers, branches and fruits of a tree without watering the root, the tree would dry up eventually (in a very short amount of time).  Likewise, even if one worships all the heavenly gods and goddesses, this worship is absolutely useless unless and until the Supreme Lord Krishna is worshipped.
Do not bear ill-will toward anyone, even those who bear ill-will toward you.  Remain neutral.  Even if someone has committed sins, a true aspirant should not think or speak of them.  Prior to God-realization everyone in the world is a sinner.  It does not take more than a moment for a great aspirant to fall and for a sinner to rise.
Devotion exists in all, in the offender as well as the virtuous. It is natural for devotion to be in the heart of the virtuous ones, but it is also within the wrongdoer.  In other words, if a very evil individual practices exclusive devotion, he should be regarded a pious man, for he has understood the truth.  His evil ways will come to an end with the grace of God.
Reserve some time for God every day.  Never miss an appointment with Him.  Besides, thinking of Him while you perform your daily chores, spend some time alone with Him.  Do not think that this is craziness and mere imagination.  The fact is that God alone is real, all else is imaginary.

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Upcoming Events

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Spirituality for Managers

An enlightening talk by Swami Mukundananda
Dec 26th
IIM, Kolkata

Dec 27th - Dec 30th
 Current News


Swamiji successfully completed his lecture series in Bhawanipatna, Orissa.  It was held in Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium.  Swamiji was visiting this town after a long gap of 12 years.  It was very nostalgic for many of the devotees to meet Swamiji and listen to his Divine words after so many years.

Swamiji delivered a captivating lecture on the topic, 'Aim of Life' at Saraswati Science Institute in Bhawanipatna, Orissa on 30th November.


Swamiji delivered a lecture on the topic, 'Raj Vidya' in Govt. Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna, Orissa on 1st December.  It was attended by hundreds of students, staff and faculty of the college.  Swamiji was felicitated by the Principal of the college and the other dignitaries present for the occasion.


On the last day of the program (5th December) a 'Nagar Parikrama' was organized. Hundreds of people participated, dancing in the procession through the whole city for over 2 hours.  Joyous kirtans and bhajans filled the streets of Bhawanipatna and the general public was happy to join in and sing along.


Swamiji spent a fun filled day with devotees at a special spiritual picnic in Bhawanipatna on 6th December.  Devotees were treated to joyous kirtans and exclusive time with Swamiji.  There was a bhajan competition, quiz competition, leela description, singing, and dancing to keep people of all ages engrossed and entertained all day long!

Swamiji is currently in Berhampur, Orissa for a fifteen-day lecture series.  The venue is overflowing with over 10,000 people attending the lecture everyday.  The program will be completed on the 23rd of December after which Swamiji will proceed to Rairangpur, Orissa.


Swamiji delivered a remarkable lecture on the topic 'The Spiritual Art of Good Health Through Yog, Meditation and Devotion' on 8th December at MCKG Medical College in Berhampur, Orissa.  Many students and professors were thrilled to learn about the deep insights that spirituality can offer in treating disorders that affect the human mind.


Swamiji was at the 'Saraswati Shishu Mandir' in Berhampur, where he addressed a large student gathering. Swamiji spoke about the importance of moral and spiritual values in today's life, and how to inculcate these timeless virtues as a part of the character buidling process.
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Welcome to the
 Jagadguru Kripalu Yog
Graces of God
by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj


There are many forms of grace, but three of them are considered to be of great significance: attaining a human birth, having a desire for God-realization, and meeting a saint.  If we could realize the significance of human birth, it would not even take a day to attain God.  The human body is so important that even Indra, the king of heaven, who is worshipped by human beings, desires to be born as a human himself.  The human body is a very complex machine and there is no other body as complex as that of a human.  We strive to maintain a very healthy body, yet suffer from many an ailment due to improper habits and the prevailing environment.  In addition, an average human suffers innumerable miseries as a resullt of illness and death of loved ones.  It is amazing how we humans are able to continue living.  However, there is a wonderful power that we humans possess - knowledge.

