2010 Events Summary
28th March 2010-Sri Rama Navami Celebrations
Scouts Hall, Parramatta came alive an hour before the Ram Navami celebrations were set to unfold at 4pm, Sunday the 28th Mar’10. G.O.D members were all over the venue, setting up the altar, fixing the sound systems, decorating the hall etc in a very enthusiastic way. In next to no time, the hall was in full readiness to greet and welcome the kids who had enrolled to display their talents at the function. Arrive, the kids did, in style, enthusiasm and vigour. A few of them were already in their performing costumes, braving the hot piercing Sun, a few of them sprinted into the hall shaking free from their parents and a few anxious ones headed straight to the registration desk to ensure that their names were in.
The role of the MC (Master of ceremony) in functions of this kind is challenging. An air of informality needs to be maintained so that the participating kids do not feel daunted but at the same time a tight control on the proceedings need to be ensured. Our MC was just brilliant in this balancing act and the way she got the kids on to the stage in a spurt with an air of warmth and ensured an eye contact when thanking them for their contribution was very professional.
Punctuality is always a key feature of G.O.D and no exception this time. At the stroke of 4 pm, Nama kirtan reverberated and the vibrant positive energy almost immediately descended on the hall. One wondered what happened to all the screams, shouts and jostling from the kids that went on only a few minutes before! Nama quietens down not only the minds but everything in its path, it seems!
The children’s programme commenced at 4.30 and got off to a thunderous start with bharatanatyam by two girls, aged 8 and 10. We have learnt that Gods have their own likes for specific types of worship and Lord Narayana loves to be praised, pampered and sung upon. The kids seem to be fully aware of this aspect and over the next hour or so, there was some excellent singing, bhajans, chanting of sooktham, narration of Rama’s valour etc etc.The kids enthralled the audience of about seventy who watched in total awe and silence. It was truly an amazing performance by all the children that participated. It is contributions like this that keep the organisers motivated and it is so nice to see an increasing number of children come forward year on year.
Following the children’s spectacular performance, came the prize distribution for the Rama Nama writing event. About 30 children presented their Nama notebook and were awarded with a prize for their excellent efforts over the year. Many of these children do have a very demanding school routine but still persisted with their Nama writing efforts. It was very nice to see a couple of “children” from the G.O.D family parade out in the Nama writing. These two “children” have outgrown the event in terms of the age specified for participation but their dedication resulting from years of participation has made Nama writing a habit in them. What a fantastic outcome! This is what we have been striving to achieve.
The function concluded with further Nama Kirtan and Hanuman Chalisa followed by Arti. The participants stayed on for the Maha Prasad and spent some time sharing their happiness that such an interesting and yet easy spiritual path is available for them and their children.
G.O.D Australia thanks Guru and God for the very gratifying evening and prays for our sustained energy and enthusiasm and more and more participation from the public in the years ahead!
6th Nov 2010 – Gopashtami & Sri Swamiji’s Jayanthi Celebrations
Gopashtami day marks the lifting of the Govardhana giri (mountain) by Lord Krishna to protect the gopas and gopis and is also the annual Gopa Kuteeram day. Gopashtami day was celebrated at Jayanthi & Ramanan’s residence on 6 Nov 2010. Many adults, children and young adults attended the program. 15 Gopa Kuteeram children attended the celebrations. Children recited various slokas, songs, bhajans and stories. Mayuri, performed bharata natyam for 2 songs and also rendered a song and received applause from everyone. Sri Swamiji delivered a telecom lecture on Govardhan Leela of Lord Krishna. This was followed by games, organised by the GOD youth group for all children and adults.
An Akhanda Mahamantra Kirtan was held on Nov 6 2010 at Parramatta Scout Hall in Sydney to commemorate the Jayanti of His Holiness Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. Towards the end, Sri Bhagyaji was teleconferenced in from India and gave a brief talk on the glory of the Sadguru. A beautiful cake, with a chocolate topping and words that read ‘Happy Birthday Guruji’ was offered to Guru Maharaj and cut by the devotees. The satsang which was attended by around 100 devotees ended with Harathi.
5th Feb 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The study group continued to learn the chanting of Kunthi sthuthi. A devotee summarised the contents of the various chapters in Canto 1 of Srimad Bhagavatam. About 9 people attended the study group.
20th Feb 2010 – GK 2010 – Class
In 2010, the Gopa Kuteeram class commenced in February. As in the past year, classes will be conducted on the third Sunday of every month until November each year.
