Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Vedanta Sandesh

A Free Monthly Newsletter of Vedanta Mission sent by E-mail

With love from Swami Atmananda Saraswati, Founder : Vedanta Mission

Inaugural issue : July 1998 (Guru Poornima)


BEST WISHES AND BLESSINGS OF GURU POORNIMA


Preface :

IN STEP WITH THE TIMES

A humble beginning :

It gives me great pleasure to start this new chapter in the annals of Vedanta Mission to spread the message of love, joy and the divine vision of the great Rishis of Upanishads. In step with our times we are now using this modern means of communication also to further our cherished goals. It is & will be a humble beginning but we are sure that this idea will take off fast. To put it on record we start our first issue of Vedanta Sandesh with e-mail addresses of only 55 persons, and we shall again let you all know the figure on our first anniversary the next Guru Poornima. By starting the Newsletter on the auspicious Guru Poornima day I hereby consider this effort as my humble offering at the feet of my great teacher and other great masters who have through their tireless, bhagirath efforts brought this Gyana-ganga right to us. May their grace always be on us.

Vedanta - our greatest heritage :

The vision of Upanishads is the best thing which Hindus have got out as their glorious heritage, and it is also the best thing which we can give share with the whole world too. Hindus always stand apart from the whole gamut of various religious & spiritual thoughts, traditions & culture. They are always looked at with awe, it is a fact that once you know the vision of Upanishads you will not be able to ignore it, either you will love it or hate it - because it is bound to shake your various beliefs or rather misbeliefs. Such is the effect of the vision of Upanishads. The philosophy of Upanishads is called Vedanta, because it is the culmination of Vedic thought, the anta of Vedas. The knowledge of Vedanta for various reasons had been kept as a secret knowledge by the various teachers of Hindu religion, now we join the band of select few who bring this out in the open to the people of the world. Not only all Hindus should know their religion & philosophy properly but all the people of the world should take the benefits of the depth of knowledge of the life of our great masters of yore.

The format of Newsletter :

The main thrust of the Vedanta Sandesh Newsletter will, as the very name suggests, be the vision of Vedanta, but we also propose to have sections on Indian culture, Hindu religion & festivals, question-answers and programs of Vedanta Mission. We would be extremely grateful for the feedback from our readers. We would also request you to send a copy of the Newsletter to your friends, or send us their e-mail addresses so that we include their names in our mailing list. Let the caravan of Vedanta grow.


Visit the Home Page of Vedanta Mission at http://members.tripod.com/~vedantamission


Vedanta Section :

JIVATMA & PARAMATMA

Asti - God is there :

Jivatma means the individual self and Paramatma means God. Vedas in their earlier sections reveal the existence of God to man. Man is told of the ways of God, his nature and teachings. God is someone to be loved, because he is himself an embodiment of infinite love. He is revealed as the very creator, sustainer and also the destroyer of the world. Just as all musicians in an orchestra have to tune themselves to a basic note being played by one, so also every person has to tune him or herself to that basic harmony and order of the world called God. This facilitates bringing about a holistic vision. Such a person is never alone, on the other hand such person always has company of the highest embodiment of knowledge, love & power. It is a well known fact that it is our thinking which carves out our personality, thus with a single stroke the Vedic masters saw to it that all their followers not only retain the thought of the best and highest but also ultimately be an embodiment of all what God represents.

Asmi - I am that :

The Vedic masters do not merely stop at revealing the existence of God. All religions and religious masters have been talking about these things. The unique aspect of Vedas is to reveal that there is a state in this very life & this very body where this Jivatma discovers its total identity with Paramatma. It was the summum bonum of human life. It was an experience beyond imagination. The contentment was total. It was something which he or she always was seeking. It was total liberation from all limitations of time, space and objectivity. They called it Moksha - the total freedom, the ultimate goal of human life. They discovered that Jivatma is & always was Paramatma alone. The duality was born out of ignorance. The seeker is the sought. Like in a dream a person erroneously takes oneself to be something which one is not and suffers unnecessarily, so also are the suffering of man. The final leap to total freedom & fulfillment is merely by some knowledge, the knowledge of Self.

