May 2012 Archives

(Vyasar Ganesan 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 an arts graduate of Allegheny College, having just finished a senior project in creative nonfiction. Vyasar is a blogger for Radha Madhav Dham, the main US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.)

  Siddheshvari Devi at Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's ashram in Austin, Texas, Radha Madhav Dham

5/21/12 Austin, TX 3:20 PM

This past Sunday, Siddheshvari Deviji spoke beautifully at Radha Madhav Dham, on a clear, sunny Texas day, with the sun in the sky and lights in the hearts of the devotees. The topic of her lecture was on how "householders" can be as devotional as any sanyasi. Didiji's style of speech is very well-practiced, providing enriching spiritual context alongside entertaining and topical subjects. I'm happy to hear that she'll be staying at the mandir for another few weeks, too.

Her lesson, though, reminded me of another misconception that is very popular about devotion, and one not exclusive to non-Hindus. In every faith, it is stressed that God and religion come before everything else, without exception, without compromise. If we aren't thinking of Bhagwan at any given moment, we're wasting valuable time. Whatever devotional wealth we may have accrued over the course of our soul's existence can be squandered on a whim. Nothing is scarier than being made aware of how exactly little time one has to try and find God in their lifetime.

At the same time, though, we all have obligations. The scheduling of family reunions can run into dates set aside for prayer intensives or lecture series, and cause a great deal of tension. Productivity in the office can drop dramatically when employees are more focused on beloved God than filing papers. To put it roughly, the more time we spend on devotional or spiritual activities, the less we spend in the world.

Whether or not this is a good or a bad thing is purely a matter of perspective. From our fallen, worldly state, it feels like we aren't getting anything done. The bills need paying, the pipes need fixing, there are obligations and demands coming from all angles. We don't have time to sit in prayer and think about God for more than a half-second. But what Didiji's speech reminded me of is that there is another perspective that sees the time we spend searching for God in a wholly positive light. In our hearts and souls, Bhagwan sits, accounting our deeds and watching where we go in our lives. Our devotional actions are the ones that matter the most to Him, and in the end, they have to be the only ones that matter to us, too, if we're sincere in our hopes of finding Him.

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Paths - by Vyasar

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Vyasar Ganesan 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 an arts graduate of Allegheny College, having just finished a senior project in creative nonfiction. Vyasar is a blogger for Radha Madhav Dham, the main US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.

5/14/12 Chicago, IL 8:21 PM

As of last Saturday, I have become a college graduate. I have been granted a Bachelor of Arts degree from an institution of higher learning. In America, most people think of this as a benchmark of success, an achievement of academia in a mundane world. Sitting in the Chicago airport, waiting for a flight home, I am thinking about Lord Ram.

Exiled from Ayodhya at the tender age of eighteen, Ram had no choice but to wander and settle in the jungle for what must have seemed, at its outset, an unknowable span of time. Maharshi Valmiki paints such an intense portrait of His figure in exile, Ram's image is not hard to call to mind. The crown prince, supreme God, sent away from comfort and friends at the peak of his adolescence, making a premature pilgrimage in the wilderness. Ram was someone brought up to rule a kingdom, and was undeniably worthy of the throne at the height of his education. To have come so far and accomplished so much, only to be sent into exile, be attacked by demons, and suffer the perils of the unknown, must have seemed a far fall from grace to some.

But the lesson is not so simple as that. The paths that we follow are not always necessitated by any evil will, nor any past actions come back to deliver their sentence. Sometimes God puts us on unexpected journeys to help us grow. Krishn and Balram went to Mathura and freed His parents from Kans. Vaman covered the three worlds with three strides and brought a proud king to his knees. Our scriptures are full of adventures, journeys, wild rides into the unknown to broaden spiritual understanding and increase devotional wealth. The very name of our religion, Sanatan Dharm, is a message about following the eternal path.

So, to go back to Lord Ram. He and Lakchman had many adventures trying to rescue Sita. After meeting many devotional personalities, building a bridge to Lanka with the help of an army of monkeys, and killing Ravan and his hundreds of millions of demons, Ram returned to Ayodhya at the end of his exile and was crowned king. His younger brother, who sat on the throne in Ram's honor, gladly stepped down to the older, and now more-experienced, king. The great leela of the Ramayan takes place from Ram Bhagwan's birth to ascension, and teaches us a great many things about proper conduct, honor and how to live devotionally. But most importantly, it teaches us to walk the eternal path, to honor God and to understand that our lives are being guided by Him for our betterment.

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NEW: Visit for details on all Radha Madhav Dham's latest lecture series and satsangs in Los Angeles

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's disciple speaking in Studio City, California

Lionheart Institute (June 2, 9, 7 2012): In a 3 part series, Swami Nikhilanand will speak on "3 Secrets to Creating an Intimate Relationship with God". Each program will include beautiful chanting meditation (kirtan) to open the heart. RSVP required. Suggested donation $25 for all 3 classes or $10 each individual class.

Day 1: How to turn anger for God into love for God (Sat June 2nd, 4:30 - 6:00 PM)
The philosophy of the Sanskrit scriptures of India teaches us how to understand why things happen, so we can stop blaming Him/Her (and start trusting Her/Him no matter what).

