Saturday, April 22, 2023

My Spiritual Experience of Chanting Siddha Surya Mantra in Sadhana App


O' My God! It was 7:42 a.m. I was already late to start the japa.
Today, the auspicious time to do the chanting of Siddha Surya Mantra was from sunrise to 7:50 a.m. I woke up at 1:45 a.m. still I could not manage to find time to remember God Sun. I had a tight schedule with my usual prayers and meditation which kept me busy like a bee till sunrise. After that I prepared food for stray animals and fed them. As today was Saturday, I did some extra charity. And because I had just completed one of my sadhanas, I distributed the prasadam of mango fruits to housekeeping and security staff. My mind was so occupied in all these activities that I hardly noticed that auspicious time for chanting was slowly slipping away.

I was left with only eight minutes to chant the mantra before the auspicious window of opportunity closed. Determined to make the most of this limited time, I began the 10-minute japa of Siddha Surya mantra in Sadhana App with intense focus, my mind fully engaged in the sacred repetition of the mantra. With each repetition, my heart opened wider, and I felt a deep sense of devotion and gratitude welling up inside me. Tears of joy and grace began to flow from my eyes, a testament to the power of the Surya mantra, the sacred blessings of the lineage and the divine presence of Lord Surya Narayana. As I was chanting the mantra while sitting on my balcony, the rising sun bathed me with its golden glow and immense grace. I was fully drenched!

Today was a day unlike any other, for as soon as I began my meditation, my mind became fully concentrated, and I experienced a special kind of power that filled me with a sense of peace and calmness. I couldn't help but wonder if this was due to the extraordinary time period that I had shared with others the day before. Perhaps Universal energies were supportive during this time, and I was able to tap into something deeper and more profound than I had ever experienced before.

As the sun continued to rise, I felt a renewed sense of purpose and clarity, grateful for the opportunity to connect with the divine in such a powerful way. And as I immersed myself into the schedule of my day, I carried with me the impression of that unusual moment, knowing that the power of the Surya mantra would continue to guide and motivate me on my spiritual path.

Friday, April 21, 2023

RAK Without Any Expectation of Reward!

Why was he rotating his head like a mad man?

When I looked out of my car window at a red light stop, I found a man standing close by and moving his head in a circular motion. He was wearing a weird cap somewhat like a joker's conical hat but it had a small ball attached to it with a long thread. As he was moving his head, the ball was rotating in a similar fashion above his head. He was also playing a small dholak, a musical instrument. My eyes traveled down towards the ground and I found a small kid of 3-4 years imitating the adult. The young boy as well was rotating his head wearing a similar but a smaller cap on his head. I had never seen such an act of entertainment ever before. Instead of begging, the duo was going near each vehicle and were rotating their heads to get some food or some coins whatever one offered. My heart ached about what acts one has to perform to earn one's bread and how difficult it is to make money. Maya Angelou words echoed in my head, "Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud." 

I hurriedly opened my bag and gave some bananas and oranges to them as a token of appreciation of their hard work. The father's eyes crinkled in a show of appreciation, and the child beamed elatedly. 

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward. - Princess Diana

Pic - Pexels

Friday, April 14, 2023

Kindness in Giving Creates Love.


I felt a pang of sympathy!
Scorching sun, clouds of dust, puffs of black smoke emitted from the train of vehicles and the rejection by various car passengers had made her look very feeble even in the morning hours. I was surprised to notice that there was no early morning brightness on her face. I noticed this frail woman going from one car to another selling car window shades on a toll tax plaza.
Her sickly appearance and poor quality product didn't seem to be attracting any customers, and I felt a twinge of empathy for her plight.

How can I help her?
Without a second delay, I searched into my bag and took out some of the fresh fruits that I had brought along. I pulled down the window pane of my car and signalled her to come near. As I handed the small packet to her, I could see the appreciation in her eyes. Her face lit up with happiness like an electric bulb. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude which was palpable. In that moment, I knew that my small act of kindness had made a significant difference in her day.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. - Lao Tzu

Pic - Unsplash

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Immersing Myself in Bhakti of Lord Krishna in Sadhana App

Yesterday morning, I felt tired of chanting long, difficult and boring Sanskrit mantras after doing my routine prayers. To relax for some time, I tapped the Sadhana App icon on my iPhone. I went into Gokula, the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. When I clicked the 'Abhishekam' option, it showed the three options: Krishna Ashtakama (4 min), Devotional Chant (7 min), and Sahasranama (30 min). As I was in the mood to do something light, I chose the 'Devotional Chant', which was only 7 minutes long. I settled down on my mat, and with utmost devotion I started playing the bhajan. As I performed the Abhishekam of Lord Krishna, the divine chant 'Jaya Radha Madhava' was sung by Manish Vyas which was played in the background  Diving deep in ecstasy of devotional love with his silvery voice, I offered various ingredients like gangajal, water, milk, yogurt, fragrant oil, gold, red cloth, red garland, incense, dhoop, betel nuts, paan, small pot, ghee lamp, gemstones, flowers, dry fruits, handheld lamp, and handheld bell to my beloved deity. With each ingredient, I offered my pure love and selfless devotion, feeling that my connection with my Lord was growing stronger.

