Happy Navratri!

Monday October 4, 2021

Happy Navratri!

The Nine Nights’ Festival of Navratri has begun!

Worshipping our dear Goddess Amba Mata is the major highlight of this festival. We worship Her by playing garba on the tunes of the devotional songs sung in her praise, by doing Her Aarti and making prasad for Her with great love and warmth and for those who can observe a strict fast during these nine days out of sheer faith and devotion towards Her!

“The fruits that you reap (by worshipping this Goddess) are directly proportional to your faith (shraddha)”, says Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan.

So, How should our Faith be?

Maintaining  selfish motives to gain worldly benefits while worshipping this great Goddess, is not correct. And these are all temporary gains, so ultimately, they prove to be of no use anyways. Our motive instead must be to seek Her grace to help us progress on the path of ultimate liberation. This pure motive will not allow to adulterate our faith!

Goddess Amba Mata is the Adhya Shakti, meaning the original energy force!

It is said that Amba Mata symbolizes natural prakruti (personality)!

explains the real meaning of it. He says, “Goddess Amba Mata is in the form of energy. She is an embodiment of energy. When unity of your mind, speech and the body energy happens (ekagrata), you can attain that energy. That energy is verily within you. But why do we have to keep these symbolic idols? This is because people are not aware that the energy is within them, that is the reason why it has to be placed outside as symbols.”

So, why not begin this practice by worshipping Goddess Amba Mata with unity of our mind, speech and body? When we worship Her so, with great reverence and with exuberance, our own prakruti is energized. It will become natural and powerful and we shall gain good peace of mind too.

Goddess Amba Mata is the reigning and the protecting (Shaasan Devi) Goddess of the Tirthankar Goddess Amba Mata is the Shaasan Devi of the Tirthankar Lord whose mere sight helps us attain liberation. From the one who protects the liberation seekers, can we seek fulfilment of our trivial worldly desires then? No, never!

Rather, we shall seek Amba Mata’s special grace and blessings to help us progress on path of salvation. Goddess Amba Mata has the divine power to destroy our worldly obstacles and grant energy to our prakruti, thus enabling it to become strong, natural and spontaneous. When the prakruti becomes natural, Purush that is the Self (Aatma) too becomes natural. This helps us in a big way to progress well on the path of liberation.

So come, on this auspicious festival of Navratri, let’s pray to this great Goddess with utmost unity of our mind, speech and body, and attain Her grace, “Dear Amba Mata, please help destroy the obstacles that obstruct our progress on the path of liberation!”

Happy Samvatsari!

Thursday September 9, 2021

Happy Samvatsari!

Samvatsari, the Festival of Forgiveness, is celebrated with great faith on the last day of the Paryushan, in Jainism. The Samvantsari Pratikraman, done by almost every devotee of Lord Mahavir on this day, holds a special significance!

What miracle does Pratikraman create?

While doing pratikraman, people specifically ‘recall’ and ‘repent for’ every hurt that they may have caused to others, knowingly or unknowingly. During pratikraman, one confesses and apologises for the mistakes one has done and also resolves to never repeat this wrong deed which has caused hurt to others. People seek special forgiveness from every living being in this world by saying, “Micchami Dukkadam!”

What is the Significance of Michhami Dukkadam?

“Michhami Dukkadam” is an expression of repentance, which in itself is considered as Pratikraman. Micchami Dukkadam means ‘May my bad deeds (dushkrut) become fruitless (mithya).’

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan specifies, “If, knowingly or unknowingly, we create wrong karma, there is a remedy for it. Once a wrong karma i.e. anything that hurts others through our thoughts, speech and body (actions) occurs, repentance should follow immediately. And repentance should be done, wholeheartedly and with sincerity.” Further, it should be done by keeping God as the witness; whichever God you believe in, whether Lord Mahavir or Lord Krishna, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan or any other God.

Repenting wholeheartedly for our mistakes, committed intentionally or mistakenly, helps wash away all the bad karmas, that would have otherwise got bound, and thus we become free of them. When one repents for any wrong karma wholeheartedly, the bondage of karma is reduced to minimum. “Even after repentance, should the mistake occur again, there is no need to worry; just repent again”, says Param Pujya Dadashri.

Here, one needs to understand how repentance helps us get rid of our wrong deeds and if we do not repent, then what kind of consequences may occur.

