Monday, 28 September 2015

Supreme God - The Perfect Creator

This is a small instructional and Moral story typed verbatim by my son Gopal, from one of his story books.I told him to do so, just to keep him busy and not disturb me from what I was doing.When I saw what he had done, I was quite impressed and decided to post it here.The simple story helps us to illustrate, how Supreme God is the perfect creator of everything, animate and inanimate we see in this world. Right from highly intelligent Human beings, Huge trees, Mountains, Rivers, Stars, planets, the Sun and the Moon. If we carefully observe, we realise that everything is created in a perfect way and nothing came about by chance. There is an intelligent creator, the most perfect and Supreme being who is behind everything including ourselves. That’s why in Srimad Bhagavatham the Supreme God is called the Otam and Protam, like the threads supporting a cloth going horizontal and vertical across the length and breath. He is also mentioned as Aniyor Aniyan and Mahato Mahiyan – the smallest of the small and the largest of the large. In Bhagavad Gita, The Supreme Lord explains the same as below –
“mattah parataram nanyat
 kincid asti dhananjaya
 mayi sarvam idam protam
 sutre mani-gana iva
O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me.Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread (BG Chapter 7 Verse 7)".

Let’s get into the story my son typed from his story book.
It was a hot day. Ramu began the long journey to his uncle's village. On the
way,Ramu saw a huge banyan tree spreading its branches, welcoming him to
rest under it's shade. Ramu lay down on the cool grass,reveling in the shade of
the old banyan. As he rested , he looked up at the branches of the tree. He noticed
the tiny fruit on the huge banyan. He said to himself, "I believe that the great lord
is the most intelligent of all. But why did he create a huge banyan tree with such
small fruits! "He thought about the pumpkin creeper in his backyard.  The creeper
was slender but it's fruit was so big. He thought,"surely the lord has made a big
mistake! The huge tree must have large fruits and the small plants, tiny fruits."
The cool breeze and the soothing shade of the banyan tree slowly lulled Ramu
into a deep slumber, when suddenly... The breeze blew harder. It became stronger
and swifter.  The branches of the banyan began to shake. Some dried leaves and
fruits fell to the ground. One bunch of fruits fell on Ramu's head...
He awoke with a start and shook with fright as he wondered what had hit him. 
He thought "If it has been bigger I would have been badly hurt!". He folded his hands
and thanked the lord, "you are the wisest! You made this great big banyan tree for
weary travelers like me to rest under but made it's fruit tiny so that they will not
get hurt badly. I shall never doubt your creation again. You are the PERFECT
Ramu thus understood that since, lord is perfect everything created by him is

The invocation Mantra from Isopanisad says,
“Om purnam adah purnam idam
 purnat purnam udacyate
 purnasya purnam adaya
 purnam evavasisyate
The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance”.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Stress Management lessons from Bhagavad Gita

Stress - We all knew it, have felt it and seen it in life affecting us or someone around. The most intriguing thing about stress is that while for some people, it shows up their face and behaviour, others manage to hide and cover it.Whatever it is, it will affect both, the ones showing up or suppressing it.In today’s world, people are living lives ridden with Stress due to career, job, relationships, Finance etc.
Few years ago, one of my colleague at work suddenly complained of chest pain, palpitation and an ambulance was called. Within an hour, she was in a hospital ICU getting treated for Heart attack. Everyone, including myself were surprised. How can such a thing happen to her. She was a happy, friendly person, married and the husband works in the same company.?
Stress at Work

