Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Gollum from lord of the rings – Upcoming Article..

“We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false!” - ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Someone pasted this photo and message near the Kitchen of our work place with a note saying “ found a Silver ring – contact so and so to claim it. That made remember this character from the Lord of the Rings and thought Gollum is an interesting character and few things to learn from him. Please, check back to see the full article.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Gita Jayanti and Jyotisar

Few days ago, 8thDec was the day of Gita Jayanti,the day of the Advent of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita i,e  the day on which Lord Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra war.As per Hindu calender, it was a Shukla Ekadashi, 11th day of the waxing moon of Margashirsha month.Also known as Gitopanisad, Srimad Bhagavad Gita contains the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upanisads in Vedic literature.The speaker of Bhagavad-Gita is Lord Sri Krishna who is mentioned as Bhagavan or the Supreme God in every page of Gita and, the same is confirmed by all the great acharyas (spiritual masters) like Shankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge.
Thus about 5000 years ago, on this very day Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna, who accepted him as a spiritual master. Arjuna is confused about his duty and surrendered to Lord Krishna and requested him to guide him and clarify his doubts.This is when, Lord Krishna starts speaking to Arjuna.
JYOTISAR - The place where Lord Krishna spoke the Gita

JYOTISAR - The place where Lord Krishna spoke the Gita


The subject of the Bhagavad-Gita entails the comprehension of 5 basic truths: Isvara (the Supreme Lord), jiva (the living entity), prakrti (nature), kala (eternal time) and karma (activity) are all explained in the Bhagavad-Gita. Out of these five, the Lord, the living entities, material nature and time are eternal. The manifestation of prakrti may be temporary, but it is not false. Some philosophers say that the manifestation of material nature is false, but according to the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita, this is not so. However, the karma, is not eternal. We are suffering or enjoying the results of our activities from time immemorial, but we can change the results of our karma, or our activity, and this change depends on the perfection of our knowledge. We are engaged in various activities. Undoubtedly we do not know what sort of activities we should adopt to gain relief from the actions and reactions of all these activities, but this is also explained in the Bhagavad-Gita.

Sometimes People say that Kurukshetra does not exist and that it's a mythological place, a symbol of the body or Kshetra and the senses. They say it is an allegory to explain certain truths.But,the fact is that Kurukshetra is a place in Haryana State of India. It is located at a 2 hour journey from New Delhi by Train and about by by Bus takes about 3 and haif hours.While travelling by bus there is a stop called “Pipli” on Kurukshetra by-pass. From there catch an auto-rickshaw to reach ISKCON Main Bazaar temple (6 km) and then see the holy places with the assistance from the local devotees, or at a nominal cost one can take the auto-rickshaw to visit all the important places to be seen in and around Kurukshetra.There are so many old temples and historic places to see in and around Kurukshetra that once,one is lucky enough to visit this places, no longer considers the place Kurukshetra and the historical incidents as a myth. One can see everything that is mentioned in the Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita.
One can visit “JYOTISAR”a place in Kurukshetra which is the Exact Spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna.Today, as a testimony at the place a huge banyan tree can be seen.During the rule of Moghuls, the tree was cut down but, the tree again grew back. What is seen today is the tree that came back to life from the roots of the original tree.There is a board placed on the tree in which is written “The immortal banyan tree witness of the celestial song Bhagavad-Gita”. In fact this place is named as the “Gitopadesh sthal - place where the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken”.Doing the Parikrama or Circumambulation of the tree is considered as a very auspicious.There are a number of historic places and old temples including the recent ones like, ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) which has 3 Temples in Kurukshetra: (1) Sri Krishna-Arjuna Jyotisar Temple which is very next to “Jyotisar”, the exact spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Srimad Bhagavad-Gita., (2) Sri Sri Radha-Radha Kant Temple, Main Bazaar (3) A preaching centre in Kurukshetra.
Everyone knows, about the famous incident of Grandsire Bhisma lying on a bed of arrows, asks Arjuna for water to quench his thirst.The problem was and could be
only percieved by ones dear to him (Pandavas - Arjuna), that only the special water of river ganges would be able to quench his thirst.Thus,during the course of discussions between Bhismadeva and Yudhisthira Maharaj,when Bhismadeva asked for water, and Arjuna shot an arrow on the ground from which emanated the sacred Ganga
water which flowed into Bhisma’s mouth like a jet that quenched his thirst. This body of water is called ‘Ban Ganga’ which means that the Ganga that emanated from the e shot of a ‘Ban’ (arrow).Today, you can find a lake called Ban Ganga.
Similarly, you can find other places like,
Karnavadha - a long trench where the wheels of Karna's chariot were stuck before Arjuna killed him.
Parasar/Dvaipain: Parasara Muni, the father of Srila Vyasadeva, had his asrama here, about twenty-five miles south of the town of Thaneswar. Duryodhana hid in
the lake here after running away from battle at the end of the Mahabharata war. He came out of the water when the Pandavas challenged him to fight.
Chakravyuha: At Chakravyuha, 8kms south of Thaneswar, the general Dronacarya organized his army in the shape of a discus (cakra). It is also where Abhimanyu, the
son of Arjuna and Subhadra, was killed.

