Vedanta Sandesh
A Free Monthly Newsletter of Vedanta Mission sent by E-mail
With love from Swami Atmananda Saraswati, Founder : Vedanta Mission
Third issue : Sept 1998



1. Preface :                          Respect for ancestors and you
2. Vedanta Section :       The Four Purusharthas
3. Festival Section :        Navratras
4. Activities Section :     (a) Earlier -             Major updation of VM Home Page,
                                                                                        Janmashtami celebrations at Ashram,
                                                                                       Q&A Sessions on COCOS channel
                                                                                       VM-Mumbai News
                                                    (b) Forthcoming -  GGY at Bandra,
                                                                                       Postponement of Badri-Kedar Yatra to Oct
5. Queries Section :        Prabhu iccha
6. General Section :         India's national Song - with Sri Aurobindos translation
                                                     Value of time - a poem sent by Deepa J.Sangtani


Hinduism - a religion of festivals :

Come September and it is beginning of festival time. The monsoons on the verge of departure, the nature lush green, the farmers free from their chores, it is indeed time for fun & festivities. There are two main functions of religious importance during this period. First the sraadh, and second the Navratras - which immediately follow sraadh.

The fifteen days of sraadh is for offering our gratitude towards our ancestors. Depending on the tithi they departed, on that very day some rituals are performed to express our bonds & feelings. Respect towards ancestors is an extremely important ingredient of human life, in fact it is an inseparable part of our very self-respect. We being part of them, they become part of us too. They are our roots. A person who does not have great respect towards his/her ancestors misses a lot in life, apart from starting his life with a low self-esteem. This low self-esteem factor has drastic consequences on the psyche of a person. It is such people alone who blindly ape others, constantly trying to discover an identity, which they were denied because of their ignorance or negative information about their own roots & heritage. Those who do not have bonds with their ancestors not only deny themselves the wisdom of our ancestors but also set a precedent for their own children which is not less than suicide for them. Children who have been given samskaras of ignoring their ancestors will certainly ignore their parents too when they will need them most. The whole picture immediately changes if a person establishes positive bonds with his very roots. The head is held high, a vast avenue of wisdom suddenly becomes available to us apart from caring our near & dear ones when they can no more take care of themselves. It is such people alone who take to spiritual knowledge very easily.

Navratras is again a very auspicious time. We have devoted the entire Festival Section of this issue to Navratras. Nowadays Navratra time is becoming synonymous with only some fun & frolic. It is indeed nice to see our children come out in their bests, singing & dancing together, yet care should be taken to retain the religiosity of the whole thing. Religion does not suppress any natural attractions & feelings but merely provides greater depths to our personalities & relationships, which has it's own natural consequences. Apart from the fun, frolic & festivities, don’t forget that this is also a time for some austerities, and remembering the great inexplicable shakti of Lord. Know that, see that & having seen the ever flowing love & blessings of God do dance & sing joyously, making your whole life a big grand festival. Give your time for these religious things too and make the best of this auspicious time.

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The Four Purusharthas :

Have a clear goal of life
    Purusharthas means that for which a person strives for. It implies our goals of life. It is extremely important that our goals of life should be very very clear. Just as before starting a journey we should be very clear about our destination, so also before starting any worldly or spiritual effort, we should very clear as to what we are trying to achieve, what is our goal. The scriptures also before talking about the various sadhana-the means, first tell us about the sadhya-the end. As it is the lack of knowledge of goal which results in absence of enthusiasm to take up any sadhana, so it is very important to know our goals of life, our purusharthas.

Look within to identify your goal
    To understand our goals of life we should not look outside, as to where the world is going, but should rather look within, as to what do I really aspire & want. For this we should ask ourselves a very fundamental question - What is that attaining which I will be fully satisfied ? Dont be in a hurry, take your own time and discover the answer to this important question. You will find that most of our so called goals are only means for some other end, they do not really come under the category of goals. We find that very few people have clarity about this fundamental thing. They may say that they are modern educated people and do not blindly follow anyone, but this is what they are doing, blindly following others, for the simple reason that they themselves are not clear as to what do they really want. They join some rat race and in the end realize that they have been on a meaningless trip, by then it is too late. So lets pause and try to know what is it that which I really want, what is that attaining which I will certainly quench my thirst. Lets look within, introspect & discover. The knowledge of Self starts with such fundamental questions. The scriptures do not ask us to blindly follow someone but only help us conduct this inquiry. This is called the inquiry into Purusharthas of life.