As I chanted, my every cell moved with the rhythm of his gentle voice. His sacred voice is like a river of bliss - serene and calm! I just wanted to flow with the current of tranquility. What an incredible voice Manish Vyas has!
"(jaya) rādhā-mādhava (jaya) kuñja-bihārī *3
(jaya) gopī-jana-vallabha (jaya) giri-vara-dhārī * 3
(jaya) rādhā-mādhava (jaya) kuñja-bihārī *3
yaśodā-nandana, braja-jana-rañjana, *2
yamuna-tīra-vana-cārī *2
(jaya) rādhā-mādhava (jaya) kuñja-bihārī *2
muralī manoharā karuna sāger *4
(jaya) goverdhān dhari *2
(jaya) rādhā-mādhava (jaya) kuñja-bihārī *6" in my mind.

A sense of joy and peace filled me, as I continued to do Abhishekam with total surrender to Murlimanohar. I closed my eyes, I felt a shift in my consciousness, I was no more here, rather I was transported to the serene and calm environment of Vrindavana, where Lord Krishna spent his childhood. The whole atmosphere was filled with love, devotion, and a sense of peace that I had never experienced before. For a few moments, I was away from the hustle and bustle of the modern city that I live in. 
I realized that the devotional practice had elevated my Krishna consciousness. I felt a sense of gratitude and fulfillment. I bowed down to Lord Krishna, feeling His divine presence everywhere - inside and outside me, and said loudly, "Jaya Radha Madhav!" I opened my closed eyes somewhat forcefully to glance at 'Chitchor'. His benevolent smile stole my heart, mind and soul. And what an easy chant to connect with the Divine

P.S. - If any patient suffering from chronic disease or who had recently met an fatal accident continuously hears this spiritual chant then his chances of recovering multiplies. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Chanting of Dashakshai Mantra in Lord Shiva Temple in Sadhana App

Today was a boring Monday morning! 

As usual I did the same monotonous routine prayers. To make my life interesting, I decided to try something new, something alluring, something unusual and something engrossing. Monday is considered auspicious to worship Lord Shiva so I tapped the Kalasha option in the Sadhana App. In the Japa section, there were three mantras: Panchakshari Mantra, Dashakshari Mantra (Ten- lettered Mantra) and Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. I have done the japa of Panchakshari Mantra (Five- lettered Mantra - Om Namah Shivaya) and mahamrityunjaya mantra with or without the Sadhana App many times. I wanted to do something different!

I started the five minutes japa of Dashakshari Mantra – 'Om Namo Bhagavate Rudraya'. It is the ten-lettered powerful mantra of Lord Shiva. It is a widely revered chant in Hinduism because mere chanting of this mantra with devotion can elevate the consciousness of a devotee to new heights. While focusing on the mantra, I silently prayed, 'As You have practiced austerity, please give me strength so that I can also practice austerity with the same intensity.' Soon, I felt a wave of blissful sensations on my heart chakra. My heart was filled with gratitude and reverence for the deity. I was astonished with Lord Shiva's generous blessings as He is very easily pleased even with small acts of devotion. Afterall, He is Bholenath (A Simple One)! :)

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Book Review : The Trees of Dehra by Ruskin Bond


'The Trees of Dehra' by Ruskin Bond, is a collection of short stories woven in Dehra, a beautiful hill station in India now known as Dehradun. It vividly portrays the natural beauty and peaceful life of the hills. The author's love for bountiful flora is reflected in each and every story, as he shares anecdotes and memories from his childhood days. The mentionable trees are willow, pines, coconut tree, oaks, maplewoods, chestnut tree, rhododendrons, coral tree, jackfruit tree, sal, banyan tree, deodars, the cherry tree etc. He gives the humane touch to these soft leafy colossuses as he talks about the walking trees as well as friendly trees.

This book is an interesting read as it highlights the benevolent nature in the form of gentle giants. A must read/ listen for a nature lover. 

