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Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare , Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Apr –May 2009, Issue 9
peared at her door and she gave him four annas (25 paise). After a few months she visited Yogi Ramsuratkumar. Immediately on seeing her, Yogi Ramsuratkumar turned the other way and as if talking to somebody else, asked, “At which restaurant can you buy any food for four annas?” The lady was completely startled. On the subject of our attitude towards beggars, Sri Muralidhara Swamiji says, “When a beggar seeks alms from you, give him what you can or just walk away. Do not advise or abuse him. Do you know how difficult it is to beg? One has to stoop himself to the lowest level, giving up all his self -respect, to stretch his arm for alms. There have been times when we ourselves have been in need of money. It may even be a very paltry sum. We may know fully well that we will certainly return the amount borrowed from a friend or relative. Yet we hesitate to ask. Why? We deem it to be shameful. Then imagine a man on the street with a begging bowl. Further, at the entrance to a temple or in a kshetra (pilgrimage place) there might be a Mahan sitting amidst the beggars seeking alms. By dropping something, money or food, in his hand it is you who stands to gain, not he. Further, any abuse you throw at him does not unsettle him but on the other hand will prove to be a great curse in your own life.” India may be the beggar capital of the world. But it is also the spiritual capital of the world. Innumerable saints have
Of Beggars and Begging
people consider begging the bane of ‘modern’ India. But from time immemorial, Sanatana dharma (known as Hinduism today) has advocated begging to ascetics, brahmacharins (students of the Vedas) and spiritual aspirants as a means of gaining humility and forbearance. Young students, who studied the Vedas while living in their master’s home, would go begging for food and the alms received would be given to the master’s wife. She would cook the food and offer it to God, the master and the students. Down the ages in India, we find Mahans (enlightened saints) begging for food. In the olden days food was not sold and it was even considered a sin to sell food. Every village, town and city had a resting place where pilgrims and travelers were fed sumptuously: only in the hope that a Mahan might be in the crowd, as feeding a Realized soul is a blessing that is not easily available. Yogi Ramsuratkumar — the great saint of Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, who always referred to himself as ‘this beggar’— has said, “Begging is not a crime in India. Beggars are not criminals. Great Masters come in the form of beggars. If they are protected, they will do their lilas (divine play) here. India is their lila bhoomi.” Once a lady repeatedly requested Yogi Ramsuratkumar to give her some upadesa (spiritual advice). Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s advised her to never refuse anyone who came to her seeking alms and to always offer food. She returned home happily. One day a beggar ap-
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The Highest Charity
From the perspective of a giver, offering food is considered the highest charity. Food offered to anyone – even animals and small creatures – at any time and place bestows the highest merit. But leave merit alone, do we not simply feel happy when we see a hungry person satisfied after being fed by us? Further, it is only in anna daana that the feeling of complete satisfaction arises in the recipient. One may give away gold, land, etc. but a greedy receiver may not feel satisfied. Three things are specified for attaining Jnana – anna daana, worship of the Sadguru’s Paduka (footwear – symbolizing the Holy feet of the Guru) and steadfastly following the advice of the Guru.
been born and continue to be born in its soil. Many of them often depend on charity for the sustenance of the lives that they themselves do not care for; but it is in our best interest to help sustain those lives, for it is through them and through spirituality that the world will be saved.
