Let the Countdown Begin!

Imageonly ONE month to go before the Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014!!! 😀 😀 😀

With more than 100 participants registered, we are truly looking forward to a fun-filled and exciting day! 🙂

 

An Equal Eye

Kabir Quote
sarva-bhūtastham ātmānaḿ
sarva-bhūtāni cātmani
īkṣate yoga-yuktātmā
sarvatra sama-darśanaḥ

The Yogi, who is united in identity with the all-pervading, infinite, consciousness, and looks on all with an equal eye, sees the Self present in all beings, and all beings existing in the Self.

Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 6, Verse 29

Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014

Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014

Jai Shree Krishna, Jai Gurudev.

The Geeta Ashram Youth are pleased to announce that we are organising a Bhagavad Geeta and Mahabharata Championships 2014!!! 🙂

It is our first event of the year and we hope to get children and youth together in the spirit of the Geeta.

For more information on the Championships, click here.

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Misconceptions on Hinduism: Idol Worship

Many people scoff or are amused at the idea of idol-worship. Really, it’s not difficult to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they may react so sceptically to this thousand year old Hindu practice. Having grown in a multiracial country which hosts individuals of various faiths, I have met my fair share of sceptics or just simply curious individuals. Many a time, questions such as ‘Why do you worship idols made by human hands?’ or ‘Why do you pray to stone pieces?’ have been posed to me. Unfortunately for me, majority of these incidents occurred during my young schooling years. Back then, I didn’t have answers to supply and could either react by being ashamed or offended and storm off. Neither of which would benefit anyone.

I wish that I can proudly tell you today that I had reacted by going home with veins pounding full of determination to find an answer to the questions ringing in my ears, that I bombarded my parents with questions or that I played detective and did some sleuthing around, in other words conveniently googling the answer. I did no such thing and I’m not proud of how I dealt with the issue.

It was only years later that the answer came to me one Sunday morning. It was during one of the Geeta children classes I attended at the Ashram. I remember distinctly that we were reciting chapter 12 and how I attempted to multitask by reciting in Sanskrit and at the same time by reading the English translation inserted below. At one of the verses I remember stopping abruptly and inhaling a sharp gasp of air. It was somewhat an epiphany. Before me in one of the verses was an answer to the questions I had once avoided. Despite having recited the chapter innumerable times, I had never noticed that message before. I had a feeling similar to the one you have when you discover forgotten money in articles of clothing you haven’t worn in ages. It was a wonderful feeling and I’m overjoyed to inform you that even today the Bhagavad Geeta surprises me constantly with answers, sound advice or solutions when I least expect them. The verse that answered the questions I had about idol or deity worship was verse 5 from chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Geeta.

kleśo ‘dhikataras teshām
avyaktāsakta-cetasām
avyaktāhi gatir duhkham
dehavadbhir avāpyate

Severe is the path of those whose minds are set on the Unmanifest, for the goal of the Unmanifest is painful to reach by the embodied beings.

– Bhagavad Geeta Chap 12, Vs 5

In this verse, Bhagwan says that it is very difficult for an embodied being like you and me to worship him in his unmanifest form. The realized person, the sthitaprajna sees Divinity or God in every being, human or animal, the animate or the inanimate. But for ordinary people like you and me, it is easier to focus our thoughts and devotion on something visible, be it a stone, wood or clay. The shape and size of the statue does not matter. Even a picture if you look at it day after day with love and devotion, you will build an unseen bond with the object of your devotion and that regular Abhyasa (practice) will finally make you aware of The Divinity within you.With help from the verse above and other verses from the Bhagavad Geeta, I have been able to destroy the doubts I once harboured as well as fully understood the reason and meaning behind idol worship.  Today, I have decided to illuminate those who have yet to discover the answers to the many questions regarding idol worship. Hopefully by the end of this article I would have dispelled any ignorance and replace your doubts with answers.

Below are a few insights explaining idol worship:

  1. Easiest way to install faith and devotion
    To intellectuals who are well informed in spiritual knowledge, the abstract concept of God may be engaging, but to an ordinary individual the idea is complex and difficult to comprehend. On the other hand, an ordinary individual like you and me will find a concrete image or idea of God that we can easily grasp far more appealing. For example the image of Ganesha or the idea of Krishna we hear from many stories. An idol will represent God and his many qualities thus making it easier for us to believe in His existence and to devote ourselves to Him rather than attempting to worship the unmanifest or the formless.
  2. A way of acknowledging the omnipresence of God
    From a sub-atomic particle to the great stars, God is manifested in all His creations.
    We believe that God is ‘Omnipresent’. If God is everywhere, then surely He is in that idol. In idol worship, a devotee gives as much love and respect to his/her idol believing that God resides in it.
  3. Idol worship helps devotees to become deeply religious
    Once an idol is installed in the house or in a puja mandir (place of worship in a house), the very house becomes a place of God’s residence, a very sacred place, a temple by itself. The idol reminds household members of the divine presence and of their religious duties and responsibilities. It inspires devout men to keep their houses pure and not to indulge in sacrilegious acts.
  4. Aid to concentration
    More than any abstract concept, an image or a symbol is the best aid to concentrate and control one’s mind and attention. By focusing the mind on an image, the mind can be tamed and stabilized. Today science has been able to proof that images subdued in the subconscious plays a significant role in shaping one’s life and destiny. The ancient Hindus were aware of the potentiality of the mind and therefore did not object to the worship of idols. They knew it was the best way to lead the fickle human mind towards God.
  5. An effective prayer : Communicating with God.
    Idol worship helps us to focus the energies from our prayer into a strong current flowing in one particular direction. Besides, the supposed physical proximity to God intensifies the emotional fervour and charges the prayer with love and devotion.