Vedanta - the science of revealing the identity :

It is interesting to note the two words Jiv-atma and Param-atma. Both have the word 'atma' in common. Atma means the Self, that which reveals as the 'I' in the hearts of all. When this 'I' is seen to have a sense of limitation, along with a sense of enjoyership & doership, then such 'I' is referred to as the Jiva-atma. A Jiva is someone who sees himself to be limited by space & time - he is at one place alone and not everywhere, and his existence is at a particular time alone and not at all times. When these sense of limitations are inquired upon and are realized to be an error then this sense of limitation drops and the same 'I' is seen to be free from these limitations of time & space then this very 'I' is referred to as the Paramatma. Param means that which is free from all limitations of time, space & objectivity i.e. that which is there at all times, all places and in all objects. Thus the word atma which is the common denominator in both these words shows that God is always realized as the very subjective essence of a person and not as some objective reality. The science which facilitates us to conduct this inquiry into the Self is Vedanta, the culmination of which is in the discovery of oneself to be free from all limitations. That person alone is said to have attained proper spiritual health, that person alone makes the best of his or her life, rest are comparable to a sick man, always seeking and seeking, and at the end of it all dying also with all the sense of limitations. They know not the joy & potential of human life. They have missed the boat.


Send us the e-mail addresses of your friends & relatives interested in Vedanta, Sanatan Dharma and Indian culture to help us send this free monthly Newsletter directly to them.


Festival Section :

GURU POORNIMA

Guru Poornima - the Spiritual Teachers Day :

The full moon day of the month of Asada is celebrated by all Hindus as the Guru Poornima day. The month of Asada generally falls around July, so the full moon day in the month of July is the traditional 'Spiritual teachers day' of Hindus. This year it is on the 9th of July. It was on this day that one the greatest philosopher, writer & teacher of the world Bhagwan Ved Vyas was born. His real name was Krishna Dwaipayan and was also known as Badarayan. He compiled the Vedas, he wrote the Mahabharat - which has the Song Divine, the great Bhagwat Gita in it, he wrote all the eighteen Puranas, including the famous Bhagwat Mahapurana, and also the great logical treatise of Vedanta - the Brahma-sutras. It was the love, knowledge, enthusiasm and also the power of the pen of that great master that the Hindus are what they are today. Such is the reverence with which the great seer is looked upon that even till date the seat of all teachers is called as the 'Vyas-peetha', and it is his birthday that has been unanimously chosen by one & all as the Spiritual teachers day. On this day we specially express our heartfelt gratitude to our spiritual teachers. On this day the disciples go to their teachers to pay their obeisance and express their gratitude, discuss their problems, doubts etc., take their guidance and blessings & lovingly offer whatever services possible to their Guru, his ashram or to the cause he represents. The relationship of a Guru-disciple is

something to be felt and is not something which can be easily described. It would indeed be a pity if anyone has not experienced that flow of pure love, rarely seen in any of our other relationships.

The role of Guru in life :

No knowledge is possible without a teacher. Even when the object of knowledge is an object of the world & thus perceptible then also we require the help of our teachers, then what to talk if the object of our knowledge is beyond the range of our faculties of perception. The ultimate truth of life can never be an object of our sense organs, because it is common knowledge that anything that can be objectified is always in the realm of change and therefore perishable. When we want to know that which is imperishable then the words of men of knowledge is the only available means of knowledge. It is technically called the sabda-pramana. It is indeed the result of the punyas of our hundreds and thousands of life when we meet someone who is an embodiment of knowledge & love. Not only that but if the mahatma accepts us as his disciple to work upon us to help eliminate our ignorance then it is the greatest thing which could happen to an individual. Knowledge alone redeems, it alone liberates therefore the importance of a spiritual guide.

Guru should be living and accessible :

It is extremely necessary to have a personal and a living guru with whom we can talk, confide and open up, he shows us the path from where we stand, he answers our specific often simple or even stupid queries. In the form of teacher we have someone who is an ideal friend, philosopher & guide, who always lovingly tell us the truth without any fears or malice. All friends and relatives even though they are helpful but have their own limitations. Firstly, anyone who is related generally has some expectations, and therefore cannot afford to fearlessly tell us any unpalatable & inconvenient things, moreover they are generally at the same level in which we are and therefore rarely tell us something which we do not know. A spiritual guide, a guru stands apart from them all. He not only knows the secret of life but can also make us conscious of a perspective which is not available from others. Availability of such a person in life is of a greatest help, he helps us to take right decisions at right times and thus facilitates our journey ahead to make the best of this great blessing called life.

