March 2012 Archives

Ram Navmi 2012 will be celebrated at JKP Radha Madhav Dham, the main ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj in America 

Sunday, April 1, 2012 
11:00 am to 1:00 pm

 


Ram Navmi at Radha Madhav Dham begins with chanting of the Divine name of Bhagwan Ram as we celebrate the day of His Divine appearance. Following a speech highlighting the devotional and philosophical importance of this festival, there may be an opportunity to experience the darshan of Ram's darbar or perhaps watch live scenes from the Ramayan acted out by members of the community. After more nam sankirtan (chanting of the Divine name of Lord Ram) and Shree Ram Chandra arti, everyone is invited to come forward for darshan of baby Ram--a very sweet opportunity to draw closer to our Divine Beloved. Lunch prasad follows.

Ram Navmi message of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's foremost disciple

The Divine souls. We are going to learn about Bhagwan Ram, when He came on this earth planet millions of years ago. He appeared in tretayug. Krishn appeared in dwaparyug. This is now kaliyug. Descensions of supreme God happen from time to time to remind us that the aim of our life is God realization. And also to reveal the fact that Divine love is so great--beyond imagination. But, that could be attained if a person understands the fact that he belongs to supreme God Krishn or Ram. He does not belong to this world.

You see, in your personality, your physical body, your mental body, and also your soul. All these three are your personality. Your soul and your mind are always together. They never die. They never take birth. They are all eternal. Body takes birth, body dies. So all the relations relate to physical body. All the happiness relates to physical body. World relates to physical body. Your soul does not relate to this world. Because soul is demanding Divine love and your mind is not understanding what is the requirement of the soul, that is a conflict. So, to clarify the situation, sometimes the supreme personality of the God Himself appears. He sends His Saints from time to time, but sometimes He Himself appears. So like this was the appearance of Bhagwan Ram, millions of years ago.

We have Ramayan in Hindi language. It is very popular. But there are many Ramayan. Ramayan means the history of Bhagwan Ram, Ramayan. Hari ananta hari katha ananata. Kah yah sunahi bahu miti saba santa. (Ramayan) Goswamiji says, "Anant, uncountable descensions of Bhagwan Ram had happened and there are many, many Ramayan that Saints ave written." So there are many kinds of Ramayan, already in the world, but they all have the history of Bhagwan Ram. Out of all of them, Valmiki Ramayan and Tulsidas Ramayan, these two are the most important. Maharshi Valmiki wrote the Ramayan during the time of Bhagwan Ram--that means millions of years ago. He wrote at the same time when Bhagwan Ram was on this earth planet. And Tulsidas Ramayan was written 500 years ago, by Goswami Tulsidasji. But he was a descended Saint--a descension of Valmiki. Anyway, these two are very important books on Bhagwan Ram. So how does this history start?

Once Parvati (Sati) and Bhagwan Shiv, They just had come to see the leela of Bhagwan Ram. And at that time, Bhagwan Ram was in the jungle and Goddess Sita was kidnapped by demon Ravan. Bhagwan Ram was lamenting, "O My Sita! Where have You gone? How will I live without You?" Like this. And Lakchman was behind Bhagwan Ram, he didn't know what to do, how to help Bhagwan Ram. So Shiv and Parvati both come. Bhagwan Shiv was so encharmed, "O My beloved Lord! How innocently You are acting like a worldly lover! You are supreme Lord, but how perfect Your acting is!" So He just prayed His supreme Lord, "O My beloved..."

But Parvati got confused. She says, "Shiv sarvgya jana sab koi. My husband God Shiv is all-knowing, and He prostrated to that person who is lamenting like a worldly lover and saying He is supreme God...it doesn't sink into My head." So, when some confusion comes into the mind you become restless. So She asked Shiv that She wants to go to check Bhagwan Ram, if He is really God, God Ram.

Shiv said, "No, don't go. You'll be in trouble."

She said, "But I want to go."

"OK go, if You want to go."

So, when She came to Bhagwan Ram, She thought it is the best to assume the form of Goddess Sita, and go in front of Him. If He is really God, He'll recognize Me. If He is not God, He'll be confused." So She assumed a form like Goddess Sita and went to Bhagwan Ram. Bhagwan Ram was actually in the same pathetic mood--ha Sita ken neeta ko bhavan ken drishta. (Valmiki Ramayan) In Valmiki Ramayan, there are so many verses like that. He was in that kind of ecstasy of love and as Sita appeared, the assumed Sita, Bhagwan Ram became serious. "O My mother! How did You come?" Because Bhagwan Ram worshipped Shiv and Shiv worshipped Bhagwan Ram. They both are Beloved of each other. He said, "O My mother! Where is My beloved God Shiv?" And Parvati was so ashamed. She just ran and came back to Shiv.

So, Shiv knew everything that had happened. Actually it was not Parvati--at that time Her name was Sati. So when Sati came to Shiv, Shiv asked, "What did You do?" She said, "I didn't do anything. Keenha pranamu tumharihi naeen." (Ramayan Balkand 55/2). "I simply went to Him, and I just prayed My homage and I came back." She lied to Shiv. And Shiv knew everything, "Oh, this Sati has assumed the form of Goddess Sita, and Goddess Sita is My mother! Now I can't accept Her." So He discarded Sati, "I can't take You back as My wife." This is the story.

Later Sati appeared again as Parvati, and Parvati got married to Shiv again. Shiv and Parvati are living happily on Kailash parvat. So Parvati again asked Bhagwan Shankar (Shiv), "Ajahun kachu sanshaya man moren (Ramayan Balkand 108 / 3), O My beloved Lord! Still I have some little doubt. It's all clear, just a little is left."

"What is left?"

"Is it the same Divine supreme Lord God who has appeared? Or some other form of God?"

Shiv says, " O Parvati! You have no doubt. Tumhin na sanshaya moh na maya. You have no confusion. You have asked this question for the sake of other souls. You on Your own have no confusion. But because You have asked for the sake of other souls, so I'll explain to You." And at that time God Shankar, He relates the whole story of Bhagwan Ram. This is Ramayan. It means it was first said by God Shiv and Parvati listened to that.

You see in that first part of the Shiv-Parvati story, as I explained just now, Shiv says, "O Parvati, You have no confusion, You are doing it for the sake of the souls." Souls have so much confusion in their mind that they criticize God. They do sly things, crafty things, lying...not knowing how little power they have, and argue in the field of Divine...the common human nature that Sati showed. So when She went to God Ram, She tried to examine Him. When She came back to Shiv, She lied to Her own husband. It's just human nature that She mimicked in that. Anyway, Shiv and Parvati or Shiv and Sati, They are one. Both Divine power. They were never confused. That's how this Ramayan came into being. So Goswamiji Tulsidasji starts the Ramayan like this.

So in Shiv and Parvati's words, the whole Ramayan is told. It's like whole of the Bhagwatam, Shukdeo and Parikshit. Shukdeo is saying, Parikshit is listening, and the whole Bhagwatam was told like that. Likewise, the Ramayan is the conversation of Shiv and Parvati.

So in this Ramayan, there are mainly seven sections starting from Bhagwan Ram's descension. One example I'll give you. When Bhagwan Ram appeared, He never took birth. He was not born. He appeared. Bhaye pragat kripala deendayala Kaushalya hitakaree (Ramayan Balkand 191 / 1). The word is pragat, prakatya, descension, appearance. So Bhagwan Ram appeared.

When Bhagwan Ram appeared, He appeared in His full bloom Divine beauty. Whatever is the regular form of God He appeared like that. Full height. His mother, Kaushalya, was just lying on a bed and she was thinking of Bhagwan Ram in her mind. In her thoughts, she saw that Bhagwan Ram appeared. She opens her eyes and Bhagwan is there. So Bhagwan Ram appeared in full form; He appeared. He didn't take birth in a worldly style. Then Kaushalya praised Bhagwan Ram and said, "Please, now become small like a one-day child." Keejai shishuleela ati priyasheela yah sukh param anoopa (Ramayan Balkand 191/4). Keejai shishuleela. "O Bhagwan Ram! Now become my son. And start playing like my son. Because this love of mother and son is something so intimate, so great, it can't be described into words." So Bhagwan Ram became like a one-day-old child. And then everybody knew, "Oh yes, yes, Bhagwan Ram is born." There was a great celebration in Ayodhya.

Bhagwan Ram's father Dashrath had more than one wife. He had three wives. From one wife, Shatrughn and Bharat were born, from one, Lakchman was born, and from one, Ram was born. There was four brothers: Ram, Lakchman, Bharat, Shatrughn. So all the four brothers were born--it means they appeared. Just a difference of a short time--not very much. And they all grew.

Once Vishwamitr came and said, "O King! My fire ceremony, my yagya, is being disturbed by some demonesses and demons. Please send your two sons to protect me." So he sent his two sons, Ram and Lakchman, to protect him. Then they were invited into another kingdom, Mithila. King Janak and his daughter Sita were in Mithila. King Janak made a promise that, "I'll wed my daughter to that person who will lift this big heavy bow of Bhagwan Shiv." So Ram lifted the bow and actually broke it. Thus the marriage was settled. King Janak also had three more daughters, so Bharat and Shatrughn were also called from Ayodhya and all four brothers got married at the same time. They stayed for a few months and then they all came back to Ayodhya.