Day 2: Meditation that transforms (Sat June 9, 10:00 - 11:30 AM)
No good at meditation? No problem. The bhakti tradition of India brings us an easy way to meditate that gives big results. This form of meditation is critical for deveoping an intimate relationship with God.

Day 3: Who needs a Guru (Sat June 9, 10:00 - 11:30 AM)
What does a guru (spiritual master) have to do with finding God? Is it possible to receive the benefit of a master's grace without taking any personal risks?

Lionheart Institute
11712 Moorpark St, 
Studio City, 
CA 91413 
Phone: 818-640-6444

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's disciple speaking in Pasadena, California

Pasadena Hindu Temple (June 3rd 2012): "The secret of chanting God's Divine name". Lecture and kirtan by Swami Nikhilanand. Program followed by Arti and Prasad. Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. 

Phone: (626) 446-7843
Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's disciple speaking in Newhall, California

LifeMind (June 4, 11, 18 2012): In a 3 part series, Swami Nikhilanand will speak on 3 modern questions - 3 ancient answers - practical solutions from the oldest knowledge on Earth. Each program will include meditation instruction & practice, along with live kirtan.

Day 1: What is more important, science or God? (Mon June 4, 7:30 - 9:00 PM)
Some say that science and reason can solve all our problems. Others say that the material world is an illusion and all you need is God. The ancient Sankrit scriptures of India give us a practical reconciled view.

Day 2: Turning skepticism into faith: How to prove the existance of God (Mon, June 11, 7:30 - 9:00 PM)
In this age of science and reason, having faith in something unseesn is viewed by some as being irrational or desperate: it is feared that a "person of science" cannot believe in God. Find out how it is possible to believe in God and still be scientific and rational. Find out how to prove the existance of God.

Day 3: What is a spiritual teacher (Who needs a Guru)? (Mon June 18, 7:30 - 9:00 PM)
What does a Guru have to do with your spirituality? What does a Guru do for you and can they impart Grace?

24303 Walnut St., 
Suite B Newhall, 
California 91321 
Contact: 661-904-5353 or 

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's disciple speaking in Norwalk, California

Sanatan Dharma Temple (June 9 & 11, 2012): Lecture & kirtan by Swami Nikhilanand. In a 2 part series, Swami Nikhilanand will speak on "Secrets of practicing bhakti".

Sat, June 9: The greatness of chanting God's Divine name 
Sun, June 10: The importance of meditation on the path of Bhakti 

Venue:  Sanatan Dharma Temple, 
15311 Pioneer Blvd., 
Norwalk, California 90701 
Phone: 562-484-0822

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's disciple speaking in Chatsworth, California

Chatsworth Hindu Temple (June 12 - 16): Lectures and kirtan by Swami Nikhilanand. Each day from 7:00 - 8:30 PM, Swami Nikhilanand will speak on "Great devotees of God". The lecture series will cover the life history of Meera Bai, Bhakt Dhruv, Bhakt Prahlad, Bhakt Sudama and will conclude with a specal father's day lecture called "God is our Divine father".

Venue: Chatsworth Hindu Temple 
21213 Devonshire St, 
Chatsworth, California 
Phone: (818) 772-6020

Swami Nikhilanand was born and raised in a small village in Canada. He longed since childhood to know about God. As a young man, his Search led him to India, where he studied Hindi and the philosophy of the Sanskrit scriptures of Hinduism. Since taking sanyas, he has travelled around the U.S. speaking on the teachings of Sanatan Dharm. His lectures are scientific and practical and include many quotations from the Hindu scriptures, sung in beautiful Sanskrit. He has inspired many people to awaken their inner spiritual potential by integrating the teachings of Hinduism into their lives more fully.
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Throughout June 2012, Janeshwari Devi (Didi), a sanyasi teacher of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat India, will be presenting a series of talks and chanting programs at 4 prominent locations throughout Galway, a small city on the west coast of Ireland. Ireland has been abuzz with devotional activity since 1983. A few devotees have been living in Galway since 1992, but this is one of biggest spiritual programs to date. Galway is the cultural capital of Ireland and has been voted 42nd best tourist destination in the world, or 14th in Europe. Janeshwari Didi's programs will be a wonderful, spiritual addition to an already bustling, bohemian, ancient little city. Download event fliers, or call David on 085 229 8372 for more info about these programs or future spiritual programs in Galway.
Indigo Holistic Center, Tuam (June 15th, 7:30 - 9:00): All the powers that are in the universe are also in our mind. Because we do not utilize these powers to their fullest we feel disappointment, tension and dissatisfaction in our lives. We will learn a new way to meditate that takes us beyond the mental training exercises of popular meditation techniques and taps into the fullest potential of the mind. Participants will be introduced to three simple steps which will allow us to experience deep contentment and satisfaction in our lives. Through an eclectic mix of dynamic powerpoint presentations, speech, Sankrit verses and soulful chantings, Didi will deepen our understanding of meditation and the mind. The title of this program is "Perfect Meditation, Perfect Mind".
An Seomra Yoga (June 16, 16:00 - 17:30): An Seomra Yoga is a boutique yoga studio in the heart of old Galway city. The center is alive with a multifacited blend of yoga classes and the sounds of drumming and chanting. Janeshwari Didi will be speaking on "Spiritual Wisdom and Chants of India". India is recognized  throughout  the  world  for  its  rich  spiritual heritage. Access to the hidden gems of knowledge in the sacred writings of India can be difficult to obtain. Janeshwari Didi's  talk  will unravel  common  misperceptions about  the  mystical  teachings  and  provides  guidance  for  walking  on  a spiritual path.   