On this auspicious day of Guru Poornima, I offer my heartfelt gratitude and shastang pranams to the lotus feet of my teacher. May his grace continue to lead me to the life of love, enlightenment & beatitude.


Poojya Guruji plans to leave for a ten day Yatra to Badrinath and Kedarnath from 22nd Aug 1998. Those interested to join may please contact for more details latest by the end of July.


Activities Section :

1. Sadhana Camp at Kayavarohan :

Vedanta Mission, Ahmedabad organized a Five day Sadhana Camp at Kayavarohan Tirth from 16th to 20th June, a beautiful, quiet and pious place about 30 Kms from Vadodara. The camp was attended by sadhaks from Mumbai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Rajkot and was conducted by both Poojya Guruji Swami Atmanandaji and Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji. The campus of the venue had an imposing, beautiful and well maintained temple of Lord Shiva. The temple was surrounded by sprawling, lush green lawns with tall palms around. It provided a very pious ambiance to the whole place.

The day at camp began with meditation session at 5:30 AM. This was followed by morning walks in the midst of vast farmlands and plantations with lots of chirping birds & summer blooms. Refreshed with a hot cup of tea, some walk and darshan of Lord Shiva the sadhaks gathered once again at the open air satsang hall of Late Swami Kripaluji Maharaj - the venue of discourses. Dot at seven Poojya Guruji was on the Vyas-peetha to start his first discourse on the first chapter of Ganga stotra, a treatise of Vedanta written by Param Poojya Swami Tapovanji Maharaj. The second session of the same discourse continued after breakfast also. At around 11 we all had an interesting session of discussion. As it was an interactive session where everyone could air their views so it was very lively. It was the presentation of the topic by Guruji which made everyone sit on their toes. He doned the role of a non-believer and put forward topics like 'belief in God makes you lethargic and takes your drive away'. The sadhakas brought on the defensive had to prove the role of their beliefs. As such topics shook everyone's very roots so every one was pretty vocal. Beliefs based on proper convictions alone could stand the onslaught. Such a session was enough to bring about a good appetite and we all straight away made a beeline to the dining hall at 12:30.

During lunch while the food was served we use to chant the 15th chapter of Gita. We all had our lunch together in the midst of chanting of shlokas, dohas and even some bhajans. After lunch was some rest time. At 4 PM the tea was served and at 4:30 was the Gita discourse of Guruji. We studied the 5th chapter during this camp. After this class also we had time to walk around, have darshan of Lord Shiva and then again gather at the satsang venue at 7 PM for the bhajan & question-answer session. The session began with Swamini Amitanandajis discourse. She briefly revealed the essence of a beautiful stotra called as 'Sarvatma stotra' by Swami Tapovanji Maharaj and also taught everyone how to chant it. Later Guruji took the dias and started the session with one of his bhajans, he saw to it that all the sadhaks came forward and keeping aside all their hesitation sang a bhajan. It was a beautiful experience. After dinner in the night the sadhaks were in their beds early to get up early next day to start their next day fresh.

The camp concluded with the traditional pad-puja of Guruji and after the camp Guruji asked the sadhaks to give their reactions about the camp. It was a joy to see all the sadhaks got greatly benefited by the camp.

2. Satsang at Ahmedabad :

After the Camp Poojya Guruju and Swamini Amitanandaji left for Ahmedabad for a one day get together of devotees there. On the outskirts of Gandhi Nagar in a beautiful lush green society called 'suramya' the family of Sh.Purushottam Shah, President of Vedanta Mission-Gujarat, organized a nice get-together. Inspite of the afternoon heat many people came over to the place from Ahmedabad. Poojya Guruji spoke about the unique vision of Vedanta. After the discourse there was a nice open house question answer session after which we all had a nicely prepared and lovingly served lunch. There was also a small function for the naming ceremony of the newly renovated house of Purushottam Shah, and to his surprise Guruji saw that the name of the house was 'Atmananda' and that also in Guruji's own writing. Later while talking to his devotees he said that every home should indeed be a place where the inherent & infinite joy of Self could be manifested. Late in the evening the Swamis left for their Ashram at Indore.

