Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog (JKYog) https://www.jkyog.org JKYog is a part of the worldwide mission of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, and has been established to serve true knowledge of spirituality and Yoga. Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:35:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The search for happiness leads us to spirituality https://www.jkyog.org/search-for-happiness-leads-to-spirituality https://www.jkyog.org/search-for-happiness-leads-to-spirituality#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:35:00 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=26217 Ponder for a moment why you do anything you do and unravel the mystery until you cannot go any further. For example, maybe you want a high paying job. Why? So that you can live in luxury, of course! But still, why? What’s the deeper motivation? Because luxury is your definition of happiness. Or maybe you just think it is […]

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Ponder for a moment why you do anything you do and unravel the mystery until you cannot go any further. For example, maybe you want a high paying job. Why? So that you can live in luxury, of course! But still, why? What’s the deeper motivation? Because luxury is your definition of happiness. Or maybe you just think it is right now.

Someone else’s definition of happiness may be resolving world hunger or simply being peaceful. But irrespective of the definition of happiness, the desire for it is universal – not just among human beings but all living beings. We are ingrained with the ideal that we each should pursue our own happiness, be it through wealth or altruism or any other lifestyle.

But we can question even deeper  – why do we want happiness? What is it really? Where can we find it and how can we get it?

The Vedas state:

“Anando brahmeti vyajanaat”

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj explains the verse in this lecture:

“It is not that happiness is in God; God is happiness”

The Vedas define happiness as an entity that is unlimited in quantity and everlasting. As souls we are a tiny part of that happiness, and it is our natural tendency to merge with it, just as rivers naturally merge with the ocean.

So is the happiness in the world not enough? The quantity of happiness derived from doing the same activity repeatedly decays over time. Today riding a bicycle makes us happy. A few days later we get tired of all the physical labor and want to upgrade to a car. Then our neighbor buys a Mercedes and we want to own a better car to outdo them. What makes us happy today will not make us happy in the future. The truth is that objects of the world by themselves do not cause happiness or sorrow – it is our own mental association that does so.

It is our nature to seek the infinite and everlasting happiness that is God, but our mind has firmly decided that this happiness can be found in the world despite our experience. Spirituality in Sanatan Dharma or the Vedic paradigm is simply defined as the pursuit of that happiness, having gotten which, we have nothing left to pursue or acquire.  But how can we access this happiness, especially when God is not visible? Can we subdue Him by force into giving us happiness? By definition God is all powerful, which negates the possibility of subduing Him. How about stealing? Once again, God is omnipresent and omniscient and is a witness to all our activities, thus making theft  impossible. The last option is to beg for this happiness, as a newborn child cries for its mother, with total faith that God will provide. In other words, we must surrender to Him.

Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj says that countless saints have preached this wisdom and shown us the way since time immemorial. But to one who has no faith or shraddha even the words of saints will not make a difference. So what can be done?

He again says: detachment from the world is the basis of faith. Detachment can arise from prior knowledge that material happiness is temporary. However, it is rare to find people who have naturally come to this conclusion through their intellect – usually it is because they are already highly evolved souls. For most others, God reserves His power of material energy called Maya. Maya is the reason that souls have the desire to run after happiness in the world. However, being a power of God, she pushes souls forcibly towards God by showing them that worldly happiness is illusory. When you encounter a reversal in fortune – financial loss, death, illness, a missed promotion, a broken relationship – you can be certain that this is the work of Maya. It is a common misconception that material gains are a sign of God’s grace. The true grace of God, however, is evident in situations that create detachment from the material world and facilitate the search for God. It is a sign of His love for us, even though it appears to be anger. For souls who have not yet come to the conclusion that there is no happiness in the world, Maya is the final push towards accepting the spiritual knowledge distributed freely by God-realized saints.

Detachment arising from reversals in fortune creates faith. Faith creates the desire for more knowledge, which leads to more faith. Through increasing faith, the soul surrenders completely to God, at which point God grants eternal happiness to the soul.

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God Resides in His Name https://www.jkyog.org/god-resides-in-his-name/ https://www.jkyog.org/god-resides-in-his-name/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 01:49:51 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=25502 According to the Vedic scriptures, the ultimate goal of human life is to attain Shree Krishna. Keeping this goal in mind, the scriptures guide us to focus on different activities as a means to achieve the end which is union with the Supreme Soul, Shree Krishna. Click here to watch a quick 10 min video where Shree Kripaluji Maharaj explains the […]

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According to the Vedic scriptures, the ultimate goal of human life is to attain Shree Krishna. Keeping this goal in mind, the scriptures guide us to focus on different activities as a means to achieve the end which is union with the Supreme Soul, Shree Krishna.

Click here to watch a quick 10 min video where Shree Kripaluji Maharaj explains the significance of chanting God’s name. In his book Bhagavannāma Māhātmya – The Glories of the Divine Name, Shree Maharajji quotes the below verses from the Rāmāyaa:

कृतजुग सब जोगी विज्ञानी

करि हरि धयान तरहिं भव प्रानी

kita juga saba jogī vijñānī

kari hari dhyāna tarahi bhava prānī

 

त्रेता विविध यज्ञ नर करहीं

प्रभुहिं समर्पि कर्म भव तरहिं

tretā vividha yajña nara karahī

prabhuhi samarpi karma bhava tarahī

 

द्वापर करि रघुपति पद पूजा

नर भव तरहिं उपाय न दूजा

dvāpara kari rahgupati pada pūjā

nara bhava tarahi upāya na dūjā

 

कलिजुग केवल हरिगुन गाहा

गावत नर पावहिं भव थाहा

kaliyuga kevala hariguna gāhā

gāvata nara pāvahi bhava thāhā

“In the age of Satya Yuga the mode of goodness, sattvagua, was predominant in people, therefore meditation on God was the means to attain one’s ultimate goal. In the age of Tretā Yuga people performed Vedic rituals (yajñas) as an offering to God. In the age of Dvāpara Yuga people performed elaborate deity worship and in this current age of Kali Yuga, the chanting of God’s names or sakīrtana is the only means to attain one’s ultimate goal.”

