Thursday, 27 February 2014

Be brave .. Truly inspirational

“Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference. 
Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the callers. 
Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. 
Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river. 
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. 
Don’t major in minor things. 
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. 
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no politely and quickly. 
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. 
Don’t waste time grieving over past mistakes Learn from them and move on. 
Every person needs to have their moment in the sun, when they raise their arms in victory, knowing that on this day, at his hour, they were at their very best. 
Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death bed, ‘Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office’. 
Give people a second chance, but not a third. 
Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health and love. Learn to listen. 
Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly. 
Leave everything a little better than you found it. 
Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. 
Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life and death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems. 
Never cut what can be untied. Never overestimate your power to change others. Never underestimate your power to change yourself. 
Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years. 
Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do. 
Seek opportunity, not security. A boat in harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out. 
Spend less time worrying who’s right, more time deciding what’s right. 
Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. 
Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get. 
The importance of winning is not what we get from it, but what we become because of it. 
When facing a difficult task, act as though it’s impossible to fail.” 
— Jackson Brown Jr.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

How to relax, when you are too busy at Work

What do you do, when you are too busy and stressed at work.Cant get time to move away from your PC at work?.Divert your mind from the heavy work load for few minutes, relax your mind by diverting your attention to something that takes you out of the four walls of the office. Well,here is what I did.I went over my personal folders, had a look at some of the pictures from Holidays and it made me feel so much better.Look, its not far before you are going to get a Easter break. Don't worry,keep working and be Happy.
Beautiful temple of Vrindadevi at Vrunda Kund near Vrindavan

Holy Cows at Vrindavan

Monkeys at Vrindavan

Curious Kangaroos

Friendly Dolphin

This dude seem's to be saying, no photographs please.

A beautiful Peacock at Iskcon Farm - Murwillumbah, NSW. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Trip to Godruma and Madhya-dvip

While staying in Mayapur, we have visited Godruma-dvip and Madhya-dvip which are two 0f the nine Islands of Navadvip and has some important places like Svananda Sukhada Kunja- The residence of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Suvarna-vihar temple where where King Suvarnasena’s palace was once there, Harihara Ksetra and Nrshimha Pally, where there is a temple of Lord Narasimha deva. The deity is very old, dating back to Satya Yuga. 
From the verandah of this house, one day while chanting Hare Krishna Srila Bakthi Vinoda Thakur saw the horizon of Mayapur, light up under the effulgence of, “One exceedingly wonderful temple which will broadcast the eternal service of Lord Gauranga throughout the world.” The site for this vision was across the Jalangi River on the land where ISKCON is today building the TOVP - Temple of Vedic planetorium.

A Huge Banyan tree in front of Svananda Sukhada Kunj.

Harihara Kshetra,  is the place where Lord Visnu and Lord Siva are residing combined into one Deity form-Harihara. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes that after killing some demons, Lord Krishna's sudarsana chakra burnt down Lord Siva's city of Kasi. Lord Siva left that city and took refuge here, so this place is also known as Maha-Kasi. Lord Visnu manifested Himself in the form of Hari-Hara - half Visnu and half Siva to show how dear Lord Siva is to Him.

Hari-Hara : half Visnu and half Siva.

Enjoying the peaceful surrounds

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A spectacular Ratha-Yatra at St Kilda Festival

The sun is shining its hottest and the wind blowing at a speed enough to blow away your caps and umbrellas. I was wondering, how I could make it to the festival with two kids, the younger one being 14 months. Anyway, let’s make it and see what's in store for us. When we reached the spot, where the amazing Jagannath Cart is being pulled, the weather had changed amazingly. The breeze became cooler, sun less hurting. We quickly, jumped into the enthusiastic and jubilant crowd chanting the Hare Krishna Manta and Jai Jagannatha. The enthusiasm and devotion is contagious and numerous people have happily joined the chanting and dancing party. The procession continued along the beach road for about 2 Kms and ended at the Catani Gardens, St Kilda. Their Lordships, Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhdhra took their place in special designated tent set up for this. This was a special day, because the Lordships have actually come out of the temple to give their darshan to everyone. This year, ISKCON had number of tents like, One for the Deities, Face painting, a tent for continuous supply of free Water melon slices - which was welcomed by everyone because of the hot sun, Vegetarian snacks, A stage for cultural activities, Mantra Meditation, Vegetarian Cooking, Bhagavad Gita Card reading etc. They must have distributed tons of water melon. The event which started at morning 10:00 continued till 8:00 in the night. There are number of stage performances like, Children singing songs, Short dramas, Hare Krishna Mantra Chanting by various well know artists like, Western Music, there is even Bollywood dance and music. Had plenty of Water Melon Slices, a Vegetarian lunch and fruit juices. It was a great day and we all had great fun dancing and chanting.

Many people asked me, why your God Jagannath looks different with round eyes etc. and what is the significance of this procession. For them, I have the below details.