For further reading and details please visit the link;

Bhagavad Gita - As it is
There are so many versions of Bhagavad Gita written by so many authors but,  I would like to encourage all my readers to read this version called “ Bhagavad Gita – As it is” written by Srila Prabhupad. I remember myself, from childhood reading so many copies of Bhagavad Gita written by different authors but, they did not make much difference to my understanding of the subject matter of Gita. Yes, I would get the dry meaning of the verses and some interpretation  and I actually got more confused and wonder what is it, all about.Then, once I got a copy of Bhagavad Gita As it is by Srila Prabhupad and just by reading the introduction, I was blown away. I could get so much information and knowledge just by the initial few pages that, I then read the whole book like crazy. Everywhere, in the bus, tram, Lunch time, night etc and completed the book in 7 days. Since then, I keep going back to the book, reading it again and again and every time, I find that I find something new

Friday, 2 December 2016

Astrology - See what the Future has in store for you

Last week, I visited the local Kmart store and saw this display of Astrology books at the counter. Interestingly, the books are almost sold out.It was not even December and people already curious to know, what 2017 has in store for them.This is the most common and general tendency of the people, to know what is in store.Especially, people like to hear the good news like extra income, Holiday, New job or Promotion or Love.I guess, its a kind of solace for people having some tough time, by reading their Horoscope predictions, they try to find the happy times or spots, that in turn help them some strength or hope to carry on with their life.Yes, we all look at Astrology.Some books like,one from Linda Goodman etc.So, the Horoscopes begin from a life time, a year, month, week or even day wise.
By the way, that reminds me of an real story I heard from one of my friend. Long time ago, he was in a bit of crisis with his life, career etc. So, he turned towards some so called famous astrologer on the web.This astrologer had a personal website, a convincing Video talk of his super natural talents like his sense of intuition etc and then his promise that, I will give you a reading and if you follow my guidance, you will be a extra ordinary person, money, love, success,job, happiness etc.So, my friend ordered the so called reading.He was provided a logon access to the members only privileged area of the website, where he was allowed to download some general books on Astrology, Numerology etc.Then, there was a section called your report. When he  clicked on it, a message would be displayed that Mr X is working on your report and will make it available within 48 hrs or something like that. OK, he waited 48 hrs and finally, got the most precious, much awaited report of his future and some recommendations by thus so called astrologer.My friend then started reading and read couple of few pages in the beginning, in the middle and few in the end. And, to his amazement, noticed that the readings for the days a really generic and randomly repeated at different days of the reports.Finally, he figured out that there are about 25 to 30 different reading,which are randomly repeated for 365 days of the report.And,mean while of course he got a followup email from Mr. X, with an earnest request or advise.He says, Dear so and so, if you follow my instructions, you will notice that the world started reciprocating you with unlimited opportunities. Now, the problem is that you need further guidance on how to respond to those situations, for which I am always available (with fees Of course).Not only that, he got another  email with his team members or affiliates who are experts in their Professions like, Tarot Card reading, Crystal, Psychic etc. Now, all this was too much and also, the problem he had actually got resolved before, he even had got hold of this astrology report and on top of it, all this was a bit too much for him. My friend sent a strong email back asking him to be unsubscribed. Needless to say, once bitten, twice shy – my friend never tried any more of the prediction stuff on the internet.And, after that he continued to live happily ever after...
So, there are few learning's from this experience.Firstly,don't get cheated. There are many cheaters looking for the gullible ones.There are just too many out there, who simply have a software program that does all the calculations and reports automatically. Even, if they are knowledgeable and know what they are doing, for the amount of money you are paying, they cannot afford to spend day, working on your case.It is only a hook or bait to trap you and drag you into their grip.
The Future

Some where on the net, I even read the confessions of a retired Tarot Card reader. She was honest and explaining, why she quit this profession. Initially, she was a college student looking for part time work and was offered as chat consultant to the Tarot card reading. She does not even had a deck of Tarot cards. Someone from other end would ask a question and she would again, pick up a random card from the soft ware and would say, whatever that came up on the card.And, people would go away after spending the time and money ( charged in the increments of minutes). But, finally, she came across this guy who was desperately in love with a girl and he would come for a chat everyday and ask tips about his love life and the girl he was after. Everyday, she would tell him some nonsense but, realised that he was getting no where and situation bit, sensitive and emotional. Finally, she lost her cool and told him that, look if you really want someone to love you, the Cards wont help you. You have to act, please her etc. The person was not happy and get her negative rating etc. And, since she could not cheat people any more, she simply gave up the job.
Secondly, believe in God.Rather than wasting your time and putting faith in people who claim to be astrologers, Put more faith in the words and guidance of God and automatically, you will be taken to the right place at the right time and right experiences. This life is meant for us to learn lessons and reform  ourselves.
Actually,Astrology is a science and comes from the vedas which are said to be composed by the God himself but, in Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says, ‘Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah’..I am the complier of the vedas and by all the vedas, I am to be known.
“sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
 mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
 vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
 vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham
I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas (BG15.15)”.
Well,this is my opinion anyway. I personally had this experience that so many bad things are forecasted like a accident, loss of money, reputation but when you put your faith in God and carry on – these things will never take place or even if they happen, you will come out unscathed. As elsewhere in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna affirms – “Yogakshemam vahamyaham - I preserve what you have and carry on what you lack or, I take responsibility of your welfare”.
My idea of writing this article is not to criticize,downplay the authenticity of Astrology. My aim is to caution the readers about the unscrupulous people trying to take undue advantage of the innocent people.Same way, people some times believe that just because, something is written in their star signs for the yearly predictions etc. they expect the Havens to open up or showers of Gold from the sky.One can use astrology to make important decisions in life, provided you have found a genuine, knowledgeable person well versed in this science.I personally believe in Astrology but, don't put faith in it.