Artha - seeking security
    The first & foremost thing which everyone is seeking is security. Every person appears to be basically insecure, and that is not a comfortable feeling. Whatever is understood by each person to even remotely provide us some security becomes our goal. Money is the most important worldly resource to provide us some security, so thats what people want - desperately. The amount of desperation is many a times directly proportional to the extent of insecurity within. We cant think of life without money. If we were not so insecure then there would not have been any thoughtless desperation. It would be just one important thing for which necessary intelligent efforts are called for. Money is not only a means to some security, but it is also a means for getting enjoyments, comforts of life. Remember discoving security is our main objective and as money plays an important part to play here lets recognize it as our First Purushartha, called Artha.
Money plays a very important role in life but is never a complete answer to the problem of providing complete security. Nevertheless, every person must be taught the art of acquiring money and bring about a semse of freedom & independence. The most intelligent way to acquire money is to discover a way by which money runs after you and not vice versa. For this it is extremely necessary to specialise in a particular field which is compatible to your nature & capacities, and make that specialization a means to serve the society. If you really love your work, if you are a specialist in your field, if you have an attitude that through your work you contribute to the society in some positive way, then rest assured money will follow you. In & through this pursuit it is extremely important to remember that people with lots of money do solve some of their initial problems, but discover new avenues of insecurities, and one of them is how to protect this hard earned money itself.  Dont become complacent after acquiring some wealth, because the very reason for which you have got all this itself is yet to be really achieved. While striving to get more & more money always ask this question to yourself - Am I fully secure now ? Never be overwhelmed by some achievements so as to forget your own real aspiration. Keep striving & inquiring till you become really secure within. However, to begin with do discover ways & means to acquire necessary wealth. 

Kama - know the art of enjoying pleasures
    Having acquired some money, having got some security the next step for everyone is to use this money for your comforts, enjoyments & fulfilling your duties, desires & responsibilities. That which we want next is the experience of fulfillment, joy & bliss. As various sensual enjoyments are seen to provide that experience we go for them. So fulfillment of our desires is the second Purusharthas - called Kama. Lets remember that we do not acquire or enjoy the objects for objects sake but for the sake of a satisfying blissful experience. The moment an object starts giving us the opposite we change our paths. So even though we should & do realize that various objects are means to some end, and not the very end itself, still we should learn the finer secrets of making the best of our enjoyments & experiences. Our full availability is the secret of making the best of all our enjoyments. A person whose mind is free from all worries, hankerings and egoistic problems alone is available for experiences. Necessary training is required for bringing about such a mental disposition.