Aaditya Hrudayam of God Sun in Amaravati Temple in Sadhana App

Surprisingly, today I was not in a mood to chant Aaditya Hrudayam. Every Sunday morning after sunrise I chant it along with a video from YouTube. From the past few weeks, the advertisement had started appearing right in the middle of the Stotra which was disturbing my concentration and was turning me off. The flashing advertisements before the start or after the end of the Stotra could be skipped or watched without getting distracted. 

Aaditya Hrudayam is a very powerful hymn from the Ramayana by Sage Valmiki which was recited by Lord Rama before his battle with Ravana. Lord Rama was exhausted on the battlefield, and the sage Agastya advised him to recite the Aaditya Hrudayam Stotra, which would help him defeat Ravana and emerge victorious. It is composed of 31 verses, all of which are powerful mantras. Reciting this Stotra with devotion and faith can help a devotee overcome various obstacles, bring success over enemies, and get rid of illness and gain good health. It has magical powers to remove negative energies from the surroundings and provide protection from evil forces. It also helps in purifying the mind and soul of the worshipper. Performing the Abhishekam with this powerful Stotra is said to bring immense benefits, like good physical and mental health, bringing materialistic and spiritual success and removing negative and evil forces. The ever radiant and generous Sun God who is considered the source of all life and energy, can bestow blessings on his devotees to help them overcome any obstacles in their life.

I decided to check if Sadhana App had Aaditya Hrudayam (8min) in Lord Sun Temple. I clicked on various options and found it in the Abhishekam section. I tapped the button and started praying to God Sun. I mentally offered the following ingredients like water, gangajal, milk, water, yogurt, fragrant oil, gold, red cloth, red garland, incense, dhoop, ghee lamp, betel nuts, paan, small pot, gemstones, dry fruits, flowers, handheld bell, handheld lamp with love and devotion to my beloved deity. 

The pure water and sacred gangajal were poured on the statue which signifies purity and cleansing of not only the deity but oneself. The fresh milk and yogurt were offered as a symbol of nourishment and sustenance, while the fragrant oil, incense, and dhoop filled the air with a fragrance, creating a tranquil environment. The glittering gold and gemstones were presented to bless the devotee with wealth and prosperity. At the time of sunrise the sun appears red in color towards the horizon therefore while worshipping a rising sun, red colored things were offered like vibrant red cloth, sacred red garland and scented red colored flowers. They all symbolized opulence. The betel nuts were offered to enhance prosperity in the materialistic world and paan were given for wish fulfillment. Both had spiritual as well as medicinal properties. 

I watched in awe as the Aarti lamp was lit and created a flickering flame. It was not the flame of fire rather it was the flame of knowledge and wisdom which ignited in me. And as I focused on it, a sense of clarity sprang inside me. Offerings of dry fruits and flowers were made, and the ringing of the handheld bell continued to add a sense of rhythm and harmony to the environment. The handheld lamp was lit representing the inner illumination.
As I walked away from the magnificent white colored and golden striped grand temple, I was overwhelmed with the sense of peace and gratitude. The Abhishekam while chanting to Aditya Hrudayam of God Sun in Amaravati Temple in Sadhana App was truly an unforgettable experience.

Gratitude to the World I Belong!

Without any entry ticket how will I go in and enjoy the fair? I was standing outside the main gate of Pragati Maidan, Delhi to enter the World Book Fair. The ticket can only be purchased through Paytm but I did not use UPI mode of payment. There were no tickets available on cash payment on the main gate but they were available on the gate entry from the metro station. The distance between the two gates by road was a few kilometers. I requested a young girl who was accompanied by her mother to buy tickets for me. She gave the screenshot of tickets to me and I handed over the money to her with thanks. As she had helped me I must help somebody in need, with this promise to myself I entered the book fair.

A saint in an ochre robe was searching the books in a rack of a reputed publisher stall. He picked up a book, shuffled it, took two steps towards the billing counter and then hesitantly came back and put the book back on the shelf. Earlier he made up his mind and then he reluctantly brushed aside the idea. I noticed all this. I went up to him and politely said, "It would be my pleasure to give you a book of your choice." He balked at my suggestion. I requested again, "It will be an honor to give you a gift - a book in this book fair." When I insisted, he accepted my offer. He picked up the same book from the shelf which he had placed there a moment ago. He explained, "This is 'Panchtantra ki kahaniyan' (Stories from Panchtantra) which is too costly and does not fit in my budget but I was yearning for this book for a very long time. I will be pleased if you give me this book."