Ratha Yatra or the Car Festival is a huge Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Orissa, India. This annual festival is celebrated on Ashad Shukla Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Ashad month), which is generally towards the end of summer season. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath's annual visit to Gundicha mata's temple via aunt's home (Mausi Maa Temple which is near Balagandi Chaka in Puri).As part of Ratha Jatra, the deities of Lord Puri Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days. Then the deities or Ratha Jatra return to Puri Jagannath temple. 

The internal meaning of Ratha Yatra Festival:-
The form that Lord Krishna takes as Jagannatha is the manifestation of His ecstasy that He feels when He leaves the opulence of His palaces in Dwaraka, represented by the Puri temple, to return to the town of Vrindavan and the simple and pure spontaneous love the residents there have for Him. Thus, there is no difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Jagannatha. So in the mood of separation from His loving devotees, Jagannatha mounts His chariot and returns to Vrindavan, which is symbolically represented by the Gundicha temple. In this way, the esoteric meaning of the Ratha-Yatra parade is that we pull the Lord back into our hearts and rekindle the loving relationship we have with Him.
To explain the internal meaning of Ratha-Yatra further, Lord Jagannatha is the embodiment of Lord Krishna's love for Srimate Radharani. While Lord Krishna was living in Dwaraka, he felt great separation from Radharani and the residents of Vrindavana. On the day of one solar eclipse, He traveled to Kuruksetra with His brother Balarama and His sister Subhadra on His chariot. There He met Srimate Radharani and other residents of Vrindavana, all of which wanted to take the Lord back to Vrindavana. While traveling and thinking of this meeting, He entered mahabhava, the highest sentiments of loving exchange.In that state, His eyes dilated like fully bloomed lotuses, and His hands and legs retreated into His body. In this way, the form of Lord Jagannatha is called radha-viraha-vidhura, the separation from Radharani, and also mahabhava-prakasha, the manifestation of mahabhava for Radharani. Lord Caitanya was the embodiment of Srimate Radharani's love for Lord Krishna. So Lord Caitanya taking Lord Jagannatha from the main temple to the Gundicha corresponds to Srimate Radharani's wanting to take Lord Krishna from Dwaraka back to Vrindavana, the place of spontaneous and ecstatic love of God.

The glories of Rathayatra:-

The Narada Purana (uttara kanda 52.12) reveals the conversation between Lord Narayana and akshmidevi about Purushottama kshetra (Jagannatha Puri),
pratimam tatra tam drstva   svayam devena nirmitam
anayasena vai yanti   bhavanam me tato narau
"A person who sees the Deities there built by the Lord Himself will easily find the path to reach My abode." Anyone seeing the Deities of Lord Krsna, Balarama and Subhadra at Jagannatha Puri during their leisure outage of rathayatra means buying a ticket to reach the Supreme Abode of Vaikuntha, the eternal world of no worries. The Lord promises that His devotees who take all pains to gather at Puri during the rathayatra will be rid off their miseries and may reach the eternal abode of Goloka Vrindavana and enjoy
their life in association with Lord Krsna, Radharani and their close accomplices.

It is said that the participants in the festivities will be blessed immensely by Lord Jagannatha (Krsna) such as (1) By the sight of Jagannatha's merciful large two eye globes, the devotee will be blessed with astute purity of mind and spiritual elevation; (2) Observing the rathayatra will dissipate the sins committed by the embodied person in the past births; (3) The accompanying person in the rathayatra will receive opulence at par with Lord Vishnu even if he hails from a poor family; (4) Dancing, singing and chanting in the rathayatra entourage, the participant will be elevated to a level superior to yogis; and (5) Active participation in the rathayatra by any means will receive the utmost blessings of Lord Jagannatha.

The glories of rathayatra are inimical to imprint in mind the symbolic love of God to His devotees. Srila Prabhupada said, "If you participate in these car festivals, as stated in the scriptures, rathe ca vanam drstva punar janma na vidyate... If you kindly see these Jagannatha deities riding on these cars or these processions, and as Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted the Hare Krsna mantra in front of this car, then according to the Vedic scripture, in your next life you'll go back, back to Godhead." Those who participate in the festival have a food for thought in the years to come and it may drag down even to the final moments of their life to affix the attention in the eventful pastimes of Jagannatha as Krsna tells in Bhagavad Gita (8.5-6),

               anta-kale ca mam eva   smaran muktva kalevaram
            yah prayati sa mad-bhavam   yati nasty-atra samshayah
             yam yam vapi smaran bhavam   tyajaty-ante kalevaram

              tam tam evaiti kaunteya   sada tad bhava bhavitah

"Towards the end of life and at the time of departing the body, he who remembers Me will undoubtedly attain My nature. Whatever a living being thinks at the time of leaving his body, that alone he attains for being always absorbed in that state."  Those devotees who always chant and prostrate at the holy feet of Lord Jagannatha uttering the mahamantra (HARE KRSNA HARE KRSNA KRSNA KRSNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE) ordained by the Lord Krsna Himself in the form of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and propagated all over the world by Srila Prabhupada will be blessed with perfect devotion to God forever, which is said to be superior to liberation.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Relax, Take it Easy

