Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Symptoms of a Yogi - How does he Speak, Sit and Walk?

My son Gopal, when he was about 2 yrs

These are the questions asked by Arjuna to Lord Krishna, after the previous response of Lord Krishna in Verse 50 of Chapter 2 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna finishes describing about Budhi Yogi or the one who is acting with Intelligence and urges Arjuna to strive for Yoga, which is the art of all work. Arjuna asks about that Yogi whose consciousness is merged in transcendence.

Lord Krishna answers Arjuna as below..
(I tried my best to summarize the answers in the following way)

Symptoms of a Yogi: This question means, “How does one transcendentally situated reveal his position? “
He has no material affection. He is detached from both happiness and misery. Rather, he is fully satisfied by fixing his consciousness on the self.

•How does he speak: This question means, "How are his intelligence and words affected by another's affection, anger, or neutrality? In other words, how does he react?
One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.
He is fixed in knowledge and aloof from the material world. He lives on the transcendental platform and therefore his mind cannot be materially disturbed. Srila Prabhupada writes: "Such a fully Krsna conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace
of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness."

•How does he sit and Walk: means, "What is his mentality when his senses are restrained from their objects?" Is it easy for him? Is it tortuous?
One who is able to withdraw his senses from sense objects, as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell, is firmly fixed in perfect consciousness. Such a person uses his senses only when required.
The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness. 

A transcendentalist's renunciation is not difficult because he has a higher taste. This is especially true for Vaisnavas. As a tortoise naturally withdraws his limbs into its shell, a devotee naturally and fully withdraws his senses from matter by engaging them in Krsna's service.

Monday, 28 July 2014

About the Seven Social sins by Mahatma Gandhi

Seven social sins:

Politics without principles,

Wealth without work,

Pleasure without conscience,

Knowledge without character,

Commerce without morality,

Science without humanity,

                               And Worship without sacrifice." – Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, 25 July 2014

Crossways Restaurant Revisited

Crossways Restaurant - Seating on 2nd Floor

Crossways - Notice Board

Visited crossways today, after nearly 6 months. This time, I took my team members for the lunch. Today being a Friday, the menu was, Thai Curry & Jasmin Rice, Pineapple Halawa (Sweet dessert), Sweet Butter Milk called Lassi and a orange cordial. Since, it was lunch time the place was crowded. We took are food trays upstairs (2nd floor) where extra seating was available and it was quite there. As usual, the food was delicious and tasty. The speciality of the food is that, there is no Onion and garlic used in any of the food items and it is completely vegetarian.
 Initially, some of us wanted to go for seconds (its unlimited serves) but, by the time we finished all the items, we are all full and satisfied that no one actually had any desire to go for seconds. One serve itself was a lot!

Crossways is a vegetarian restaurant located at 123 Swanston Street, Melbourne CBD. (11 Nov 2013).
A Tram on the Swanston Street

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Allow the Sunlight to enter Your Room

Somewhere on Great Ocean Road -Photo by VinodT

Here is another instructive story by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.
A boy from a wealthy family was spoilt through over -indulgence. His parents used to fulfil all his fanciful desires and thus they did great harm to the boy. When the boy grew up as a young man he became more and more unruly. He concluded that the sun and moon must carry out his orders. One day the young man was sleeping in a room with all the doors closed. By late afternoon the parents of the boy thought their son was still sleeping because he might have worked very hard the night before. When midday was arriving, the parents became deeply anxious and started knocking at the door. Still in bed, the boy kept on telling, why are you knocking at my door in the dead of night? I am not going to open it now. You must have come with some bad motive. Everyone outside was urging, the sun has been up for a long time, now it is almost midday. Please open the door.

The young man replied, the midday sun must be very strong and if it is so, let him come into my room and show his strength. After all, I am not going to get up from my cosy comfortable bed. Then everyone appealed, Will you open the door so that the sunlight will get into the room?

What does this story tell us?