 jānaṁ hi teṣhāṁ adhikaḥ

There is no other creature, with the exception of celestial Gods in heaven that can match the faculty of knowledge that we human beings possess.  We have the power to comprehend who we are, the nature of our body, this world, God, bliss, sorrow, etc.  We can inquire into what causes sorrow, and how to eliminate the root cause of all sorrows.  We have the power to understand and take the appropriate steps to find the cure.  Countless fellow humans, like Tulsidas, Kabirdas, Meera, Nanak and Tukaram, have accomplished this.  It is the gift of knowledge that gives immense significance and value to the human body.
Celestial gods possess greater knowledge than us, but they cannot do sadhana, or devotion.  They are only permitted to enjoy heavenly pleasures, which are temporary.  Also, heavenly happiness is not pure happiness.  There is a mixture of sorrow in it.  There is constant hankering to attain a higher level of happiness, very similar to what happens on earth.  The mental diseases that torture us humans also befall those who dwell in heaven.  Consequently, heaven and this world are similar, since both are subject to sorrow, restlessness, dissatisfaction, lust, anger, greed, attachment, envy and pride. The difference is that, we humans can work on improving ourselves (by doing sadhana), whereas celestial gods cannot. It is impossible to earn in heaven, since one only enjoys the rewards of his past karm. There is no option of performing new karm in heaven.
So, the first grace of God is that He gives us a human body. Just think how important a grace this is.  Granted that we attained human birth due to our own actions, but it was God who took note of our actions, and rewarded us by making us human.  God did all this for us.  Actions cannot yield results on their own.  Let us say you donated $100,000. This act of charity will not yield fruit by itself.  God will have to intervene and give you the fruits of your donation.  So, God is merciful in that He rewards us for our actions.  Otherwise, we would never have attained human birth.

kabahuṁk kari karuṇā nar dehī  | det īśh binu hetu sanehī ||

God has gifted us a human body due to His compassionate nature.  Reflect upon this repeatedly; reflect upon this fact thousands of times.  We are suffering because we fail to contemplate properly.  What are we thinking?  "How should I spend my time?"  We are constantly planning on how to earn more wealth, constructing a house and leaving behind a large fortune for wife and kids.  There seems to be no concern about our own spiritual upliftment.  We must think about why we have come to this world.  Our lives are wasted in planning how to make the body happy, and we work towards those plans.  Still, we fail because our desires keep tormenting us.  We may sleep on a bed of gold studded with diamonds, but we still suffer from inside.  Happiness comes from within, not from external objects.
So, there is no question of attaining happiness from the objects of the world.  In fact, this world is full of stress and anxiety.  The greater the wealth, beauty and talent one possesses, more are the worries.  Worldly opulence does not bring about happiness. The power of knowledge that we have been blessed with in this human form, should be used towards reaching our goal by surrendering to God and Guru.  And we should be in a great hurry to reach our goal.  We have no idea how long or short our life is.  There are no guarantees.  A child may die immediately after birth.  A young man may die in an accident right after graduation.  We see this taking place every single day.  So, we cannot afford to procrastinate. 

Prahlad preached to his little friends, "Do not wait for youth." Hurry up.  It may never arrive.  Similarly, do not wait for old age. Do not think you are too young.  Life is uncertain; death is certain.  We say, "Dead sure."  When it is time to die, there is no power on earth that can save us.  Abhimanyu, the nephew of Lord Krishna and the son of Arjun was killed at a young age.  His wife Uttara was widowed at the age of sixteen.  Imagine!  even Lord Krishna, Arjun and Ved Vyas could not save Abhimanyu.  Everyone will die at the designated time; reciting prayers will not help.

Therefore, it must be kept in mind that this human body is subject to destruction.  A saint by the name of Narayan has said:

do bātan ko bhuli mat jo chahasi kalyān

nārāyaṇ ik maut ko, duje śhrī bhagavān

Along with God, keep death in mind.  Do not wait or procrastinate.  Procrastination has wasted countless lives of ours.
The second grace is that we have a desire for God-realization. We souls receive a human form with the grace of God.  This is the only form of life where a soul can practice devotion and attain God.  To be able to practice devotion, we need the grace of God.  This grace comes in the form of 'desire for God-realization'.