Dharma - conscientious living
    The third purushartha is called Dharma. Dharma is always mentioned first whenever the scriptures talk about the four purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama & Moksha. This is because of its all-round & far reaching benefits to help bring about an ideal disposition which facilitates attainment of all other purusharthas. The word Dharma has wide implications, and no english word does full justice to it, yet in the context of our discussion we can say that Dharma implies a conscientious, orderly & holistic living. Man is a social being, he lives amongst his own kind, in group, and every person has to attain his or her purusharthas of artha & kama. This being the case it is necessary to frame some ground rules in the spirit of live & let live. That's the spirit behind Dharma. It makes us sensitive to others, makes us care for others, it brings necessary magnanimity to look at others as part of one whole. It helps us to expand our family, brings about a holistic vision. The moment we see the whole world as one great whole, we also become sensitive to a supreme intelligence, who has not only created this beautiful world & cosmos, but is also running the show. As no effect is possible without a cause, we infer the existence of a creator when we see this beautiful creation. If creation is so beautiful, how will the creator be. Dharma thus wakes us up to the existence of God. Dharma does not make us afraid of God, but rather shows that he is someone who deserves our greatest love & reverence. We are his creation, act as per his dictates, will live as long as he likes and will leave when he so wishes. We cannot influence his wishes but should know his ways & means and live accordingly, in a spirit of surrender & love.
    The basic spirit of science is to conquer nature while dharma motivates us to respect it and live in tune with it. Science, even though says that there can be no effect without a cause yet does not accept any intelligent cause of the creation. They prefer to say it was all an accident, a big bang that started this whole process. Dharma on the other hand says that the creation is so orderly, beautiful & purposeful that we cannot in our wildest dreams think that this is all a product of an accident. We are simple minded people, who on seeing a creation believe in the presence of a creator, and plan out our lives accordingly by keeping him into account, always. We look upon the whole creation as a great, grand orchestra which is already presenting a beautiful music, we have just joined the orchestra and should be sensitive to the harmony and tune ourselves to it. Just as only that person can enjoy the music who becomes sensitive to it, so also only that person can enjoy the holistic living who sees a basic harmony & order around. The benefits of turning our attention on God, being sensitive to his ways & means, the order & harmony etc. are so great that even if God was not there we would have loved to invent him. But as he is very much there so the question also does not arise. When we accept the existence of someone who is an embodiment of knowledge, power, love, compassion & holistic vision, then anyone who loves & reveres such a being will not only be free from various self imposed problems, but will also start being an embodiment of all what God represents. The train is already moving we unload ourselves and live life fully, without worries. Acceptance of God is the essence of Dharma. This not only helps us become a better person here but also helps us to attain our Artha & Kama in a better way too. Not only this but acceptance of God prepares us for our real goal of life, called Moksha.

Moksha - freedom from all sense of limitations
    The fourth Purushartha is called Moksha, literally it means liberation. Liberation is not some posthumous state to be attained later after death, but is a state to be attained right here in this very life. Lets see this also in the context of our discussion. Until now we have seen that every person wants security & happiness, and thus should learn the secrets of Artha & Kama, which are the means to acquire relative security & pleasure here in this life. This journey should be a very conscientious one too, we should be sensitive to others and thereafter live our lives. Now, presuming that there is a person who has learned the art of acquiring wealth, enjoys the various pleasures nicely, and also cares for his brethren around, what more does one want. He appears to be an ideal person, what bondage does that person have. What is that from which he needs to be liberated from ? Well, the great thinkers of Vedic times want us to see this more deeply ? Has a person who wanted security and acquired enough wealth become really secure ? As long as we have to depend on anything whatsoever reveal a state wherein there is no insecurity whatsoever ? Doesnt the very necessity to hangon to some crutch show some lack, some weakness within ? Fine, we have various worldly pleasures at our disposal, but doesn't the very necessity to get more & better pleasures show that our cup within is yet to be full ?
    Real security within will be revealed only when the very desire to get security becomes redundant. So also the dawn of real happiness will be inferred only when there are no self-centered desires any more. Not that such a person will be averse to prosperity or comforts, but is not averse to absence of these too. Motivations at such levels disappear, such a person is at home every where. Such a state of existence alone is real freedom, that's liberation. Liberation is freedom from a sense of lack, a sense of insecurity & fear. This is possible when a person discovers that he or she is free from all limitations of time & space, that one is really the transcendental reality itself. The taking of ourselves as a limited being is an erroneous conclusion of our mind. This is not true. If there is one basic reality in the world then that reality should be the basic essence of all. That is what the Upanishads are thundering - you are that. Turning our minds from all other preoccupation's and starting a process of deep introspection to realize our basic essence is what Moksha is all about. It is not turning away from life all together, but till you discover your true Self. Having known your true being live like a a truly healthy man, this is how all avatars and saints lived. A life that leaves your footprints even on the sand of time. 

When a despot, raising his finger, said to a patriot : -
" Do you see this finger ? If you will not yield to my wishes, it will bring you down."
The Patriot quietly answered :-
 I see an Arm, before which your finger is weak as straw. It is the Sheltering Arm of God &  I have no fear ! 