Some people think that it is nothing but flattery to say that the Lord is all merciful. If the Lord was really merciful, how is it that there is so much suffering in the world? Some people even think that if Godhead was omnipotent, He should have changed our motives without out effort. There argument is similar to such a spoilt child. They have, in fact, encaged themselves in their own apparently cosy comfortable bedroom under illusionary energy.
The sun distributes his light everywhere indiscriminately, for rich and poor, palace and cottage alike. Anyone who takes the trouble of opening his doors and windows will surely get sunlight. The Lord has also bestowed his mercy everywhere and every living entity, using his freewill, can enjoy it.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Crossing the River When it is Dry

River at ISKCON New Govardhana,Eungella NSW by VinodT

This is an instructive story by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura recorded as Upakhyane Upadesa.
There used to be a person who was an extreme introvert and he didn't want to leave his own house... One day his friend asked him, O Kaminimohan! Let us both go and visit a sadhu. A great personality has come to Sridham Mayapur and he is preaching very nice transcendental subject matters. You life will be fulfilled upon hearing his instructions. Kaminimoham was very reluctant to leave the comfort of his home just to visit a sadhu’s place. Then his friend tried to allure Kaminimohan, saying, By the way, there’s a great funfare at the bank of Kuliya. It is full of recreation and amusements. So let us go and visit the fare. So Kaminimohan agreed to go visit the funfare at Kuliya for some enjoyment. The friends plan was to take Kaminimohan to the bank of Kuliya and then it would be possible for him to take him across the Ganges to arrive at Sridhama Mayapura.

Arriving at the bank of Kuliya, Kaminimohan enjoyed at the funfair for a while. Then his friend told him, just across the river is Sri Mayapur. Let us go and visit the holy dhama. There you will find the birth place of Lord Sri Caitanyadeva, tomb of Chand Kazi, the remnants of Ballal Sen’s ancient royal palace, the great lake of Ballal Sen and many other places of interest.

Kaminimohan realised now that his friend had become almost determined to take him across the river for a visit to the holy dhama. So he made out a counter-plan and said, My dear friend, I am very afraid of crossing a river. I am, in fact, not at used to boarding a boat, it gives me nausea, dizziness, I become extremely afraid of drowning and palpitations start immediately. This is rainy season, but in winter, when the river will become dry, then we can easily walk down the river without the help of any boat. At that time I will definitely visit Sri Mayapur and all its interesting places.

Listening to Kaminimohan plea, his friend told him, O my dear friend, you say you’ll cross the river when it is dry. This is nothing but your insincerity and hypocrisy. The river will never be dry, and you wouldn't be able to cross it.

****Many of us think that we may devote enough time for listening to the transcendental preaching from some saintly person after completing our business in the field of our domestic material entanglements concerning our family members, their desires and wants, diseases and other things. But in fact, these entanglements will never go. Devotional practices will never be undertaken, unless we make it a point to start devotional practices immediately.

Similarly, Prahlad Maharaj gives the following instructions to his school friends. From Srimad Bhagavatham Canto 7 verses 6 – 8 (Translation and Purport by Srila Prabhupada)
·         Every human being has a maximum duration of life of one hundred years, but for one who cannot control his senses, half of those years are completely lost because at night he sleeps twelve hours, being covered by ignorance. Therefore such a person has a lifetime of only fifty years.
·         In the tender age of childhood, when everyone is bewildered, one passes ten years. Similarly, in boyhood, engaged in sporting and playing, one passes another ten years. In this way, twenty years are wasted. Similarly, in old age, when one is an invalid, unable to perform even material activities, one passes another twenty years wastefully.
·         One whose mind and senses are uncontrolled becomes increasingly attached to family life because of insatiable lusty desires and very strong illusion. In such a madman’s life, the remaining years are also wasted because even during those years he cannot engage himself in devotional service.