He quotes another set of verses from the Rāmāyaa to further support this idea:

एहि कलिकाल न साधन दूजा

जोग न जप तप व्रत मख पूजा

ehī kali kāla na sādhana dūjā

joga na japa tapa vrata makha pūjā

 

रामहिं सुमिरिय गाइय रामहिं

संतत सुनिय राम गुन ग्रामहिं

rāmahi sumiria gāia rāmahi

santata sunia rāma guna grāmahi

 

कलियुग केवल नाम अधारा

सुमिरि सुमिरि नर उतरहिं पारा

kaliyuga kevala nāma adhārā

sumiri sumiri nara utarahi pārā

“There is no other method in Kali Yuga. Neither yoga, nor japa, nor austerity, nor abstinence, nor yajñas, nor worship will take you to your goal. Just sing the glories of the Lord, engage your mind in rūpdhyāna, loving remembrance and listen to his glories from the saints. This is the only means in Kali Yuga to attain one’s ultimate goal.”

Having established the significance of chanting as the only means to attain God, the next question that comes to mind is “what to chant?” There are so many hymns, pads, kirtans, mantras, etc. How does one determine what is most appropriate and advantageous?

The great saints such as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Shree Kripaluji Maharaj instruct us to chant the Lord’s innumerable names in the form of the Hare Krishna, Hare Rama mahamantra or simply simply the words “Radhey Radhey” or “Radhey Shyam” because the scriptures explain that God resides in his names so chanting his names constantly purifies the heart. Listen to this mahamantra in Swamiji’s melodious and delightful voice by clicking here.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained it in the first verse of his Siksastakam, the famous eight verses, as follows:

चेतोदर्पणमार्जनं भवमहादावाग्नि निर्वापणं
श्रेयः कैरवचन्द्रिकावितरणं विद्यावधूजीवनम्
आनन्दाम्बुधिवर्धनं प्रतिपदं पूर्णामृतास्वादनं
सर्वात्मस्नपनंपरं विजयते श्रीकृष्ण संकीर्तनम्

chetodarpaamārjana bhavamahādāvāgninirvāpaam

śhreya kairavachandrikā vitaraa vidyāvadhūjīvanam

ānandāmbudhhivardhana pratipada pūrāmitāsvādanam

sarvātmasnapana para vijayate śhrīkiṣhasakīrtanam

“Chanting the holy name of Shree Krishna cleanses the mirror of the heart and extinguishes the blazing fire of misery in the form of repeated cycle of birth and death. It is like the radiance of moonbeams which causes the lily of eternal good to blossom in the nectar of the divine name. It is the very life of all transcendental knowledge. Every utterance of the divine name gives full taste of its nectarine sweetness that swells in the hearts of the chanters, like a surging ocean of everlasting Bliss and Peace.”

Let’s try another example closer to home. For instance, when one is thirsty, just saying ‘Water!” “Water!” alone will not quench the thirst. We actually need to drink a glass of water. However, chanting God’s name is not like that. Because God actually lives in his name, all his power, knowledge, bliss also reside in his names. As a result, chanting his name carries special importance.

In order to best understand it, I encourage you to experiment for yourself. Chant the Hare Krishna, Hare Rama mahamantra every day for one year. Start by chanting it for 15 minutes daily. After one month, ramp it up to 30 minutes daily. After two months, ramp it up to two sessions of 30 minutes or one session of one hour. If a visual/image is necessary, focus on any number of images of Shree Krishna or Radha Krishna.

Now notice the difference in your thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions. You yourself will be able to tell the difference. Only by chanting his name alone were you able to witness the positive changes in your personality and character. Now that is concrete proof that God resides in his name.

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Radha Govind Geet – Part 6 https://www.jkyog.org/radha-govind-geet-part-6 https://www.jkyog.org/radha-govind-geet-part-6#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:11:40 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=24662 JKYog wishes a very happy Guru Poornima to everyone! Couplet 16 Tum Bhi Na Bhulo Mohi Govind Radhe Mai Bhi Na Bhulun Tohi Pal Chin Adhe In the last few couplets of Radha Govind Geet, Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj talks about the importance of never forgetting Shri Radha Krishna even for a moment. In the next set of couplets, Shri […]

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JKYog wishes a very happy Guru Poornima to everyone!

Couplet 16

Tum Bhi Na Bhulo Mohi Govind Radhe
Mai Bhi Na Bhulun Tohi Pal Chin Adhe

In the last few couplets of Radha Govind Geet, Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj talks about the importance of never forgetting Shri Radha Krishna even for a moment.

In the next set of couplets, Shri Maharajji lays further emphasis on the same philosophy.

Speaking as a devotee, couplet 16 says,

“Oh Lord! please never forget me, and even i should never forget you for a moment.”

A devotee pleads with Shri Radha Krishna never to forget him. Why does the devotee say this? Is it because God forgets his devotee?

The devotee realizes that there are innumerable and countless souls in this universe. He begins to feel, “How will God remember this destitute? I am just another insignificant soul wandering in this ocean of Maya, will God forget me?”