Good luck with everything.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

About Spirit and Spirit Animal

 
Not to offend any drunkards out there but, just a point to show that you get what you are looking for.Other day, I was walking in the Melbourne downtown and this was the board that's displayed outside a bottle shop.Basically, shows how much obsessed a person can be about something that he is addicted to.He found a possum (arboreal marsupial species native to Australia) carrying a bottle of spirit.Thus, words mean different to different people.The word Spirit to spiritual seeker is different to the one that is metaphorically used as a synonym to Alcohol.
By the way, a possum is an interesting animal, which is commonly found in Australia. You see it in the gardens, trees, sometimes on fences trying to cross in a hurried way. They are shy creatures and I believe them to be nocturnal - to be seen during evenings and night times.

The word spirit has interesting usage and meaning in different cultures. Bhagavad Gita describes the characteristics of a Spirit Soul as, an immutable, Anti material particle which cannot be cut by any weapon,cant be burnt by a fire or made wet with water.The size of a spirit soul is atomic, that of a 1/10000 of the tip of a hair. A spirit soul is said to reside in the region of the heart and just like a Sun, who illuminates the world with light, permeates the body of a living being with consciousness. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Gopastami Festival

Lord Krishna and Radha Rani on Gopastami
Two days ago, was the day on which, about 5000 years ago lord Sri Krishna became a qualified cowherd man, which was marked by a ceremonial festival and worship of Cows. Nanda Maharaj, father of Lord Krishna organised a festive celabrations which included decorating, worshipping  the cows and confer Lord Krishna and Balarama, the honor of herding or looking after the cows. Up until then, Lord Krishna was looking after the calves and Nanda Maharaj decided that his son reached the right age of six years and is able to look after the cows.
As stated in the Karttika-mahatmya section of the Padma Purana:
suklastami karttike tu
sm
rtagopasṭami budhaih
tad-dinad vasudevo bhud
gopa
purvam tu vatsapa
"The eighth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Karttika is known by authorities as Gopasṭami. From that day, Lord Vasudeva served as a cowherd, whereas previously He had tended the calves."
Gopastami - Worshiping the Holy Cow
Some of my friends shared these beautiful photos from Krishna Balaram temple and Goshala in Vrindan.The speciality of Gopastami is that Radharani is dressed as a Cowherd boy. Again, an interesting pastime is that, on Gopastami where it was only a Boys and men only event, Srimathi Radha Rani wanted attend the event. So, she and her girl friends dressed as boys, wearing Dhoti, Kurta and silently joined the group to have some fun.
There is one more story that Mother Yashoda was concerned about Krishna going to the forest with the cows and getting his tender feet hurt. She offered Krishna, a nice pair of footwear. But, Krishna refused to wear them saying that, Mother I will wear these only when you give footwear to all my cows.
Thus Gopastami is the day, the Cows are given a bath and beautifully decorated and are worshipped. Krsna said that the cows are worshiped even by the demigods, and He practically demonstrated how to protect the cows. That’s why he is called Gopal and the well wisher of Cows. A Cow is also considered as one of the Mothers. As per Vedic literature,
atma-mata guro patni
brahmani raja-patnika
dhenur dhatri tathaprthvi
saptaita matarah smrtah
Gopastami - Worshiping the Holy Cow
The seven mothers are - the original mother, the wife of the teacher or spiritual master, the wife of a brahmaa, the king's wife, the cow, the nurse and the earth.

Not only the Milk of Cow is so nourishing and so many milk products can be prepared from it, its dung is used for fire, when sprinkled with water acts as an antiseptic, its urine has numerous benefits to the health and it is used in Ayurveda medicines and it is said that all the demi-gods reside in the body of a Cow. That is why, Cow is considered as the most holiest of animals and respected in the Hindu culture.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Hello - Its Halloween time

Halloween Decorations


Halloween celebrated recently (31st Oct 2016) in Australia and all around the world.
Trick-or-treat is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in various, supposedly scary costumes from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.
Halloween Decorations
Halloween Decorations
I remember the similar thing back from India.I cant remember which festival it is but, on one of the festivals it is customary young people to visit peoples homes and basically do all kinds of mischief like, throwing stones, pouring water etc so that the elders or the house owner gets annoyed, angry and starts shouting words and abusing.The curses are supposed to be beneficial or bring good luck to the people doing the mischief and the pranksters happily go to another house to continue annoying people.Thankfully, I dint hear or see that happening any more in India.