If we have the hunger to meet God, only then will we try to attain Him.  Only a few deserving souls have got this hunger by the grace of God.  We can see all around us, there are nearly seven billions humans.  How many of us have the real desire to meet God?

Most of us are busy with our daily lives.  We may have even heard to the teachings of a great Saint, dispelling all our doubts.  Yet, if we do not have the desire to progress on the path of devotion, the human form of life will be a waste.  Hence, we have to realize the grace of God and try to develop the desire to meet Him.  We must understand that true happiness is not in this world, but in God alone.  This will help increase our desire to meet Him. God will surely notice our efforts and grace us such that the desire increases.  And this will lead us to the third grace, which is meeting a true Saint.
The last grace is beyond both these graces, and is said to be millions of times greater than any other grace.  And that is, meeting with a real Saint - someone who has theoretical knowledge of the scriptures, as well as practical experience of God.   The opportunity to meet a true Saint is very rare.  And it is even more difficult to have faith in a Saint.  Understanding the divine knowledge from the Saint is even more difficult.  After this, there is no further grace to be had from God or Guru. We have attained everything there is to attain - the human form, birth in India, association with a Saint, faith in the Saint, and knowledge of what to do.  If we still do not practice sadhana and attain God, then:
ātam han gati jāy
kālahiṁ karmahiṁ īśhvarahiṁ mithyā doṣh lagāi

"You have been blessed in every possible way, what are you waiting for?"  Yet, we humans come up with many lame excuses.  "Oh, my time to practice devotion has not yet come. When the time arrives, I will do it."  Another says, "When God inspires me from within, it will happen naturally."  Someone says, "It is not in my destiny to practice devotion." These excuses are preventing us from going towards God.  This is why the devotee says, "O Lord!  You gave me everything, but I procrastinated."  We kept on saying, "I will do it; I will do it," and saying this, we breathed our last.  We must no longer procrastinate.  We must put our plan into immediate action and begin our sadhana, or devotion at the earliest.
It is of prime importance that we realize these three important graces of God and follow our Guru's instructions to reach our goal.

Secrets of Spiritual Sadhana
by Swami Mukundananda


Continuing from the last month...

These are the next lines of the series "Sadhana Karu Pyare".

sādhanā meṁ hai pramukh man, indriyāṁ nahiṁ pyāre
mokṣh aru bandhan kā kāraṇ, ek man hī  pyāre
pratham karu hari dhyān man te,  jaisī ruchi ho pyāre

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj now begins to explain how we should do sadhana or devotion.  He says that in practicing devotion, the involvement of the mind is the foremost thing and not the material senses.  Why does he say that?  This is because, in this material world, external behavior and manners take precedence.  By external behavior we mean etiquette. For example, we say "Sorry" and "Thank You".  These days, people use these words without any feeling.  A "Sorry" denotes that a mistake has been done.  But there is no real regret, and we merely say it as a matter of etiquette.  While walking, people greet each other, "Jai Siya Ram!", which means Namaste. Similarly, people say, "How are you?" In reality, they do not genuinely care how you are doing.  Now, if you start telling all about yourself and your worries, they will get irritated.  They would wonder, "Why did I ever ask him in the first place?" 

So, in this material world, etiquette is followed, and it is just an external act. When two people cross each other while walking, they say, "Good Morning!", even though they do not know each other.   There is no feeling from the inside; rather it has become a mere formality.