With these sentiments, the devotee prays to Shri Radha Krishna never to forget him. In the same breath,  he again pleads, “Grace me such that even i should never forget you for a moment.”

God has never and will never forget his children. He graces every soul as per his or her devotional sentiments. Even those souls who have no faith God, attain his grace in various forms but are unaware of it. But the devotee is special to Shri Radha Krishna. Realizing that he (devotee) has wandering for innumerable lifetimes in search of bliss, he begins to wonder if God has forgotten him!

It is the individual soul that is forgetful of God since eternity. To re-enforce this fact and to strengthen the faith in a spiritual aspirant’s mind, Shri Maharajji has written these lines (as a devotee’s plea to God) to remind the soul, “never forget God even for a moment.”

The Guru reminds us about this fact that we souls are forgetful of God. The couplet beautifully showcases a devotee’s sentiment towards God, like a child talking to its mother or father, “Please do not forget me or leave me alone.”

In the early stages of sadhana, we practice remembrance of God for a few hours a day. The rest of day is spent at work and dispensing other duties. As our sadhana intensifies, the frequency and continuity increases. Our aim must to be remember God in every activity of ours. This way, remembrance becomes a way of life and not a ‘special or separate activity to be performed.’

Ultimately, there arrives a stage when even a moment of forgetfulness feels like an eon of separation! That is quite close to the highest state of devotional remembrance and Roopdhyan meditation.

Till we arrive at such a state of devotional elevation, we must strive to remember God as much as we can and everyday. Our faith should be strong and unwavering, knowing the fact that God can never forget us, even for a moment. God lives within us in our hearts. If he were to look away even for that fraction of a second, we would cease to be alive!

This itself is proof enough that God is always with us and always gracing us. It is for us to realize it and feel the bliss within.

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NewsGram: Guru saves fallen souls and makes them eligible to meet God: Swami Mukundananda https://www.jkyog.org/newsgram-guru-saves-fallen-souls-and-makes-them-eligible-to-meet-god-swami-mukundananda/ https://www.jkyog.org/newsgram-guru-saves-fallen-souls-and-makes-them-eligible-to-meet-god-swami-mukundananda/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:15:47 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=24800 Swami Mukundananda is a prominent Hindu teacher of yoga, dhyana, and other spiritual practices who has a background in engineering and management. He is a senior disciple of Jagatguru Kripaluji Maharaj and has traveled to various countries for spreading spiritual knowledge among the common people. He is currently in Dallas on a 30-city tour in USA and is expected to […]

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Swami Mukundananda is a prominent Hindu teacher of yoga, dhyana, and other spiritual practices who has a background in engineering and management. He is a senior disciple of Jagatguru Kripaluji Maharaj and has traveled to various countries for spreading spiritual knowledge among the common people.

He is currently in Dallas on a 30-city tour in USA and is expected to conduct a 7-day lecture series in Chicago titled “The Art of Mind Management” from 22 August till 28 August. In an exclusive interview with NewsGram he spoke about his background, his life, and his work.
newsgram-swamijiTalking about his background, Swami Mukundananda shared that he is basically from Uttar Pradesh, but stayed at various places across India as his father was a government servant. He used to practice meditation from his high school days but he developed great interest in spiritual quest only after enrolling for MBA. He searched for answers to the questions like “Who am I?” “What is the purpose of life?” and found them in Vedic scriptures. He then started practicing Sadhana (spiritual practices) along with this management studies. Sadhana helped him to become deeply attached to God.

He finished his MBA, worked for 3 months, and then at the age of 23 he renounced the world and became a Sannyasi as he realized that he would better serve God rather than serving some corporate house. When asked about how the transition was, from working in corporate house to living a life of Sannyasi, Swamiji shared that there was a natural transition as he was doing intense Sadhana for almost two years before taking Sannyasa and his mind had already immersed in devotion. Therefore the necessary inner transformation had already taken place before his formal acceptance as a Sannyasa.

When asked about the essential features of Sannyasa, Swamiji said: “Sannyasa basically means renunciation. Somebody who has renounced worldly duties, worldly pleasures, and worldly possessions and is dedicated completely to spirituality, that person is a Sannyasi. There are two kinds of Sannyasa: Eka-Dandi (One Stick) and Tri-Dandi (Three Stick). In the path of Jnana, one takes Eka-Dandi Sannyasa, when one establishes oneself in Advaita (Non-Dual state). In Vaishnava tradition, one takes Tri-Dandi Sannyasa, where one takes a vow to use our mind, body and speech in the service of God.”

swamiji-img-4Speaking about his Guru Kripaluji Maharaj, Swamiji said that he had the good fortune of meeting such an elevated saint and learning under him. He described his Guru as a perfected master who had deep knowledge of various scriptures and also practical realization of them. At the same time he was full of love for everybody. Swamiji further shared that Kripaluji Maharaj was very strict when it came to teaching, he expected proper discipline and surrender from his disciples, but was always teaching others through love and encouragement.
Swamiji further stated that: “Guru is via-media to God. Initially we do not need God. God only needs those who are pure and the Guru is the one who saves the fallen souls and brings them to the level where they become eligible to meet God. So, for the disciple the position of the Guru is very important and one must always remain indebted to Guru for taking one towards God.”

About Guru-Poornima, Swamiji said that the festival is celebrated on the day of appearance of Veda Vyasa on earth. Vyasa was an avatara (incarnation) of God who appeared for the purpose of writing various scriptures. And hence, his appearance day is celebrated to worship and show respect to the Guru.