Experience the divine power infused in Sanskrit mantras and be transported to another realm through  chanting of the name of God. 
Wholistic House of Healing (June 8th, 19:30 - 21:00): At this center for alternative therapies, yoga workshops and classes, Janeshwari Devi will speak on "Who am I? What is Mine?"

We are complex creations of God. Who is our real self, we do not know. What truly belongs to us, we are also unaware of. Without this knowledge it is difficult to reach the highest potential of our life. Truly understanding ourselves can remove layers of accumulates stress and negative emotions, leading to a new sense of confidence and direction in life. Come and find out who you really are!
Satnam Center (June 12, 19:30 - 21:00): A small walk from the Latin Quarter of Galway, Satnam Center is a popular venue for all styles of yoga and meditation. Janeshwari Devi will speak on "Karma, Destiny & World Events".

Have you ever wondered...
  • Why bad things happen to good people?
  • What happens after death?
  • If God answer our prayers?
  • Why there are so many disasters around the world? 

If so, then this talk is for you. You will learn the spiritual answers to these questions and many others. Janeshwari Devi will explain the science of karma and destiny from the ancient Sanskrit texts of India. This knowledge can guide our choices so that we can live with greater confidence and joy. 

About Janeshwari Devi:
Janeshwari Devi was inspired by the universal truths of the sacred texts of India that she has learned from Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, the fifth original Jagadguru of the last 5,000 years and founder of JKP.  

She began her study of the spiritual knowledge of India in 1983 while living in the U.S. Presently she is living in India. 

In 1991, Janeshwari Devi was ordained in the monastic order of sanyas and is one of the few Western women belonging to this order in the tradition of raganuga bhakti of Vrindavan, India. She later traveled across the U.S, sharing this ancient knowledge. Janeshwari Devi's talks have a warmth and clarity that attracts the hearts and minds of the listener. Her dedication and personal warmth makes her presentations accessible and inspiring for anyone. Her singing of kirtans fills the heart with a new experience of deep peace and inner contentment


Janeshwari taking a stroll in a woodland park next to the Corrib river, which runs through Galway. 

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This past Mother's Day, Radha Madhav Dham gave up their stage to one of India's renowned bansuri (bamboo flute) players: Surmani Rajendra Teredesai. Also performing were renowned tabla player Gourisankar, as well as Manasi Joshi-Singh who accompanied on tanpura. After prasad lunch, the community of Austin and satsangis alike were invited to convene in the Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple to experience a special kind of meditation from the same instrument Krishn plays to call His beloved Gopis.

On any day, one can come to Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple and hear its superb acoustics and appreciate its felicitous setting for musical performances from the humble offerings of the harmonium and dholak players who perform during the satsang services. And those are just the technical aspects. Lest we forget, Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple is imbued with the Divinity of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj himself. From deep down in its soil, in which the foundation was laid, from the embryo of its design, the vision of its structure, throughout its construction, to every last minute detail, this temple carries this Divine uniqueness. So when, on this past Mother's Day, renowned Indian musicians came to play their "captivating, melodious, and soulful" music here, perhaps what could be overlooked was how such a thing of greatness differentiates itself from the infinite greatness of God. That is why it was so important to report that after the concert, Rajendra Teredesai made it plain to us that during his performance here, he felt so inspired that he "could have played all night." He expressed how he felt "grateful to play in such a beautiful and Divine atmosphere," and wishes to "return soon and perform for the devotees at Radha Madhav Dham." And he added that "it felt like I am praying in Vrindaban; I feel free to humbly offer my prayer to Lord Krishn in the form of my music," and in so doing, preserve the purity of my music playing here."

The setting in the Radha Madhav Dham Temple hall was a superb environment for such an intimate concert presentation. Decorated in Mother's Day pink with colorful, painted-silver balloons floating about the stage, the players came dressed in orange and yellow. The music filled the hall creating such a relaxing atmosphere that one could close their eyes and feel the devotional vibrations raining throughout the Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple.

Sunday afternoon, when Rajendra Teredesai sat down to play his bansuri, the audience began to understand just what Rajendraji describes in his performance as a "Divine Conversation." After the concert, Rajendraji graciously allowed us to talk with him candidly about it. He described that when he plays how he loses himself and allows the vibrations from the flute to be a conduit to his offering to Krishn. He says, "He (Krishn) takes over and supplies me with the energy to perform all night long sometimes."

Many dedicated, spiritual people have reported to him that after his performances throughout India and abroad that they experience true roop dhyan of Krishn's form. Rajendraji said that it is to his Guru's credit (the legendary Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia) that he is able to share this 'divine conversation' with his audience, because "that is what it is all about." He said, "For me, music is not entertainment, absolutely it is a religion for me, it is dharma."