In Ayodhya, the youngest and the most beloved wife of Dashrath was Kaikeyi. Once, her ear was poisoned by one of the maids with an idea. She said, "You see, you have two sons. Everyone loves Bhagwan Ram and Lakchman, but nobody cares about your son. Why shouldn't your son become king of Ayodhya, not Bhagwan Ram?" So Kaikeyi asked her husband, "Really I want my son, Bharat, to be the king--not Bhagwan Ram." She was so much against Bhagwan Ram being in the kingdom, she said, "No, no, Bhagwan Ram must go for 14 years in exile. My son should become king." It all is explained in the Ayodhya Kand. It is a big chapter, a big canto. There is a great description.

In this way Bhagwan Ram, Lakchman and Sita, all three went into exile and there They met all the Saints living there. They Graced all those Saints. Then Ravan came. He kidnapped Sita. Bhagwan Ram went to Lanka and killed Ravan and got Sita back and came back to Ayodhya. That's the whole Ramayan in short.

All of this happened within fourteen to fifteen years. Then Bhagwan Ram came back to Ayodhya. After that He stayed for almost eleven thousand years. He stayed in Ayodhya and ruled Ayodhya. Nothing much is said about those ten to eleven thousand years. Up until He came back to Ayodhya after killing Ravan, the whole Ramayan deals with all those events.

Once Bhagwan Ram called for all of His people and He gave a speech. Eak bar raghunatha bulae (Ramayan Uttar Kand 42/1). He gave a big speech. And then, just like Krishn gave Gita to Arjun, Bhagwan Ram gave some more knowledge to the ones who are living in the world. Bhagwan Ram gave only this one speech in His whole lifetime. He tells about gyan, about bhakti, and about karm, but He says, "Souls belong to Me, they have to come to God. Unless they find God, they will not be happy. And the path of gyan is so difficult, so pride-giving. It's very very hard to follow by an ordinary person. It's almost impossible. So bhakti is the only path through which a soul can reach God and experience the Bliss of Divine love." And then He says, "Sunahu karahu jo tumhahi sohaee (Ramayan Uttar Kand 42/2). That's My advice, now you do whatever you want."

He said this because He knows souls; he knows that they listen half-heartedly. They add half of their own mind to what they hear and do whatever they want. You see this Ram Navmi celebration, how many celebrate? Millions. Almost every Indian knows and celebrates to some extent. But how many follow the teachings of Bhagwan Ram, whatever He spoke in Ramayan? Eak bar raghunath bulae (Ramayan Uttar Kand 42/1) How many follow His speech? Very, very few. You can count on your fingers. Only those who really understand the truth of human life, those who really realize their life is for God realization and not for wasting in this world.

We see that if we recall back from our childhood up to this point, you will know that you did almost everything. You loved, you quarreled, you hated, you were dejected, you were disappointed--you did everything in the emotional field. Were you ever happy? No. Your happiness was temporary, transitory. Whenever you found a loved one, you felt happy. When that person departed, you were unhappy. When you took some revenge on someone you envied, you felt happy, "I took that revenge!" When you failed in your revenge, you were unhappy. And in both situations, the animosity was burning your heart all the time. In the material love, too, when you were happy, your heart was burning with a desire to receive more. When that person departed your heart was burning with separation. So this is called mayic agony. Material agony. This agony is all the time within you, the fire of discontentment, a kind of fire. You are discontented with every situation you are in. So those who know good, know bad. They are always together--good and bad. So in all situations you found yourself discontented to some extent, or to a great extent. That's one thing.

Now a second thing: your work was never completed. You see, in your mind, all the time you have more than one thing to do. All the time, like when you are going to bed, "Shall I sleep-in half an hour? No, 15 minutes... No read something... Take a magazine... Watch TV... No, go to sleep." See? Even going to sleep you have to think so much?

You got up early morning, "I have to do this, this, this, this. What to do first?" So all the time you have more than one thing and you must decide what to do first, what is of first preference, and what is of next preference. And you never found that everything is done. No, never done. Since your birth, up till your death, whatever you do, you will never be done completely. It will be always incomplete. Why? This is the nature of the world. It is the nature of the world for things to always be incomplete. So it is like this. Incompleteness and discontentedness is the very nature of this mayic phenomena. You live for millions and millions of lifetimes and it is always the same thing.

So why not come to God, why not come to Bhagwan Ram, Bhagwan Krishn, any form of God--why not come to Them? Bhagwan Ram said, "Sunahu karahu jo tumhahi sohaee (Ramayan Uttar Kand 42/2). I am telling you the truth. Now think over it deeply and try to understand what I have said." If souls understand this fact of life, the fact of Divine love, and the possibility of Divine attainment...that's very important, the possibility. You see on this side, on the worldly side, there is no possibility. You can never be completely contented, you can never finish your work completely forever. It is impossible! Because this is the nature of this maya. But on the other side, you can find God. Just submit yourself wholeheartedly; He is ready to Grace you. On the other side there is a possibility; on this side, there is no possibility. So come towards whatever is possible for you to do. This is the understanding.

To give this understanding to the souls, Bhagwan Ram keeps coming from time to time. He comes so Souls can understand the littleness of worldly happiness and the absoluteness of Divine love.

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Hospital article by Janeshwari Devi, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Mangarh, March 7, 2012: Largest Ever Cataract Camp Held at Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya - by Sushree Janeshwari Devi of JKP India

Lines of elderly villagers, following one another closely with hands on each other's shoulders, saying, "Radhey Radhey" in unison, were about to become some of the 756 successful cataract surgery patients during a 3-day eye camp.

The semi-annual Cataract Surgery Camp was held on March 5-7, 2012, in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, India. The camp was conducted during the Holi Sadhana program attended by 3,000 devotees from different parts of the world. Dozens of visiting devotees were happily volunteering alongside the hospital staff during their 12-hour-long shifts in the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalya (eye hospital). They participated in such tasks as feeding patients, filing medical charts, folding linens and sterilizing medical equipment.

Jointly sponsored by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, Bhakti Dham, Mangarh and Tilganga Eye Center, Kathmandu, Nepal, this free camp was the largest held in the three years since the camps began. During the camp, all patients received free cataract surgeries, prescription medications, follow-up care and dark glasses to wear during their recovery.

Chief surgeon, Dr. Govinda Paudyal, who traveled from Kathmandu with a team of six medical professionals, performed a record 247 surgeries in one day during the camp. "I would like to do this camp four times a year," he said. "We have never advertised this camp because the news travels by word-of-mouth. If we did, we would not be able to handle the number of patients who would show up for free surgeries," he added.

"There was another miracle story during this camp," said K. S. Rathod, a full-time volunteer at the hospital. "At the last camp, a 13-year-old girl's vision was restored after being told by doctors elsewhere that she would never see again. And today, a 10-year-old girl, who was also told by her doctors that her vision could not be corrected, was successfully operated on," he continued.

The cataract camps are one of the many charitable activities conducted by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. On March 13th, 2,200 widows of Vrindaban were fed at Prem Mandir in Vrindaban, and parcels of essential items for daily living, such as cooking vessels, clothing and bedding, were given free to everyone.

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Bhagavad Gita by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj


Gita Chapter 1, Part 6 - by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

So far we have learned that the qualification for studying the Gita is to have faith in Shree Krishn, and to be surrendered to a God realized Saint. Only through the Saint's explanation can we understand the true meaning of the Gita.

The Danger of Learning Gita on One's Own

Learning from a true Saint also saves us from one dangerous pitfall: the pride of knowingness. If someone studies the Gita on his own, he is bound to develop a pride in his knowledge. It is human nature to want to be appreciated, so it is a common human fault to want to show our knowledge to others to gain their respect and admiration. However, the development of such vanity is the opposite of what happens when someone has truly understood the spiritual teachings of the Gita. (The previous article explained in detail that no matter how great a scholar a person is, they cannot read and understand the Gita philosophy correctly unless they are already God realized.)

Our pride of "knowing" actually takes us farther from God, instead of closer. The more humble we are, the closer we come to God. The more proud we are, the farther we are from God. When we are humble, we feel that we belong to God and we depend on him totally. This is surrender, and this type of surrender is the essence of the Gita. When we have pride in anything, then due to the pride, we feel that we are great, which means that we are not depending on God. In other words, the more pride we feel, the less surrendered we are. That means that someone who studies the Gita on his own and develops a pride of his learning is now farther from God than before he had studied the Gita. Ironically, even though he studied the Gita, which teaches surrender, he ended up being less surrendered by the end of his study.

True Spiritual Knowledge Leads to Humbleness

It means that, to the extent someone has imbibed the knowledge of Gita, they will become equally humble. More knowledge means more humbleness. More pride means the presence of ignorance. So it means that a learned scholar who studies the Gita on his own and ends up with more pride, has increased his ignorance, not his knowledge.