Navratras :

Navratras - the time to worship Adi Shakti :
    Nine days prior to Dasshera (Vijaya Dasami) are called Navratras, literally meaning nine days & nights full of worship & austerities. This is a very auspicious time and is devoted specially to the worship of Adi Shakti-the mother, the great power of God. People who worship the almighty in the form of Shakti - for them this is most auspicious time of the year. In Bengal the Puja-time, as it is called, is as auspicious as the Christmas time in the west, if not more.

Power deserves reverence :
    Shakti means power. Power is something which is worshipped by one & all, irrespective of the fact whether they are believers or not. Nothing is possible without power, so it does deserve the all pervasive adoration & reverence. Creation requires power, sustenance of anything is never possible without necessary power and so too destruction which also requires immense power. Whether it is a happening at the cosmic level, international, national, social or even personal level, power alone makes our dreams come true. Without necessary shakti it is never possible to even to tread the path of spiritual unfoldment. The Upanishads thunder 'Atma is never realized by those bereft of strength & power'. It is the acknowledgment of this fact that even the various forms of God in the Hindu pantheon are always shown with their consorts - who personify their respective powers. Creation requires the power of knowledge, so Brahmaji-the creator has Saraswati as his consort. Lord Vishnu, the aspect of God responsible for sustenance has Laksmi, the embodiment of wealth, as his consort, while Shiva has Parvati as his, who has been taking terrible forms to destroy the evil. So lets acknowledge an already accepted fact and make this worship better organized. That's what the nine days of Navratras are all about. Worshipping shakti - the power. Basically Shakti is also one and its manifestations are many. We can broadly divide its various manifestations into three categories. The power of creation, the power of sustenance and the power of destruction. Worship them, adore them, find ways & means to acquire them at your own level, and finally wield them for your own upliftment and also for the well being for your near & dear ones, your country and the world at large.

Logic behind the scheme of worship :
    There is a definite scheme which is followed in Navratra worship. In the first three days Kali (Durga) is worshipped, next three days are devoted to the worship of Lakshmi, while the last three days is for worshipping Saraswati. The reason behind this sequence is also very evident. Kali, the mighty power of destruction, is worshipped & invoked to help destroy the various negative tendencies within us, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped to help manifest the inner wealth in the form of nobler traits & qualities and also get the necessary extraneous wealth to help fulfill our duties & responsibilities. Finally a mind free from baser negative tendencies and full with nobler & positive virtues not only feels naturally inquisitive & inspired to know the secrets of himself & the life, but is also the most fit person to know them too. He wholeheartedly invokes the grace of Goddess Saraswati, the embodiment of knowledge. As knowledge alone redeems a person, so all rituals & traditions lead us to the portals of knowledge. The day after these nine days is Dasshera, when we burn the effigy of Ravana, who personifies our ego. Spiritual knowledge should eliminate ego, then alone knowledge has dawned. With the elimination of ego there is a magnanimity, an equipoise, fearlessness, a sense of fulfillment, synonymous with the realization of the Self as Brahman - the ultimate transcendental reality.

The ritualistic aspect of Navratras :
    The ritualistic aspect of Navratras involves preparing an altar for Goddess with her photo etc., keeping a kumbha (a fresh mud pot) with water & covering it with mango leaves & cocunut, and putting some wheat seeds in a tray (with a small layer of mud) for them to sprout. The ritual involves twice a day puja with aarti, study of some texts like Durga-saptashati or Ramayan, bhajans & doing japa of your mantra for a definite number of times. These nine days are for some austerities too, take one meal a day and devote maximum time for thinking, contemplating & worshipping the Adi Shakti. Anyone who does these rituals with necessary devotion & fervor is seen to fulfill his/her desires too. So Navratras are celebrated as a mass celebration by one & all. May all make the best of this auspicious time and invoke the Adi Shakti to bless you by becoming all the more powerful in your respective field and also awake to the divinity within you.