Swamiji then shared regarding his lecture series “The Art of Mind Management” that will be held in August in Chicago. He said that most people are aware about the glory of Vedic knowledge and how full of life and wisdom it is, but they are not aware about its practical relevance. So, the objective of this 7-day lecture is to show the practical utility of Vedic knowledge and philosophy in managing our emotions, in managing the mind so as to bring it to an optimal condition so that we can perform our worldly duties better than before and live harmoniously.

He further stated that spirituality is not something that is removed from everyday life; instead it is about leading the life successfully and effectively so as to nourish oneself and the world.

Further the scriptures speak about the importance of the mind. Swamiji quoted Gita and said the uncontrolled mind is the worst enemy and the controlled mind is the best friend. Therefore to practically implement these Vedic ideas and philosophy, they have designed the “The Art of Mind Management” workshop.

He said that the message of his workshop is that people are trying to become successful on the outside with bigger and bigger achievements but without nourishing the inside. The secret to truly successful life is to enrich oneself from within and contemplation, visualization, cleansing of the mind, etc. are powerful tools in achieving it.

The workshop aims to teach all these tools and how to use them. He further said that he teaches a system that includes Yogasana (yoga postures), Pranayama (breathing), meditation, relaxation, and healthy diet and this system is called the JKYog or Yoga for body, mind and soul which has been designed especially with regard to the needs of the western world.

Speaking about Radhey-Krishna-Yogasan that is taught by him, Swamiji said that, though Patanjali Yoga is eight limbed and aims to link with God, only the physical postures are practiced worldwide and the physical asana itself is being called as Yoga.

In order to link physical aspects with spirituality, he teaches Yogasana that is accompanied by remembrance of God and this is called as Radhey-Krishna-Yogasana and similarly Pranayama accompanied by remembrance of God is called as Radhey-Krishna-Pranayam.

Regarding the Bal-Mukund project that Swamiji is involved in, he said that children are the future of the world and it is everyone’s duty to pass on good values, the values that could make big difference, to the children. If we can inculcate proper values and wisdom in them, then they would grow up to lead a successful and fulfilling life. Parents teach their children material knowledge alone which helps them to become an engineer or a doctor or an accountant. But, it does not tell one how to be a good human being. Therefore, to correct this and impart spiritual education to children the “Bal-Mukund Character Building Program for Children” has been started. He said that the program has been running from 5 years and has about 10 centers in different parts of USA and a few centers in India, Singapore, and Dubai.

When asked if his engineering and management background has helped him in spreading spiritual message, Swamiji said, his training in engineering, etc. opened his mind and broadened his perspective. Further, he teaches mostly in the west, where most of the Indian diaspora are highly educated engineers, doctors, and MBAs who need rational explanations before they could accept spiritual knowledge. Due to his background in engineering and management, he can speak to them and explain to them using terminologies they understand.

At the end of the interview, when NewsGram asked Swamiji to share about his life mission, he said that his mission in life is to teach spiritual knowledge to people.

He quoted Bhagavad Gita and said that there is nothing as pure in this world as Spiritual Knowledge. He further said that, people who are suffering and miserable, can be helped at the bodily level, but that is temporary. But, if we impart divine knowledge, then that divine knowledge will transform their life. So, I want to take this knowledge out to as many people as possible and help them to implement this knowledge in their life.

Click to read the article on Newsgram.

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Power of Divine love https://www.jkyog.org/power-of-divine-love/ https://www.jkyog.org/power-of-divine-love/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:15:33 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=24525 What happens when the Supreme Lord gets overwhelmed by the love of His devotee? The residents of Braja, known as Brajvasis, are considered to be the epitome of selfless love towards the Supreme God- Shree Krishna. Narad Muni, in his 84 sutras of devotion, mentions the maidens of Braja-the Gopis, while setting the example of love or devotion towards the […]

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What happens when the Supreme Lord gets overwhelmed by the love of His devotee?

The residents of Braja, known as Brajvasis, are considered to be the epitome of selfless love towards the Supreme God- Shree Krishna. Narad Muni, in his 84 sutras of devotion, mentions the maidens of Braja-the Gopis, while setting the example of love or devotion towards the Supreme Lord. He says that the devotion for God should be as that of the Gopis of the Braj- yatha vrajagopikanam.

Krishna-butterthief-KripaluWisdom-Devotion has the power to enslave God. Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, gives a glimpse of that power of devotion in one of his couplets. He says, “Such was the love of Brajvasis that even the Supreme Lord- Shree Krishna Himself got overwhelmed by it.”

Shree Krishna, who does not go to accept even the food offered to Him in duly performed sacrifices where His presence is invoked with Vedic hymns recited by great scholars, eats the curd of the Gopis by stealing in spite of being insulted by them.

Krishna-cow-KripaluWisdomHeavenly gods always glorify that Supreme Brahma by singing His innumerable attributes, but that gives Him no joy at all. That very same supreme Brahma is overcome by joy in listening to the rebukes of those Gopis.

A yogi meditates on Parmatma, a gyani remains lost in meditating on Brahma but the Supreme Lord does not speak even a single word to any of them, whereas He happily rattles with the calves of the Gopis.

The greatest Paramhansas like Shukadeva, Sanaka etc. meditate on that Supreme God and invoke Him in their meditation but He feels as if ashamed to go there but, that same Supreme Lord Shree Krishna goes to Shree Radha, uninvited and serves Her Lotus-feet.