I smilingly handed over the book to him after completing the purchase. His face lit up. He thanked me numerous times. He invited me to his ashram in Haridwar and shared the address and his contact number with me.

Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!” - Neil Gaiman

It was my way of expressing gratitude to the world for helping me when I was in need.

Pic : Unsplash

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Two Golden Classics - Teesri Kasam and Mare Gaye Gulfam

Have you ever heard a story or watched any movie in which the name of the hero and heroine are the same? Recently on Audible, I heard the story 'Mare Gaye Gulfam' by Phanishwarnath Renu. He was one of the most influential writers of modern Hindi literature. The Bollywood movie 'Teesri Kasam' was based on this love story. 

In this story, both the central characters are namesakes. 'Hira' is the name, 'Hiraman' for the male protagonist and 'Hira Bai' for the female protagonist. In the movie, the role of Hiraman was played by Raj Kapoor, the biggest showman of the period whereas the dancer Hira Bai's role was played by Waheeda Rehman, a Bharatnatyam dancer. This story is set in post-Independent India. Hiraman took two vows after he faced difficult situations in life that he would never carry black marketeer or bamboo in his bullock cart. Soon after his marriage, his wife died and after that he was a single man. One day, he got the chance to carry Hira Bai as a passenger in his bullock cart. He took care of her and sang songs to pass the journey time. He fell in love with her while travelling. Later, he met her and tried to convince her to leave her profession and to live with him. She refused. His heart was broken and he took his third vow that he would never carry any female dancer in his cart.

It is a musical movie. The evergreen songs of the movie are 'Chalat Musafir', 'Duniya Bananewale', 'Maare Gaye Gulfaam', 'Paan Khaaye Saiyaan Hamaaro', 'Sajanwa Bairi Ho Gaye Hamaar' and 'Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo'.

So, what would you like to do - listen or read the story by author Phanishwarnath Renu or watch the movie produced by lyricist Shaliendra?

Friday, April 7, 2023

Recitation of Hanuman Chalisa in Sadhana App

Today it was different!. It was Hanuman Jayanti. It was His birthday! :) I wished to worship Him in a unique way. I logged in to the Sadhana App, clicked the option of Kishkindha Temple. I entered the magnificent temple of Lord Hanuman, the mystical and ancient architect mesmerized me. The screen displayed various options like yagna, abhishekam, nitya pooja, japa and sadhana. I tapped on nitya pooja and then clicked on Hanuman Chalisa (10 min). I daily chant Hanuman Chalisa in just 2 minutes like a machine. I was excited to learn to do nitya pooja of my favorite deity Lord Hanuman in 27 steps. The Hanuman Chalisa was sung in a melodious voice, soothing to ears which enhanced devotion. I started mentally offering the following ingredients like ghee lamp, incense, water, milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, sugar, panchamrit, perfume oil, cloth, sacred thread, jewellery, honey pot, fragrant oil, rice, flowers, dhoop, handheld lamp, naivedyam, paan, fruits, coconut, aarti lamp, pradakshina lamp and garland to Lord Hanuman while murmuring the chant. 

I very lovingly offered each of the sacred ingredients, each has its own significance and importance in the ritual - water and milk symbolize purity and cleansing, yogurt and honey offer sweetness and nourishment, the panchamrit - a blend of milk, yogurt, honey, sugar, and tulsi leaf - represents the five elements is a divine elixir for the gods. I lit the incense and dhoop, their fragrant smoke filled the temple with a heavenly aroma. The luminosity of the handheld lamp removed the clouds of ignorance from my mind as I recited the Hanuman Chalisa, feeling the presence of the divine Hanuman in every verse. I offered naivedyam - a traditional offering of delicacies, fruits, coconut, and paan - to the deity, a gesture of gratitude for the blessings received. The lamp's flame glimmered in my hands, casting flickering shadows on the temple walls as I performed the aarti, absorbing the sacred energy in this divine moment. Finally, I completed the ritual with a pradakshina - a circumambulation of the altar. And adorned Lord Hanuman with a red garland with a feeling of peace and fulfillment in my heart. As I left the temple, I carried with me the divine blessings and energy of Lord Hanuman. Now, I was connected with Him in a more profound way.