There are many reasons why a devout Hindu worships idols. To simply explain it, idol worship is the best method of communication with God for many Hindus.

Religion is a matter of faith. There is no one right way to attain God. The paths to God are many and many are the ways one can reach Him.

Hari Om.

This truly insightful article has been written by Nayantara Soni, 19 years

A Lesson in Faith

It is said that one who has taken a dip in the Holy Ganges is free from all sin and will attain the Lord. Thousands of devotees visit the Ganges yearly, yet many feel no different after taking a bath. Why is that so?

The answer to that question is Faith

One Day, Parvati Mata asks Lord Shiva, “Dear husband, if every devotee who takes a bath in River Ganga will join us here in the heavens, will there be enough room for everyone?”

Lord Shiva smiles and says, “Dear Parvati, you shouldn’t worry about that and let me show you why. Let us go down to Earth, to River Ganga. I will take the form of a very ill, poor elderly man who is nearing his end. I will be lying by the river bank, unable to move stricken with disease. The only way to end my suffering is to have a few drops of Ganga Jal given to me by a sinless man. I would like you, O’Parvati to find someone there who can give me these few drops of Ganga Jal.”

Parvati Mata agrees to carry out Lord Shiva’s plans. So, they go down to Earth and Lord Shiva takes the form of an ill man. 

Parvati Mata first approaches a young man who has just come out after taking a dip in the ganges. She says “Dear sir, could you please help me? My husband is very ill and he needs just a few drops of water from River Ganga from a sinless man. Can you help me?”

The young man replies, “Oh lady, i’m very sorry but i have committed many, many sins in my life. I won’t be of any use to you or your husband!” He then walks away. 

Parvati Mata then approaches another person who has just taken a bath in the Ganges for help. Once again she gets the reply, “Oh i’m sorry, mam – but i have performed countless sins in my lifetime!”

And so this goes on for hours as everyone Parvati Mata approached gave the same answer. Parvati Mata asks many people as they come out of the river after taking their bath, but to no avail.

Finally, she stops an old gentleman and asks “Dear sir, could you please help my husband? He is extremely ill and is in dire need of a few drops of Ganga Jal from a person who has committed no sin.”

The gentleman replies, “Oh dear lady, I can help you!! I have just taken a dip in the Ganges and therefore I am clear of all sins. I will help you!”

He then goes to the river and takes the Ganga Jal and pours it on the elderly man. 

Immediately, Lord Shiva takes his true form, blesses the man and liberates him. He then tells Parvati Mata “Of all the people you have approached today, He was the ONLY one who believes and has faith that his sins will be washed away in the Ganges. Everyone else just performed it as a ritual with no true faith. That is why, my dear you needn’t worry at all about space in the heavens ;)” 

aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā
dharmasyāsya parantapa
aprāpyamāḿnivartante
mṛtyu-saḿsāra-vartmani

O Arjuna, people devoid of faith in this Dharma (way), do not attain Me, but return to the path of the mortal world. 

– Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 9, Verse 3

Geeta Jayanti Celebrations

Geeta Jayanti Celebrations

26th November to 13th December 2013 @ Geeta Ashram Malaysia

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“sarvopanishado gavo, dogdha gopala nandana, partho vatsah sudhir bhokta, dugdam geetamartam mahat”

All the Upanishads are cows, the milker is Krishna the cowherd Boy, Partha (Arjuna) is the calf, men of intellect are the drinkers, the milk is the supreme nectar of the Geeta

Geeta Jayanti is the birthday of the Bhagavad Geeta – the day Lord Krishna gave this immortal message to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This year, Geeta Jayanti falls on 13th December 2013. 

Every year, Geeta Ashram Malaysia celebrates Geeta Jayanti by having an 18 – day programme, with one chapter of the Geeta being recited every day, followed by a discourse on that chapter. 

During this time of the year, the youth help out by ensuring that the Geeta verses and lyrics to the bhajans and aartis are up on the projector so that every devotee is able to follow the satsang. Our younger children take turns to lead in the recitation of chapter 12 and also of our Krishna Aarti at the end of the satsang. Additionally, older children of the ashram also participate by giving the discourse on a particular chapter for some of the days. 

Do join us for Janmashtmi this year at GA Malaysia @ Petaling Jaya!

Satsangs are held 7pm – 9pm followed by dinner every day,
Except Sundays 11am – 1pm followed by lunch. 

For more information on our Geeta Jayanti Celebrations, click here!

 

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