431 – Plant a tree in your heart

Today I saw a two-thousand-year-old tree. It was one of the most beautiful sights and stood like a Guardian, gentle and protective of all who came to admire and respect it. It was in Mexico, in the town of El Tule. This tree is called El Arbor del Tule. It is considered the fattest tree in the world; its trunk is fourteen meters in diameter. It is a Montezuma Cypress and has the world’s widest trunk. People come and pay homage to it. Its threat is local urban growth and excessive irrigation. Continue reading

368 – Forgiveness

What do we know about forgiveness? It is a word used freely and frankly. We say sorry at the drop of a hat. Do we really feel sorry or is it just a word? How does one feel, when one says it. For most of us it is like saying have a nice day. If one says sorry with real emotion, then one will feel a change within oneself. Sorry is used in sarcasm, and it is expressed as a sneer. Continue reading

333 – Four qualities we must cultivate

1. Discrimination, as described in the Bhagawad Gita (2:62-63) by Sri Krishna, “When one thinks of objects, attachment for them arises; from attachment desire is born; from desire anger arises; from anger comes delusion; from delusion loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination; from the destruction of discrimination, one perishes.” Continue reading

289 – Who was Swami Sivananda’s Guru?

Thursday is the day of the Guru? I asked myself this question, as must so many of you, “Who was Swami Sivananda’s Guru?” Swami Sivananda received mantra diksha from Parmahamsa Viswananda Saraswati, on the banks of the Ganga on 1st June 1924. Swami Sivananda was in quest of a Guru. Continue reading

258 – Let us dry the tears of Mother Earth

We have to make Mother Earth happy. We have made her unhappy and it is leading to our annihilation. If only all of us collectively stepped back and self-examined our thoughts and emotions, we will be surprised at the despair accumulated in us. It is this desolation and sadness which is leading to war, terrorism and brutalism. Continue reading

197 – Welcome to the spring: Holi, the Festival of Colors

Holi is the festival of color celebrated in India with joy and fervor. It is based on two stories. The first story is about Krishna. He was blue in color and he was very embarrassed about it. His color was blue because he had been poisoned by breast milk. He was sad as all the milk maids and Radha were a golden, brown color. He was demoralized and he thought that they would not find him handsome. He complained to his mother and she said, “Just color your face.” So he did that and threw color mixed with water on all the maidens. The Gopis (milk maids) enjoyed the frolic and throwing of color, and after that everybody started playing with color. Continue reading

195 – Mesmerizing colours

Who does not love the colours of the seasons? There is no misunderstanding and there are no clashes. In the Hindu tradition, we have different colours for different days of the week. There are numerous arguments on the subject. Continue reading

189 – Who was Swami Sivananda’s Guru

Thursday is the day of the Guru. I asked myself this question, as must so many of you, “Who was Swami Sivananda’s Guru?” Swami Sivananda received mantra diksha from Paramahamsa Viswanananda Saraswati, on the banks of the Ganga on 1st June,1924. Swami Sivananda was in quest of a Guru. Continue reading

180 – Theft

When Lord Krishna was a baby, he loved butter. He could not stay away from the lovely white butter churned daily from the cows’ milk. Butter was made every day in the homes of the milk maids. And after finishing their tasks, they would go on to do their other chores. When they returned from the cowsheds, they found their butter pots empty. It was a shock for them as butter was used for making ghee and cooking. Continue reading

117 – A Perfect Gift

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The only gift is a portion of thyself…The poet brings his poem… the farmer corn… the painter his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. This is right and pleasing, for it restores society in so far to its primary basis, when a man’s biography is conveyed in his gift.” Continue reading

116 – Why is worship of God in a form important

Swamiji has given a wonderful explanation of worship of God as either formless or with a form. Nirakaar is formless and nobody can dispute the statement as no one has seen God. So an individual can say anything about God. He gives an example of three disciples quarrelling over the exact colour of a chameleon. They had all seen the chameleon changing his colours, so they could not agree. Continue reading

012 – Baby Krishna the butter thief

Who does not love butter? My grandchildren love it.
Our association with butter is Baby Krishna, and he is called a butter thief. Today is his Birthday, Janam Mashtmi.

Baby Krishna and even as an adult would drink the milk, eat the yoghurt and polish off the butter. The gopis and gopas were ecstatic when he did this. He would sometimes break the pots and would share his booty with the monkey brigade. Continue reading

James Swartz – Karma Yoga and Dharma – Talk 7

Recap of the last session. Freedom as the number one priority
in life. Nondual bhakti is exclusive love of the self. To progress
spiritually you have to commit yourself to the vedic tradition:
work through all stages. Skipping of the purification by karma
yoga is not useful. Understand the progression. Take care of
all instruments. Dual love is there to qualify for nondual love.
Nondual relationship. Samsara is a zero-sum-reality. You can’t
win and you can’t loose. Karma yoga is suitable to get out of
samsara: prepares you for jnana yoga, jnana yoga gives you
knowledge and knowledge sets you free. You need a noble
idea for your life. All beings are a set of rules by Isvara that
form their nature. Svabhava and svadharma of a human
being. Nature of animals. Karma yoga dharma. Example of
Arjuna. Karma yogis honor samanya dharma or universal
values. Vishesha dharma or situational ethics have no simple
formula. Dharma yoga. React appropriately in relation to
dharma in every situation to avoid bad karma. Krishna: I am
the desire that is not opposed to dharma. Adharma: Going
against your nature or to go against universal values.
Adharmic action creates mental and emotional agitation.
Pollute the environment and living in it is adharmic.
Svadharma of someone commited to Vedanta: be a karma
yogi, develop discipline. Karma yoga is build into the indian
society, that is a dharmic society. Svadharma and profession.
Karma yoga makes less stressful. You start thinking: who is
this Isvara? 4. Upasana. Listening, reasoning (reflecting and
getting rid of opinions that are not in harmony with the
teaching), actualize the knowledge “I am the self”. Getting rid
of obstacles to perfect satisfaction: by continuing the sadhana.
Total sense of confidence.

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