God says that acts such as ostentation, craftiness, artificiality, deception and superficial words are of no importance in the spiritual realm. God says, "I will only consider the feelings in your mind."  You do not have to say the word "Ram" even once but you have to feel from the inside.  God will note the feelings in your mind, and accordingly reward you with divine results.
There was a boy in India.  He was reciting the Hindi alphabet to God, 'Ka', 'Kha', 'Ga', 'Gha'.  A saint came by and asked him, "What are you doing?" He said, "I am praying to God."  The saint said, "Is this how you say your prayers?"  The boy said, "I do not have the intelligence to recite a prayer, and hence, I am just reciting the alphabets to God and asking Him to make a prayer of His choice.  I simply want to make Him happy."  The saint replied, "All glories to such innocence.  God is attracted to such innocent behavior, where there is no deception or pretence."  So, Kripaluji Maharaj says that in this spiritual realm, the mind plays a vital role.  We have to train our mind to think in the right direction.
This mind alone is the cause of liberation and bondage.  Our mind's attachment to the material world has kept us bound to the cycle of birth and death.  When we train the mind to detach itself from the material world and concentrate on God, we are actually attempting to cleanse our mind.
In this context, let us take a look at the views expressed by philosophers from around the world. John Milton said, "The mind is a thing of its own.  It can make heaven out of hell, and hell out of heaven."  This mind is so unique that it can give you the experience of heaven while being seated in hell, and make you feel like hell while living in heaven.  It is through the mind that we experience happiness and sorrow.  The mind gives us the feeling of pleasure and pain. 

Sigmund Freud, popularly known as the father of Psychology, stated that the nature of the mind is to be tense and unhappy. This is a fact that can never be changed.  It is a waste of time even to try it.  Another well known philosopher from the West, Arthur Schopenhauer, said, "The mind keeps oscillating like a pendulum between happiness and pain.  It will always keep wavering between these two states and nobody can change this principle."

Many of you may have heard the name of Bertrand Russell, the famous English writer of the last century.  He said that the mind is constantly troubled.  You can only do one thing, engage this mind in some work.  By engaging the mind in some work, it will be less distraught.  An idle mind is a devil's workshop.  This principle is partially correct, but it is no cure.
So, we see that without the help of spiritual knowledge, Western philosophers lose the battle against the mind. Shankarachaya said:

jagadijataṁ ken mano hī yen

"Who will be victorious in this world?  The one who can control his mind."  This is a wonderful example of the lofty thinking that our Indian philosophers wrote many thousands of years ago. There is no parallel for such thinking in the Western culture.  In India, we have utilized spirituality to control our mind.  There was a saint called Swami Ramtirth.  He visited the United States and preached a lot about hatha yoga since he was a hatha yogi, or the one who practices severe physical austerities. His weakness was that he would get tempted by apples.  To beat this temptation, he took an apple, placed it in front of him on a table and watched it.  After three days the apple started to rot. Yet, he kept that apple on the table.  The apple decomposed further.  He now said, "O mind! are you tempted by this apple? Eat this."  So, these 'spiritual' hatha yogis do hath, the practice of obstinacy or stubbornness on their mind and try to win the battle against it.

Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says, "This will also not work.  Your power of practicing hath i.e. your 'will power' is limited and maya, or the eternally existing, lifeless, cosmic power of God is unlimited. Therefore, your will power is bound to fail in front of the power of maya." If you want to win and control your mind, there is only one solution - surrender yourself to a spiritual power.  By surrendering to a spiritual power, God will bestow His Grace and you can control your mind.
Shree Krishna says in the Bhagavad Geeta:
daivī hyaiṣhā guṇamayī mam māyā duratyayā
"Arjun! This maya power of God is very difficult to defeat.  But...
māmev ye prapadyante māyāmetāṁ taranti te

If you come to my shelter alone and surrender completely to me, I will free you from the clutches of maya." How do we conquer our mind?  By remembering and meditating upon God.  There are innumerable organizations that teach meditation. Some meditate upon an imaginary circle, some mediate upon the pranas.  It is intriguing to see someone meditating upon prana instead of God.