Every action we do, bears an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, when we do something that is evidently wrong or which hurts others, we will have to suffer as a result of this bad deed. To its rescue, Param Pujya Dadashri provides us with the remedy of repentance i.e. pratikraman.

While explaining the importance of pratikraman, Param Pujya Dadashri says, “Repentance will loosen the entangled knots of karma. If not, the result of the wrongful action you bind will be so horrendous that you may even forfeit human birth in your next life. And if you manage to attain human life again, it will be full of suffering and misery. You will be deprived of food and respect, and you will suffer constant insults. That is why repentance along with other rituals becomes necessary.”

So today, on this Samvatsari day, let’s celebrate the Festival of Forgiveness, by doing a whole-hearted and sincere pratikraman, for all the bad deeds that have happened so far through our thoughts, words or actions; and thus allow our repentance to wash away the inner dirt and make us a pure human being, whose goal of life is to progress towards salvation.

Happy Teachers Day!

Friday September 3, 2021

Happy Teachers Day 2021!

When asked about our fondest memories in life, most of us remember their childhood days - those carefree days of fun, food and friends and what else makes our childhood memories so pleasant and interesting even today? School, friends and of course, our teachers! Remember, how our days used to start with a chorus of Goood Moooorrrnnniiiggg Maaaa’m?!

Those days can never come back but our teacher’s influence and impact has still stayed with us even after so many years. That is the reason a special day has been dedicated to express our sincere gratitude to our teachers. 5th September marks the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and is celebrated as the Teachers Day every year.

In India, the Guru-Shishya parampara is held in very high esteem as Teachers play an important role in shaping our personalities and making us civilized citizens. Just as teachers fulfill their duties with dedication, it is our duty too to respect them and earn their grace. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan says, “A student cannot do anything by himself. With the grace of a Guru (teacher), one can progress.” Such is the importance of a teacher!

Imagine a situation when you are standing at a junction of seven roads. Which road will you select to reach your destination and how will you do that? Obviously, you’ll take the help of a passerby. So in this situation, the passerby has become our Guru as he guided us on the right path. This means the guidance of a Guru is necessary everywhere, at every step.

As students, we may have taken pride in making fun of our teachers or playing pranks on them. But do you know although we might have felt a sense of achievement in those moments then, we actually incurred a great loss unknowingly. Highlighting the importance of a Guru, the Spiritual Master, Param Pujya Dadashri says, “Whomever you surrender to, you will acquire the strength they possess. Once you have surrendered, you will acquire all that he has.” And if we disrespect our teachers, then obviously we will not be able to gain anything from them. Going ahead, Param Pujya Dadashri also gives us a very important life lesson, “No matter how the Guru behaves, the disciple should remain obedient. If the disciple follows Guru’s instructions; then his work will be done!”

Times will keep changing - Classroom teaching might get replaced by online education; but the importance of teachers in our life will never change.

Hence, on this Teachers Day celebration, let us remember all our teachers and recollect those instances when we have disrespected them or made fun of them and then in our mind, ask for their forgiveness and resolve never to do it again ever.

Happy Janmashtami

Friday August 27, 2021

Happy Janmashtami

“Haathi Ghoda Paalki…Jai Kanhaiya Laal Ki……”

What do these lines remind you of?

Yes! It’s celebration time! It’s time to gear up to celebrate the birth of our favourite Kanhaiya, who’s also known as Krishna, Yogeshwar, Govinda, Keshava etc. So let’s all get together and welcome Janmashtami 2021!!!

When it comes to celebration of Lord Krishna’s birthday, music, dance and mischiefs go hand in hand with it. That’s the reason Lord Krishna is also labelled as ‘The One with a flute’, ‘The One with Gopis’, ‘The One who steals butter (maakhan chor)’ etc.

We’ve all grown up hearing tales of Lord Krishna and His leelas. Lord Krishna is the most loved and enigmatic character in Indian mythology. Revealing His true identity, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, the Enlightened One says, “Lord Krishna was a Gnani. He became enlightened; He became a Gnani Purush (Narayan) from an ordinary human being (nara).”

Even today, the Bhagavad Gita, a holy scripture, which is a narrative of the incident where Lord Krishna unveiled the ultimate science of the universe to Arjuna, remains the most read scripture across the globe. Within Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has revealed the science of Self- Realization to Arjuna. 