ऐसो प्रेम बढ्यो ब्रजवासिन, जामें ब्रह्म रह्यो भरमाय |

विप्रन विधिवत यज्ञ करावत |

वैदिक- मंत्रन ब्रह्म बुलावत |

तहँ न जाय टुक भोग लगावत |

पै उन पनिहारिनि निदरतहूँ, चोरि-चोरि दधि खाय |

देववृन्द विरदावलि गावत |

अगनित गुनगन गाइ सुनावत |

सो सुनी सपनेहूँ नहिं मन भावत |

पै उन ब्रजनारिन गारिन सुनि, लोट-पोट ह्वे जाय |

योगी परमात्महिं नित ध्यावत |

ज्ञानी ब्रह्म ध्यान हरषावत |

तिन इन बात करन नहिं भावत |

पै उन ब्रज-बनितनि बछरन ते, बात करत तुतारय |

शुक सनकादिक ध्यान लगावत |

ध्यान लगाय समाधि बुलावत |

तहँ जावन महँ मनहूँ लजावत |

पै ‘कृपालु’ उन श्यामा जू को, जाय पलोटत पाय ||

Prem Ras Madira

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What is Spiritual Enlightenment ? https://www.jkyog.org/spiritual-enlightenment https://www.jkyog.org/spiritual-enlightenment#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:28:14 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=24252 enlightenment: the state of having knowledge or understanding                                                                                                         […]

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enlightenment: the state of having knowledge or understanding

                                                                                                                 — Merriam-Webster

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity brought into prominent focus one question: Was there a theory that would explain all observable phenomena in the universe? A theory of everything?

With the advent of quantum physics, it became difficult to find a grand underlying principle – the cause of all causes – for everything that we perceive.

The Vedas state:

“ekasmin vijñāte sarvamidaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavati”

“One who comes to know the Absolute Truth attains knowledge of everything.”

Such a person would be truly in a state of spiritual enlightenment.

“There is one Absolute Truth, which has been referred to by many names, such as Ishwar, Bhagavan, God, Lord, Allah, Khuda, Yahweh, Ahur Mazda, Alakh Niranjan, Shunya, Ikomkar, etc. All other truths have emanated from it and find their position in the scheme of things from it.”

                                                                                      — Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God, Commentary by Swami Mukundananda

But how do we attain this state of enlightenment? The science of knowing the Absolute Truth is called “Brahma Vidyā”, and it is outlined in the Vedas.

In the Vedic paradigm, the individual soul is a tiny part of God. It is spiritual in nature and hence distinct from the material body it occupies. The ultimate goal of human life, as stated in the Vedas, is to achieve enlightenment by uniting the soul with God. This union has been called “Yog”.

In Jnana Yog for example, the focus is on attaining enlightenment through intellectual discrimination and austerities. Karm Yog consists of uniting the mind with God while performing one’s worldly duties. It is made possible by performing all works for the pleasure of God and renouncing any fruits of such works. Bhakti Yog involves developing a selfless and exclusive loving relationship with God by seeing him as the eternal master, father, mother, friend, child, or beloved. Such love, expressed as complete surrender to divine will and service to God, attracts His grace resulting in spiritual perfection.

There are various degrees of spiritual enlightenment depending on which path one chooses.

All paths are valid; however Bhakti Yog has been praised as the superior system. It simply consists of attaching the mind to the names, forms, virtues, pastimes, abodes and saints of God with love and devotion. What is very difficult to attain through other spiritual practices based on self effort, such as Jnana Yog, is easily accomplished through Bhakti Yog due to the complete dependence on God for one’s spiritual perfection. Other yogic practices require Bhakti to become successful; however Bhakti does not need anything else. Additionally, it is much easier to practice than the rituals or austerities. In fact it is the prescribed route for enlightenment in the Kali-yuga or the age of Kali.

In the beginning one practices loving devotion to God or sadhana bhakti. When the mind is completely purified by such practice in which one sheds tears in longing for the vision of God, God bestows His power of Bhakti or selfless love, through which the devotee can then eternally serve Him. The bliss received by loving and serving God in a personal form, through Bhakti, is far higher than the bliss received by simply merging with Him as in other paths.

When God bestows his power of Bhakti, knowledge of the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes, is automatic. Scientists relying on the limited powers of human intellect, cannot comprehend the Absolute Truth.

“Soi jaanai jehi dehu janaai,

Jaanat tumahi, tumahi hoi jaai”

                                                     — Sant Tulsidas, Ramcharitmanas

Only one who is graced by You, can know You

And in knowing You, one becomes You.

No one can know God but by His grace, which is possible only through complete surrender as in Bhakti Yog.

Thus the highest stage of spiritual enlightenment is attaining this power of Bhakti or selfless love for God. Bhakti is both the means and the end.

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Mischievous Mind https://www.jkyog.org/mischievous-mind/ https://www.jkyog.org/mischievous-mind/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 14:31:57 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=23336 In order to be free from worldly desires, very often spiritual aspirants, instead of contemplating on divinity, try frantically to combat the worldly thoughts that arise in their mind. In this way they get more and more involved in fighting the negative or worldly thoughts, rather than putting a positive effort of meditating on divinity. Therefore sincere seekers should stream […]

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Milarepa

In order to be free from worldly desires, very often spiritual aspirants, instead of contemplating on divinity, try frantically to combat the worldly thoughts that arise in their mind. In this way they get more and more involved in fighting the negative or worldly thoughts, rather than putting a positive effort of meditating on divinity. Therefore sincere seekers should stream their thoughts toward God, Guru and the eternal knowledge; as the very act of meditating on something divine will automatically lead to purity and rising of the consciousness toward enlightenment.

