Janeshwari Devi, a disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, began with an explanation of the mind, its formation and qualities. Then she explained about the soul and the connection between the mind and soul. The soul is Divine. Like sparks rising up from a fire, the soul is an eternal fragment of Divinity. We feel a constant inner urge for God, because our real self is Divine. Mind feels an urge for perfect happiness, and because it is material, it seeks that happiness through material means. As one purifies his mind through spiritual meditation, the mind receives a reflection of the Divine soul, and begins to understand that the eternal happiness we are looking for is in God alone.
What distinguishes different forms of meditation is the object of meditation. The effects of the meditations which engage the mind in mental training or concentration on material objects (such as the flame of a candle) offer us only temporary peace and relaxation and can never satisfy the longing of the soul for God.
Janeshwari Devi presented the audience with a new way to meditate which takes one beyond the common meditation techniques. It is a spiritual meditation taught by the saints and sages of India. The focus of the meditation is on God. She explained that devotion to God without asking Him for anything is the true meditation that when faithfully practiced can lead to a feeling of closeness and affinity to God.
Didiji explained that material love and spiritual love are opposite to each other; material love is limited and temporary, while spiritual love is everlasting, keeps growing and is unconditional.
Through a mix of speech, Sankrit verses and soulful chantings, Didiji took the audience to a new level of spiritual understanding and experience.
Living in Texas, it's hard to ignore the prevalence of cows. Cattle farms, dairy farms, along the highway and in the supermarket, the cow is virtually the symbol of the state. If there were traffic jams caused by livestock here, people might think they'd somehow ended up in India. The primacy of the bovine is acknowledged, but not understood. This week's misconception, therefore, is the nature of cows in Sanatan Dharm.
"Why do you worship cows?" This question echoes from California to New England, one of the universal puzzlements Americans suffer from. Really though, they should be asking themselves that question. More than just Texas, the whole country is fanatically addicted to the animal. Specialty cheeses, milk of all kinds and colors; we live in an age where milk is an industrial commodity, rather than an agricultural one.
Milk is just as important, if not more so, to Indians as it is to Americans. We use it so much, for so many things, that the respect for the product carries over to affection for the source. Cows are the lifeblood of many small communities, and the size of a herd can indicate a great deal about the status or health of villages in India. We use ghee (clarified butter) and milk in ceremonies, and we revere the cow for providing it. We drink the cow's milk, as though it were our mother's. So indeed, we respect the cow as if it were our mother.
However, the question about 'worshipping cows' is based on misinformation. Hindus do not 'worship,' cows, in the implied sense of the word. There is a religious relationship between us, but it is not one of worship. In its place, there is a deep reverence for life in all forms.
When someone dies, their soul is reincarnated throughout the 8.4 million species, based on their karm. So, at any given time, the animals, insects and bacteria you see around you are all souls, waiting for their chance to be reborn as humans. Sanatan Dharm's perspective on all of the life that teems around us, waiting for its chance at God realization, certainly breeds a loving amount of respect for all creation.
Finally, during Krishn's avatar on Earth, he cultivated an incredibly strong bond with cows. There are many leelas of Krishn in Braj, playing with the cows, tending to them every day. Revering and respecting cows is important from a devotional perspective, too. When we look at cows today, with their gentleness and calm manner, it is the beginning of a connection to the past, when Krishn played his flute and all of nature fell under its irresistibly soothing spell. We can feel our own lives slow down to match the simple pace of the cow, sitting on a grassy hill to watch the sunset, some clover between our teeth and a little more love in our hearts.
One magical evening of knowledge, spirituality and joy with Janeshwari Devi in Galway, Ireland - by David.
Janeshwari Devi's (Didiji's) lecture tonight in Galway, Ireland was just magical. Devotees and members of the public from throughout Galway city sat in rapt attention as Janeshwari Devi combined impassioned speech, Sankrit verses, necterean chantings with a dynamic multi-media presentation with her natural humour and compassion to deliver the evening's message: "Who am I? What is mine?" Didiji's lecture was a microcosm of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj's amazing Divine series of 108 lectures of the same title in Hindi, "Main Kaun? Mera Kaun?"