Halloween Decorations
Actually,for few years of my moving to Australia, I have never seen or heard about Halloween at all. Its only, recently say since about four or five years, it became popular. Anyway, its fun for people, good for number of shops to sell the Halloween stuff and make money.And, keeps people busy and entertained. In fact, I have seen few Homes in my suburb have been meticulously decorated with all the scary stuff, like the skeletons, Cobwebs, the Pumpkin, fake Cadavers and fake body parts dripping with fake blood stains etc.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Diwali - Festival of Lights 2016

Diwali or Deepavali is a Hindu festival of lights observed on the 15th day of the month of Kartik. On this day,Lord Rama-Chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of Lord Vishnu). returned to his Ayodhya after 14 years of exile during which he killed numerous demons and finally destroyed the king of demons called Ravana in a fierce battle that lasted for seven days.So, on the day of arrival of Lord Rama,People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil and welcome their beloved Prince.

Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman 



Giri Govardhan made of sweets - Iskcon Melbourne



Thus, Diwali is a festival that marks the victory of good over evil.
A Novel way to light up Fire Crackers
Also,a day before Diwali there is a celebration called Naraka Chaturdashi. It is the day, when Lord Krishna killed another demon called as Narakasura. Diwali is also a time of worship of Lakshmi devi. Business man start new books and accounts on this day and its like a new financial year for them. Anyway, the fun part for both kids and adults alike is the exploding the fire crackers, sparklers and other numerous fireworks. The chivalry of people is tested on this day by their ability to go and light-up the Diwali crackers or bombs that make a loud noise and explode made especially for the occasion. And, we have and heard so many funny stories of people trying to light up these bombs but too scared etc. I even saw a you tube video of a person trying to light-up a small bomb, tries a number of time.The trick is to light up the sparky thread at one end of the bomb and should get back to a safe distance within seconds before it explodes. Finally, this poor fellow in his final attempt, thinking that he had definitely lit the bomb, runs back wards for safety with all his might and out of nervousness falls flat on the concrete road and had scratches all over his arms and legs and of course, the bomb never blew. Sometimes, more serious accidents also happens and that’s all the part of the package.
Anyway, in Melbourne we had over share of Diwali in the local Iskcon temple.Kids had some fun, lighting up sparklers etc.There was worship and prayers offered to Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita Devi and Hanuman. And, on the next day we celebrated the Goverdhan Puja by going around  the replica of Govardhan mountain made of varieties of sweets followed by a sumptuous feast and of course the sweets.

Traditionally,in India the festival of Diwali is celebrated for five days:-

Giri Govardhan made of sweets - Iskcon Melbourne
Diwali Rangoli
The First Day of Diwali called Dhanvantari Trayodasi, also called as Dhantheras. It is the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksh (the dark fortnight) of the month of Kartika. On this day, Lord Dhanvantari appeared, delivering Ayurvedic medicine for mankind.This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. On this day at sunset, Hindus bathe and offer oil lamps with prasada (sanctified food) to Yamaraja (the Lord of Death) and pray for protection from untimely death.

The second day of Diwali is called Naraka Chaturdasi. It is the fourteenth lunar day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika and the eve of Diwali. On this day, Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura and liberated the 16,000 princesses which the demon held captive.

The Third Day of Diwali (actual Diwali) is the day, when worship unto Mother Lakshmi is performed. Hindus cleanse themselves and join with their families and their Pandit (priest) and worship the divine Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu, to achieve the blessings of wealth and prosperity, and triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. This is also the day on which Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya.

The Fourth Day of Diwali is the day, Govardhana Puja is performed. Many thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna caused the people of Vraja to worship this sacred hill.
From then on, every year, Hindus worship Govardhan to honor that first Puja done by the people of Vraja. Also, Bagavatham explains that Bali Maharaja was defeated on this day by Lord Krishna’s dwarf brahmana incarnation called as Vamanadeva.

The Fifth Day of Diwali is called Bhratri Dooj. It is a day dedicated to sisters. Just like Raksha Bandhan (brothers’ day), this is a sisters’ day. It was said that, after the fight with Narakasura, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to enquire their welfare.This day marks the end of the five days of Diwali celebrations.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