The only way to avoid this is to learn the Gita or any Hindu scripture from a God realized Saint. The Saint, while imparting the knowledge, will also ensure the humbleness of his students and will not give knowledge to an unqualified person.

It is also important to keep in mind that we don't get anything simply by hearing, reciting or memorizing the Gita. The teachings of the Gita have to be understood and practiced every day in one's life. Only then will the knowledge of the Gita take root in our heart and only then will we realize the benefit of Krishn's teachings. In other words, the theory must be put into practice. For this too we need the guidance of the Saint. It is only by practicing the teachings of the Gita under the guidance of a Saint that we develop true humbleness and surrender to Krishn.

The Qualification to Know Gita: Be Like Arjun

Also please consider that if we were truly qualified to hear Krishn's teachings, then we would immediately get God realized by listening to them, in the same way that Arjun did. So if we do not get God realized when we study the Gita, it means we have not understood it yet. Anyone can study the Gita, whether they are a Sanskrit scholar or an illiterate person. However, the true Gita gyani is the one who, having learned the philosophy of the Gita, becomes humble, surrenders to Shree Krishn and becomes God realized.

Having understood the qualification for studying the Gita, we are now ready to start learning the main topics of the first chapter of the Gita, starting with the very first verse. But, please keep in mind that whatever I am sharing with you in this series is not my own interpretation of the Gita. I have not learned the Gita on my own. I am simply doing my best to explain in English what Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj has already taught the world through his speeches and books in Hindi.

Summary:

Trying to study any Hindu scripture, including the Gita, on one's own leads to a dangerous pitfall: the development of the pride of knowingness. However, the presence of such pride is a sure sign of ignorance. In order to learn the philosophy of the Gita without developing our vanity, it must be learned from a true Saint.

Note: The entire Bhagavad Gita series by Swami Nikhilanand will continue, once or twice a week, for more than a year and will be an incredible study aid in learning the deepest aspects of Bhagavad Gita from one of the most profound and prolific speakers of Bhagavad Gita in the English speaking world today. 

Related articles.

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Bhagwad Gita articles by disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Gita - Chapter 1, Part 5 - by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

The Second Qualification for Learning the Gita


In my previous entry, I explained that only a person who has faith in Shree Krishn is qualified to study the Gita. There is one more important qualification. In verse 34 of chapter 4, it says that the knowledge of the Gita cannot be acquired without first surrendering to a God realized Saint. Only with his help and guidance could the true meaning of the Gita be understood. This verse says that we must fully surrender (pranipat) to such a Saint who is both learned in the scriptures (gyaninah) and who has attained God (tattva darshinah). We should humbly and sincerely ask him questions (pariprashn) in order to clear our doubts and clarify the teachings of the Gita. We should also serve him (sevaya). Then he will impart the knowledge of the Gita to us (updekchyanti te gyanam).

Was Arjun surrendered to a Guru? Yes, in fact, he accepted Shree Krishn as his Guru when he said, 'shishyasteham shadhi mam tvaam prapannam' (chapter 2, verse 7). He said, "Krishn, please instruct me. I am your surrendered disciple." However, it is Krishn's rule that no one can surrender directly to Him (God). The procedure is that we must come to God through a Guru. He even sent the greatest gyani of that time, Uddhao, to the Gopis of Braj to be Graced with Divine love. In other words, He didn't Grace Uddhao directly, He sent him to the Gopis to make them his Guru. Then the Gopis Graced him with Krishn's Divine love.

That being so, why did Krishn allow Arjun to surrender directly to Him? In this case, since Krishn was physically present, Arjun had the choice: instead of saying, "Krishn, You are God. Please instruct me." He said, "Krishn, You are my Guru. Please instruct me." So, Krishn had to instruct him as a Guru instructs his surrendered disciple. If Arjun had said, "Krishn, You are God. Please instruct me." Then Shree Krishn would have said, "Go to a Guru. I cannot help you directly, as I am God."

Can We Make Krishn Our Guru?

Does this mean that we can accept Shree Krishn as our Guru, and thus become qualified to study the Gita? No, that is not possible for us, since He is not present before us in a physical form that we can see and relate to. We need a Guru who is physically present on the earth planet, whom we can serve and of whom we can ask questions.

What is the role of the Guru? The Guru is like a chemistry professor who instructs his students in the area of his expertise. The professor not only has a theoretical understanding of the subject, but has researched it, performed experiments, and had a practical experience of it. So, his knowledge is not only theoretical, it has been elevated to a practical, experiential level. Similarly, a true Guru must not only have a complete theoretical knowledge of the Hindu scriptures, but, more importantly, a practical experience of God.

Surrendering to the Guru to Receive Knowledge


If we have found such a Guru, then we could become qualified to study the philosophy of the Gita. The first thing we would have to do is to surrender to that Guru. Surrender? What does surrender have to do with acquiring knowledge? It has everything to do with it. In fact, the chemistry students must also surrender to their professor in order to learn. They surrender their intellect, or they join their intellect to the intellect of their professor. They allow him to guide them through the journey of acquiring this advanced knowledge of chemistry. They even take some things on faith, because at their elementary level of understanding, they have not experienced any of the things he is teaching them. So, they learn the theory and take it on faith, until such a time when they can experience it for themselves. That experience is the proof of the theory, which they had accepted on faith. It is important to note that without faith in the teacher, the theory cannot be learned, and without learning the theory, experience cannot be gained. Thus, faith is the gateway to gaining knowledge, and eventually proof or experience.

The same is true for acquiring spiritual knowledge and experience. We must have faith in (be surrendered to) the Guru. The true Saint can make us understand the philosophy of the Gita, but only if we humbly surrender our intellect to him. Initially, we have to accept what he is saying on faith; then, when we practice accordingly, we will receive the experience. So, in the spiritual field as well, faith and surrender are the gateway to knowledge and experience.

Please keep in mind that he can only impart that knowledge to us if we surrender to him. Otherwise, whether they are chemistry students, or students of the philosophy of the Gita, if they doubt every little thing their teacher tells them, they will never be able to learn the advanced material being taught in that course, nor will they ever gain the practical experience of that subject. They should question, but question humbly, in an effort to understand - not question in an effort to challenge the teacher or show one's own learning. There is one more way that the Guru helps his students in their quest for knowledge. This will be the topic of the next part of this series.

Note: The entire Bhagavad Gita series by Swami Nikhilanand will continue, once or twice a week, for more than a year and will be an incredible study aid in learning the deepest aspects of Bhagavad Gita from one of the most profound and prolific speakers of Bhagavad Gita in the English speaking world today.Related articles

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Latest article by Vyasar Ganesan. Vyasar was born in Derry, New Hampshire, and raised in Austin. His mother is from near Delhi, and his father comes from southern India. He currently is a senior at Allegheny College, working on a senior project in creative nonfiction. Vyasar is a blogger for Radha Madhav Dham, the main US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.

Night and Day by disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Pittsburgh, PA 3/19/2012, 3:48 PM

It's sunny in Pittsburgh today. The sun is unseasonably bright, not just for March, but for spring even. Light is coming in through the windows, the screen door - even through the cracks in the blinds and the spaces between the frames. At this house, this where place I am, I'm surrounded by light in the daytime, and it feels amazing.

During the night before, there was nothing but darkness, deep and black. It seems that as warm and bright as it could get in the day, the nighttime was magnified in gloom just as much. I could hear the near-feral cats outside, yowling and howling at the moon, passing cars, whatever. There were dark shapes in my room, bits and pieces of shadows that flit past my pillow. The joy of the sun vanishes in the pale terror of the moon.

This is identical, in almost every way, to the yug we live in today. Maharajji never fails to remind us that if we want to become God-realized, the time for it is running out. We do not know when our next human life will be, our next chance at finding our beloved Radha and Krishn. Kaliyug is the last and shortest in the cycle of the yugas, where we have the least amount of time to follow the guidance of our Guru. To make matters worse, kaliyug is the age of materialism, the time when it feels better to perform selfish or evil actions than it does to promote virtuous ones. If you've ever had the feeling that things used to be better when you were younger, or that people are worse now, or the state of affairs is deteriorating, you don't know how right you are, nor how far we have to fall.

Whatever happiness we get out of this world is fleeting. That's the lesson of the shining days and fearsome nights. But when we seek happiness in the Divine, in the power of God, we find that the feeling stays. We are blessed with the teachings and love of our Guru, the only one who is capable of leading us to the light of truth. The lesson we need to learn, the understanding we need to get, is not to pray for the day to be eternal, but for the faith that one day, when we find God, the day will be eternal.

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Painting of Krishna, Arjuna. (Bhagavad Gita)

Painting of Krishna, Arjuna. (Bhagavad Gita) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gita - Chapter 1, Part 4  - by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

So far I have explained in gist what the Gita is, what its origins are, and how we can have confidence that the Gita available today is an authentic account of the conversation that took place between Krishn and Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukchetra more than 5,000 years ago. Now I'll discuss the qualification for receiving the knowledge of the Gita. 