The following story of Milarepa and a young man, is a humorous yet striking reminder of how goal is achieved not throw fighting negative thoughts, but by constantly infusing the mind with positive thoughts. The story is also a quick reminder to the fact that the path of spirituality starts with the feeling of acute necessity to achieve a sense of peace and harmony with one’s true nature, which is devoid of any ephemeral desires; like money, house, and spouse or in this story a want for mystical powers.

Milarepa was a mystic who lived in Tibet. One day a young man came to him and said, “I want to attain some powers. Please give me a mantra.”

Milarepa said, “We don’t have any mantras. We are mystics. Mantras are for magicians, for jugglers – go to them. We don’t have any mantras – why should we need powers?”

But the more Milarepa refused, the more the young man thought that there must be something there – why else should he refuse? So he kept returning to Milarepa again and again.

The young man thought that perhaps Milarepa was trying to hide something so he started coming everyday. In the end Milarepa got fed up so he wrote him a mantra on a paper and said, “Take this. Tonight is the night of no moon. Read this five times during the night. If you read it five times, you will get the power you want. Then you will be able to do whatever you want to do. Now go and leave me alone.”

The young man grabbed the paper and turned round and ran. He did not even thank Milarepa. But he had not descended the steps of the temple when Milarepa called after him, “My friend! I forgot to tell you one thing. There is a certain condition attached to this mantra. When you read it, you should not have any thoughts in your mind about a monkey.”

The young man said, “Don’t be worried, I have never had such a thought in my whole life. There has never been any reason to think of a monkey. I have to read this only five times. There is no problem.”

But he made a mistake. He had not even descended to the bottom of the steps when the monkeys started coming. He became very scared. He closed his eyes and there were monkeys inside: he looked outside and even where there were no monkeys. It seemed that monkeys were everywhere. By the time he got home he was very worried because up until then he had never thought about monkeys. He had never had anything to do with them.

He took a bath, but while he was bathing the monkeys were with him. His whole mind was obsessed with only one thing – monkeys. Then he sat down to read the mantra. He picked up the paper, closed his eyes – and there was a crowd of monkeys inside teasing him. He became very much afraid, but still he persevered the whole night. He changed his positions; he tried to sit in this way, in that way, in padmasana, in siddhasana, in other different yoga postures. He prayed, he bowed, he begged; he cried out to anybody to help him get rid of these monkeys. But the monkeys were adamant. They were not ready to leave him that night.

By the morning the young man was almost mad with fear and he realized that the mantra power could not be attained so easily. He saw that Milarepa had been very clever; he had put a difficult condition on him. The mantra that Milerepa gave was of no use to that young man, as he was seeking for worldly reputation. He was not worthy of having the powers as he was attached to the worldly achievements.

In the morning he went back to Milarepa crying and said, “Take your mantra back. You have made a big mistake! If monkeys were a hindrance in using this mantra, then you should not have mentioned them. I never usually think of monkeys but the whole of last night the monkeys chased me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4S’ of Spiritual Journey https://www.jkyog.org/4s-of-spiritual-journey/ https://www.jkyog.org/4s-of-spiritual-journey/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 04:38:06 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=23369 The spiritual journey brings us many goodies and delights. Along the way, we are also taught the principle of 4S namely, sadhana (meditation), seva (service), satsang (three-fold path of Bhakti), and sharanagati (surrender). The first S along this journey is sadhana or meditation. Sadhana is the practice that is done to elevate the mind and attach it to God and […]

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The spiritual journey brings us many goodies and delights. Along the way, we are also taught the principle of 4S namely, sadhana (meditation), seva (service), satsang (three-fold path of Bhakti), and sharanagati (surrender).

The first S along this journey is sadhana or meditation. Sadhana is the practice that is done to elevate the mind and attach it to God and Guru. This is your quality time with Radha Krishna so guard it zealously. Sit at a place free from most worldly disturbances – in the park, in the temple, by the altar at your home, at the beach, in your backyard – a place where it is relatively easier to focus on Radha Krishna and your Gurudev.

According to the scriptures, the best time to mediate is two hours immediately prior to sunrise (Brahma Muhurt). If you can wake up and follow this practice for a week, you’ll realize there is a certain calmness in the atmosphere, when even the birds are not yet up, that boosts the concentration. Additionally, in the morning the mind tends to be empty making it easier to focus on God and Guru. Once you begin doing your worldly duties, the mind begins to fill up worldly images and thoughts. Another good option is to meditate before going to bed. After you’ve taken care of everyone else, you can finally turn your mind toward your God and Guru and thank them for all the graces and blessings showered upon you. However, you can decide the time for sadhana according to your convenience. You can even split it up and do it in two sessions at different times of the day.

Click here to watch this interview of Swami Mukundananda where he discusses why sadhana is important in this modern age.

Seva or service is the second S on this journey. It is done in accordance with the desire of God and Guru, with the idea of pleasing them. According to the scriptures, we can serve God and Guru in three ways – with dhan (wealth), tan (time or volunteer work), man (mentally in the mind). The easiest way to serve is by donating money to God and Guru. The scriptures suggest contributing 10% of your annual income. When you give, do so with most sincere, heartfelt sentiments that you are serving God and Guru by giving this money. Do not seek anything in return for the seva—let it be offered selflessly. Also, do not harbor the pride of having done seva; be grateful for the opportunity to serve. Each year, pledge to increase your seva incrementally such that you hit the goal of 10%.

Higher than serving with wealth is serving with tan, or body. Volunteer work means as you physically work in the service of God and Guru, you think of them; they are in your thoughts and mind, for the duration of the service. After all, they are the reason for performing the activity. Once again, in performing this service, as you think of God and Guru, keep in mind the sincerity of thoughts and genuineness of sentiments.