Vedanta Mission
expresses it's deep, heartfelt condolences for those Yatris who were buried alive
in huge landslides on their way to Kailash Mansarovar.
May Mahadev give strength to the bereaved families to face such tragedy.

    a. Earlier activities
    b. Forthcoming programs

a. Earlier activities :

1. Major Updation of the Home Page of Vedanta Mission :
    In a major updation of the Home Page of Vedanta Mission on the Internet, all the required details about the Mission were uploaded this month. The subsequent updation will be a regular affair and will be done directly from Vedanta Ashram, Indore. The details include :

Intro of Mission (which has further links for the addresses of VM offices & names of Committees members of VM-Mumbai, VM-Indore and VM-Ahmedabad.
Our Guru's (having links about introducton of Poojya Guruji and P.Swamini Amitanandaji)
Our Message (having quotes from the discourses of Poojya Guruji)
Our Programs (with links about 'Kinds of programs organized' and ' Forthcoming programs')
Our Publications (with links for Monthly Newsletters, Audio cassettes and Video cassettes. In the Monthly Newsletter section, both the earlier issues have been uploaded on the Page)
Our Guest Book (wherein people visiting the Home Page can leave their comments)
Your Queries (Through this link the visitor can open a special facility wherein he or she can leave any question for Poojya Swamiji, who will send his reply by e-mail to that person directly. The question can be seen only by one who has the password and not by anyone else. Thus privacy is maintained for the question)

    Apart from the details of Mission, the Home Page also contains several links for various Good sites pertaining to Vedanta, Hinduism and Adi Sankaracharya. Do visit the Home Page of Vedanta Mission and leave your comments & reactions for us to improve further. If you are logged in just click on the link above to go to VM Home Page. Now that all the details about Mission are on the Net itself, you can now simply give a one line address of the Home Page (called URL) to you friends & relatives and ask them to get all the details about the Mission and also to remain in touch with their culture, religion & philosophy.

2. Janmashtami celebrations at Vedanta Ashram :
    On 14th Aug Janmashtami was celebrated at Vedanta Ashram with great enthusiasm and devotion. During the day the inmates chanted all the 18 chapters of Bhagwad Gita, in three seperate sessions. In every session six chapters were chanted. At 8PM the devotees gathered and started a non-stop session of bhajans, stotra path and pujas. Later there was Aarti, bhajans accompanied with dancing at the time of Lords birth. The devotees departed after partaking prasad.

3. Q & A session at cocos channel studios :
    An open house question & answer session with Poojya Guruji was organized by cocos channel of the OTG group at their studios in Indore. The plan was to relay the recorded program during the week. In two different sessions six episodes were recorded. The audience consisted of a variegated groups of people ranging from businessmen, professionals, executives, students and housewives.

4. VM - Mumbai News :
    The monthly Bhajan program of Mission was held on Saturday the 8th Aug at the residence of Sh.& Smt Shanta Madan. It was attended by various devotees & VM meembers. Shri R.S.Arora distributed the photocopies of Aug issue of Vedanta Sandesh. A regular study class on Sundays at Bandra Hindu Association is going on in full swing. Now the group has taken the Sampoorna Geeta for listening & discussion. Three chapters have been completed by now. The group plans to complete the entire Gita before the Gita Mahayagna by Poojya Guruji in Nov. Meetings for organising the Mahayagna are being regularly conducted. The last meeting was held at the residence of Sh.Mohan Lala, President of VM-Mumbai.

b. Forthcoming programs :

1. Gita Gyana Yagna at Bandra
   A Gita Gyana Yagna to be conducted by Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji is being organized at Bandra Hindu Association Hall, Bandra. The Yagna will be inaugurated at 7 PM on 7th Sept and will conclude on the evening of 12th Sept. The morning session will start on 8th morning at 6:30 AM. The texts for the Yagna will be Gita Chapter 7 in the evenings, and the 1st chapter of Sri Badrish Stotram written by Swami Tapovanji Maharaj in the mornings. The Yagna will be in Hindi language. Poojya Swaminiji's Yagna at Bandra is being organized after a long time of over a year, and the members of Vedanta Mission and other devotees are anxiously waiting for her arrival. She will be staying with Malhotras at the Coin House.