The peaceful, softly lit studio at Wholistic House of Healing on Buttermilk Walk was buzzing with knowledge and spiritual vibrations, with the gentle glow of Didiji's saffron robes and flowing speech adding to the ambiance. Many of the attendees expressed an interest in attending Didiji's upcoming lecture series' in Galway. Several bought CDs with beautiful chantings revealed by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, so they could continue with their meditations at home.
In her talk she explained that we are a Divine soul who seeks only perfect happiness. Our mind feels this call for perfect happiness but has always been looking for it in the place where it is impossible to find - in the material world. A new car only brings us happiness until it ceases to be "new". Our true happiness is in God who is "Love" Himself.
At one stage in the lecture, Didiji presented a graphic of two birds sitting on a tree A red bird is perched on a lower branch, absorbed in eating the fruit of that tree, while a blue bird just watched from an upper branch. She then recited a well known verse from Mandukya Upnishad, "Dva suparna sayuja sakhaya samanam vriksham parishasvajate. Tayoranyah pippalam svadvattyanashnam abhicakashiti," which conveys the eternal relation of soul and God. The red bird represents us, the soul, and the blue bird represents God. We are always looking for happiness through enjoying the fruits of this world, while our eternal friend, God, who is always with us, watches on. This was just one of the many scriptural verses sung by Didiji which further clarified our true identity is soul.
Didiji simply explained the anwer to the second question of the evening, "What is mine?" in one word - nothing. We had nothing when we entered this world, and we will also leave with nothing. All we have is our good thoughts and actions, and our spirituality. Every spiritual endeavour is of utmost value, because we carry the effect of this into our next life. Chanting, meditation, developing our relationship with God - this is our true wealth in life.
(Above: Students of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, Education in India)
Didiji then gave an inspiring presentation on the extensive philanthropic activities of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. We got to see inspiring scenes of the selfless dedication and service of the volunteers of Jagadguru Kripalu Charitable Hospitals and the great benefit to the lives of impoverishment villagers who earn the equivalent of just €1.50 per day. Then we got to see the optimistic and smiling faces of the girls of Kripalu Balika Primary School, Kripalu Balika Intermediate College and Kripalu Mahila Mahavidyalaya whose entire educational needs are being provided for by the benevolence of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj at no cost to the girls. When their education is complete, students from these colleges will disperse throughout India as successful, confident and empowered women.
Radha Madhav Dham, the main US ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, will host its 5th Annual Family Camp this year, starting June 29 thru July 4, 2012. BOOK NOW to reserve a spot for your family.
Learn the greatness of Hinduism. Deepen your spirituality. Give your children the opportunity to feel proud of their own culture and heritage.
This fun-filled Family Camp has become a popular tradition at Radha Madhav Dham, bringing joy and devotional upliftment to everyone who attends. There is spiritual learning and fun-filled family activities planned for each age group, starting at 3 years. Click here to see video.
Let the nurturing environment of the camp blossom your family's faith in God
Children get to participate in leela performances, prasad making and yoga
Most importantly, your children will get an opportunity to meet and make lasting friendships with other like-minded children, providing them a whole new support structure for their life
Camp Dates: June 29th - July 4th
Camp Leaders:Swami Nikhilanand and Diwakari Didi, sanyasipracharaks of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, will lead the camp with the help of all your favorite volunteer teachers.
"Family Camp is Coming, Family Camp is Coming!" - by Joe Chorneau
There's a peacock, affectionately named Shukdeo, who lives right off Barsana Ave. Most days you can see him on the grass across from the Ancient Yoga Center standing tall and proud, like the peacock he is. And just before satsang you can hear him yelling out- "Radhey, Radhey! Radhey, Radhey! Radhey, Radhey!"
But lately he has been going on about the upcoming Family Camp coming at the end of this month, (June 29 - July 4). Some of the residents living here have reported hearing him calling out to them: "Family Camp!" He says, "Family Camp is coming soon! I can't wait! Can you?! Family Camp! It's coming!"
It's very well known that Shukdeo's greatest love is for Radha Rani, but Family Camp at Radha Madhav Dham is something very close to his heart too. He says that he loves to see so many lovely, smiling faces from the families of the community who come and enjoy this fun-filled holiday week, especially all the kids and adults playing cricket (or soccer, volleyball, or kabaddi) in front of Raseshwari Radha Rani Temple. Shukdeo fondly calls them all "my Radha Madhav Dham-vasis."