Without Krsna consciousness, one wastes twenty years in childhood and boyhood and another twenty years in old age, when one cannot perform any material activities and is full of anxiety about what is to be done by his sons and grandsons and how one’s estate should be protected. Half of these years are spent in sleep. Furthermore, one wastes another thirty years sleeping at night during the rest of his life. Thus seventy out of one hundred years are wasted by a person who does not know the aim of life and how to utilize this human form.
Lord Brahmā, a human being and an ant all live for one hundred years, but their lifetimes of one hundred years are different from one another. This world is a relative world, and its relative moments of time are different. Thus the one hundred years of Brahmā are not the same as the one hundred years of a human being. From Bhagavad-gītā we understand that Brahmā’s daytime of twelve hours equals 4,300,000 times 1,000 years (sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmao vidu). Thus the vara-śatam, or one hundred years, are relatively different according to time, person and circumstances. As far as human beings are concerned, the calculation given here is right for the general public. Although one has a maximum of one hundred years of life, by sleeping one loses fifty years. Eating, sleeping, sex life and fear are the four bodily necessities, but to utilize the full duration of life a person desiring to advance in spiritual consciousness must reduce these activities. That will give him an opportunity to fully use his lifetime.
This is the account of one hundred years of life. Although in this age a lifetime of one hundred years is generally not possible, even if one has one hundred years, the calculation is that fifty years are wasted in sleeping, twenty years in childhood and boyhood, and twenty years in invalidity (jarā-vyādhi). This leaves only a few more years, but because of too much attachment to household life, those years are also spent with no purpose, without God consciousness. Therefore, one should be trained to be a perfect brahmacārī in the beginning of life and then to be perfect in sense control, following the regulative principles, if one becomes a householder. From household life one is ordered to accept vānaprastha life and go to the forest and then accept sannyāsa. That is the perfection of life. From the very beginning of life, those who are a jitendriya, who cannot control their senses, are educated only for sense gratification, as we have seen in the Western countries. Thus the entire duration of a life of even one hundred years is wasted and misused, and at the time of death one transmigrates to another body, which may not be human. At the end of one hundred years, one who has not acted as a human being in a life of tapasya (austerity and penance) must certainly be embodied again in a body like those of cats, dogs and hogs. Therefore this life of lusty desires and sense gratification is extremely risky.

On the same lines, Sripad Shankaracharya writes in his Bhaja Govindam verse 7,

pare brahmaṇi ko'pi na saktaḥ  

Childhood is lost in play. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. Alas! Hardly is there anyone who yearns to be lost in Parabrahman.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Thinking about Vrindavan

The Kadamba tree from which Krishna Jumped upon Kaliya to subdue the serpent

Historic Madan Mohan temple

Giri Govardhana Puja performed to a replica of Govardhan at Krishna Balaram Mandir of ISKCON

Sometime ago, I read a research study that people actually get more happiness and excited by thinking about a holiday than actually being on a holiday.Because, when we think of holidays we actually create and build up the excitement, atmosphere and mood. It is said that, Happiness is a state of Mind. It does not matter even you or the richest person in the world, it is not guaranteed that you are going to be a happy person. And, then there is one more study that to make you happy, practice meditating on thinking of a wonderful, happy moment you had. Imagine the scene again, think that you are part of the moment again and it will uplift your mood.
From a spiritual perspective, one of the Acharya Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati said that, just by thinking about Vrindavan, even though not residing physically there, one gets the benefit of actually performing the devotional service.
Whatever it is, I am missing Vrindavan. It’s been a while, since I visited the Holy Dham. Luckily, I have some photos that I took in 2011.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Calm Caves

It is interesting how in both Eastern and Western spirituality great renounced persons would often perform their prayer and worship in the caves of the mountains.

Calm Caves an article by HH Radhanath Swami

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

My reflections on the Story of Kusa-Hibari (A Beautiful Cricket) by Lafcadio Hearn

Source :

Who cares about an insect and who wants to keep it as a pet? And, how does it matter if an insect lives or dies? You will change your views about an insect drastically after reading this short story. Also, it’s interesting to learn that some cultures in Japan and China keep these insects as pets for their musical abilities.
I came across this beautiful and sad story about a cricket, while I was reading a book about mind mapping by Tony Buzan. The book introduces this story Kusa-Hibari, which the author uses for an exercise in learning how to read and memorize efficiently. For sometime, I forgot about the book and started reflecting on this story. It is truly a touching story and showed me various spiritual dimensions which I will highlight, as you go through the story. This story is about a pet insect Cricket (Possibly called Oecanthus rufescens)

The Story begins below...
(The actual story Font in Georgia and my thoughts in Italics).
His cage is exactly two Japanese inches high and one inch and a half wide: its tiny wooden door, turning upon a pivot, will scarcely admit the tip of my little finger. But he has plenty of room in that cage - room to walk, and jump, and fly, for he is so small that you must look very carefully through the brown-gauze sides of it in order to catch a glimpse of him. I have always to turn the cage round and round, several times, in a good light, before I can discover his whereabouts, and then I usually find him resting in one of the upper corners - clinging, upside down, to his ceiling of gauze.

(We are all spiritual beings caged in this material body, entrapped in material existence and then, depending on what we are – we have our field of activity, which is different to different people. For, example a field of activity for a small child may be his home or back yard with some toys and field of activity for the President of a country could be much bigger extending whole of the nation or other nations. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna defines this as Kestra (the field or Body) and Kestra-jna (Knower of the field or body) Chapter Thirteen of Bhagavad-Gita: Nature, the Enjoyer and Consciousness).