2. Postponement of Badri-Kedar Yatra due to inclement weather
    The proposed Badri-Kedar Yatra from 22nd Aug. to 31st Aug along with Poojya Guruji and other Ashram inmates had to be postponed due to inclement weather in the Garhwal Hills. Extremely heavy rains washed off roads at many places and quite a few other Yatris who had gone there earlier were stranded when reports last came in.
    The New dates for the Yatra now are 5th to 12th Oct. This will be after Dasshera & thus monsoons. The Yatris will be meeting at the same place in Hardwar on 5th Oct. Return reservation should be got done for 13th Oct. Registrations for the Yatra will start afresh, those interested should contact Swamini Amitanandaji at Vedanta Ashram, Indore immediately. As earlier there are only 27 seats. Rest of the details are same. Fresh details can be sent on special requests.

Gita Gyana Yagna
by Poojya Swamini Amitanandaji
at ‘Bandra Hindu Association Hall’, Mumbai
7th to 12th Sept 1998
Evening : Gita Chapter 7, Mornings : Badrish Stotra, Chapter 1


(This is an excerpt of the letter written by Poojya Guruji to Sh Gul Malani of Mumbai, who had inquired as to how can one accept negative situations in life as Prabhu iccha.)

Lets see what prabhu iccha is !
Any situation which comes without or inspite of our efforts is prabhu iccha, and whether we like it or dont we have to accept it and carve our way through that situation alone. The word prabhu iccha implies that we dont waste our energy in fretting or fuming but rather in finding our way out. It is acceptance of a fact, convenient or inconvenient. There is lot to learn but that learning will be possible only when we are mentally available, prabhu iccha facilitates that availability. Not only availability but it also facilitates introspection too. If inspite of our efforts something has gone wrong then the inconvenient situation by its very inconvenience indicates to us that we needed greater attention or awareness. So why not use our energy to learn and grow so that we dont repeat that mistake. If however we feel that we did our best and there was nothing which we could do further then also accept the situation. We never claim that it is our efforts alone which brings a situation, there is something more, lets call it the karmas or again prabhu iccha. Thus the word prabhu iccha indicates an attitude with which we face or receive our past karmas, it also has the fragrance of the awareness of cosmic harmony and surrendering of the basic doership to that cosmic regulator. A prabhu-sevak also has his or her own motivations, humbly called prabhu-prerna, and truthfully acts as per that. In this process even when we have to tread ahead our next move should always be based on ground realities. This discernment of ground reality is the objective of the accepting a situation with equipoise, made possible by the attitude of prabhu iccha. The attitude helps us to live in present, while being truthful to our motivations & responsibilities. Finally the moment you accept a situation with such a positive frame of mind you yourself experience the difference, freedom from dvyesh and all such negative things and thereafter alone we are available, to learn, to think or to act. So prabhu iccha is indeed a very beautiful word with beautiful suggestions & implications, but the right implication has to be understood otherwise this beautiful word itself can lead one to lethargy, inactivity, escape and missing of all opportunities to learn, grow and make our lives more enlightened & fulfilling.

Our Best Wishes to the following for offering 'Special Bhiksha' to Ashram inmates :
8th  Aug  - Swamini Amitanandaji's Birthday -      Smt & Sh Purushottam H.Shah, Ahmedabad  
15th Aug - Janmashtami & Independence Day - Smt Sushila Garg, Indore
26th Aug - Ganesh Chaturthi Day -                       Sh & Smt Sumati Bhandary, Mumbai
27th Aug - Rishi Panchami Day -                           Smt & Sh K.L. Malhotra, Mumbai


1. INDIA’S NATIONAL SONG with Sri Aurobindo's translation

Vande Mataram !
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasya-shyamalam, Mataram !
I bow to thee, O Mother !
richly watered, richly fruited, cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother !
Shubra-jyothsna pulakita-yaminim
Phulla-kusumita drumadala shobhinim
Suhasinim sumadhur- bhasinim
Sukhadam varadam Mataram !
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully, with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech
The Mother !  giver of boons, giver of bliss !


Sent by Deepa J. Sangtani


To realize the value of one year :
Ask a student who has failed the final exam.

To realize the value of one month :
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one hour :
Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute :
Ask the person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one second :
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of one millisecond :
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.

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