Lastly, the highest form of service is through the man, or with the mind. This takes it up a whole notch from the previous one. The idea here is to always harbor the desire to serve God and Guru in the mind. So every act we perform is in service to God and Guru. This really implies that we have to think of God and Guru 24/7 x 365; never stop thinking of them; think of them every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Tall order!

Click here to watch this question and answer session wherein Swami Mukundananda discusses the ways in which to serve God.

The third S along the spiritual path is satsang which brings to life the idea of Trida Bhakti i.e. hearing (śhravaam), chanting (kīrtanam), and remembering (smaraṇam), the names, forms, abodes, pastimes, virtues, and associates of God. Satsang provides a forum to gather with others to hear, discuss, chant, remember God in all his glory. Each and every one of us is blessed in a myriad of ways so the list of stories to share is never ending. It never gets boring or old.

Click here to see if there is a JKYog satsang center by you. Click here for a quick clip by Swamiji explaining the concept of Trida Bhakti.

Lastly, the fourth S stands for Sharanagati meaning surrender. This is the true essence of Bhakti. Surrender is the art of accepting everything as the grace of God and Guru. When we do this, the unfavorable or the not so good circumstances also become good. Surrender means to unite our will with the will of God and Guru and not to harbor any independent desire for self-happiness. In other words, it requires us to be completely selfless in everything we do. We cannot harbor any desires whatsoever; the only desire that should exist in our mind is the desire to make God and Guru happy. If this is the standard, think of where you stand. Introspect on your selfishness. How far is your surrender?

Click here to read about the six aspects of surrender as explained by Swami Mukundananda in verse 18.62 of the Bhagavad Gita. Click here to watch this beautiful 15 min video wherein Swamiji explains the same concept lucidly.

Now that you’ve read about the concept of 4S, on a scale of 1-10, how would rate yourself on each dimension? How will you motivate yourself to move forward and scale it up in the second half of the year?

 

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Dangers of desire https://www.jkyog.org/dangers-of-desire/ https://www.jkyog.org/dangers-of-desire/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 05:09:41 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=23291 Desire is the most dangerous thing and is the greatest impediment in the path of Devotion. In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Rupa Goswami instructs, सर्वाभिलषिता शून्यम “Make a firm decision to leave all types of desires and then enter the path of devotion otherwise you will attain nothing.” You have spent uncountable lives begging. You have gone on a pilgrimage to […]

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Desire is the most dangerous thing and is the greatest impediment in the path of Devotion. In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Rupa Goswami instructs,

सर्वाभिलषिता शून्यम

“Make a firm decision to leave all types of desires and then enter the path of devotion otherwise you will attain nothing.” You have spent uncountable lives begging. You have gone on a pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi, Tirupati and other holy places. You have prayed to so many different forms of Durga and Hanuman. What did you do? Begged for material things, how foolish you can be? This is like asking for slippers and shoes at a sweet shop!”

There is nothing but unlimited bliss in God. Why then are you asking for the world, which brings you nothing but misery in the end? You are still not satisfied with infinite lives of material enjoyment!

The fact is that you have enjoyed celestial pleasures innumerable times and yet you ask for trivial earthly pleasure! Material desire cannot leave you completely until you get free from the bondage of Maya. Therefore, one has to abandon all desires.

The example of Prahlad on this subject is very beautiful. When Lord Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu, all the divine personalities like Brahma, Shankar and others were present. Celestial gods were also there. They discussed among themselves, “How should we offer thanks to the lord for performing such a wonderful deed for us?”

Even in the material world it is customary to welcome celebrities in an appropriate manner. They wondered, “But which one of us will go forward to greet Lord Narasimha, who was standing in a fearsome form with a garland of Hiranyakashipu’s entrails around his neck! He was radiating effulgence equal to millions of suns.”

Brahma ji was first approached by the celestial God. They said “You are the creator of this universe and you are the son of the supreme lord. You please go forward and greet him.”

But Brahma fearfully declined saying, “I don’t have the courage to face him.”

Shankar ji was requested, “You have the power to destroy the entire universe by opening your third eye. Please go forward and greet him.” Shankar ji refused, “No, No I don’t dare.”

When the great personalities like Brahma and Shankar refused, how would Indra and other celestial gods have the courage to go near him? Everyone was scared, and no one could decide who should go forward.

Even in the material world if a mother is angry and scolding someone, the son is fearful about approaching her at that time, he thinks, “I better remain quite. Mom is angry right now. She may give me a slap!”

Finally, everyone decided to send Prahlad, because Lord Narasimha had appeared for his protection. God is very loving and can do anything for his devotees. Therefore all of them requested Prahlad to go and thank him for specially gracing them by his appearance.

Prahlad happily agreed and marched forward. Small children have no fear. As adults you are scared of prominent personalities. Seeing Prahlad, Lord Narasimha immediately lifted him into his lap with great love and affection and said, “My dear son! All my devotees ask me for a boon when I appear before them so, you should ask too.”

But Prahlad was no ordinary son. While still in his mother’s womb, Sage Narada had graced him with complete scriptural knowledge. At the age of four years, Prahlad had started giving this knowledge to his classmates!

Prahlad said, “My friends! There is no effort involved in practicing devotion to God. He is seated within you. You do not need to goPrahlad to any religious place. Just honestly and truly accept and believe that He is seated within you, you just don’t have this faith.”

Now Prahlad was puzzled when Lord Narasimha instead him to ask for a boon. He thought, “Do I still have any desires left that are causing him to insist that I ask for a boon?