The Right Way to Acquire Knowledge 

Every knowledge has restrictions with regard to who can learn it. This is as true in material matters as it is in spiritual matters. Before beginning a Masters degree, one must have completed his undergraduate degree in that subject. Otherwise, he will not grasp the knowledge being given by his professor at the post-graduate level, and instead of progressing in his understanding, he will only become more confused. The spiritual knowledge given by the various Hindu scriptures is also of different levels, from beginner to advanced. This is why every Hindu scripture has a specific qualification that must be met before someone can study it or learn it correctly. If an unqualified person attempts to study any scripture, then, instead of gaining clarity about the philosophy of Sanatan Dharm, he will only become more confused. 

Further, some types of knowledge can even be harmful to an unqualified person. For example, if someone learns that aspirin cures headaches, but doesn't know what the proper dosage is, he may swallow the whole bottle, assuming that if one is good, then more must be better. In other words, knowledge partially or incorrectly understood can be more harmful than no knowledge at all. In spiritual matters as well, if the teaching of a particular scripture isn't precisely and fully understood, it may be misinterpreted, and instead of helping a person on his spiritual path, his wrong understanding becomes an obstacle. This is why we must pay heed to the statements of each scripture telling what the qualifications are to study it.  

The Qualification to Study the Gita

The qualification to learn the Gita is as follows: in chapter 18, verse 67, the Gita says that one who does not have faith in Shree Krishn should not hear the Gita. When translating this shlok, Jagadguru Shankaracharya said this means if a person does not have faith that Krishn is bhagwan, he is not qualified to listen to or read the Gita. 

Did Arjun have faith that Shree Krishn is God? Certainly he did. Otherwise, when given the choice, why would he have chosen a weaponless Shree Krishn over His entire army? When both Arjun and Duryodhan went to Dwarika to ask Shree Krishn's help in the war, He gave them a choice: one could have Him on their side, but with the condition that He would not lift a weapon for the whole war; and one could have His entire army, consisting of (number of divisions, etc.). Arjun was given the first choice, and he chose Krishn over His army. Who in his right mind would make such a decision, unless he believed that Krishn was God? 

Even God Cannot Convince an Unfaithful Person

On the other hand, look at Duryodhan's reaction: he was relieved that Arjun had chosen Krishn and thought that he was extremely foolish to have not chosen His army. In other words, he had no faith in Shree Krishn. Later, when Krishn went to Duryodhan as a messenger of peace in order to avert the war, Duryodhan would not heed His advice. He insulted Krishn and tried to have Him imprisoned. Krishn even revealed His Divine almighty form before Duryodhan in an effort to influence him, but even then he did not accept Krishn's Divinity. It is amazing to think that even if God Himself comes to a person, if that person is not humble and faithful, then even God cannot help him. Then is it any wonder that Krishn chose to reveal the Gita to Arjun, instead of Duryodhan? A person must be humble to be open to the spiritual teachings, and faithful to accept them. 

Thus, we see that an unfaithful person, no matter how learned or intelligent he is, is unqualified to receive the teachings of the Gita. There is one more important qualification to learn the Gita, which I will cover in the next part of this series.

Summary:

Every knowledge has restrictions with regard to who can learn it. If an unqualified person attempts to study any scripture, then, instead of gaining clarity about the philosophy of Sanatan Dharm, he will only become more confused. Further, some types of knowledge can even be harmful to an unqualified person. So, what is the qualification to study the Gita, and what can we learn from the examples of Arjun and Duryodhan? Find out by reading the article.

Note: The entire Bhagavad Gita series by Swami Nikhilanand will continue, once or twice a week, for more than a year and will be an incredible study aid in learning the deepest aspects of Bhagavad Gita from one of the most profound and prolific speakers of Bhagavad Gita in the English speaking world today.Related articles

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Latest article by Vyasar Ganesan. Vyasar was born in Derry, New Hampshire, and raised in Austin. His mother is from near Delhi, and his father comes from southern India. He currently is a senior at Allegheny College, working on a senior project in creative nonfiction. Vyasar is a blogger for Radha Madhav Dham, the main US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.

Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

3/11/12 Meadville, PA 10:07 PM

Applying to graduate programs invokes a fear more powerful than seeking out colleges for undergraduate study. True, college takes longer, costs more and is frightening because it's your first real foray into higher education. But with grad school, you've spent four years learning how to be a student, and padding your resume to make it into some top-notch places. What everyone forgets about school after the bachelor's degree is that everything matters more. Grad schools, more than anything else, are career-shaping, financially-tenuous, maddeningly-influential powerhouses that determine the fates of so many young people. That interim period of waiting for letters of acceptance or rejection is more harrowing for those reasons, and tests humanity's capacity to withstand the powers within our world.

So when I got the news that the next two years of my life weren't going to be close to Radha Madhav Dham, it was like a death sentence. When I sent out my applications, I supplanted my fears with faith in God and Guru. I knew that Maharajji would not send me anywhere I wasn't needed, for my sake or others. Wherever I ended up, I had faith I would perform to the best of my abilities, to transform me into a more fitting sevak for the ashram. But I applied to two University of Texas programs, both in Austin, nurturing a hope deep within my heart that I could continue my field of study from both homes I had there, that of my mother's and my truest home, Radha Madhav Dham. Being back from Pennsylvania for only three months in the summer and one in the winter was rough going, not just on my emotions but on my devotions. I wanted so badly to go home that I put a good deal of my eggs in one basket, praying to Maharajji that they wouldn't break and spill my hopes everywhere.

The first rejection was half expected. It was from the more prestigious UT Austin program, the one that accepted only one fiction writer out of six total students, but gave them a generous $25,000 stipend on top of a free ride. Being that my recent focus had been on nonfiction, and having to compete with the rest of the world, the odds weren't in my favor. But I bore it with as much grace as I could muster. I still had one more chance to come home. Maharajji knows how much I want to come home, and he will decide what is best.

In the weeks that followed, I got two back-to-back acceptances, one from the University of Pittsburgh, the other from Columbia. Both programs offered a lot, not just in terms of fellowship money, but in their respective program's strengths. One of the writing professors from Columbia actually called me to tell me the good news. I couldn't help but be delighted to be sought after by such excellent schools, and I thanked my Guru for all the grace he was showing me. But I held back from showing extravagant joy at the news, stubbornly refusing all final decision-making before hearing from the last Texas program.

That rejection came last Friday, and when it did, I entered a very new kind of depression. It isn't the kind that immediately sends you into tears or lethargy, or the one that turns your face pale and chills your blood. This mood pushed me away from all company Friday night, sending me to bed early after working on classwork. It is the fatalistic idea that I will not see much of the home I have found in Radha Madhav Dham for at least two years. This depression will not come into effect until my last day in Austin, when I stare up at the temple I love and try to take as much of its memory as I can with me to some faraway city, to hold love for God within me, and maybe Maharajji will bless me with the pain of separation so that I know my devotion is still alive and well, and when I cry my tears will feel the sweeter for it.

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Ram Navmi 2012 at JKP Radha Madhav Dham 

Austin, 03/20/2012 (Radha Madhav Dham Blog): Sunday, April 1st, no fooling! That's the day Ram Navmi will be celebrated from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, Texas. The program will include a re-enactment of a Ram leela, the chanting of Ramayan verses, abhishek of Ram, Ram kirtan, the jhulan of baby Ram in the cradle, and a video speech by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, all of which will be followed by prasad lunch. When asked to summarize the meaning of Ram Navmi, Swami Nikhilanand explained: "Ram Navmi is the day many years ago that Bhagwan Ram appeared on this earth planet, in the city of Ayodhya, in the house of King Dashrath and Queen Kaushalya. On this day we remember that Ram took avatar to reveal the Divine leelas, so that His devotees would have a way to remember Him. Through such remembrance of His leelas, a devotee can cross this ocean of maya and attain the Divine vision of Bhagwan Ram. This is what we remember on Ram Navmi." 

With this in mind, the Austin community and residents of Radha Madhav Dham will celebrate this year's Ram Navmi by viewing a presentation of one of the beautiful leelas described in the Ramayan of Shabri receiving the long-awaited darshan of her beloved Bhagwan Ram and Lakchman. Produced as a jhanki, with dohas sung from the Ramayan, the scene depicts Shabri's unparalleled devotion to her Divine beloved, as she steps outside her humble hut, deep in Dadank Forrest, to lay fresh rose petals on the pathway every day, where she hopes her Lord will come and place His lotus feet. She also makes ready a fresh bowl of ber fruit from the wild bushes that she picks from the forest. She chooses only the sweetest ber fruit by tasting each one with a tiny bite as a test. In this way, Shabri made sure she would be ready for Her Lord when that day would finally come. 

A devotee happily anticipating this year's jhanki remarked, "To me, Shree Ram always represents what is the best thing to do; what is the absolutely correct thing to do in all situations. So I am so excited to see how He will receive Shabri's half-eaten bers that she will present to him. Of course, He will discard all the Divine rules in favor of the love she offers to Him with her simple loving heart." 