What is the theme of Bhagavad Gita?

Thousands of philosophers and spiritual Gurus have analysed and explained the Geeta in their own different ways. Let us ponder over a few points from this holy scripture, as explained by Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan –

  • “In the ‘Gita’, it is said, ‘Whenever the Earth becomes heavily burdened with demerit karmas, I will take birth.”

Naturally the question arises, Who is this ‘I’?

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan explains, “That ‘I’ refers to the real Self. It is a principle that when there is an increase of demerit karmas on Earth, a Great Being will take birth. In this way, in every Yuga (time cycle), a Great Being is born.”

He further says that, Lord Krishna was a manifested God living in continuous awareness and an exalted Self-realized stage.

  • Let’s look at the following verse from Bhagavad Gita,

“Na Kartutva, Na Karmani, Lokshya Shrujati Prabhu:
Na Karmaphal Sanyog, Svabhavas Tu Pravartate!”

Meaning:

“The Lord does not act, nor does He induce anyone to act; nor does He give the fruits of action. All this happens naturally.”

Param Pujya Dadashri elaborates, “Shri Krishna said that the world has arisen naturally; it is all happening naturally. The world is running naturally and it is being run by an energy called Vyavasthit Shakti (the result of Scientific Circumstantial Evidences). Vyavasthit Shakti is not the creator of the world. Vyavasthit Shakti is natural and eternal.”

In the above-mentioned points from Bhagavad Gita lies the answer to the important questions of ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Who runs the world?’ Knowing the right answers to these questions helps solve all our puzzles in life and puts an end to the feelings of distress, worries, vengeance etc that may be within.

On this auspicious day of Janmashtami, let us all strive to understand Lord Krishna and the revered Bhagavad Gita, in their real form.

 

Happy Rakhi Festival 2021!

Friday August 20, 2021

Raksha badhan marks the celebration of a lovely bond of protection!

This special Rakhi festival, celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu (lunar) month Shravana, traditionally, entrusts the male siblings with a responsibility to look after their sis and be her saviour in times of need.

In Indian mythology, it is said that seeing Krishna’s finger bleeding, Draupadi immediately tore a piece from one of the most expensive saaris that she was wearing and tied it around his hand. In return, Lord Krishna vowed that he would always be there to protect Draupadi. Krishna kept his commitment to Draupadi's welfare right upto the end of his life; remember the Cheerharan episode, where Lord Krishna protected Draupadi in time, saving her of incredible humiliation! 

This is what the Indian tradition of Rakhi festival symbolizes, when a sister ties a rakhi around her brother’s wrist and the brother, in turn, promises to protect his sister, just as Lord Krishna did!

However, is this promise easy to keep?

Lord Krishna was a ‘Vasudeva’, having extraordinary super-human energies and accomplishments. On the other hand, the era that we all are living in today (Kaliyug) is characterised with incessant obstacles and miseries in every person’s life. Therefore, even while a brother is all-willing to protect his sister from every problem in life, the ordeals are far too many and quite complicated.

Then, from where do we get the protection we need? In whom do we find the refuge we seek?

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan gives us the all-powerful Tri-mantra and says, “The significance of this Trimantra is such that it will destroy all your worldly obstacles. If you recite it every morning, all your worldly difficulties will be destroyed.”

This mantra protects us in every way. It helps reduce the burden of our heaviest of karma and thus makes the pain of even severe suffering feel as a mere pinprick to us. Consequently, we gain stability and peace of mind.

In this mantra, we pay our obeisance to the elevated beings of the highest order!

By reciting the Trimantra, we receive the divine blessings and gain the supreme energies of these Enlightened beings, which enable us to rise spiritually higher and make us become stronger in the true sense of the word.

So, if we wish, we can, on this auspicious day of Raksha bandhan, tie a rakhi, iconic of an eternal bond of protection, to the Enlightened beings (referred to in Trimantra) as well. While we tie the rakhi to our brother, let us both, brother and sister, recite the Trimantra together, with an earnest internal prayer that, ‘Oh Enlightened Lords, May we siblings soon meet Gnani (the Enlightened One), and from Him attain the path of liberation from all our miseries in worldly life.’

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