3. Talk at Ujjain :

On 27th June Poojya Guruji left for Ujjain for a one day session. The occasion was inauguration of the Ujjain branch of Gujarat Mercantile Credit Coop Society, a well known local Bank of Indore region. In his inaugural address Guruji said that by requesting a Swami to preside over and inaugurate a function of this nature the Management has shown their faith in religious values and precepts. All religious values, he said, facilitate bringing about integrity and reliability in a person, an extremely important component in all our dealings & relationships. It is the degradation of values like these that people fear to rely on anyone. In todays world, whether it is national politics, local business or even relationships there is at times no dearth of resources but there is certainly dearth of good & reliable people. Religion is basically a science of Man-making, religious values facilitate blossoming up of good individuals. All religions and their values aim for this alone and therefore faith in religious values & precepts are very helpful factors to see the possibility of qualities like integrity and reliability in a person. Faith in religious values coupled with dynamic action is a sure way to attain success in life. The success of the GMCC society in various fields all the more proves this fact, he said. Poojya Guruji gave his blessings for the success of their present endeavor also. Later the Collector of Ujjain and the Managing Director of the Bank also expressed their views and thanks. After the function Poojya Guruji went to the famous temple of Bhagwan Mahakal and paid his obeisance to the jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. By sunset time the whole party was back at Vedanta-kutir in Indore.


You may also contact Poojya Guruji on ICQ : 9031857, Tel : (91) 0731 486055 or Fax : 789497


Question & Answers Section :

(A letter from Israel with a frequently asked question)

Hello.

My name is Orly I'm a student in the Tel-Aviv University in Israel. I learning about East-Asia and about India and about it's religion. I doing a research about the 'twice-born' men (Dvi-ja) and the initiation (upanayana). If you know some thing about this I would like very much to hear and learn. Any thing that is related to this - the 4 castes: brahamans, ksatriyas, vayshas and shudras. And about the 4 stages of live - ashrams.

I find it very interesting and I'll very appreciate it if you'll help me.

So I hope to hear from you.

Thanks in advance.

Orly haimov.

Poojya Guruji replied as follows :

Dear Orly,

Received your e-mail today. I was happy to know that you are doing some research on the dwija and the upanayana ceremony, and you would like to know about the four varnas & also the four ashrams. These are all unique features of the Hindu religion or the Sanatan dharma as we call it. I am a Hindu religious teacher and would be happy to help you.

Basically the so called Hindu religion expounds that the main goal of life of every person is to realize the Self as the ultimate, transcendental truth called Brahman. (Ayam Atma Brahma) To take oneself as being limited by time & space is an indication & also proof of ignorance in that person about his or her true nature. The realization of Self as the non-dual, eternal reality of the universe is what we call Moksha. Even though we believe that this is our main goal and every human is basically capable of attaining it, but like in any knowledge some prerequisites are required before the knowledge can dawn. The potential for this realization is inherent in all, but this potential has to be manifested very patiently. A mind ready for the inner awakening is called a sattvic or pure mind.

The process of manifestation of this potential is a very specialized affair. It is very specific too. We do not profess a single path & duties to one & all. We believe that every person has a specialized frame of mind & a definite inclination for some activity. This has to be identified with the help of our gurus. As a general rule we believe that children of parents having an X kind of inclination are most likely to have that X kind of inclination too. So commonly categorization is made on the basis of lineage. But this is not a hard and fast rule, but only the best available initial categorization system. This unique inclination of mind is what we call as the varna and they are broadly of four kinds. The Brahmanas (the simple, clean minded intelligentia who are inclined to know more & more of the secrets of life, do research etc.), Kshatriyas (the inspiring, dynamic, fearless and selfless workers which forms the leader class), Vaishyas (the dynamic business class who is motivated best at the possibility of self-interest & profit) and the shudras (those who do not have any of the above inclination and therefore are the dull ones). This is what others generally call as the caste-system. We believe that duties, work-field, responsibilities etc. of a person should always be assigned or chosen on the basis of his or her inner coloring or fragrance. Then alone the best can come out. Then alone the mind can be loving, dynamic, creative, selfless or in short sattvic. We respect such kind of activity because dynamic, loving & selfless work helps to bring out our best not only in the field of our work but also manifests our potential for the inner realization. So it is extremely essential to identify ones varna, be true to it and live accordingly. Thus the varna system indicates our field of action, while the ashrams indicate the stages of life.