Following this beautiful leela presentation, satsang will commence with devotional kirtan of Sita Ram. During chanting, all will be invited to come forth to participate in the jhulan of Shree Ram in His cradle, next to the shrine. Attendees will then be graced with a video lecture by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. 

After arti, an abhishek will be offered to Shree Ram inside the temple, where attendees can imbibe the darshan of the flower-adorned deities of Sita Ram. Panchamrit will be provided to pour over Their lotus feet as an offering, then taken as prasad

Concluding the day's celebration, all are invited to partake of the specially prepared prasad lunch.

Radha Madhav Dham is looking forward to seeing you here next Sunday.
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Also read this wonderful article about a devotee's experience of Holi 2012 at JKP Radha Madhav Dham, the main ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj in America
 

The spiritual and cultural meaning of Holi is brought to life for this father and son at Radha Madhav Dham Hindu Temple, festival of Colors 2012.
  

Participants watch the Holi fire during the Holi Festival of Colors at JKP, Radha Madhav Dham.

Crowd is watching the Holi fire at the U.S. ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj located in Austin, TX.


Krishn enjoys being with the crowd at Radha Madhav Dham Temple, the main U.S. Ashram of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.
 

Krishn plays Holi with the crowd at the Radha Madhav Dham Hindu Temple.
 

Participants enjoying the Holi fun at the main U.S. center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.
 

Celebrating the festival of colors at JKP, Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, TX.
 

Playing Holi at the U.S. ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.
 

At the JKP, Radha Madhav Dham Hindu Temple in Austin, TX, a participant rests after playing with gulal.
 

A devotee of Kripalu Maharaj begins the Holi play by handing out Gulal at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin Texas.

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Rain or Shine: Holi at Radha Madhav Dham - by Joe Chorneau


Austin, TX. 12/3/2012. "Rain or Shine: Holi at Radha Madhav Dham". That was the headline of an email sent out late Friday night.  And so it was - the U.S. ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, Radha Madhav Dham, celebrated Holi on Saturday, March 11, 2012 - rain or shine.

On Friday, with hail in the morning and a cold barrage of nonstop rain throughout the day and into the night, everyone wondered what Indra, the god of rain, had planned. Would he force Holi to be played indoors with confetti and tinsel? There was no indication when the rain would stop; weather forecasters reported it would continue through Sunday.  

A man who had driven up from Houston with his family and had braved the brunt of the storm during his trip said, "We weren't sure if there would be Holi play, but we were happy to come in any circumstances. We always love to come to Radha Madhav Dham, no matter what happens."

But by 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Radha Madhav Dham was awash in color - red, pink, yellow, blue and green - layer upon layer everywhere, as though a great battle had been fought, but with gulal. The rain had stopped long enough to allow an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 people to do what they come to do every year: celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at Radha Madhav Dham.  

Preceding this outdoor Holi play, the celebration began indoors with the chanting of Holi pads and kirtan, followed by the keynote speech by Swami Nikhilanand on the true meaning of Holi. Explaining the leela of Prahlad, he left us with three important points to remember. One, that God is omnipresent, so we are never alone. Two, that we don't need to ask God for any worldly thing, we just have to love Him selflessly and He will give us what's best. And three, that we don't have to think of God only as being supreme and almighty; we can love Radha and Krishn and play Holi with Them like we would with our own family.  

As Swami Nikhilanand lectured, the sky brightened and light poured in through the big windows of the Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple, prompting him to say, "It looks like Indra is going to cooperate with us."  He then concluded the program with another Holi pad that enlivened the crowd with cheers of "Holi hai!" 

One devotee remarked, "It's something to see when, despite the weather, a crowd this size would come to Radha Madhav Dham on a festival day - because everyone is here not just to throw colored powder, but to experience the Grace through the whole experience of working together, doing the seva, doing the kirtan - it is really special."

Another agreed, "We're not going to let a little rain or cold stop us.  We are here for the grace of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj on Holi!"

This attitude was evident early on Saturday morning when, as the storm continued, a hearty crew of residents and community volunteers teamed up, as they have for so many years, to set up chairs in the prayer hall, remove picnic tables from the ras mandal in front of the Shiva Shrine, sweep debris off all the walkways, and fan the puddles with their squeegee sticks.  However, putting up the fire pit and setting up the gulal distribution stand would have to wait until it looked clear.  Inside, the cooks, who had been hard at work since Friday, were continuing with lunch and dinner preparations.

By lunch, large groups from Houston and Dallas had arrived to pitch in.  Throughout the afternoon, more and more people arrived, as the rain continued to fall hard.  The program directors with their clipboards of long lists were seen running back and forth, pointing fingers to ready plan A or plan B; there was even a plan C.  Where would the Holi play be?  Wherever it would end up, the celebration had already begun.  Despite the cold and rain, all who had come were all smiles, with remnants of early-Holi-play skirmishes already on their faces.

Following the afternoon program in the Temple, everyone proceeded to the dining hall to partake of a delicious prasad dinner, after which they gathered outside to play Holi.  Part way through the evening, young Krishn came, riding on the shoulders of a devotee, as He showered Holi powder on young and old alike. 

Not far from the Gopeshwar Mahadev Shiv shrine, the Holi fire was lit and flames towered up to seven feet high as devotees gathered around to do parikrama and offer coconuts.  All the while, the Holi play 'battles' continued as laughing and gleefully screaming children and adults darted back and forth throughout the Radha Madhav Dham grounds. The storm didn't return until much later that night, but the love of Radha Krishn 'rained' on one and all, putting a 'shine' on their devotional hearts. Holi Hai!!

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Gita - Chapter 1, Part 3  by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

Swami Nikhilanand is a disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

The War About to Begin 

Shree Krishn told the Gita to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukchetra, just as the war was about to begin. We can imagine the scene: millions of warriors, weapons at the ready, aligned on each side; lines of foot soldiers, horses, elephants and chariots stretched for miles. The thunder of drums and conches had already shaken the air, signaling the start of the battle. At this crucial moment, as both sides were perched on the precipice of war, everyone was amazed to see Arjun's chariot making its way to the center of the battlefield and stopping. Arjun had requested Shree Krishn to guide his chariot to such a vantage point where he could see the armies of both sides. Then the anxious armies watched with a mixture of curiosity and bewilderment as Shree Krishn and Arjun proceeded to engage in a lengthy discussion, there in the middle of the battlefield, while both sides waited.   

The Armies Waited While Krishn and Arjun Talked 

Bhagavad Gita by Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's disciple Swami Nikhilanand

When people hear this, some wonder if it was possible for Krishn to relate the entire Gita to Arjun at that time. Surely He must have told the gist to Arjun, and then quickly got on with the war; then later, when Ved Vyas produced the Gita in a written form, he must have expanded on the topics. In fact, there is nothing in either the Gita or the Mahabharat to support this theory. According to our scriptures, the Gita, as it is written, is a word-for-word transcript of the conversation that took place on that day. Being a 'dharm yuddh', the war was to be fought according to a previously agreed upon set of rules. Both sides would have been forced to wait for Krishn and Arjun to finish speaking and return to their side before beginning the battle. The entire Gita is only 700 Sanskrit verses, meaning that it would have taken three or four hours for the entire conversation to take place. Only when they were finished and Arjun returned to his side, ready to fight, did the war begin. So, what we have today is word-for-word what Krishn said to Arjun that day on the battlefield.  

How Ved Vyas Produced an Authentic Record of What Krishn Told Arjun 

Some may also wonder: How did Ved Vyas know what was said that day? Was Arjun taking notes? Sanjay, with his Divine sight and hearing, also witnessed the telling of the Gita and related it to Dhritrashtra. Did either of them take notes? Or did Shree Krishn later explain to Ved Vyas what was said that day? The answer is that none of the above was required, because Ved Vyas is already an avatar of Shree Krishn. Shree Krishn has many forms, and one of those forms is Ved Vyas. He descends in this form at the end of every dwaparyug to rewrite all of the Hindu scriptures. At that time, He also produces the Gita in a written form. Since Ved Vyas is a form of Krishn, it means that in one form, Shree Krishn told the Gita, and in another form - as Ved Vyas - He wrote the Gita. So there is no question of any mistake being made in the recording of the conversation. This means that the Gita we have today is the authentic account of the discussion between Krishn and Arjun that day on the battlefield of Kurukchetra, more than 5,000 years ago.  Before we learn the actual teachings of the Gita, we must discover who is qualified to hear the knowledge. This will be the topic of the next entry. 

Note: The entire Bhagavad Gita series by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple and pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, will continue, once or twice a week, for more than a year and will be an incredible study aid in learning the deepest aspects of Bhagavad Gita from one of the most profound and prolific speakers of Bhagavad Gita in the English speaking world today.

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Series of beautiful lectures and kirtan across California with Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and pracharak of JKP Radha Madhav Dham.


Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to give lectures and kirtan in California 2012


Topic: The true benefits of kirtan and devotion

Date: Sunday March 11th

Time: 8:00pm

Location: Bhakti Yoga Shala

207 Arizona Avenue

Santa Monica, CA 90405

[MAP]

Phone: (310) 804-9290


Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to give lectures and kirtan in California 2012


Topic: Answers to the mysteries of life & the truth about psychic powers

Date: Thursday March 15th

Time: 7:00pm


Topic: Karma, destiny & re-incarnation

Date: March 22nd

Time: 7:00pm


Topic: Perfect meditation, perfect peace

Date: Thursday March 29th

Time: 7:00pm


Location: Lifemind,

24303 Walnut Street,

Newhall

California

[MAP]

Phone: 661-904-5353


Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to give lectures and kirtan in California 2012


Topic: The Gita: I am the refuge of the souls

Dates: March 14th & 21st

Time: 7:30 - 8:30pm

Location: Hindu Valley Temple,

18700 Roscoe Blvd.,

Northridge

California

[MAP]

Phone: 818-722-7736


Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to give lectures and kirtan in California 2012


Topic: An introduction to the Bhagwatam, beyond the Gita

Date: March 18th

Time: 10am - 12:30pm

Location: Hindu Temple of Fresno

7699 East Alluvial Avenue

Clovis, California 93611

[MAP]

Phone: 559-325-7233


Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to give lectures and kirtan in California 2012


Topic: How to know what you really want?

Date: Saturday March 17th

Time: 4 - 5pm


Topic: How to find your soulmate- Is it determined by reincarnation & destiny, or free will?

Date: Wednesday March 28th

Time: 7 - 8:30pm


Location: Lionheart Instutude

11712 Moorpark Street

Studio City

California 91413

[Map]

Phone: 818-640-6444

Disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to give lectures and kirtan in California 2012


Topic: The Gita - "I am the Refuge of all the souls"

Date: March 24th & 25th

Time: 3pm

Location: Hindu Temple Society

1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Road

Calabasas, California

[MAP]

Phone: 818-880-5552

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Gita Chapter 1 - Part 1 by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

  Bhagavad Gita with Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

How old is the Gita?

Like Ved, the Gita is eternal and is reproduced on the earth planet at regular intervals. When Shree Krishn told the Gita to Arjun 5,000 years ago, it was not the first time it was told. In the beginning of the fourth chapter, Shree Krishn tells Arjun that He had revealed the same knowledge to the sun god Vivaswat before the beginning of the current manvantar (a period of time corresponding to one hour in Brahma's day; there are 14 manvantar in one day of Brahma - we are currently in the seventh). Before that, there were many other times as well, because Shree Krishn tells the same Gita every time He descends on earth.

The Gita is part of the extensive and fully coordinated system of Sanskrit scriptures that forms the basis of Sanatan Dharm, the eternal and universal religion for all the souls. The word 'sanatan' means eternal, and 'dharm' means those thoughts, words and actions that foster good qualities in a person, and ultimately take him to God. So, if Sanatan Dharm is eternal, then it means the knowledge of Sanatan Dharm is eternal. That knowledge remains in the form of the Ved, Upnishad, Gita and other Hindu scriptures, which reside eternally within God in their Divine form and are maintained here on the earth planet in a book form. It is all a part of the process of srishti: the manifesting and maintenance of the creation which gives a chance for the souls to realize God.

God Reveals the Knowledge of Sanatan Dharm

The souls are eternal and have been seeking God since eternity, but they cannot know about God on their own because God is beyond human intellect. The only way would be for God to make Himself known to the souls, and He does - through the Vedas, Gita and other Hindu scriptures that He produces on the earth planet. Thus, in the eternal cycle of creation and dissolution of the universe, the souls have been taking birth after birth since eternity, and in every birth, the knowledge of God and of dharm has been available through these scriptures.

Mantaining the Availability of the Hindu Scriptures on the Earth Planet

A portrayal of Vyasa, who classified the Vedas...

Ved Vyas the reproducer of the Bhavad Gita and other scriptures

In order to maintain the availability of these scriptures for the guidance of the souls, sometimes the books have to be reproduced. There is a system for this as well. All of these scriptures are reproduced at the end of every dwaparyug by a descension of God called Ved Vyas (each manvantar is divided into 71 cycles of the four yugas; each cycle corresponds to one minute of Brahma's day - we are currently in the 28th cycle of the seventh manvantar - thus, we are currently in the 28th dwaparyug of this manvantar). This means that Ved Vyas has reproduced the scriptures 28 times in this manvantar alone. When he comes, Ved Vyas re-writes all the Hindu scriptures, including the Ved, Darshan Shastras, Puranas, Ramayan, and the Mahabharat, which includes the Gita. The latest such reproduction was 5,000 years ago.

In the next part, I will address the question of whether the conversation recorded by Ved Vyas in the Gita is a word-for-word transcript of the conversation between Krishn and Arjun, or if it was somehow expanded upon at a later date.

Note: The entire Bhagavad Gita series by Swami Nikhilanand will continue, once or twice a week, for more than a year and will be an incredible study aid in learning the deepest aspects of Bhagavad Gita from one of the most profound and prolific speakers of Bhagavad Gita in the English speaking world today.

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Holi 2012 at Radha Madhav Dham, ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Rain or Shine: Holi at Radha Madhav Dham

We will be celebrating Holi here at Radha Madhav Dham RAIN or SHINE! Please join us for this joyous occasion today, Saturday, March 10, at 3:00 p.m.

Today's schedule:
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Holi songs and speech by Swami Nikhilanandji on "The Spiritual Meaning of Holi"
5:00 p.m. Dinner Prasad until 6:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m. Holi Play
7:00 p.m. Holi Fire

Just as the Holi of Barsana India is renowned for its spectacular style of colored play, Holi at Radha Madhav Dham is becoming renowned in the US for its devotional and joyous celebration of this playful festival. Beginning in the afternoon with the chanting of Holi pads and rasiya songs that describe the Holi leelas of Radha Krishn, the enthusiasm begins to build. Then a speech on the real meaning of Holi by Swami Nikhilanand inspires all in attendance to ponder who they really came to play Holi with--Radha Krishn. Chanting of the Holi leelas further adds to the feelings of mutual forgiveness, acceptance and Divine love that mark this occasion. After a prasad dinner and traditional sweets are served to the thousands of guests, a bell is rung to signal the beginning of Holi play on the Maharas Mandal. Gulal (pink powder) is provided which people throw on each other as they dance and sing, until a cloud of red dust fills the air, and all have turned the color of love. It must be experienced to be understood.

Here is a special Holi message by foremost disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj-

The blessed souls. Today we are celebrating Holi at Radha Madhav Dham, USA. This Radha Madhav Dham and Barsana Dham in India are the very same. The one in India was produced by Radha Rani Herself 5,000 years ago, and this was manifested by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. With his Grace, this Radha Madhav Dham came into being.

Holi 2012 at Radha Madhav Dham, ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Here we are celebrating Holi. We were just singing a pad "Hori aee ri, ari O nathwari! Hori aee ri." I'll explain the meaning of that briefly.

Krishn, saying to a Gopi, "O Gopi! Hori aee ri. Hori! Hori aee ri, ari O nathwari.Nath means nose ring. A very common ornament in Braj, they wear nath, nose ring. "O! The one who is wearing nose ring, nathwari!Gori, GopiHori has come! Hori aee ri, ari O nathwari! Hori aee ri. Ghunghat ke pat kholi kheli le, lai pyari kar pichkari, Hori aee ri." So, Krishn and this Gopi are playing holi

Gopis came from Divine Vrindaban. Radha Krishn came from Divine Vrindaban. They were all Divine descensions. But there is a message behind that.

Holi 2012 at Radha Madhav Dham, ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj


O ghunghat wari!
Ghunghat means wearing a veil. "Ghunghat ke pat kholi, open the veil, and play holi face to face!" Then..."Bahut dinan te kahati rahi tu, hori avati, Banwari." O Gopi! "Bahut dinan te kahati rahi tu," for a long time you were saying, "O Krishn! I'll play hori with You. I'll play hori with you on hori day." You were saying this for a long time. Now hori has come, play now! 

Holi 2012 at Radha Madhav Dham, ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj


"Man bhaee 'Kripalu' kari le tu, yah tero piya Giridhari. O Gopi, do whatever you wish, this is your Krishn! Your own Krishn." If you understand this message, you can play real holi with Krishn and Radha, right away.

Krishn says, "Ghunghat ke pat kholi. This soul is wearing the veil of maya." Maya means attachment in the world. You have lots of attachments: family, friends, business, house, personal affairs, own personality, own skills--you are attached everywhere. This is a curtain between you and Krishn. This is ghunghat. It is veiling your eyes to see Krishn. So pat kholi. Open this veil and play holi face to face with Krishn.

So, Ghunghat ke pat kholi kheli le, lai pyari kar pichkari. Kar pichkari, you know, we play with pichkari (a large syringe-shaped squirter). We fill the pichkari with color and throw. So, "O Gopi! If the pichkari is already filled with mud, you can't fill it with color. It has to be empty. Only an empty pichkari can be filled with color. Your heart is full of worldly mire. Empty it, make it empty, and fill it with the color of your love. Then throw it on Me. That's real holi!