Nirmala S. Giri, Chennai, India Illustration: Sripriya Sarathy, Charlotte, NC
Inside this issue
Infinite Ways to Infinite Bliss— The Need for Sravana Sri Adi Shankara and Bhakti Pages of Inspiration— Life of Sri Ramanuja Kids’ CornerHanuman the Perfect Devotee Kids’ Trivia QuizSri Shankara & Sri Ramanuja Satsang News and Events Pg 2 Pg 2 Pg 3 Pg 3
Pg 3 Pg 4
Nama Dwaar/Apr-May 2009/ Page 1
forms of Bhakti. we start to melt with love for God. Sri Thyagaraja. Sri Adi Shankara preached that jnana was the only way to reach mukti. 2 . On the other hand it is easy to start with in love with the “personal” God who becomes one and the same as the Supreme bhakti towards an entity that Brahman as the form and conhas form – Shiva. We have to strong urge to visit that place? Similarly. This is due to the fact that great effort has been taken to maintain the original style of the lecture. India. very difficult since it has been accusSo.Infinite Ways to Infinite Bliss Excerpts from the discourses of Sri Muralidhara Swamiji of Chennai. Seattle. This bhakti is Durga. King Parikshit Focusing the mind on spiritual matters is attained moksha just by Sravana.. Moreover. says that there is nothing that devotion cannot accomplish (Bhakti kim na karoti. When we listhe mind will indulge in sattvic (good) ten to a person describing vividly about a thoughts for a while and dawdle back to place that he has visited. God has bestowed on us the power of listening just so that we will constantly listen to His glories and attain Him. Bhakti is said to be the unbroken union with one’s own natural Self . shower her grace on us to achieve this. Most of the time. the individual merges task for an ordinary person’s intellect. we expect our material desires to be fulfilled in return for worship. But focusing and meditating on a formless and nameless Brahman is an immensely difficult Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and others. on one hand. jnana and bhakti are simply one and the same. clasp our hands. bhakti is the most important. a devotional masterpiece of Sri Adi Shankara.the Atman. As we mature in our bhakti however. Just as listening to one who speaks superfluous worldly things is wrong. Yet Sivanandalahari. Krishna or tent dissolve. Jnana is about attaining knowledge of the Supreme Brahman. constantly listen to spiritual matters till it is true that reading or seeing pictures the mind dwells on nothing but sattvic of certain places or things kindles our thoughts. Sri Adi Shankara and Bhakti Advaita Philosophy is generally understood to hold that jnana (Supreme Knowledge) is essential for mukti and that Ishwara bhakti (devotion to a Personal God) will not be sufficient. he established Shanmatham (worship of God in six forms) and composed a wealth of devotional works in praise of various deities from Ganesha to Hanuman. and on the other. WA **There may appear to be variations in the ‘tense’ of the language. don’t we feel a the usual worldly thoughts.several variations of health. our bhakti becomes Para bhakti. Let Saraswati. Bala Subramanian. we should constantly listen to spiritomed to dwelling on worldly matters tual subject matters and about Mahatfor crores of births. when bhakti is completely desire-less. This is an expectationdriven relationship with God. with the following verse. so too is not listening to one who speaks healthy spiritual matters. This is the kind of bhakti experienced by Meera. before our favorite God. The desire is deeper on listen. the Goddess of Knowledge. When we prostrate nothing but jnana. mokSha-kAraNa-sAmagryAm bhaktireva garIyasI sva-svarUpAnu-sandhAnaM bhakti-rity-abhidhIyate (Among the instruments of moksha. enthusiasm to visit that place or acquire Sravana (listening) is one of the nine that thing. Vivekachudamani. Andal. people are aware of the mistakes they It is not enough to just read or hear commit.. mas. sing songs and perform puja. It seems contradictory that.). At this stage. Sri Shankara clarifies the relationship between bhakti and jnana in his work. devoid of any desires except being immersed in devotion to God.) In other words. Yet they are unable to avoid it about such matters just once because as it has become habitual. But a closer examination shows that Sri Shankara used bhakti as a stepping stone to jnana which eventually leads to mukti.** The Need for Sravana ing about it from a person than by learning about it through a book or a picture. When we feel the surge of the soul. the great proponent of Advaita. wealth and prosperity. We may also supplement our pujas with a list of requests . our bhakti is initially more ritual oriented. Any discrepancy/lapse in the translated version is the sole responsibility of the person/s who translated the work from Tamil into English.