Imagine a cricket about the size of an ordinary mosquito - with a pair of antennae much longer than his own body, and so fine that you can distinguish them only against the light. Kusa-Hibari, or 'Grass-Lark' is the Japanese name of him; and he is worth in the market exactly twelve cents: that is to say, very much more than his weight in gold. Twelve cents for such a gnat-like thing!… By day he sleeps or meditates, except while occupied with the slice of fresh egg plant or cucumber which must be poked into his cage every morning… to keep him clean and well fed is somewhat troublesome: could you see him, you would think it absurd to take any pains for the sake of a creature so ridiculously small.
But always at sunset the infinitesimal soul of him awakens: then the room begins to fill with a delicate and ghostly music of indescribable sweetness - a thin, silvery rippling and trilling as of tiniest electric bells. As the darkness deepens, the sound becomes sweeter - sometimes swelling till the whole house seems to vibrate with the elfish resonance - sometimes thinning down into the faintest imaginable thread of a voice. But loud or low, it keeps a penetrating quality that is weird… All night the atomy thus sings: he ceases only when the temple bell proclaims the hour of dawn.
Now this tiny song is a song of love - vague love of the unseen and unknown. It is quite impossible that he should ever have seen or known, in this present existence of his. Not even his ancestors, for many generations back, could have known anything of the night-life of the fields, or the amorous value of song.

(There is a small insect called Indra-gopa and there is King Indra – the demigod in charge of Heaven. Both of them are bound by Karma, enjoying or suffering the deeds, labour of their previous births. Further clearly explained in this Verse 5.54 of Brahma Samhita as below, (
Translation: I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, who burns up to their roots all fruitive activities of those who are imbued with devotion and impartially ordains for each the due enjoyment of the fruits of one's activities, of all those who walk in the path of work, in accordance with the chain of their previously performed works, no less in the case of the tiny insect that bears the name of indragopa than in that of Indra, king of the devas.
Purport:  God impartially induces the fallen souls to act in the way that is consequent on the deeds of their previous births and to enjoy the fruition of their labors but, out of His great mercy to His devotees, He purges out, by the fire of ordeal, the root of all karma, viz., nescience and evil desires. Karma, though without beginning, is still perishable. The karma of those, who work with the hope of enjoying the fruits of their labors, becomes everlasting and endless and is never destroyed. The function of sannyāsa is also a sort of karma befitting a āśrama and is not pleasant to Krishna when it aims at liberation, i.e., desire for emancipation. They also receive fruition of their karma and, even if it be disinterested, their karma ends in ātma-mamatā, i.e., self-pleasure; but those who are pure devotees always serve Krishna by gratifying His senses forsaking all attempts of karma and jñāna, and being free from all desires save that of serving Krishna. Krishna has fully destroyed the karma, its desires and nescience of those devotees. It is a great wonder that Krishna, being impartial, is fully partial to His devotees. )

They were born of eggs hatched in a jar of clay, in the shop of some insect-merchant: and they dwelt thereafter only in cages. But he sings the song of his race as it was sung myriad years ago and as faultlessly as if he understood the exact significance of every note. Of course he did not learn the song. It is a song of organic memory - deep, dim memory of other quintillions of lives, when the ghost of him shrilled at night from the dewy grasses of the hills. Then that song brought him love - and death. He has forgotten all about death: but he remembers the love. And therefore he sings now - for the bride that will never come.

(The scorpion lays its eggs in piles of rice, and sometimes it is said that the scorpion is born out of rice. But the rice is not the cause of the scorpion. Actually, the eggs were laid by the mother. Similarly, material nature is not the cause of the birth of the living entities. The seed is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they only seem to come out as products of material nature.  The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.)