Also noteworthy is that Rajendra Teredesai comes from a long lineage of musical teachers that establishes him as true musical master and artist in the Indian tradition, where Guru transmits his knowledge to his disciples, who then become masters themselves and pass on their knowledge as well. Rajendra Teredesai described his ganda bandh ceremony, where this bond between disciple and Guru is solidified with this specific ritual.

In the second part of the concert, the two artists, Rajendra Teredesai and Gourisankar, began to have their own conversation (popularly known as 'jugal bandhi'), that at first began as a simple and playful repertoire between them as each responded to the other's musical phrases. Then it evolved as the phrases became more and more complex and lively. Rajendraji always led it by playing a short phrase on his flute to set up Gourisankar to recreate the same phrase on his tabla. And though the two instruments are of completely different musical classification - the flute a wind instrument and the tabla a percussion instrument - the two masters went on to thrill the audience with a type of frolicsome, improvisational game likened to a teasing of a cat and mouse. At one point, Gourisankar had to concede to Rajendra Teredesai; unable to respond to his bansuri's unique phrases that were beyond the tabla's capability. He could only raise his tabla as a form of surrender. The crowd cheered and the musicians continued.

One concert attendee commented: "It was amazing how the two musicians played so synchronously. It was like they spoke the same musical language, each intuitively reading the other." The two players had indeed never even met each other before this concert. So it was an amazing example of the improvisational characteristics infused in the Indian music tradition.

Rajendra Teredesai performed for Radha Madhav Dham as a charitable donation, but for whoever is interested, Rajendra Teredesai is currently producing a set of five CDs, one of which is available for purchase from his website and/or It is titled "Divine Dimensions."

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21.5.12 - Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya received the prestigious "Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012" on 21st May 2012. The award was received by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat's President H.H. Ms. Vishakha Tripathi. Visit JKP Hospitals facebook page for more picture.

Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012

Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012

Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012

Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012

Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012
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Radha Madhav Dham Hindu Family Camp 

We would like to inspire you and your family to join our Hindu Family Camp at JKP, Radha Madhav Dham, Friday, June 29 - Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

This summer create the opportunity for you and your family to spend quality time together at our beautiful ashram. By attending the Camp, you will engage in devotional, educational and fun activities throughout your stay. Highlights include: concurrent classes for adults, teens, youth, and kids, leela performances, hikes, seva projects, yoga, dholak, harmonium lessons and team building activities.

Classes with our sanyasi preachers will make certain that everyone gains a firm faith and pride of being a Hindu living in America. Not only will your kids have fun, they will spend time with others their age learning invaluable spiritual teachings.

To see the full details and register online go to
or call us at: (512) 288-7180 for more information.

"JKP Radha Madhav Dham Family Camp gives you the essence of what life should be like. Through various religious and recreational activities, we all bond together because of the great fun, forming a huge family, full of immense love for one another".
Ilu D., Houston, TX, age 14

We look forward to welcoming you

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In this 7-part lecture series on the Bhagwatam, Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi peacharak of Radha Madhav Dham, relates the Krishn leelas from the first part of the 10th canto. It covers the from time of Shree Krishn's appearance and birthday celebration in Gokul, up until the Govardhan leela and Shree Krishn's crowning as the real Indra by Kamdhenu and Indra himself. 

Along with describing the leelas, Swami Nikhilanand explains how one should listen to the leelas, the danger of applying one's intellect in Divine leelas, and the reason why hearing the leelas is so important for a devotee. He tells that listening to, chanting and meditating on Shree Krishn's leelas are the easiest way to purify the heart; thus, it is an integral part of the path of bhakti.

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Swami Nikhilanand leads parikrama at Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj's ashram, Radha Madhav Dham

(Article by  Joe Chornou)

On the last Saturday of April, in the heart of the Hill Country, an auspicious event happened: Mela at Radha Madhav Dham. Thousands of people enjoyed the festive atmosphere with all the rich, exotic cultural aspects of India.

Just past noon cars started rolling in from FM1826 onto Barsana Road, greeted by purple and white blossoming crape myrtles, to the parking area on large grassy meadows. As the passengers came strolling in, they first encountered the tall, white marble shikhar of the Raseshwari Radha Rani temple. And to their left, on the grass in front of the temple, camels sitting with their coquettish, contented smiles, waited for the children to come ride upon their humps. Attracted by the colorful Indian bazaar, they enjoyed shopping amongst its many wares and hard-bargaining vendors, then it was on to the snow cone stand, the face-painting booth, the Indian sweets seller, the Vedic astrologer, the palmist, the reflexologist and the "May I Help You" booth. Now they'd arrived at the game area. Of the many games, none were video games or anything avidly afforded with special effects - just the kind of simple games requiring a little bit of skill and a dash of imagination that takes you back to another time when fun was not so complicated. Behind these games stood the vaunted cricket batting cage, which required significant skill. The pitching machine lobbed wind-aided, 85-mile-an-hour, bouncing, knuckle-curve balls that even the greatest batsman of all time, Sir Donald Bradman, would have been lucky to hit! Nearby, more kids formed a continuous line to enter the colorful, inflated, bouncy castle.