Work Overload Stress?
Another time, I went to a Migration agent to invite him for a cultural function. The moment, I saw him, I thought Gee.. He looks stressed out. Initially, he thought I was a marketing person just door knocking. When I told him about the event, he whole mood changed and thanked me for inviting him. I asked him, what he is up to and he told me that he is about to go for MRT – Migration Review Tribunal hearing of one of his client. Way back, I wondered – how people take on the stress and troubles of others because they are getting paid
There was one more colleague of mine, who would come to work with red eyes and looking sleepy. He told me that, he gets woken up by these two birds every morning at 6AM. He was quite angry and wanted to take a gun and shoot them. But, what is the problem ? They are actually doing a service to you by waking up in the morning and you don’t need to setup alarm in the mobile. He told me that, he actually goes to sleep very late 2:00AM by watching late night shows, sports. Why.? Because, he can’t go to sleep early. Why? because he lost all his Super or Retirement Money by investing in wrong shares.
So what to do about stress ? There are numerous things that you hear like, pressing a stress ball, punching pillows, exercise, pets, Music, Meditation,walking,doctors, Psychologists and medicines etc. But, again here there is so many choices to make which, in turn puts people into more stress. Should I go for this doctor or that doctor.? Should I go for Allopathy, Homeopathy or Ayurveda, should I listen to Western music or Eastern Music. While, I think all these have some results, it is actually even better to the cause or root of the problem. In software testing, we have something called Root Cause Analysis which is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems. This is where Srimad Bhagavad Gita, a revelation from God, a doctrine of universal truth, said to be the essence of Vedas and Upanishads comes to the rescue in eliminating the Root Cause of Stress.
A number of eminent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Aldous Huxley, Henry David Thoreau, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Jung, Bulent Ecevit, Hermann Hesse etc. read, praised, drew inspiration and strength from this holy book. Bhagavad Gita is a holistic scripture, deals with all kinds of problems, anxieties, troubles, stress the human beings had to go through in day to day life. For example, verse below from Bhagavad Gita informs that the most crucial and important reason for stress, one goes through in life is attachment to a particular outcome or result.
“karmany evadhikaras te
 ma phalesu kadacana
 ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
 ma te sango 'stv akarmani (Bhagavad Gita 2.47)
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty”.
So the universal message given out is that we should carry out our duties and obligations in life towards our parents, society, world with integrity and honesty and not to worry about the results.You have the right to perform your duty but, not the results. Learn to work without attachment and not expecting the returns But, what about the performance and productivity. People think that, if you are not attached to the fruits or outcome, the productivity may go down. But, the opposite is true that, the productivity actually goes up by being detached because, there is less stress.That is why surgeons don't operate on their family members, or the businessman managing his own business is more stressed and the reason, why so many people fail in a driving test.But, as you can see, Karma Yoga or acting dutifully without attachment is an art and science. There are different stages and paths one needs to learn and practice like, Sakama Karma Yoga where one is attached to the fruits of action,Nishkama Karma Yoga where one is selfless and not attached to the results.

As per Bhagavad Gita, A Yogi is not the one who creates things from his hands or stays in the ground with his face buried (as you see in places like Kumbha Mela), but one who can perform his prescribed duty, under most distressing conditions, still remain calm and equipoised. As you can see, all this is from the one verse of Bhagavad Gita. There are numerous Root Causes and solutions explained in the preceding chapters, all the way to the 18th Chapter.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Janmashtami – Appearance day of Lord Sri Krishna

The Janmashtami festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravan (August–September) in the Hindu calendar. This weekend is going to be a very busy, exciting and happy time of the year. This is the biggest event of the year organised by ISKCON- Melbourne. Thousands of people visit the temple and there is a continuous prasadam distribution that will be happening all over the weekend. I do little bit of volunteer work at the temple. There will be cultural programs, children activities, dramas and other events. Luckily, this year Janmashtami happens to come on the weekend and the temple authorities decided to conduct the program for two days. Probably, the highlight of the whole program will be the mid night darshan, when a number of devotees fill the temple room and pay their respects to Lord Krishna. The atmosphere will be electrifying, with hundreds of devotees singing the Kirtans glorifying Lord Krishna who made his appearance 5000 years ago in Mathura,India. Just like Sun rises every day and sets in the evening, Lord Krishna makes his appearance and disappearance in one universe and goes on to do the same thing in other universes for the pleasure of his devotees.
A verse from Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, text 6 the Lord says
ajo 'pi sann avyayatma
bhutanam isvaro 'pi san
prakrtim svam adhisthaya
sambhavamy atma-mayaya
Translation:- Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.

If you are in Melbourne, do visit the temple. It is actually, amazing to see so many people coming from all parts of Melbourne. It’s a time to catch up with lot of old friends and some of them come only once a year, on this day and do as much service as they can. Of course, there are number of service opportunities for someone interested. Overall, I can assure you that it will be a spiritually rewarding experience and the best weekend break you can get. 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Jhulan Yatra – The Swing Festival

The Jhula or Swing
This is a sweet and wonderful ceremonial festival where the deities of Radha and Krishna are placed on a beautifully decorated swing or Jhula and the pastimes of the divine couple are enacted by swinging and offering prayers to the Lordships. Here are some photos from the ISKCON Temple in Melbourne. This is a festival which reflects the devotion and mood of devotees of Lord Krishna. Everyone gets a chance to push and swing, invoking a loving servitude and happiness. This is observed for five days with the last day of the Jhulan Yatra coming to an end on the Balaram Purnima – the appearance day of Lord Balarama festival. The swing is decorated everyday with different flower garlands, creepers, leaves etc. One day, as I was standing in the long queue, waiting for my turn to push the swing, a Australian standing behind me said this, “ How wonderful and sweet is this festival ? This is the heart of all religions, the unconditional love for the God. But, not many people can see this”. But, you are here and I think, you can see it – I said. And he replied “ Oh Yeah – only a fraction of it. I am lucky and happy to be here today”.  
Jhulan Yatra

Radha Krishna Deities

The Swing ready with Radha Krishna Deities