The experience was so special that I decided to do Hanuman Chalisa daily in Sadhana App instead of robotic recitation.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

My Spiritual Experience of Watching Live Telecast of Sri Hari Bhagwan's Birthday Celebrations from Sri Badrika Ashram

Tears welled up in my eyes as I mentally visualized my Guru - Om Swamiji and touched His Lotus Feet. I practice it every time as soon as He finishes the discourse without missing a single time. But today was a different experience. As I touched His Feet in my imagination, I also thanked Him for explaining astral travel in simple words. My emotions stirred up as He had blessed me with astral body experience on Aug, 21 which resulted in the emotional flow of salty water from my eyes. I experienced this on 04.04.23 while watching the live telecast of Sri Hari's Birthday Celebration from Sri Badrika Ashram.

Before Aarti was started my eyes were already overflowing with tears, wetting my not so chubby cheeks. As I looked towards Sri Hari Bhagwan, I felt that not only me but He was also crying and His chubby cheeks were wet with tears. 
"Oh my Bhagwan, Please do not cry." In my mind, I was repeatedly saying while trying to wipe the non-stop flow of tears from His Large Lotus Petal Eyes. I forgot to dry my face with a handkerchief. I was now focusing on His tears, wiping them as gently as possible with my soft hands. I felt immense pain in seeing His Face moistened with tears. And I cried more. 

I was crying, He was crying, we both were crying because we were not two but only One!   

Monday, April 3, 2023

My Spiritual Crying While Watching Live Telecast of Sri Hari's Aarti from Sri Badrika Ashram on 03.04.23

As soon as Om Swamiji blew the conch, I started sobbing gently. While He was singing the Aarti of Sri Hari Bhagwan in Sri Badrika Ashram and I was watching the live telecast in my home on 3 April, 23, my sobs turned into crying. During the whole period of singing glories of Lord Sri Hari, I was shedding tears along with loud sobs. The ever benevolent Ma Lakshmi is Mother Nature. Today, instead of scarlet red She was dressed in sea green. Like Nature, She nurtures all beings like a mother taking care of babies. She represents trees, plants, creepers, shrubs, herbs, pastures and all greenery in nature. She also appears as the sun, clouds, moon, river, lake, mountains and soothing breeze. She blesses everyone with wealth, prosperity, name and fame, good fortune, power, health, beauty and fertility. 

I was absorbed in the ever benevolent form of Ma Lakshmi, crying for Her motherly affection. As nature blesses us with uncountable things, I was asking Her to shower Her love in numerous ways on me. I was crying hard like an infant whose mother had not attended her for a long time. I was yearning for Her presence, Her love, Her affection, Her compassion, Her tenderness. All of a sudden, I felt a gentle touch on my head. Did She appear to bless me? 

My continuous loud cries aroused my mother in the adjacent room who was reading a book about Jim Corbette's adventures. She came to my room and gently put her right hand on my head, trying to soothe me, making me comfortable, convincing me that she would always be with me in my cries as well as my laughs.

I had always worshipped her as Ma Lakshmi! :)

Sunday, April 2, 2023

My Spiritual Experience of Watching Live Telecast of Sri Hari Aarti from Sri Badrika Ashram on 02.04.23

As soon as I heard the first word of Sri Hari Aarti then I began to sob loudly. It is the energy of Aarti words or Swamiji's powerful intones, I did not know! I felt as if there was deep darkness engulfing the whole world and Ma Kalratri appeared dressed in black on Her vehicle - donkey to remove blackness, ignorance, gloominess, dullness, delusion and negative energies from the society and to bless Her devotees with fearlessness and auspiciousness. She was holding weapons like an iron club with piercing ends and a curved sword in Her arms to destroy all those who had evil thoughts in the battlefield of life and with Her two hands She is blessing Her worshippers with courageousness and felicitousness. 

The darkness imbalance has crippled the mankind. This difference in the society is because of the rich and the poor, educated and uneducated, feeble and strong as well as kind and the brute. I experienced that Mother Kalratri appeared from the dark clouds like a thunderbolt to eradicate this inequality from society and to create an environment of love and harmony.  

Saturday, April 1, 2023

My Spiritual Crying While Performing Live NavDurga Yagna Day 9 - 31 March 23 in Sadhana App

While meditating on the tantric eulogy of Mother Divine I started sobbing. My eyes welled up with tears. They started flowing down, wetting my soft cheeks. I was performing live NavDurga Yagna Day 9 - 31 March 23 in Sadhana App. As usual I had already cried a lot while doing yagna on Navaran Mantra and Tantric Mantra of that day.

While meditating on Mother Divine, my mind became silent, the unresolved emotions of my subconsciousness came up on the surface, triggering a very strong emotional urge to cry and to vent out all those suppressed emotions. The negative emotions that flowed out in the form of tears from my eyes helped me in feeling light and free.

It is all Mother Divine's Blessings! :)