All of which was enough to make everyone hungry and thirsty on such a sunny day. So, it was on to the dining halls where all the great 'Tastes of India' were offered. It didn't take long for the dining and picnic areas to fill up with people sitting down to enjoy cuisine with names like sambar and masala dosa. There were samosas with honeyed, sweet and sour chutney sauces poured over them, as well as bhel puri, pani puri, idli, and dahi vada. Enticing aromas made mouths water in anticipation, but people discovered the thirst-quenching delights of an ice cold mango lassi, soothing rose milk drinks, and rejuvenating, tangy cups of Indian style sweet chai. Ahhhh.

As folks considered a visit to the main temple hall to experience some cultural and religious traditions of India, the pathway presented an odyssey of diversions, where kids strong-armed their parents to pause and watch Bonzo Crunch. As one volunteer reported, "He had the children literally howling with laughter, like a pied piper he was." But Bonzo Crunch wasn't the only circus act that was a hit that day. Darren Petersen's juggling and comedy entertained the crowds all day long as well.

Inside the temple's main hall, visitors observed a monk in orange robes, full beard and twinkling eyes, who was introduced as Swami Nikhilanand. He fielded many questions from both westerners and Indians. Questions like, "What is karm?" or "How do the Sanskrit scriptures view cosmology?" or "What does it mean to be an 'old soul'?" Canadian-born Swami Nikhilanand, who has extensively studied the philosophy of the prime Sanskrit scriptures (Vedas, Gita, Bhagwatam, Darshan Shastras) explained that many Sanskrit words from the Hindu scriptures have found their way into the American vernacular, but that some of their meanings and pronunciation were altered in the process. Words like karm, pandit and mantra, and concepts like the soul and reincarnation, which have become so commonly used and accepted in the West, actually originated from Hinduism and Sanskrit scriptures.

Later in the afternoon, traditional India dances were performed to a nearly full house. Dancers from the greater Austin area included Hema Raja and her dancers, Shaili Mehta, Tripi Shrinivaan and her friends from Circle C. Vijaya Vavilikolanu, who teaches at Radha Madhav Dham, and Aparaupa Chatterjee, with her Odissi dance troupe, came down from College Station. Also warmly welcomed were Sahiti Dulipala, who just moved here from Buffalo, N.Y., and used a silver plate in a Kuchipudi style that amazed the audience.

Radha Madhav Dham's Mela is and has always been an open house, a day that Radha Madhav Dham especially sets aside to invite neighbors and the public to come and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of traditional Indian culture, and to take in the spiritual atmosphere of an authentic Hindu ashram. The meaning of "Mela" is "the gathering of people," or, more plainly, an Indian fair. And throughout India there are many, many Melas held for various purposes. But here at Radha Madhav Dham, there is a special purpose beyond just providing an annual open house.

Radha Madhav Dham Managing Member, Dr. Chirag Patel, explained simply: "At Radha Madhav Dham, we have inherited a great spiritual legacy, and it is our intention to share that spiritual wealth with everyone who wishes to come." He continued, "Our Mela provides an opportunity for those who have never experienced Indian culture, with its rich spiritual traditions, to taste it firsthand in a fun-filled manner. And what better platform than to taste it here at the largest Hindu Temple in the United States?"

What was perhaps the biggest highlight at this year's Mela, actually occurred long before the event. Weeks of preparation and organizing were carried out by an unprecedented amount of volunteers who came from all over the United States. They weren't here to relax or vacation, as they could have and probably deserved. Instead of going to a nice beach somewhere in the tropics, they used their vacation time to come to Radha Madhav Dham to work, sometimes late into the night, on preparations for the Mela. Power washing, sweeping, polishing, decorating, trucking in loads of groceries, setting up the tables for games and booths, preparing the stage, and the construction of tents for the bazaar. There were volunteers who called more volunteers; there were rooms to clean and extra meals to prepare. Signing on sponsors was perhaps the easiest task because they were delighted to be called and happy to participate. Strong shoulders and healthy backs, as well as those not so strong, were all clear-eyed, full-hearted and grateful to be so fortunate to be a part of Radha Madhav Dham's Mela.

One devotee observed, "Everything was a hit! Every aspect of the Mela went smoothly, and it was because of the volunteers and their devoted enthusiasm. That's what made the difference. That's what made everyone so happy." And that's what thousands of Mela visitors felt that day - happy.

Bonzo Crunch's performance at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin Bal Krishn dance at Radha Madhav Dham Mela 2012 in AustinBonzo Crunch's performance at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin/> Camel rides at Radha Madhav Dham Mela Indian Fair 2012 in Austin Cricket batting cage during Radha Madhav Dham's Indian Mela Fair 2012, Austin Krishn and Gopi performance during the 2012 Mela Fair at Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj's ashram, Radha Madhav Dham

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Krishna and Arjuna in the Gita - Essay by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj

Gita Chapter 2, Part 2 - by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

In the beginning of the second chapter, Bhagwan Shree Krishn explains to Arjun from a sankhya point of view why he should not hesitate to fight the war. From this, we learned that our true identity is the soul, and the soul is eternal and indestructible.