3-B. Jyotirmath B. millions of years later he made an appearance again in the Dwapara yuga to help Bhima. an overjoyed Rama embraced him. Life of Sri Ramanuja is a translation of Sri Ramanuja Charitra written in Bengali by the celebrated monk of Ramakrishna Mutt. his constant meditation was how to best serve Rama. CA Answers Nama Dwaar/Apr-May 2009/ Page 3 1-A. FL Hanuman is the perfect example for dasya bhakti (devotion with the attitude of a servant towards the Lord). mantra upadesa to the village folk of Thirukoshtiyur. Sri Ramanuja was born in: A. Sri Adi Shankara was born in: A. Om Namo Narayanaya C. Sri Ramanuja expounded the A. Dwaraka. The monk was pained when he realized that his native people in Bengal hardly knew about the great Acharya’s life. Hence it took another saint. Aravind Thathachari. a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa settled in Madras in 1897. However in South India. to undertake this endeavor. Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya 4. discipleship with Sri Yadavaprakasa and subsequent debates with his master. Dwaraka. Om Namashivaya B. Kalady C. his initiation into sanyasa. Devotees pray to Hanuman to protect them from material obstacles in the path of devotional service and to engage them in the service of the Supreme Lord Rama. whether it was building bridges. although the occasion is celebrated on different days in different parts of India. Both to the uninitiated in the Vaishnava order and to the orthodox Vaishnava. An uncomfortable Hanuman however stated that his position could only be at the feet of his Lord. Most North Indians celebrate the occasion on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Chaitra (which fell on April 9 this year). Charitras of Sri Nathamuni. In order to serve Krishna. Dwaraka. 6-B . fighting rakshasas. Sringeri. Srirangam B. What mantra did Sri Ramanuja reveal to all against his Guru’s advice? A. After ruling for 11. he could feel the tremendous influence of Sri Ramanuja on the cultural ethos of South India. Pune. 2009 was celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti by some Indian communities. not expecting anything in return. Even though Hanuman lived in the Treta yuga. CA The Life of Sri Ramanuja By Swami Ramakrishnananda Translated from Bengali by Swami Budhananda. Puri. His fierce cries then struck terror in the hearts of the opposition and greatly encouraged the Pandava warriors. Sri Adi Shankara took Sanyasa after what incident? A. Sri Azhawandar and Sri Manakkal Nambi are portrayed in such wondrous style that it will move to tears even the stonehearted. Everything that he did was only for the pleasure of Lord Rama. 4-B. He considered the opportunity to offer his service to Rama as the highest reward. Puri C. especially in Tamil Nadu. Puri. When Swami Ramakrishnananda. when Lord Rama was about to leave for His eternal abode. Hence he undertook to research and write a series of articles for the Bengali journal Udbodhan. These stories seamlessly culminate in the descent of the great saint Sri Ramanuja (1017-1137). Sri Villiputtur 3. When he was bitten by a snake B. The book initially delves into the great lineage of Vaishnava saints starting with the Azhwars. JAI HANUMAN! Chitra Venkatramani. He carried out all his responsibilities humbly with an attitude of unconditional service. His devotion to Sri Kanchipurna. Kedarnath 5. Sri Ramakrishna Math No ordinary human being can even contemplate to bring to life the charitra of Sri Ramanuja. Kanchipuram B.000 years. or flying across the country to fetch life saving herbs. who is considered to be Hanuman’s younger brother as he was also born of Vayu. Orlando. When he was hit by an elephant Ramya Srinivasan. Hanuman resided in the flag on Arjuna’s chariot during the battle of Mahabharata. which in translation. The Lord blessed Hanuman that he would live in this world as long as the Lord’s glories are sung in any corner of the world. Kedarnath 6. Every saint is dedicated a chapter that highlights the life changing aspect of their lives eventually leading to saranagathi (ultimate surrender) to the Lord Narayana. 2-B. the wind god. The important incidents in his life are handled deftly and provide much needed insight into the heart and soul of the great saint. San Jose. San Jose. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Margasirisa (December). Visishtadvaita B. Sri Adi Shankara founded mutts in the following cities: A. Mantralaya. Kids’ Quiz — Sri Adi Sankara and Sri Ramanuja Trivia The Jayantis of both these great Acharyas fall on April 30. who retrieved the long lost Divya Prabhandam (works of the Azhwars). accompanied Him. Sringeri. Advaita 2. Rama ordered Hanuman to stay back in order to protect and inspire His future devotees. has given birth to this epic Life of Sri Ramanuja. Dvaita C.Pages of Inspiration Kids’ Corner Hanuman the perfect devotee April 9. this book strikes many a chord. and many more interesting details of his life that are wonderfully explained in this book transport the reader a millennia in the past. When he was caught by a crocodile C. When Hanuman returned from Lanka with news about Sita. Swami Ramakrishnananda of Ramakrishna Mutt. many of His close friends including Sugriva. Sri Perumbudur C. 2009 1. 5-A. However.