As they surrender unto Me-I reward accordingly

From a Ashram during Govardhan Parikrama

Once I went to a well known busy shop and invited the business owner to come and visit the temple. And, he said things like, Oh, I am so busy with my work. Everyday, I am here from morning to evening looking after the business and I hardly get time to come to the temple. I wondered, what would be the fate of this man. No doubt, he will grow in his business, make more profits etc. but, what about his personal and then spiritual life?. Anyway, I am not passing any judgements and wishing anything bad for this guy. Everyone has their fate and destiny and one reaps the fruits of his actions, but I was reminded of a Verse from Bhagavad Gita Ch 4:11 and a story I heard some time ago.
"ye yatha mam prapadyante
 tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
 mama vartmanuvartante
 manusyah partha sarvasah
All of them-as they surrender unto Me-I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha".
You walk one step closer to God and he will walk 100 steps towards you.
One time, Lord Krishna and Arjuna went on a touring expedition of their kingdom.As the sun started going down, they decided to take rest for the night in a remote place.They visited the small house owned by a pious old lady.The lady was a great devotee of Krishna and she was ecstatic and  happy to recieve both of them.She is old, poor, widow and had nothing much to serve them.The only way of her sustnance was a Cow,which was giving ample milk.The old lady took a nice care of both Krishna and Arjuna in every way she could by serving them with nice milk from the cow, showing them a place to sleep etc. Next morning, Krishna and Arjun thanked the pious Woman and continued their journey. Arjuna made a petition to Krishna that, my dear Krishna, I am sure you must have been pleased by the way, the lady took care of us. I request you to reward her accordingly. Lord Krishna said, that’s right. I give a benediction that the Cow passes away. Arjuna was shocked and lost for words but, because he respected the wisdom of Krishna, never spoke a word.
The journey continued and the sunset again. This time, Krishna and Arjuna reached the Mansion of a wealthy person and they decided to take rest for the night. The personal servants of the wealthy person received both Krishna and Arjun and went to inform their Master about, their arrival. They came back after a short while and informed, Krishna and Arjun that their Master, had acknowledge their visit and but, is busy to see them. However, they said that, they were advised to be taken care in every possible way and make their stay a pleasant one. The night passed with all the wonderful services provided by the servants and next day morning, it was time to leave. Arjun, little bit hesitantly said to Krishna that to reward the wealthy merchant accordingly. Immediately, Krishna replied that, may the wealth of the person increase many folds and he become richer. Arjun could not take this anymore and said to Krishna – “ My dear Krishna, what kind of justice you are giving to people?. Previously, you pronounced the only Cow of the old lady to be dead, making her helpless and poor. And, now for this arrogant merchant who did not even bother to come and meet us, you are giving more wealth?.” Lord Krishna smiled and replied back to Arjun – “ My dear Arjun, the old lady had very little time left to give up her body and she had all the good qualities and devotion to come back to the spiritual world but, she was too attached to her Cow, which might cause her to take birth again in this material world. The wealthy merchant had too much attachment to his wealth and does not want to give up any of his riches. And, he wanted to avoid seeing me, incase if I ask him for any share of his wealth. So, I have understood his heart and allowed his to go further away from me. Whereas, the old lady had all the love and devotion towards me and made it easy for her by removing the source of her only attachment – the Cow”.   
Thus, the Supreme God is fulfilling everyones desires and reciprocating accordingly.

For, people who want him to be their Master, friend, Lover, Child – he becomes one. For, some Yogis who want to perceive as the blissful, impersonal light, he is appearing as a light. For other Yoga practitioners, who want to perceive him within their heart as Paramatma or Supersoul, he is fulfilling their accordingly. And, for people who want to forget and go away from him, he is helping them so. 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Trinity College at University of Melbourne Campus

Memorial Building
Last week, when I went on a team walk with my colleagues, I took photos of these impressive and historical buildings from University campus at Parkville. This is called the Trinity College which provides Residential college foundation studies, which prepares around 1000 international students for admission to the university of Melbourne. Founded in 1872 by the first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne, is an Anglican theological college. 

Trinity College

The Behan Building

Trinity College

Udemy – An Online Learning Platform

Udemy is a part of the current growing MOOC s (Massive Open Online Course) which offers Courses outside the traditional university setting. The courses are self paced and helps professional adults and everyone interested in increasing their knowledge, skills in a chosen field. 
Why do we need to learn or acquire Knowledge?. I came across an wonderful verse from vedic literature, which explains the importance,uniqueness and benefits of  acquiring the Knowledge. Of course, the verse refers to the Spiritual knowledge which frees one bondage from the cycle of Birth and death. But, while we are living our lives in this world there should be a balance of Spiritual and material activities. We all need to work, maintain ourselves and our family, a profession to provide us the bread and butter. Basically, Rabbits don’t line up to the tiger's mouth. They have to still go out and hunt or work their way. Similarly, to be successful in our job,business or profession, we need Knowledge that needs to be learnt,acquired and updated. Today, it is the era of internet where every information which is essentially knowledge is available freely. But, the problem is that the moment, you search for something on Google, you get so much information which is mind boggling, not in any particular order and cannot be authenticated. So we need a particular place or medium where we can repose our faith, cut down all the headache of trying to decide what is the required or valid information. This is where, a place where knowledge is Systematically delivered is needed. And, one of the places I found to be particularly useful for me was “Udemy”, where one can find literally, any Course dealing with numerous fields like including business and entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, music, and technology. And, importantly the Courses are affordable. In fact, I am so much impressed that I decided to promote this on my Blog. Interestingly, not many people still does not know about this. I encourage you to have a look at this and take up some courses of interest to you and increase your knowledge in the chosen profession.  
The verse that talks about the knowledge is,
Na chora haaryam, na cha raja haaryam, na bhaatr bhaajyam, na bharakaari
Vyayam krute vardhat evam nityam vidhyadhanam sarvadhana pradhanam
Cannot be snatched away by thief, cannot be snatched away by king, Cannot be divided among brothers, it does not cause a load on your shoulders. If spent daily, it always keeps growing. The wealth of knowledge is the precious of wealth of all.
Naasti vidya samo bandhuhu, naasti vidya samah sahrut
Naasti vidya samam vittam naasti vidya samam sukham
There is no relative equivalent to knowledge, there is no friend equivalent to knowledge. There is no wealth equivalent to knowledge, there is no happiness equivalent to knowledge.
Please refer to my previous blog post about, Knowledge and the real Knowledge,
http://ausram.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/about-knowledge-real-and-most.html
Finally, few words about the Udemy. It's a great place to start looking for increasing both your Professional and personal skills, at your own pace and of your choice. There are few other places where you can learn for free and for less. I will talk about them in my next article. Until then, stay tuned. Have wonderful weekend and for friends in Victoria  -Aus, have a great long weekend.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Counting my Steps,taking care of Body and Mind