Am I a beggar that I should ask? That servant who asks for something from his master is not a true servant.”

So Prahlad said, “My Lord! May I say something?” Lord Narasimha said, “Why not? I simply want you to ask for a boon.” Prahlad said, “My Lord! A servant who asks his master for something is not a true servant, but a businessman.”  What is a servant?

A true servant always serves his master, but never asks for anything. It is only the master who has the right to ask for something from his servant; he can order, bring me water, and massage my feet and so on. A servant is not supposed to behave like this.

So Prahlad said, “My Lord! I am your servant and you are insisting that I ask you for something!” Lord Narasimha said, “I am aware of this, but I am very eager to offer a boon to my devotees when I meet them for the first time.”

Prahlad thought to himself, “He is forcing me too much. Let me think of something.” He said, “My Lord! I am a servant who asks for nothing from his master. You also want nothing from me. What do I have to give you? My body, mind and intellect are all material and unworthy of you. Everything of yours is divine.

Thus, neither you nor I want anything from each other. Then why are you repeatedly insisting that I ask you for something?”

Lord Narasimha said, “My dear son! It is all right that you desire nothing. Nevertheless, all devotees ask for something or the other.” Prahlad thought to himself, “He is still insisting.” So he said, “My dear Lord! Please grace me so that I may never ask for anything from you ever.” The all-knowing and all-powerful Lord had to accept defeat before such a selfless devotee like Prahlad.

Prahlad further said, “My lord! If worldly desires arise in someone the power of his senses, his mental prowess, the power of his life- force, bodily strength, patient, modesty, wealth, truthfulness, intelligence and dignity- all these are lost.

Desire is so dangerous that a man loses all control over himself. To fulfill that desire he may even lie and commit all kinds of sins. Desire is such a disease that even Indra, the king of heaven, cannot escape it.”

There is no end to material desire. The emperor of the entire earth desires to attain the celestial abodes. After arriving there, he wants the position of Indra, He wants to attain the position of Brahma. This disease of desire is endless.

The one who becomes completely free of material desires, becomes equal to God!

 

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The Spiritual Significance of Yoga https://www.jkyog.org/the-spiritual-significance-of-yoga/ https://www.jkyog.org/the-spiritual-significance-of-yoga/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 16:34:06 +0000 https://www.jkyog.org/?p=23014 From being the subject of Maharishi Patanjali’s well-known treatise to having its own international day (June 21), yoga has certainly come a long way. Yogic practices have traveled across time and transcended barriers of culture, race, and religion to provide an effective solution for healthy and stress-free living. What makes yoga popular is exactly this universal appeal – it is […]

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From being the subject of Maharishi Patanjali’s well-known treatise to having its own international day (June 21), yoga has certainly come a long way. Yogic practices have traveled across time and transcended barriers of culture, race, and religion to provide an effective solution for healthy and stress-free living. What makes yoga popular is exactly this universal appeal – it is a one-stop shop for most of your physical and mental needs.

Our society is driven largely by external attributes, such as body image and corporate success. There is a powerful sense of validation attached with both of these things. Certainly, one needs an able body and a calm mind to face all the challenges that a successful career entails. However, today’s fast-paced lifestyle has made it harder to address one’s physical and mental wellness. We work long hours, consume meals irregularly, and barely exercise. Additionally, the internal push to meet deadlines for fear of losing that next big opportunity looms ever steadily on the horizon, causing stress. This prolonged stress has been proven to cause a host of problems, ranging from hypertension to strokes and heart disease.

Enter yoga.

Physically speaking, yogic poses or Asanas are powerful ways to cultivate muscular strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. An added incentive is the lean, toned physique that contributes to one’s physical attractiveness. Anybody can do yoga at their personal pace. Meditation and breathing exercises that are part of yogic practices are proven powerful antidotes to stressful situations, owing to their visible effect on body physiology. In modern times, many businesses and health experts recommend mindfulness and meditative practices to boost productivity and performance. Yoga equips you to focus and relax at the same time, making it a powerful tool for those pursuing demanding careers. It is not hard to see why yoga is so appealing from the perspective of material satisfaction.

However, yoga is much more than a mere tool for physical and mental wellness. Yoga transcends the body and mind into the realm of the soul. The Sanskrit word Yog denotes union of the soul with God – in fact, there is no such word as yoga in Sanskrit terminology. Uniting the soul with God is upheld as the goal of human life by the Vedas. To attain this goal one needs to use the body and the mind for spiritual practice or Sadhana.  Physical exercise, rest, mental relaxation, and proper diet are all essential for maintaining the body and mind as the vehicles for spiritual advancement. One cannot, after all, perform spiritual practice with a weak constitution.

The Bhagavad Gita states:

Yuktahara-viharasya yukta-cheshtasya karnasu

Yukta-svapnavobodhasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha

– Bhagavad Gita 6.17

 

“But those who are temperate in eating and recreation, balanced in work, and regulated in sleep, can mitigate all sorrows by practicing Yog.”

With such an esoteric spiritual significance, Yog is far from being just the physical drill that it has come to symbolize. When practiced under the proper guidance of a realized master, it is a way of life that ultimately leads to spiritual success and eternal happiness. Physical and mental wellness are just byproducts.

Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj mentions in his work “Radha Govind Geet”:

Hari ka viyogi jiva Govind Radhey, Sancho yoga soi jo hari se milade.

Hari se milave na jo Govind Radhey, vaha yoga yoga na kuyoga batade

 

“True Yog is that which unites a soul separated from God, with God;

All else is just the opposite of Yog”

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