So that his longing is unconsciously retrospective: he cries to the dust of the past - he calls to the silence and the gods for the return of time… Human lovers do very much the same thing without knowing it. They call their illusion an Ideal: and their phantom of organic memory. The living present has very little to do with it… Perhaps this atom also has an ideal or at least the rudiment of an ideal; but, in any event, the tiny desire must utter its plaint in vain.
The fault is not altogether mine. I had been warned that if the creature were mated, he would cease to sing and would speedily die. But night after night, the plaintive, sweet, unanswered trilling touched me like a reproach - became at last an obsession, an affliction, a torment of conscience; and I tried to buy a female. It was too late in the season; there were no more kusa-hibari for sale, - either males or females. The insect-merchant laughed and said, 'He ought to have died about the twentieth day of the ninth month.' (It was already the second day of the tenth month.) But the insect-merchant did not know that I have a good stove in my study, and keep the temperature at above 75 degrees F. Wherefore my grass-lark still sings at the close of the eleventh month, and I hope to keep him alive until the Period of Greatest Cold. However, the rest of his generation are probably dead: neither for love nor money could I now find him a mate. And were I to set him free in order that he might make the search for himself, he could not possibly live through a single night, even if fortunate enough to escape by day the multitude of his natural enemies in the garden - ants, centipedes, and ghastly earth-spiders.
Last evening - the twenty-ninth of the eleventh month - an odd feeling came to me as I sat at my desk: a sense of emptiness in the room. Then I became aware that my grass-lark was silent, contrary to his wont. I went to the silent cage, and found him lying dead beside a dried-up lump of egg-plant as gray and hard as a stone. Evidently he had not been fed for three or four days; but only the night before his death he had been singing wonderfully - so that I foolishly imagined him to be more than usually contented. My student, Aki, who loves insects, used to feed him; but Aki had gone into the country for a week's holiday, and the duty of caring for the grass-lark had devolved upon Hana, the housemaid. She is not sympathetic, Hana the housemaid. She says that she did not forget the mite - but there was no more eggplant, and she dutifully expressed contrition. But the fairy-music had stopped: and the stillness reproaches; and the room is cold, in spite of the stove.

(What is the difference between a dead and living? The body is still there but, something is missing. The consciousness and the life symptoms which are displayed because of the presence of Soul which is said to the size of the one- 10,000th part of the tip of a hair. Smaller than a molecule but, just like Sunlight which can illuminate the whole universe, the Soul illuminates the whole body with consciousness. So, do crickets have Souls? Yes, from a small ant, a Whale, Elephant anything and everything that shows the symptoms of consciousness.)

Absurd!… I have made a good girl unhappy because of an insect half the size of a barley-grain! The quenching of that infinitesimal life troubled me more than I could have believed possible… Of course, the mere habit of thinking about a creature's wants - even the wants of a cricket - may create, by insensible degrees, an imaginative interest, an attachment of which one becomes conscious only when the relation is broken. Besides, I had felt so much, in the hush of the night, the charm of the delicate voice - telling of one minute existence dependent upon my will and selfish pleasure, as upon the favour of a god - telling me also that the atom of ghost in the tiny cage, and the atom of ghost within myself, were forever but one and the same in the deeps of the Vast of being… And then to think of the little creature hungering and thirsting, night after night and day after day, while the thoughts of his guardian deity were turned to the weaving of dreams! How bravely, nevertheless, he sang on to the very end - an atrocious end, for he had eaten his own legs!… May the gods forgive us all - especially Hana the housemaid!

(“the atom of ghost in the tiny cage, and the atom of ghost within myself, were forever but one” – Bhagavad Gita – 2.17. That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.
This verse more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body. Anyone can understand what is spread all over the body: it is consciousness. Everyone is conscious of the pains and pleasures of the body in part or as a whole. This spreading of consciousness is limited within one's own body. The pains and pleasures of one body are unknown to another. Therefore, each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul's presence is perceived as individual consciousness. This soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size.)

Yet, after all, to devour one's own legs for hunger is not the worst that can happen to a being cursed with the gift of song. There are human crickets who must eat their own hearts in order to sing.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Understanding Meditation

Understanding Meditation

Written by At the age of 19, in 1970, Richard (later Radhanath Swami) started his journey of spiritual quest. After meeting several people and studying various paths of spiritual enlightenment along the way, he finally reached India. Radhanath Swami’s experiences through the journey enabled him to understand the truth from all cultural perspectives. The deep realizations that he gained in the process reflect in his book today. Find him on Google+