Shree Krishn Explains the Law of Karm to Convince Arjun to Fight the War
Next He explains that, considering the law of karm (action and consequence), from that point of view too, Arjun should fight the war. As previously discussed (see Chapter 1, Part 8), it was clearly Arjun's duty to fight the war. So Shree Krishn tells him that if he does his duty, then he can't lose: if he fights the war and is killed, then he will be rewarded with entry to swarg; and if he fights the war and wins, then he will enjoy the sovereignty of the earth (chapter 2, verse 37). According to the law of karm, he will be rewarded whether he wins or loses the actual war, because he chose to do the right thing.

But if, choosing not to fight, he shirks his duty, he will incur sin which will bring suffering upon him in the next life. In addition, people will see him as a coward because they will assume that he left the battlefield out of fear. He would lose the respect of the other warriors. Thus, ruining his good name and bringing infamy upon himself, he would spoil his happiness in this life; and by incurring the sin of ignoring his duty, he would also spoil his happiness in the next life. Shree Krishn thus explained in simple, straightforward logic why Arjun should fight the war.

However, Arjun was not satisfied with worldly happiness. He had already told Shree Krishn that he did not desire the pleasures of kingship, nor did he desire to be victorious for his own personal glory (chapter 1, verse 32). This meant that the prospect of enjoying more happiness of this world was not an incentive for Arjun to fight the war.

The Futility of Worldly Happiness
In fact, Shree Krishn Himself had already explained the futility of worldly happiness earlier in chapter 2. He told Arjun that the world is full of pairs of opposites, like heat and cold, and pleasure and pain. This situation is such that within each pair of opposites the two keep alternating, which means no situation is ever stable or permanent. In other words, cold doesn't last forever - it eventually gives way to heat; and heat doesn't last forever - it eventually gives way to cold. Pleasure doesn't last forever - it eventually gives way to pain; and pain doesn't last forever - it eventually gives way once again to pleasure (chapter 2, verse 14). All situations are temporary, which means that worldly happiness is always fleeting. Thus, Shree Krishn advised Arjun to remain equanimous both in situations that bring pleasure and in those that cause pain.

He further exposed the nature of worldly happiness when He stated that what is fact cannot cease to exist, and if something does not exist, then it cannot become fact (chapter 2, verse 16). It means that truth is permanent, unchanging, and everlasting. If something is a fact, then it cannot cease being a fact. Accordingly, if the happiness of this world existed as a fact, then it could not stop being a fact. It would exist as a permanent state.

But it doesn't. It exists only as a fleeting experience in our mind, not as a substantial and real thing. We cannot enjoy anything in this world unceasingly. The longer we go on enjoying it, the more the enjoyment fades, until it finishes altogether. If the happiness was real, then where did it go? Why did it vanish? A fact cannot stop being a fact. If there was true happiness in tasty food, then we should be able to go on eating the same food continuously forever and the amount of enjoyment should always remain constant. If there was real happiness in beauty, then we should be able to go on staring at the same beautiful thing forever and never get bored of it; but it never happens that way, we get bored and want a change. Then where did the happiness go?

The truth is that there never was any happiness in those worldly things: not in the tasty food, not in the beauty, not in anything of this world. We experience happiness in the association of those things in proportion to our desire for them. The hungrier we are, the better food tastes, and the more pleasure we receive in eating it. The thirstier we are, the more we enjoy water. The longer we have been separated from the object of beauty, the greater our desire for it has grown, and the greater the pleasure we receive upon meeting with it.

But as we go on eating, our desire for food wanes, and the happiness we experience in eating decreases accordingly. As we go on drinking, our thirst is quenched, and our pleasure in drinking the water also disappears. The longer we go on looking at a beautiful thing, whether it is a person, or a painting, or any natural scene, the more accustomed to that thing we become, and the less desire we have to keep looking at it. Eventually, we become bored, and we want to look at something else. Eventually, we become full from eating or drinking, and we want to stop.

When we reach such a threshold, if we were forced to continue, then the very thing that initially gave us pleasure, would now start giving us displeasure. If we were forced to keep on staring at the same beautiful face or painting for hours on end, we would get fed up and not want to look at it anymore. If there was real happiness in these things, then how could we receive pain from the very same things?

If there was real happiness in any object or person of this world, then everyone would be able to get the same amount of enjoyment out of the same person or thing. Everyone would love chocolate and hate onions. But there is no consistency: some people love onions and hate chocolate. Everyone would feel the same happiness in seeing your son as you do. But they don't; you receive the happiness from your son, because you are attached to him. Your neighbor is not attached to him, so he is neutral towards him. He gets happiness from his son, not your son. Thus, we see that the so-called happiness is received based on the attachment of the mind, not based on the existence of happiness in that person or thing.

Our own experience of this world proves that it does not contain real happiness. We receive a temporary excitement when meeting with the object of our desire or attachment, but that fleeting feeling lives only in our mind, and is the creation of our mind. It has no real existence.

The next question is: if there is no real happiness in this world, then is there only pain? We will see what the philosophy of the Gita has to say about this in the next article.

Shree Krishn explains that, considering the law of karm, from that point of view too, Arjun should fight the war. As previously discussed, it was clearly Arjun's duty to fight the war. So Shree Krishn tells him that if he does his duty, then he can't lose. Because according to the law of karm, he will be rewarded, whether he wins or loses the actual war. However, Arjun was not satisfied with worldly happiness. He had already told Shree Krishn that he did not desire the pleasures of kingship, nor did he desire to be victorious for his own personal glory. This meant that the prospect of enjoying more happiness of this world was not an incentive for Arjun to fight the war.