There are four stages or Ashrams of life. The brahmacharya (the disciplined & austere life of a student), grihastha (the dynamic householder), vanaprastha ( for a quiet life of austerities & meditation) & the sanyas (a life of a renunciate). A child when relatively mature (which incidentally varies with varnas) is formally initiated into the first Ashram i.e. the brahmacharya ashram. This ceremony is called the upanayana ceremony, wherein a sacred thread is put round the shoulders of the boy, the head is shaven, a special mantra is given for his daily prayers & meditation, and various do's & don'ts are given. The child had to stay at his teachers place till his studies were completed. The moment this upanayana ceremony is over the child is called as the dwija or the twice-born because thereafter alone his new & real life starts which has to culminate in realization of the ultimate truth as his own Self and thus fulfill his life.

I hope the above details answer your queries. If at all you need any further clarifications then feel free to write back. With love & om,


Please provide us with your feed back & reactions about this Newsletter. How did you like this effort & the different sections of the Newsletter ? Do let us know if there are any suggestions.

You may also send any of your questions to Guruji, and indicate whether you want a personal reply.


General Section :

IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE......

(Courtesy Indol)

This is the original version

If you love someone, set her free... If she comes back, she's yours. If she doesn't, she never was....

The New Versions.....

Fascist:

If you love someone, set her free. She WILL come back or be shot. She WILL be yours or be shot.

Old-Fashioned/Conservative:

If you love someone, set her free, but only if chaperoned by her parents.

Animal-Rights Activist:

If you love someone, set her free, in fact, all living creatures deserve to be free !

Lawyers:

If you love someone, set her free. Clause 1a of Paragraph 13a-1 in the second amendment of the Matrimonial Freedom Act clearly states that...

Bill Gates :

If you love someone, set her free, if she comes back, I think we can charge her for re-installation fees and tell her that she's also going to get an upgrade.

Biologist :

If you love someone, set her free, she'll evolve.

Statisticians :

If you love someone, set her free, if she loves you, the probability of her coming back is high.

If she doesn't, your relation was improbable anyway.

Dental hygienist :

If you love someone, set her free, she'll be back when the cavity strikes.

Shwarzenegger's fans :

If you love someone, set her free. SHE'LL BE BACK!

Weatherman :

If you love someone, set her free. If she comes back, it's back! If she doesn't... who cares!

Pathetic :

If you love someone, set her free. If she comes back, okay! if she doesn't, how could she!

Sore-loser :

If you love someone, let her go. If she comes back, dump her ! If she doesn't, make up bad stories about her.

Pessimist:

If you love someone, set her free. If she ever comes back, she's yours, If she doesn't, as expected, she never was...

Optimist:

If you love someone, set her free. Don't worry, she will come back.

Suspicious:

(1) If you love someone, set her free ... if she ever comes back, ask her why.

(2) If you love someone, set her free ... but get someone to follow her.

(3) If you love someone, ... are you sure you love that someone ?

Go-getter:

If you love someone, set her free ... if she comes back, she's yours. If she doesn't, go get her.

Hunter:

If you love someone, set her free ... don't even wait whether she comes back, go hunt her down !

Impatient:

If you love someone, set her free ... if she doesn't comes back within some time forget her.

Patient:

If you love someone, set her free ... If she doesn't come back, continue to wait until she comes back ...

Playful:

If you love someone, set her free ... * If she comes back, and if you love her still, set her free again, repeat *

C++ Programmer:

if(you->love(m_she)) m_she->free() if(m_she == NULL) m_she= new CShe;

Possessive:

If you love someone, set her free ? NEVER !

Paranoid:

If you love someone, when you let her go, she'll be out to get you.


Please take out a print out of the newsletter and circulate it amongst your friends or other devotees

who do not have the facility of e-mail.

Ashram address : Vedanta kutir, E / 2948-50, Sudama Nagar, Indore - 452 009, India


OM TAT SAT

Back to Newsletter index page

Back to Home Page