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

How to read Faster


Everyone will agree that, reading and comprehension are the two most important skills required for everyone, starting from students, scientists to philosophers. And, books are your greatest source of knowledge, strength, building your confidence, character and so many things. We will come back to what to read later but let’s continue with our main topic. Faster reading I think is a habit, a good habit that anyone can develop by practice. Ever since, I can remember, I was avid reader of books. When, I am about 8 years or so, my Dad took me to a book stall (like a Newsagent), which used to have number of small pocket books - mythology fiction about, Kings, Princes and demons and adventure tales. I used to go every alternate day to borrow a book and return the read one. Then, my reading career went places. I used to read any and every book I found. In my very young age, I have finished lots of books written by Enid Blyton like, Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew etc. Then, I went during my teens and college days to Agatha Christie and during graduation and initial work years, all the Fiction Novels like Godfather, books by Sidney Sheldon, Irving Wallace, Frederick Forsyth etc. along with spiritual books, especially Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavatham. Then, a number of books on personality development, career, Money like, Think and Grow Rich, Books on NLP - Neuro Linguistic programming.

Here are some tips on reading and how to read faster -

1. The main problem is actually reading itself. Some people cannot read more than 2 pages and they stop reading and move on to something. Why does it happen? To become a good reader, one needs to develop bit of good habits like, discipline and determination. Firstly, think about why you want to read something, what do you get from it, when you want to finish it. If you have no idea, don't worry, still give a date. For example, if you are the slowest reader, set up an initial deadline of 20 days for a 100 pages book. It actually helps to have a start and finish date.

2. How do you read?
I saw some people, when they read, they read word by word. And, then they even stop after few words or a line or two. Instead try reading multiple words at a time. Imagine your eyes are like a camera and you are taking photos. Instead of going through each alphabet one by one, grab multiple words. Again, it’s all about practice. Start with a single word and go on to multiple words and if there are any coma or colons, don’t stop, keep going. To get to this habit of reading multiple words, try reading small pocket books or in a computer - word document, divide and split the text into two or three columns.

3. One more thing that I noticed is that, some people read out loud or within their mind, word by word. This is where you loose lot of time, energy and patience. No wonder people get tired and give up after 2 or three pages. This is called vocalization and if you can avoid this, you can improve your speed to a great degree. Initially, like any habit (Old habits die hard) this initially becomes cumbersome and sometimes makes you loose your head and sense of what you are reading. But, practice and patience will give you results. Again, remember - you are not trying to give up your old habit, you are actually replacing the old one with a new one.

4. Another useful technique called skimming is a useful one. Here, what you are doing is actually not even reading all the words but, skipping the words or read only few words per line. Again, this needs practice and will come handy to quickly get a feel of what the content is. For, students this is useful to read the textbooks, so that to figure out the important topics, that needs a re-reading. There are two ways, you can use this technique. One is before the start of reading a Novel or something to get a feel of the topic or after normal reading, to make sure you got the gist of what is going on.
                                                                                                                              (..To be continued)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Kirtan - Chanting and Dancing

Here is a short video of my son doing Kirtan of Hare Krishna Mantra, while playing Kartals. I have added the melodious back ground music of Hare Krishna mantra Kirtan by His Grace Agnidev Prabhu.
Kirtan or kirtana is call-and-response chanting performed in India's bhakti devotional traditions. A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtaneer. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas,mrdanga and hand cymbals (karatalas). It is a major practice in Vaisnava devotionalism. Kirtan is a song or hymn sung in glorification of God.
As described by Prahlad Maharaj in Srimad Bhagavatham, there are nine processes or nava vidha Bhakti for pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord. They are, Sravanam - Hearing, Kirtanam - Chanting, Smaranam - remembering, Pada sevanam - serving the feet, arcanam - offering worship with suitable items, vandanam - offering prayers, dasyam - becoming the servant, sakhyam - becoming the best friend, atma Nivedanam - surrendering everything, whatever one has. Thus, one can achieve perfection or mercy of the Supreme Lord by practicing any one or all of these items of devotional service. Of these, Kirtan refers to chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishu or Krishna.Thus, a Kirtan typically involves chanting and dancing. 

Some benefits of Kirtan

·         Kirtan is the most powerful and enjoyable form of meditation. By meditating on these sacred sounds we reach a state far beyond the stress and worries of life.
·         The eternal wisdom contained in the yoga texts explain that these mantras are transcendental sounds endowed with unlimited spiritual potency. They purify one’s consciousness and bring deep spiritual insight and inner happiness.
·         Everyone is looking for something real, lasting and fully satisfying in their life. That “something” is reconnecting to our spiritual source, to experience spiritual love. Kirtan nourishes the soul’s deepest needs by reawakening this spiritual love within our hearts.