Our Guru teaches us to mediate upon God, which means we have to meditate upon the form of God. Along with this, we can also chant His Divine Name and Pastimes, sing kirtans that will be helpful in the remembrance of God.  If we involve our material senses in the spiritual area, it will be easier to attach our mind in God.  But this is not compulsory. If you do not feel like doing kirtans, you can simply meditate upon the form of God.  But it should not turn out that you neither contemplate on God nor sing His kirtans.  So, to be safe, the best thing is to chant His names, sing His virtues, listen to His Divine words, and remember Him with the mind.  This type of bhakti called tridha bhakti has been accepted and taught by many saints, and Kripaluji Maharaj has also recommended this:

śhrī kṛiṣhṇaṁ smaraṇaṁ manasā vachasā saras kīrtanaṁ |
śhrotreṇa śhravaṇaṁ nityaṁ tridhābhaktirgarīyasī ||

He says, "Remember and contemplate Shree Krishna with your mind, sing the glories of Shree Krishna by chanting kirtans and hear to beautiful kirtans."  This tridha bhakti is the best and most powerful.  It is because of the power of tridha bhakti that in this sadhana camp we are engaging in devotion day and night. If we were practicing some other kind of devotion, we would not experience that Bliss, and we would lose interest in 2 or 3 hours.  For example, when we sit to perform a yagya, fire sacrifice, we can hardly sit for a couple hours without getting distracted.  We start to think, "When will this get over? I cannot understand the mantras that the pundit is chanting, nor am I able to enjoy the Bliss of God."

It is the grace of our Guru that he has gifted us this simplest and very sweet form of bhakti that helps us attach our mind to God. Hence, tridha bhakti is the easiest and best for people of this age since the three primary senses (mouth, ears and mind) are engaged in remembrance of God.

Bal-Mukund Showcase

Bal-Mukund welcomes all contributions of creative works from children in different areas including poerty, moral stories, art work, etc. Their work may be show cased on the JKYog website.


         Birthday Card                 Birthday Card
              Sonika                               Esha

                         Poem for Swamiji

                             Sidharth Bhat

Bal-Mukund Submission Guidelines

Devotion for Kids

Devotion for the young is very important to develop their personality from within.  With moral and spiritual development, a child is better equipped than his or her peers to tackle the challenges of today's world and overcome them.
Here are some tips to encourage devotion in kids:
*  Think Krishna to be your best friend and imagine that you are playing, walking with Him.   Do all actions keeping Him with you.  When you are alone, just think of Krishna and do not feel lonely.  Keep in mind that He is always there with you, helps and protects you every moment.
*  When you are doing your homework, imagine He is sitting next to you and helping you.
*  You must believe in Him and believe that He will surely help you.  He is always yours.  He talks to you in your mind.  Krishna never forgets you even for a single moment.  The coolest thing is that nobody will know you are talking!
*  Don't think, "When I grow up, I will start remembering God."  Start now.

*  Chant the Name of "Radhey Shyam" constantly and silently.  Say "Radhey" within your mind when you breathe in, and say "Shyam" within your mind when you breathe out.
*  Avoid bad company.

*  Every night before retiring to bed, recall and count the number of wrong deeds you committed for the day and pray for forgiveness, whether it was done knowingly or unknowingly.  Resolve to correct yourself and not to commit the same mistake again.
*  Give respect to everyone.  Never fight with others and hurt anyone by your bad behavior.  Realize that God resides in everyone's heart.
*  Never feel lonely or alone.  Don't get angry.  Try to be nice to everyone.


Hindu festivals are famous the world over for their lively spirit, vibrant colors, exotic cuisine and the endless celebrations that accompany them. Arranged below in a jumble are the names of the most famous festivals from India.  Find them!

Hindu festivals:

1.         LOIH
3.         WILDAI
4.         DSUSRHEA

  1. A festival of colors and spring.
  2. A festival which celebrates the bond of affection between brothers and sisters.
  3. The festival of lights and Lakshmi.
  4. Celebration of victory of Shree Ram over demon king Ravana.
  5. Birthday of Lord Krishna.
Answers to the Jumbled Words

ask swamiji logo
Question: True surrender to God and a spiritual Guru is considered only when  one surrenders  the (pure) mind completely  to God  and  the Guru.  The most important aspect for any true seva, sincere devotion, spiritual sadhana and true surrender to God and the Guru is attaching and surrendering one's mind completely to God and the Guru.  Then a logical question would be that how can one categorize the mind to be material and not spiritual, when the only prerequisite for any true spiritual activity, seva or sadhana, is surrendering the mind completely to God and the Guru. 