IL. cago.” Mahamantra. 2009. Boston. All of us are inherently spiritual because we all strive to attain that bliss. The Sankirtan started at 9:00 AM and went on continuously until 6:00 PM. WA A weekly national telecon satsang is held every Friday evening at 8:30 PM CST. when all the kids were each given a small picture of Premika Varadan and Madhuri Saki. which is truly a way of life. while enjoying themselves thoroughly. Nama Dwaar Kids’ Program in Chicago The first ever Nama Dwaar Kids’ Program was conducted on Sunday. TX. Seattle. They were told to observe the picture for one minute. The event was held to commemorate the Centenary Jayanti of Swami Abhedananda. Published by: Global Organization for Divinity 3363 Bel Mira Way San Jose. The kids were taught a sloka from Srimad Bhagavatam as the invocation prayer. To commemorate Swami Abhedananda’s Centenary Jayanti. Los Anmation contact Yamini ZivanPrakash at (630) 747-6249. Cambridge and Malden participated in the Nama Yagna. They then learnt and sang the bhajan Jaya Jaya Mangalam Sri Guro. April 12. Religion shows us the path to that bliss. April 11. the Akhanda Nama concluded with Sri Muralidhara Swamiji’s Kaliyayum Bali Kollum Kirtan. At 6:00 PM. Srimad Bhagavatam study circles are conducted in various cities. geles. Nisha Giri. Illustrations—Nithya Balasubramanian. The “Hare Rama.org for more information. Devotees from various places like Nashua.namadwaar. The event was a great success with enthusiastic participation from 12 kids and their parents too. Sujatha Sankar. For more inforDallas. Chizle as ’home work’. CA. Email newsletter@godivinity. Sri Narayanan also established the potency of prayers with the Mahamantra and said how mass prayers can truly invoke the grace of the Almighty and change things for the better. After some practice with the help of some parents. our Sanatana Dharma. MA . Houston.org and www. the ways and means to attain Him keep changing over time. The kids’ program will be conducted every month. Yamini ZivanPrakash. A story from the life of Sant Eknath was then narrated to them and they were asked to enact the story. Nama Sankirtan is prescribed as the easiest path to attain the Divine. CA .godivinity. Next the children learnt about Lord Rama in simple terms. Then a few devotees sang Bhajans. along with its meaning. To quote Swami Abhedananda. which fell on April 12. Cortlandt Manor. and were then asked some questions to test their powers of observation and Weekly satsangs are held regumemory. Akhanda Mahamantra Nama Sankirtan was also conducted at the residences of Geetha and Aravind Thathachari in Orlando. Nama Dwaar/Apr-May 2009/ Page 4 . Bala Subramanian. Orlando. knowingly or unknowingly. Latha Kumanan. the little ones did a wonderful role play and entertained everyone present. TX on April 12 for six hours. CA 95135 Phone: (408) 420-8486 Feedback email: newsletter@godivinity. FL for seven hours on April 11. as quoted by our Upanishads.” Quoting a few incidents. Chitra Venkatramani. just like our way of life changes from generation to generation. Ramya Srinivasan. 2009. Narayanan Sathiamoorthy. The kids finally took home an interesting crossword puz. The following is the message conveyed in the talk: “Spirituality is a nothing but a constant quest for eternal bliss. NY. Of all the religions.larly in the following cities: Bay Area. and Nisha and Sriram Ramanujam in Houston.Satsang News and Events Akhanda Nama Sankirtan in Boston An Akhanda Mahamantra Sankirtan for peace and prosperity of the society and world was organized at the residence of Madan Ramakrishnan in the Boston area on Saturday. is the elixir to all our problems in this Yuga. 2009 in the Chicago area from 4:15 to 6:00 PM. Sripriya Sarathy. TX . Sriram Ramanujam. Woburn. This was followed by a talk by Narayanan Sathiamoorthy. FL. While the Lord is the same.org Visit our websites: www. when this Divine Name is chanted in a house. it becomes a shrine by itself and the Lord resides there permanently. For this Kali Yuga. is one of the most practical and scientific.org Newsletter team: Content—Aravind TRA. Plainville. The final part of the program was game time.. The program started with chanting of the Mahamantra.
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