These are my steps so far for the day.And, I have few more to go, before I sleep.Though, I am not a great fan of this stuff like calculating how many Calories, I have consumed,how many I burnt, monitor them through gadgets like Fitbit etc.And, although I am not a fitness freak, I like to keep myself active and do moderate exercises for a healthy body and mind.This is something my company people have recently started (Stepathlon is a mass participation event for organisations of all sizes across all industries and countries).
Ofcourse, for practicing spirituality and developing love for God, these are not the pre-requisites.A healthy body and mind does help one to take up spirituality with vigor and enthusiasm but, it may not be the case always.Someone with a healthy body and mind, may not take up the path of spirituality and may want to go in the opposite direction, that is enjoy life, eat, drink and be happy.And, the opposite can be true as well, for example the case of great Christian saint, St. Francis of Assisi, whose terrible sickness could not stop him from preaching the glories of Jesus Christ.In spite of terrible sickness,he would show so much compassion for people afflicted with leprosy, which was a bit of social stigma at that time of 11th - 12 Century.He would also show his love and compassion to animals etc.
There is a verse (1.2.10) from Srimad Bhagavatam which talks about life's desires and healthy life.
kamasya nendriya-pritir
labho jiveta yavata
jivasya tattva-jijnasa
nartho yas ceha karmabhih
Translation:Life’s desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works.

What this means is that, our lives are meant for a higher purpose which is more than eating nice food,drinking etc.One should direct his senses for the Inquiry of the Absolute truth.Who am I? Where do I come from? What is the purpose of my existence?.What is my temporary and eternal duties?Temporary could be working a full time job, taking care of your Children,wife and Parents. Eternal duties - it is said that by nature, every living being is a spiritual entity and the constitutional nature of a Spirit soul is to serve. Serve whom?It could be your family, nation, world but ultimately, to the Supreme God.

Friday, 16 September 2016

A Sweet Verse from Srimad Bhagavatam and the different Flutes of Krishna

Krishna with Flute
This is one of my favourite verses from Bhagavatam, Chapter named as “The Gopis Glorify the Song of Krishna's Flute” which explains about the way Krishna is dressed, decorated and is entering the forest of Vrindavan. Acharyas explain that, he is Akhila Rasamrta Murthi – Full of transcendental mellows, dresses up like a dramatic actor and catches the attention of everyone.



barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrindair
vrindaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland,Lord Krishna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrindavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories. Canto 10. Chapter 21,verse 5)
Talking about the Flute,in Chapter 26 of Nectar of Devotion by Srila Prabhupada explains that there are, three kinds of flutes used by Krsna, namely Venu,Murali and Vamsi.
Venu is a very small flute, not more than six inches long, with six holes for whistling.
Krishna with Flute
Murali is about eighteen inches long with a hole at the end and four holes on the body of the flute and produces a very enchanting sound.
The Vamsi flute is about fifteen inches long, with nine holes on its body. 
Krsna used to play on these three flutes occasionally when they were needed.
Krsna has a longer vamsi, which is called mahananda, or sammohini.When it is still longer it is called  karsini.When it is even longer it is called anandini. 
The anandini flute is very pleasing to the cowherd boys and is technically named vamsuli.These flutes were sometimes bedecked with jewels. Sometimes they were made of marble and sometimes of hollow bamboo. The flute is made of jewels  is called sammohini and the one made of gold, is called akarsini.
For more exhaustive description of Krishna’s Flute, you can visit this link,

Friday, 9 September 2016

Radhastami - Appearance day of Srimathi Radharani

The deity at Raval - Srimati Radharani in Baby form 
Tomorrow, 10th September  is the Auspicious Appearance Day Festival of Sri Radhastami,celebrated by many in India and all over the world.
Wish you all happy Radhastami Festival.
"tapta-kancana-gaurangi
 radhe vrndavanesvari
 vrsabhanu-sute devi
 pranamami hari-priye