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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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.

  Hindu Gods, by Vyasar, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

4/22/12 Meadville, PA 10:11 PM

There are a lot of people in the world who believe that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. They see it as a religion with many gods, from Ganesh to Vayu, representing the elements of the natural world. Such a hierarchy to them is confusing and illogical, with infinite gods operating on infinite levels to control every aspect of human life. There are even practicing Hindus and learned scholars who, believing themselves to have a good understanding of Hinduism, promulgate this confused notion.

First of all, a guiding principle of Sanatan Dharm is Eko Devah: One God. This means there is only one Divine, omnipotent, omnipresent, everlasting, ever-loving Being Who is unlimited in all aspects and functions. Bhagwan (God) is above all things material, beyond the veil of maya that separates the souls from God. (For the sake of this post, I will use the capital 'G' to discuss Divine God.) However, Divine God does appear to souls in different Divine forms (such as Ram and Krishn), and we can love Him in whatever form we like. But every form of Divine God is internally one and the same.

Celestial gods, on the other hand, are like the 'employees' of God's mayic (material) power. These gods, like Vayu, Kamdev, Indra and Agni, reside in swarg exhibiting the same petty behavior as the souls on Earth. They are not spirits or forces of unconquerable might. They are limited beings like us.

Regardless of where this notion of polytheism came from, it has unfortunately become very popular. I've talked to people on three continents who've asked me how many gods I worship. Some who ask are genuinely curious, others are mocking, and plenty just don't know. But inside I know, and I think we all know that the quantity of God's Divine forms isn't what matters. What matters is that They are the forms of one God, and how we experience and cultivate our relationship with our chosen form of God is what shapes our faith.

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Memorial Day Retreat with Siddheshvari Devi, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Memorial Day Retreat at Radha Madhav Dham, with Siddheshvari Devi, senior disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj

Dates: May 26 - 28, 2012 (Sat - Mon) 

Venue: Radha Madhav Dham, 400 Barsana Road, Austin, TX 78737 [MAP]

Radha Madhav Dham and Radha Madhav Society invite you to join us for our Memorial Day retreat at Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, Texas from May 26 - 28, 2012, under the guidance of Sushree Siddheshvari Devi, a pracharak and senior disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Enhance your knowledge of scriptures and improve your devotion to God through interesting and thought-provoking talks, Q&A sessions, guided roop dhyan, nagar sankeertan, beautiful bhajans, youth sessions and picnics, all in the serene and devotional atmosphere of Radha Madhav Dham. There is no registration fee to attend this retreat but you must register yourself.

No fee to attend the retreat, but donations are welcome. Much more details, and online  registration at Radha Madhav Society website. Book your accommodations to stay overnight at Radha Madhav Dham via the Radha Madhav Dham website.

More info: Call 678-920-6669, 404-358-5316 or 512-288-7180.
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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. Misconceptions about Sanatan Dharm by devotee of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

3/25/12 Meadville, PA 9:48 PM

Even though I am not an authority on authentic Sanatan Dharm, I have been blessed to learn the Divine philosophy from a spiritual authority like Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. The information I want to share is not my own, but comes straight from the Divine lips of Maharajji, whose unlimited grace constantly sheds wisdom onto all of the souls.

All over the world, misconceptions regarding Indian religion abound. In many quarters, circles, and societies, Sanatan Dharm is seen as pagan religion, with an emphasis on spirits, rituals, and something vaguely related to karm. Devotees are told they worship multiple gods, more than they can keep track of. This lack of understanding in the mainstream public does not stem from malicious intent, but mostly from ignorance. People just don't know what bhaktas are about.

This, of course, is a subject of lively debate among adolescents, breeding innocent questions like, "Why do you guys worship - cows?" and "What's that red dot on your forehead?" Occasionally, someone may directly challenge our beliefs, claiming to have converted vegetarians into meat-eaters, seeking similar results in ourselves. Such is the product of a materialistic age. The only way to change this is to spread a correct, authentic knowledge of Hinduism. To do that, we have to be confident in our own understanding.

My next posts are going to be covering a wide range of misconceptions about my religion, Sanatan Dharm, many of which I've already mentioned in this post. But I want to use this post to provide you with a preface, an introduction, for reference to future entries. As presumptuous and unnatural as it may seem to introduce my thoughts with a lengthy preamble, what is the Internet if not a forum for thought? And like any forum, any ideas put forward must be backed up.

I want to share this knowledge, because I know how important it has been to me. Bhagwan gave me the opportunity to grow up around a variety of people, some more accepting than others. I have faced prejudice, understanding, curiosity, and ignorance just as much as any other religious person, but I do not want to just share those stories. I want to show that Maharajji's teachings have developed me into the person I am today, regardless of any worldly adversity.

What I am presenting in this blog is the knowledge that has removed the misconceptions from my mind and given me a clearer understanding of Hindu philosophy. I thank Kripaluji Maharaj for this. By sharing this here, my hope is that some of the readers may find a similar clarity and increase their own faith in their religion. If anyone finds this knowledge useful, I will feel rewarded in my efforts.