Answer: Very often, confusions in philosophy arise not because of haziness in concepts, but because of duality in the meanings of words and expressions. Some of your confusion seems to be for the same reason.  The categorization of the mind as spiritual or material can be done in two ways:

1.      Whatever is connected with God is spiritual and whatever is not connected with Him is material.  So if the mind is engaged in worldly thoughts, the consciousness and the mind are material.  But if the mind is engaged in thinking of God, then the consciousness and the mind are spiritual.

2.      Whatever belongs to the realm of the material energy, maya, is material.  And whatever belongs to the realm of the Divine energy, yogamaya, is spiritual. From this perspective, before God-realization, all of us possess a material mind.  It will become spiritual only at the time of God-realization. 

When God instructs us to surrender the mind to Him, He does not expect us to surrender a spiritual mind.  He knows that we do not possess one.  For example, when a primary school teacher evaluates her students, she does so according to their level, and not according to college standards.  She does not say, "Why did you not write as well as students in college do?" Similarly God too does not say, "You will attain Me only when you surrender a spiritual mind to Me," for He knows that all we possess is a material mind.

This material mind is made from the three modes of material nature, sattva guna, rajo guna, tamo guna, or modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.  Because of the presence of these three gunas, it is considered impure.  However, even such a material mind has the capacity to think of God, and harbour devotional sentiments towards Him.  That is all that God asks us to do in the scriptures:

manmana bhava madbhakto...(Bhagavad Geeta)

Shree Krishna instructs Arjuna to, "Always think of Me."  And when we follow His instruction, God begins adding His Divine energy into our mind.  That is called shuddha sattva or yogamaya.  This Divine energy first destroys the modes of ignorance and passion, and then at the stage of bhav bhakti, it destroys the mode of goodness as well.  Then the mind becomes pure, or spiritual, and the vessel is ready for the ultimate Grace.  In that vessel of the spiritual mind, God bestows Divine love to the soul, and destroys the bondage of maya for the rest of eternity.
In this manner, whatever may be the present state of the mind, we must engage it, to the best of our efforts, in devotion to God.  This will gradually transform its nature from material to spiritual. Once it is spiritualized, we will not have to take it towards God; it will be united with Him permanently. I hope that clarifies your doubt.
Swamiji answers selected questions related to Yog, Spirituality and Philosophy every month on our e-Magazine.

Trivia Time

Om (also spelled Aum) is a Hindu sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras.

The syllable Om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol's threefold nature is central to its meaning. It represents several important triads:

* the three worlds - earth, atmosphere, and heaven

* the three major Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva

* the three sacred Vedic scriptures - Rig, Yajur, and Sama

Om Framed

Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. This meaning is
further deepened by the Indian philosophical belief that God first created sound and the universe arose from it. As the most sacred sound, Om is the root of the universe and everything that exists and it continues to hold everything together.

In the Puranas, the syllable Om became associated in various ways with the major Hindu devotional sects. Shaivites mark the lingam (a symbol of Shiva) with the symbol for Om, while Vaishnavites identify the three sounds as referring to the trinity of Vishnu, his wife Sri, and the worshiper.  Om is spoken at the beginning and the end of Hindu mantras, prayers, and meditation and is frequently used in Buddhist and Jain rituals as well.
Jagadguru Kripalu Yog

Triyak Tadasan


Stand-up straight.  Keep a distance of about 2 feet between the legs.  Interlock the fingers and stretch it above your head, palms facing upward, inhale (Radhey) in this position.  Now, exhale (Shyam) and simultaneously bend from the waist sideways to the right.  Remain in this position for five seconds. Come back to the standing, upright position while inhaling (Radhey).  Repeat on either side, 5 times each.
Same as Tadasan.  Stretches the sides of the waist, and tones the muscles and nervous system.  It releases vital energy in the body.  It is the second asan for Shankhaprakshalan.