I offer my respects to Radharani, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vrndavana. You are the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, and You are very dear to Lord Krsna".
Srimati Radharani is always to be found with Sri Krishna, and Madhav is always to be seen with Radhika. One is never without the other's company.She is the embodiment of Maha-bhava, or the highest transcendental ecstasy, and none of the other gopis, or cowherd damsels of Vrindavana, posses Her excellent qualities.
What this means is  - Lord Krishna is called as Madan Mohan, one who is most attractive and beautiful that he defies even cupid. And Srimathi Radharani is called as Madan Mohan Mohini, because she won the heart of Lord Krishna with her beauty and loving service.
On this special occasion, I wanted to write about a place that I previously visited and that is connected to Srimati Radharani.

Raval Landscape

Raval village - Just outside the temple
A mysterious tree on the top of the temple 
Raval is a small village situated about 10 Kms from Vrindavan.This pristine village is a special and important place because,this is the same place where Srimati Radha Rani, about 5000 yrs appeared.It so happened that one day,King Vrishabhanu went to take bath in river Yamuna and saw in the river, a beautiful, golden lotus flower that was full of radiance and splendor. When the king reached the lotus, he noticed a beautiful, golden complexioned baby girl - Srimati Radharani. Immediately, the King had the divine vision of Lord Brahma, who advised him that, because of the great austerities performed by him and his Queen in the previous life,the consort of Lord Vishnu decided to appear as their child.The king happily took the baby girl to home and along with Queen Kirtida, started looking after the baby girl with love and happiness.However, they had one concern that the child eyes are completely closed and would not open them. Nevertheless, the King as per the instructions of Narada Rishi went ahead in the performance of all the auspicious Birth ceremonies.There were great celebrations and many friends and family members were invited, which included Nanda Maharaj and along with him,came the Baby Krishna.Krishna crawled into the jewel studded cradle of Srimati Radharani. As soon as this happened, Srimathi Radharani immediately opened her eyes and looked at Lord Krishna, who is her eternal Consort.This was the first meeting of the divine couple in this material world. Thus, the first person Radha Rani ever saw was Lord Krishna and with her eyes closed, this was the moment she was waiting for.
You can see the gated garden said to belong to Radha Rani or the temple.
This place is still untouched by the urbanisation and somehow retained the simple, beautiful with typical Indian village setting. The small temple consisted of small deities of Radha Krishna on one side and next to it is the small deity of baby girl - Radha Rani.
We climbed the steps to go to the first floor of the temple, where I got some nice pictures of the landscape and fields of Raval. In front of the temple, there is a garden which is said to belong to the temple deities.By the time we went, The garden was closed and unfortunatly could not go inside the garden.From here, we proceeded to Gokul,where Lord Krishna and Balaram spent their childhood and was about 30 mins drive from here. I liked this place which is simple, fresh air, kind and innocent villagers and hope to go back there in future.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Kaliya Ghat - Place where Krishna subdued the kaliya serpent

Kadamba Tree at Kaliya Ghat
This is one of the special and a sacred place in vrindavan, where devotees visit to remind them of the amazing and blissful pastime of Lord Krishna subduing the venomous serpent kaliya.Kaliya Ghat is just at a 3 minutes walking distance from the famous Madanmohan Temple of Srila Sanatana Gosvami.Also,the bhajan kutir and samadhi of Shrila Prabhodananda Sarasvati are close by this place. As a testimony of the Lord's pastime, the place still has the old Kadamba tree which Krishna climbed up, to jump into the waters of the lake where Kaliya was residing.This place actually used to be a small lake that was part of the great river Yamuna.This is the same, same tree upon which Lord Krishna climbed to jump into the lake where Kalia was living. It is said that the poison of Kaliya was so powerful that all the vegetation,grass and trees near the lake died except this tree.It was said that Garuda who envisioned that Lord Krishna will be coming to perform his pastimes, spilled some drops of Amruta (The Nectar of immortality) on this tree and that's how it could sustain the effects of poison of Kaliya.

Kadamba Tree at Kaliya Ghat
Srimad Bhagavatam and also the Krishna Book by Srila Prabhupada, explains the beautiful pastime in details of how Lord Krishna tightening his turban,his belt, hitting his arms like a wrestler jumped into the dangerous, poisonous waters and sported in the water without any fear. Then, after the furious Kaliya attached him, Lord Krishna fought with it, jumped and danced on the several hoods of the wicked snake. Kaliya felt crushed by each step of Krishna and finally vomiting blood, he surrendered to Lord Krishna. Also, the Naga Patnis - the wives of Kaliya have come to his rescue and prayed to Lord Krishna to spare his life.Lord Krishna forgave Kaliya and spared from killed him but, ordered the snake to leave the surrounds of Yamuna immediately with an assurance that Garuda, the mighty King of Birds will not kill or eat him, because the hoods of Kaliya got the imprints of marking of Lord Krishna's lots footprints.