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Bhagavad Gita speeches by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj

Gita Chapter 2, Part 1 (Eternity of the Soul, Whatever Exists Now Has Always Existed and Will Always Exist, Who Dies and Who Is Born?) - by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and sanyasi teacher at JKP Radha Madhav Dham

Eternity of the Soul
Having discussed the qualification to learn the Gita, we will now begin the topics of the second chapter. In the second chapter, Shree Krishn begins to answer Arjun. Although Arjun is a Divine personality, he is playing the part of a confused soul. Arjun is acting like an agyani - one who does not have correct spiritual knowledge - so that Krishn can reveal the correct knowledge for the benefit of the souls of the world. Arjun's fundamental confusion is the same confusion we all have: we believe we are the physical body, and we have forgotten that we are the Divine soul.

Shree Krishn begins by telling Arjun that he is speaking like a learned pandit - because he gave Krishn a whole lecture on why he was not going to fight the war - and yet he is grieving for his relatives in the way an unlearned man would. He tells him that the learned do not grieve for the dead or for the living (chapter 2, verse 11). Why not? Because whatever exists today has always existed and will always continue to exist (chapter 2, verse 12).

Whatever Exists Now Has Always Existed and Will Always Exist
The Ved states that there are three things that exist eternally. There is no fourth existence, or tattva. The three eternal tattva are: brahm (God), jeev (souls) and maya (the material energy that produces the world). All three have no beginning and will never end. All three have existed forever and will continue to exist for all eternity, because an existing thing cannot cease to exist, and a non-existent thing cannot be brought into being (chapter 2, verse 16).

It means that even God does not create something out of nothing. Although we call God the creator, yet He has never created any souls, nor has He created maya. The souls have existed forever and are as old as God - eternal. Maya is also an eternally existing energy, because energy cannot be created or destroyed. So God did not create maya either. God merely activates maya when He wants the universe to be created, and he de-activates maya when He wants the universe to dissolve. But maya does not cease to exist when the universe is dissolved. Nor do souls cease to exist at that time. During the dissolution of the universe, both maya and the souls stay within God in a dormant form. When God re-activates the mayic energy, then the universe is created, and the souls are sent forth to be born. This cycle of creation (srishti) and dissolution (pralaya) of the universe is eternal - it never began. So souls have always existed, and have been taking birth after birth since eternity in this endless cycle of srishti and pralaya of the material universe.

Who Dies and Who Is Born?
So who actually dies or is born? If something has alays existed, then it cannot be born; and if something will always continue to exist, then it never dies. That means that all three - God, the souls and maya - were never born and can never die. The only thing that can be born is a physical form made out of mayic energy. That form is temporary: it was created, and it can be destroyed.

If you go to the beach and use the sand there to make a sand castle, then you created a form out of something that was already there. You created the castle, not the sand. When a wave washes away your sand castle, then the castle is destroyed, but not the sand. Similarly, mayic energy manifests in various forms in this universe - as planets, stars, galaxies, etc., as well as the bodies inhabited by the living souls. The mayic energy is eternal, but the physical forms created by it are temporary - they are born and they die, just like your sand castle.

Our physical body was born and will one day die, but not the soul. The physical body passes through the phases of birth, growth, maturation, decline and death (chapter 2, verse 13), but not the soul, because the soul is eternal and unchanging. The soul is indestructible (chapter 2, verse 23) and is not killed by the death of the physical body (chapter 2, verse 20). When the body dies, the soul moves on to another body, just like we cast off old, worn out clothes and take new ones (chapter 2, verse 22). Therefore, only the physical body can die, and that was a certainty at the time of its birth, because whatever is born must one day die (chapter 2, verse 27).

For Whom Should We Grieve?
Then for whom should we grieve? For the physical body whose existence was always known to be short-lived and whose death was guaranteed the moment it was born? Or for the soul which can never be killed and will go on to take another body? Neither is worth grieving for. So it is only the unwise, or those who do not realize their Divine identity as the soul, who grieve for the death of anyone's physical body.

In this way, Shree Krishn instructed Arjun on the philosophy of sankhya, which tells that our true identity is as eternal Divine souls - our identity is not the temporary physical body. One who knows and accepts this does not grieve for the death of anyone, because he knows it is not they who have died, but only their physical body. Thus, Shree Krishn advised Arjun to perform his duty by fighting the war, and to fear neither his own death nor the death of the relatives against whom he would fight, because he cannot kill their soul, and they cannot kill his. Therefore, he should simply do what is right and do not worry about who will kill and who will be killed in the war.

After this, Shree Krishn explained to Arjun about the law of karm and that from that point of view as well, he should fight the war. That will be the topic of the next article.

In the second chapter, Shree Krishn begins to answer Arjun. He explains the philosophy of sankhya to him, which tells that our true identity is as eternal Divine souls - our identity is not the temporary physical body. One who knows and accepts this does not grieve for the death of anyone, because he knows it is not they who have died, but only their physical body. Thus, Shree Krishn advised Arjun to perform his duty by fighting the war, and to fear neither his own death, nor the death of the relatives against whom he would fight, because he cannot kill their soul, and they cannot kill his. Therefore, he should simply do what is right and not worry about who will kills and who will be killed in the war.

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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