The other day, I was waiting at the VicRoads office, getting the paperwork done for my New car. As soon, as I walked in, I noticed this guy. He is around 35 years, restless, his fists clenched and looking stressed. I have no idea, what this guy is up to maybe he is taking a driving test or whatever. After couple of minutes, a cheerful looking man walked in. This guy Mr X, tried to get his attention but the person walked away, ignoring Mr X and started talking to the person at the counter. Needless to say, Mr X was furious and fuming. Mr Y finished his conversation with the guy at the counter and was heading out of the room. Mr X again, accosted Mr Y and said – “Common man, what’s wrong with you? You look stressed. Relax mate, take it easy”.
Mr Y simply smiled and said -"Have a good day" and walked away.
Hmm...Makes sense to me. Sometimes, I am grumpy and would wonder why all the people in the whole world are grumpy?
It is also said that, for a person afflicted with Jaundice, the whole world looks yellow to him or for a person who is diseased, a sugar candy tastes bitter. Two people are looking out from a window and one sees the Stars, sky and the moon while the other notices the murky water, dirt and smelly waste. Someone rightly said, your attitude determines your altitude or it is not the colour of the balloon, but what is inside it, that makes it to fly and go high. So having a right attitude is so important in life, not only for achieving some goals but, even to have a peaceful life. And, how to develop the right attitude is to think positive. All this comes down to having control on Mind and Intelligence. The mind has three basic functions—thinking, feeling, and wanting. And, the intelligence helps mind to attain them.
There is a beautiful Verse from Srimad Bhagavad Gita, which explains the nature of the mind and a wonderful explanation or purport by Srila Prabhupad (From Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 6.34)
cañcalaḿhi manah Krsna
pramāthi balavad drdham
tasyāhaḿ nigrahaḿ manye
vāyor iva su-duskaram
TRANSLATION: For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.
PURPORT: The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although the mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, it is certainly very difficult to control the mind. Artificially, one may establish a mental equilibrium toward both friend and enemy, but ultimately no worldly man can do so, for this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literature (Katha Upanisad 1.3.3-4) it is said:
ātmānaḿ rathinaḿ viddhi
śarīraḿ ratham eva ca
buddhiḿ tu sārathiḿ viddhi
manah pragraham eva ca
indriyāni hayān āhur
visayāms tesu gocarān
bhoktety āhur manisinah
"The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers." Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even one's own intelligence, as an acute infection may surpass the efficacy of medicine. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of modern man? The simile used here is appropriate: one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting "HareKrsna," the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is sa vai manah Krsna pādāravindayoh - one must engage one's mind fully in Krsna. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Blame Game and whose fault it is ?.

This is a common thing.To blame others for the problems,issues or any difficult situations one is going through.So many times in life we thinks that something  or someone is the cause of our problems and miseries.If only, that person or that thing is not there, I would be happy ever after. We never realise that the problem could be lying with us.
Here is a talk I had with my colleague,

"What's wrong, you look sleepy - I asked one of my colleague". OoH.. Only if these birds are not there my life would have been so happy.I am not able to sleep properly.Every day early in the morning, they come and sit on a tree near my window and start the chirping and making all the noise.I feel like taking a gun and shooting them.
But, its actually good for you because, they are acting like a natural Alarm bell for you, telling you to go to work.?
Yeah, that is when I go to bed,around 4-5 in the morning.
And, what do you do all night?
I watch TV, Movies, Sports etc.
But, why do you watch all that without going to bed ?
Because, I cant sleep man. I lost all my Super money last year after the market crash.
Why did you invest your Super in a fund that is going to go down like that.
Comon Man - I dint do it.My wife did it.
Why your wife.? 

Because, she manages my Super.
Hmmm. So whose fault it is.?
On contrast we find this interesting story of a Brahmana from Avanti, who does not want to blame anything or anyone for his suffering and situation. This comes up in the 11 Canto of Srimad Bhagavatham, in the section called Uddhava Gita - Spoken by Lord Krishna to Uddhava.So, this brahmana was a miserly person and would never give a penny to his family members.His only goal of life was to earn and save money.When this man became old, his family members took away all of the wealth and drove him away from home.Then, the poor brahmana became a mendicant,develops a spirit of renunciation realises his mistakes and starts wander from place to place.He had a tough time, treated badly by people and society, including harsh, insulting words by people and even young kids used to make fun of him and would throw stones and pass urine on him etc. However, the old Brahmana accepted everything with tolerance and thus, quotes this Verse,
The Song of the Avanti Brahmana - SB 11.23.42:
nāyam jano me sukha-duhkha-hetur
na devatātmā graha-karma-kālāh
manah param kāranam āmananti
samsāra-cakram parivartayed yat
The brahmana said: These people are not the cause of my happiness and distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planets, my past work, or time. Rather, it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life.

Thus, this section of Srimad Bhagavatham informs us that "Neither mortal persons, the demigods, the soul, the ruling planets, the reactions of work nor time are the causes of one’s happiness and distress. Rather, the mind alone is their cause, because it is the mind that makes the spirit soul wanders in the cycle of material life. The real purpose of all charity, religiosity and so forth is to bring the mind under control".