Holi 2012 at Radha Madhav Dham, ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj


So, O soul! You know...for uncountable lifetimes you are in the world. Taking life and death, life and death, life and death, suffering in the world, being attached in the world, you spent uncountable lifetimes. You never got up from there. You collected lots of worldly mire--mud--the mud of karmasKarm is like mud. All karmas are binding. So now try to empty it! And fill it with your own love, pure love, colorful love. Fill it with love, and throw it on Me.

Then what will I do? I'll throw color on you. Simple. You throw on Me, I'll throw on you. You can throw your own love, whatever you have, according to your capacity.

Holi 2012 at Radha Madhav Dham, ashram of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj


And what is the capacity of a soul? Soul is very little--infinitesimal, but whatever you have, throw on Me. Then I'll give you My love. My love is unlimited, limitlessly Blissful, ever-new, ever-charming, ever-exciting...you will be drenched with that color, inside and outside. Then your whole personality, inside and outside, will become the form of love--you will become the form of love. You will see love, you will eat love, you will play love, you will sleep in love, you will walk in love, you will talk in love, you will live in love. You will be in love, all the time, experiencing various phases of love.

Gopi! Come out. Cut the veil of your maya, fill your heart with your love, and play holi with Me. Bahut dinan te kahati rahi tu. O Gopi! You were saying for a long, long time."

People say, "Yes, Swamiji, when I'll retire I'll just do devotion all the time--twenty-four hours." When you retire? [Swamiji laughs.] You will look for a new job when you retire. I have seen people after retirement, looking for a new job. They can't sit quiet.

You have to do right now, right away, if you want to start something! If you postpone for tomorrow...it's postponed. Tomorrow never comes--never! Because tomorrow you will say again, "Tomorrow." Again you will say, "Tomorrow." What tomorrow? Today! Why not today! It's a good idea. But not the best idea. Why not now, right now? When? Today!

You say, "I'll do after two hours. There is some important work that has come. I'll do after some time. In the evening." Again, if you are postponing...it's your habit. So, why not right now? This is the most important thing to do. What could be so important as finding the love of Radha and Krishn? Nothing could be so important. It all could be brushed out and thrown away. But no, you pay importance to worldly things. You think, "No, I can do this thing first, then I'll do devotion. Satsang? It goes on for six hours in Radha Madhav Dham, I'll go sometime. Oh, somebody has come, some relative or relatives have come, something has to be done... I'll do that first." 

That I mean to say is that we pay attention to worldly things, worldly appointments, worldly commitments. We don't pay much importance to our Divine commitment. Before birth, soul has committed itself to Krishn.  It is in Garbhopnishad: "O Krishn!  When I am in the world again, I'll remember You all the time throughout my life." So our commitment is for Krishn. You have forgotten that commitment. So, you have to understand, there are two things: God or Krishn love, and worldly, material pleasure or contentment. Choose between the two. What do you want first? The world is first? Then next goes the second, God realization--it may not come. You have to pay importance to God realization first, other things next. First, devotion to God. Second, other things of the world. Only then you start devotion to Radha and Krishn. Because now you have understood the importance of Krishn love. And when you understand the importance of Krishn love, really understand, then nobody can cause you to deviate from it with any kind of allurement of the world. "No, no, no, I don't want that thing. Oh, he can wait, she can wait, that work can wait, that appointment can wait. I am going to Radha Madhav Dham, to do satsang."

So in this way, you have to understand the importance of Krishn love and the importance of hori. So Krishn is saying, "O souls! Remove the veil of maya, come to Me."

He gave same message in different words in Gita: "Manmanabhav madbhakto madyajee mam namaskuru (Gita 18 / 65). Sarvadharman parityajya mamekam sharanam vraj (Gita 18 / 66). Sarvadharman parityajya, Leave everything and come to Me." Then what to do? "Remember Me, think of Me, love Me, be with Me."

The same thing Krishn is saying to the Gopi in a very loving style, "O Gori! Open your veil of maya, come to Me, play holi. You are saying for a long time, 'I want God, I want God, I want God.' Really you never wanted God, from the bottom of your heart. You just say, 'Yes yes, it is OK if it comes.' You were saying for a long time, now time has come...play holi with Me and have My love forever."

"Man bhaee 'Kripalu' kari le tu, yah tero piya Giridhari. This is your Krishn. God is Maha Vishnu. I am not Maha Vishnu, I am your piya." Piya means your Beloved. The Beloved of your body, mind and soul is Krishn. "Your loving Krishn, your own Krishn. Love with Me, anyway you like." So, "O souls! Come and play hori."

Thus with His leelas, Krishn revealed this message to every soul, that any soul could enjoy that hori leela of Braj which Krishn did 5,000 years ago. That is the message behind this holi occasion.

Bolo Shyama Shyam ki, Jai!
Barsana Dham ki, Jai!
Shree Kripaluji Maharaj ki, Jai!
Jai Shree Radhey!

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Gita Chapter 1 - Part 1 by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

Bhagawad Gita by Swami Nikhilanand

Before discussing the philosophical concepts of the Gita, it will be helpful to understand what the Gita is and from where it came. The Gita, or Bhagwad Gita, is said to be the essence of the Upnishads. Thus, to understand what the Gita is, we must know what the Upnishads are. 

The Upnishads are the uttar bhag, or culmination of the knowledge of the Ved. The Ved is eternal knowledge of God which resides within God and is produced in the form of "spoken words" on the earth planet. This Vedic knowledge, in the form of "spoken words" was passed on through many generations of Divine rishis. Another name for the Ved is 'shruti', which means that which was heard once and remembered. Eventually, when ordinary human population expanded, the 'shruti' had to be recorded in a written form - thus the Ved was produced in book form. Although books may be destroyed, or the "words" forgotten, yet the knowledge, being an eternal power of God, is not lost forever. It may disappear from the earth planet, but it is reproduced by Shree Krishn Himself or through His eternal Saints and rishis

Thus, the Vedic knowledge is always available to the souls of the earth planet. It is this knowledge which gives us the understanding of how to live a good life, and guides us towards attaining God. Sanatan Dharm, the original name of Hindu religion, is the eternal path to God, as told in the Vedas. It includes both the guidelines for living a healthy and pious life in the world, and the knowledge of how to attain God. In fact all the Hindu scriptures, like the Gita, Puranas, Smritis, Darshan Shastras, Mahabharat, and Ramayan are a further explanation of the spiritual teaching already found in the Vedas. The Upnishads are the part of the Vedas that deals with God realization and the path to God. Attaining God is the ultimate purpose of life as defined by Hindu philosophy. Thus, the Upnishads are the culmination of the Vedic knowledge.

Bhagavad Gita by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

There are 1,180 branches of the four Vedas: the Rigved contains 21 branches, the Samved 1,000, the Yajurved 109, and the Atharvaved 50. There is one Upnishad for each branch of the Vedas; thus there are 1,180 Upnishads in total. The spiritual knowledge of the Upnishads is extensive and is in difficult Sanskrit. Thus, to condense that knowledge and make it more easily understandable, Shree Krishn produced it in the form of the Bhagwad Gita. It is said that if the Upnishads are cows, then Shree Krishn milked those cows, and the milk is the Gita. The Gita contains the entire knowledge of the Upnishads in only 700 shlokas so it is the essence of the Upnishads. In fact, the Gita is regarded as having the same status as an Upnishad, so it is also known as the Gitopnishad (Gita + Upnishad = Gitopnishad). 

Because the prime subject matter of the Gita relates to finding God, it is also called Brahm Vidya Shastra, which means the scripture containing the knowledge of God. This does not mean that simply by reading the Gita you can know God. It means that if you practice the teachings of the Gita, then you can know God.

Before delving into the actual teachings of the Gita, I will address a few more questions regarding its origins and antiquity. Like Ved, the Gita is eternal and is reproduced on the earth planet at regular intervals. When Shree Krishn told the Gita to Arjun 5,000 years ago, it was not the first time it was told. Shree Krishn tells the same Gita every time He descends on earth. The Gita is a part of the extensive and fully coordinated system of Sanskrit scriptures which form the basis of Sanatan Dharm, the eternal and universal religion for all the souls. The word 'sanatan' means eternal, and 'dharm' means those thoughts, words and actions which foster good qualities in a person, and ultimately take him to God. So if Sanatan Dharm is eternal, then it means the knowledge of Sanatan Dharm is eternal. That knowledge remains in the form of the Ved, Upnishad, Gita and other Hindu scriptures. Although these scriptures are produced here in a book form, but in their Divine form they reside eternally within God. 

The souls are eternal and have been seeking God since eternity, but they cannot know about God on their own, because God is beyond human intellect. The only way would be for God to make Himself known to the souls, and He does - through the Vedas, Gita and other Hindu scriptures which He produces on the earth planet. Thus, in the eternal cycle of creation and dissolution of the universe, the souls have been taking birth after birth since eternity, and in every birth, the knowledge of God has been available through these scriptures. 