Shukdeo wants to remind the parents, especially those who have not yet had a chance to come and participate with us at Family Camp, that while Family Camp at Radha Madhav Dham is so much fun for the whole family, it is also a great opportunity for educational and spiritual growth. It's all about deepening our understanding of our great spiritual heritage of Sanatan Dharm. However he stresses that we should enjoy it, have fun, laugh and taste the sweetness of Radha Rani and Shree Krishn Who are always here, ready to shower Their Grace on us.
"This summer, don't stay home," he says to the children, "Just for a few days, leave your Xboxes or your Play-stations and come to Radha Madhav Dham Family Camp! I promise you that you'll be amazed and astounded. Go, find your parents now and tell them to start planning to come! It will soon be here!"
Vyasar Gansesan, Family Camp Youth Counselor four years running, says, "At Radha Madhav Dham Family Camp, parents and children have a unique opportunity to expand their devotion. I've been coming to Family Camps for over six years, and I have seen that there is truly no limit to all of the fun that is here. Water-holi, leelas, outdoor games, interactive programs - these are all pieces that are just a part of the wonder you can experience at Radha Madhav Dham."
There's the story that Swami Nikhilanand recounts from last December's Family Camp about the girl in the 3-5 age group who learned to chant "Radhey Govind" along with the other kids. Now, her parents say that every night before going to bed, she sits in front of their family mandir and does 5 minutes of chanting and meditating on God. Even if her mother forgets, she reminds her and insists on doing it before sleeping. Imagine, such great thing as that from going to Family Camp!
And then there's the one he tells about the boy who was in the 6-12 age group. As part of the class, they made a calendar marking all the main Hindu festivals for 2012 and learned their meaning. On January 14, he asked his family what they were going to do to celebrate Makar Sankranti. His parents were surprised to be asked this by their young son, and asked him how he knew what day it was. He answered that he knew because of the calendar he had put up on the wall in his room.
Stories like these are bountiful; about how parents return home with their children and slowly realize what a profound effect Family Camp has had on them. It is so heartwarming to know so many youngsters who are becoming aware of their tremendous spiritual wealth by coming to Family Camp each year. They form lasting relationships, especially those that bind them to God, which they will one day share with their children, as well.
Here are just a few from a long list of testimonials that kids have written after every Family Camp at Radha Madhav Dham:
"The first time I came here, I never wanted to leave. And then when I came to Radha Madhav Dham for Family Camp, it felt so devotional. "
- 10-year-old participant from Texas
"Radha Madhav Dham is my favorite place in the whole world. I loved spending time here with friends and family and especially God. The things I learn at every camp change me and turn me into a better person. I can't imagine how anyone can leave here without the realization of true happiness and bliss."
- 14-year-old participant from Plano, Texas
"I felt a type of happiness that I never felt in my whole life. I feel purified by my stay in Radha Madhav Dham."
- 12-year-old participant from Queens, NY
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?
11712 Moorpark St,
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.
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?
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
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".
Chatsworth Hindu Temple
21213 Devonshire St,
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.
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.
"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
Glimpses of JKP Radha Madhav Dham's Summer Camp in Plano, which took place June 5 - 11, 2011.
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This was the final session of the highly acclaimed "Basics of Hinduism" trilogy in Plano, Texas. The 7 day class, presented by Swami Nikhilanand, disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, drew on the knowledge of Hinduism to make children and parents understand important events & stories from our scriptures.
The main topics were:
June 5: Brahma visits Krishn in Dwarika & learns an important lesson
June 6: Mother Yashoda sees the whole universe in young Krishn's mouth.
June 7: Brahma tries to test Krishn.
June 8: Indra tries to defeat Krishn; Krishn lifts Govardhan hill.
June 9: Dhruv and Prahlad; the child devotees who met God.
June 10: Surdas and Vilvamangal; even a blind person can see God
June 11: The wrestlers challenge Krishn; everybody sees Krishn according to their own eyesight.
Step 3. Visiting www.JKP.org and www.RadhaMadhavDham.org to learn more about the teachings and national and international activities of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and JKP Radha Madhav Dham or to purchase books and DVDs by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj and JKP Radha Madhav Dham.