A Babaji at Kaliya Ghat
It is believed that the snake left Vrindavan to the sea and made Fiji as its home.In Fiji folkfore traditional stories, you can hear numerous stories of a great snake living in one of its caves. Many people believe that Kaliya is still living there. Also, Fiji has the Iskcon's famous temple of Shri Krishna Kaliya temple is located in the heart of Lautoka city.
Bhakti Vinod Thakur, A great Acharya of Gaudiya Vaishnavism writes that,Kaliya represents cruel tendencies or anarths like Pride, deceit, harming others, cruelty and these are the tendencies one needs to give up.
Kaliya Ghat
Upon my visit to this sacred place I met this Babaji. I forgot his name but, I think it is - Shyam Das.For sometime, he was sitting there observing me and my family.As I started explaining about the Kadamba tree, he came upto us and started talking about the pastime of Kaliya Dhaman - Subdueing the serpent Kaliya by Krishna.He even showed us how, Krishna climbed the tree, where he put his feet etc. I asked about him. He informed that he had been living in Vrindavan since last 15 years.Originally, from Gorakhpur, he came here once as a tourist and stayed back. He gave up his family, friends etc for Krishna.I asked him " Di you ever tried or planned to go back?", and he replied saying that "What can I do, Thakurji Aur Yamunaji (Lord Krishna and Yamuna Devi) would not leave me. I am unable to move away from this place". He showed me a small attic sort of place in a nearby building and told me that, he lives there. Especially in winter, when it gets cold he sleeps there.
This is the specially of the place Vrindavana - if you are lucky and keep your eyes and heart open, you can see so many of great devotees in Vrindavan leading a simple life, meditating on the Lord's pastimes by going to the various places he performed his pastimes, hearing to Harikatha etc.
I remembered a verse spoken by Srila Rupa Gosvami,
"smeram bhangi-traya-paricitam saci-vistirna-drstim
 vamsi-nyastadhara-kisalayam ujjvalam candrakena
 govindakhyam hari-tanum itah kesi-tirthopakanthe
 ma preksisthas tava yadi sakhe bandhu-sange´sti rangah

 My dear friend, if you are indeed attached to your worldly friends, do not look at the smiling face of Lord Govinda as He stands on the banks of the Yamuna at Kesi ghata. Casting sidelong glances, He places His flute to His lips, which seem like newly blossomed twigs. His transcendental body, bending in three places, appears very bright in the moonlight." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.239).
Indeed, very few people have this great fortune of having the darshan of Lord Krishna in Tribhanga Form, body bent in three places and even few develop that great love and devotion that makes them the worldly attachments, family,friends, relations and assets insignificant.
As Lord Krishna himself says in Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute,
"bahunam janmanam ante
 jnanavan mam prapadyate
 vasudevah sarvam iti
 sa mahatma su-durlabhah.
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that  is. Such a great soul is very rare".

Friday, 12 August 2016

Is he the same person ?

This was a comment made on a Facebook post. One of my cousin posted his photo on the Facebook and one of his friends who saw him after a long time was surprised that the person he knew before and now looks so much different. So much so that, he looked  like a completely different person. So, is it a different person?. Yes and notify we ask the person that if he is the same person or different, he will firstly look at us, as if are you gone nuts or something?. Then, he will reply would be something like, ‘ Yes, I am changed over the time.I now have a new body which is different to the one which I had when I was a baby.But, I can still remember some incidents or memories of my childhood’ (generally from 4 to 5 years onwards).I did meet one person who told me that he actually remembers when he was a 1 year baby.
A Baby
Science tells us that, the body is always changing.As per science a human body consists of 50 to 100 trillion cells and each day about 3 billion cells are killed and similarly new ones created.
 
Bhagavad Gita 2.13 Translation
This verse from Bhagavad Gita succinctly conveys the same message,
"Chapter 2 Text 13
dehino smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati”

So, to come back to the title of the article, "Is he the same person?". The answer depends on what you consider a person to be.If one considers the skin,bones, hair as 'A person' they are no longer the same because they have already been replaced so many times in the life time of a person.So the body is changing every moment manifesting as a child, youth, old man.But,inspite of all these changes, there is somthing that does not change and remains constant.In Bhagavad Gita, that changeless, non material or spiritual spark is called as the spirit soul. What happens at the time of death is that sub-atomic particle called Soul changes its body to that of another.In the saame section of Gita, it is explained that, just like a person changes his clothes and puts on new garments, the soul changes its bodies to various species of life, depending on the fruits of its past karma or actions. This process of changing bodies or transmigration of soul is called as reincarnation.As explained in Bhagavad Gita,just like an air carries the aroma, a living entity carries with it, the different conceptions of life which means, its desires, likes, dislikes, particular nature to different bodies.So when a person dies, his consciousness lives on and carries forward some of the memories, behaviours tendencies, even phobias etc.

This most important message from this section of Bhagavad Gita is about Soul, Reincarnation and transmigration of Soul answers so many questions or connects the dots which don’t normally make sense of. When we start to learn and understand this science of Soul and incarnation, we start to see things from a higher perspective and that empowers our future life. The most important distinction one can make out is that we are all spirit souls and different from the material body.