All of these scriptures are reproduced at the end of every dwaparyug by descension of God called Ved Vyas. The latest reproduction was 5,000 years ago. In the next blog post, I will address the question of whether the conversation recorded by Ved Vyas in the Gita is a word for word transcript of the conversation between Krishn and Arjun, or if it was somehow expanded upon at a later date.

Swami Nikhilanand is a disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. He resides at Radha Madhav Dham, which is the main US ashram of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. He lectures throughout America, teachings classes for all ages on topics such as the Gita. This exciting series of articles on Bhagavad Gita by Swami Nikhilanand will be running for the next year, and will be a useful study aid for us to deepen our understanding of all the important topics in Bhagavad Gita.

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Studying and Seva

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Vyasar, a devotee of JKP Radha Madhav Dham, was born in Derry, New Hampshire, and raised in Austin. His mother is from near Dehli, and his father comes from southern India. He currently is a senior at Allegheny College, working on a senior project in creative nonfiction. 

3/4/12 Meadville, PA 8:36 PM


I cannot do work anymore.

The late evenings, the interminable classes, the intolerable intolerances of the student body: it has all come to this point, this last push on my will to send it over the edge. It has become too hard for me to lose sleep over papers or books that I will never care about again. I do not want to sit through another class of angry, unmotivated people, waiting for the hour to pass from my waning life. The meetings where upstanding, contributing, servile students of the college express views of hatred, inequality, ignorance, malcontent, or show no interest in anything that isn't directly related to their self-pity. All of this and more has pushed my energy to the limit, has exhausted me to the point of preparing to throw in the towel.

And by all rights, I should be justified in doing so. I am a second-semester senior. I have survived three-and-a-half years of all that 'higher education' and 'experiential learning' can throw my way. I know which parties are undesirable, what professors are the most fun, who studies where and at what times. I am in the middle of completing my magnum opus, the senior project that will catapult me into the halls of academic acclaim. I've been admitted to one of the top graduate programs in New York City, with a hefty fellowship to boot. At this point, I'm more concerned with life after college than college itself.

But this is not an admission of loss of energy or of laziness or of general malcontent with the state of affairs. This is a failure to understand my true purpose in being a college student.

God and Guru are Both so Gracious, They will accept even a leaf as an offering, with zero hesitation, as long as it is offered wholeheartedly with selfless love. We are incredibly blessed to know this, to have been told that whatever seva we can offer will be received, but we continue to fret over how much money to donate to this ashram, to that orphanage. Tangibility is of prime importance to us: we can feel money leaving us, can see the prasad we have cooked, can experience the strain in our backs after sweeping the temple floor, and it pleases us to know we have done work. But in our grand conceit of the moment, we fail to understand that the Divine doesn't really care about what is physical and what isn't.

It is admittedly more difficult to see studying as a form of seva. But in the long term, it can help. Studying helps pass classes, which help get the degree to get the job that can give you the ability to support the mission financially or help buy a ticket to India. In some cases, experience gained in the workforce or university can benefit the organization itself, with photography, publicizing or even management. All we have to do is change our perceptions of why we're doing what we're doing. Dealing with laborious late nights is all the more valuable when seen as a candlelight vigil, waiting for the arrival of the Beloved. The hour lost in class is regained, as time spent learning how to serve our Guru. Other people's problems fall from our mind, as we lose ourselves in the beginnings of Bliss.

How can I be tired of working, of college, when the reason I'm here is God?

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Vyasar, a devotee of JKP Radha Madhav Dham, was born in Derry, New Hampshire, and raised in Austin. His mother is from near Dehli, and his father comes from southern India. He currently is a senior at Allegheny College, working on a senior project in creative nonfiction. 

View pictures of Prem Mandir Inauguration on facebook

Prem Mandir Inauguration

When you're at an ashram, every step you take is a little bit more like paradise. JKP's mandirs, ashrams and centers are all special in blissfully unique ways. I like to think of them as facets of Maharajji's personality, places where our beloved Jagadguru has come, enacted leelas, sung kirtans and made us all happy to the core of our souls.

With the recent inauguration of Prem Mandir in Vrindaban, a testament to the power of Divine Love, our Guru's grace has extended even more. Prem Mandir is a white marble temple, with no steel or cement in its walls or foundation. It is one of the largest Hindu temples in India, featuring 84 beautiful scenes of Radha and Krishn leelas, and a 10,000-seat prayer hall in the works, all on a 50-acre lot. In a country known for its grand temples, Prem Mandir represents a massively powerful addition to religious and devotional life.

The inaugural ceremony itself went from February 15th to 17th; an event full of chanting, parikrimas and intense devotion. Maharajji performed many functions during those three days, to the delight of devotees in attendance and around the world. And from where I sit, at my computer watching the videos, I feel a longing for India more intense than the longing for home. I want to be there, in the crowd of loving worship, offering myself as much as I can to the service of God and Guru. I want to feel the cold marble of Prem Mandir on my feet, the warm breeze and the sun on my face. I carry the desire for all of this within my body, as it meanders around the gray skies and icy pavement of Western Pennsylvania.

It is one of the ephemeral curses of being a college student that I have had no money to buy a ticket to India after four years of being here, and it is one of those curses that has a habit of sticking around after graduation. The inauguration of this new temple is a moment I should not have missed, but did, like so many other events and ceremonies in the last four years. The last time I saw Maharajji was more than two years ago, and at the very least I should have done something to change that. Instead, I have placed more roots in the community here, tried to establish a center for Hindu worship, and made myself look like a fool in the process. The lesson Maharajji gives about attachments, and how we should strive to only form newer ones with the Divine, I have taken in reverse, and built a kingdom of worldliness on top of my devotional upbringing. In brief, I have not become the person I expected to see at the end of my undergraduate life.

But Maharajji also teaches us not to hate ourselves. It is a road that leads nowhere. What has been done is undeniable, but it is also beyond our power to change the past. Our hopes for the future are laid out as best we can, with as much assurance and insurance as is humanly possible, but all can still fail. Our best interests, Guru says, lie in what we do in the present. Who we are now serves to define us more than what we have done or will do. Being unhappy changes nothing, but attempting to make a shift in who we are and what we do, regardless of success or failure, can change everything we know to be true.

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Sorry about the delay, but devotees in L.A. will be very please that Bhaiyaji is coming for some incredible programs within the next few days:

Tuesday March 6 @ 7:15
The Gita In Your Life
Chatsworth Hindu Temple & Cultural Center:
21213 Devonshire St.,
Chatsworth
818-772-6020

Wed., March 7 7:15pm
The Spiritual Meaning of Holi
Chatsworth Hindu Temple & Cultural Center:
21213 Devonshire St., Chatsworth
818-772-6020

Thursday, March 8 @ 7:00pm
The Essence of Eastern Spirituality
LifeMind: 24303 Walnut St.,
Suite B,
Newhall 91321
661-299-1966
Scott@life-Mind.com

Wed. March 14 @ 7:30pm
The Gita
Valley Hindu Temple
18700 Roscoe Blvd.,
Northridge
818-772-7736

Thursday, March 15 @ 7:00pm
The Mysteries of Life
LifeMind: 24303 Walnut St.,
Suite B,
Newhall 91321
661-299-1966
Scott@life-Mind.com

Sat. March 17 @ 4pm
THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS: How To Know What You Really Want
Lionheart Institute: 11712 Moorpark Street Studio City,
CA 91604 (818) 509-1800
LauraLFine@aol.com

Saturday, March 17 @ 8:30pm
The True Benefits of Kirtan and Devotion Bhakti
Yoga Shala: 207 Arizona Ave,
Santa Monica (park in 2nd street garage)

Wed. March 21, 7:30pm
The Gita
Valley Hindu Temple: 18700 Roscoe Blvd.,
Northridge
818-772-7736

Thursday, March 22 @ 7:00pm
Reincarnation, Karma & Destiny
LifeMind: 24303 Walnut St.,
Suite B,
Newhall 91321
661-299-1966
Scott@life-Mindcom

Saturday March 24 & Sunday March 25 @ 3pm
The Gita
Hindu Temple Society:
1600 Las Virgenes Rd.,
Calabasas
818-880-5552

Saturday March 24 @ 6:30pm
Kirtan in the Canyon
Lewis Residence:
3159 Voltaire Dr.,
Topanga Canyon
818-391-0169
HLewis@Idealliving.com

Wed. March 28 @ 7:30pm
The Search For Happiness: Finding Your Soulmate
Lionheart Institute:
11712 Moorpark Street Studio City,
CA 91604
(818) 509-1800
LauraLFine@aol.com

Thursday, March 29 @ 7:00pm
Perfect Meditation, Perfect Peace
LifeMind: 24303 Walnut St.,
Suite B, Newhall 91321
661-299-1966
Scott@life-mind.com
Friday, March 30 @ 7:15pm
Gopi Prem For Krishna Sanatan Dharma Temple:
15311 Pioneer Blvd.,
Norwalk
562-852-4067


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This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2012 is the previous archive.

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