The class commenced with the chanting of the divine names of the Lord. After a quick revision of the slokas and bhajans learnt in the previous year, children were taught a sloka on Goddess Lakshmi and a bhajan on Sita and Radha, composed by Sri Swamiji. Children were taught the meaning of the sloka also. This was followed by a narration on Goddess Lakshmi.
9 children attended the class.
5th March 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class 2
In the Bhagavatam study group, the meaning of Kunthi sthuthi was explored using the material given by Poornimaji at the telecom classes. The group revised the Bhagavata dhyana slokas and the Kunthi sthuthi. About 14 people attended the study group.
21st March 2010 – GK Class
Children revised the sloka and bhajan learnt in the previous class. Children learnt about ashta Lakshmis and the gunas (qualities) that each Lakshmi stands for. A story about a king and ashta Lakshmis was narrated and children learnt about the value of courage in the class. This was followed by a maze activity and children had to find the correct path for Lakshmi to reach the heavenly abode of her Lord in Vaikunta. 6 children attended the class.
2nd April 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The study group commenced learning the chanting of Beeshma stuthi and revised the dhyana slokas and Kunthi sthuthi. The group also learnt to sing a devotional song. About 11 people attended the study group.
18th April 2010 – GK 2010 Class
In today’s class, children learnt about Lord Hanuman. A sloka and its meaning on Lord Hanuman and a bhajan composed by Sri Swamiji were taught and children also learnt the story of Lord Hanuman. This was followed by a colouring activity of Lord Hanuman. 15 children attended the class.
16th May 2010 – GK 2010 Class
Children revised the sloka and bhajan on Lord Hanuman and learnt a story about Krishnadas, a disciple of Sant Vallabacharya that highlighted the virtue of honesty. Children were asked to share their views and any real incidents that happened at school or at home where they maintained the value, honesty. 13 children attended the class.
4th June 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The study group discussed the meaning of Beeshma sthuthi and revised chanting the dhyana slokas, kunthi stuthi and Beeshma stuthi. About 11 people participated in the study group
20th June 2010 – GK 2010 Class
In today’s class, children learnt another sloka and its meaning on Lord Krishna. This was followed by a brief story on Lord Krishna and a detailed recount of Krishna’s Damodara Leela and his early days as a butter theif. Children were asked to unjumble a set of pictures, portraying various scenes of the butter thief. 11 children attended the class.
2nd July 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The study group commenced learning the chanting of Dhruva sthuti and learnt another devotional song. The group also revised the stuthi’s learnt in the previous classes. About 11 people participated in the study group.
12-18th July 2010 – Srimad Bhagavatha Saptaham – Katha rendered by Sri Deepak Vinod
Venue: Ram Krishna temple, Prestons, Sydney – Australia
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
Smt Vineeta Chand and Sri Ramesh Chand of Mt Druitt had a sankalpa to listen to Srimad Bhagavatam Saptaaha. To fulfil this sankalpa, they chose the Disciple of our Swamiji, Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji – Deepak – to speak about the Srimad Bhagavatam at the Ram Krishna Temple in Prestons, Sydney.
It was mid-winter, cold and wet – however many devotees braved the conditions to attend the katha for the entire 7 days. Being school holidays, many children were able to attend the Katha as well.
Day 1 : On the first day, there was an exposition of the Glories and Uniqueness of the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Narada and Bhakti Devi Aakhyana was covered and Gokarana Akhyana was cited as proof of the greatness of the Bhagavatam. Following this, many people remarked that until then, the Bhagavatam was not known to them.
Day 2: The discussion centred around Mangalacharana and the first two chapters of the Bhagavatam. The concept of Bhagavata Dharma was expounded in detail as well as the 6 questions posed by the Shaunaka Rishis.
Day3: The discussion of the 24 avataras, the purpose of the avataras and Shri Narada Charitra. Parkishit Janma Katha as well as the Janma Katha of Sukacharya was heard.
Day 4: The Daksha Yagya charitra and Dhruva Charitra were expounded upon.
Day 5: Being Friday, the temple was packed to capacity. In excess of 300 people had gathered to listen to the Ajamila Katha and the essence of Prahalada Charitra and Bali Maharaj Charitra. This was followed by the much awaited Krishna Janma and then then the Nandotsava. This triggered a round of celebrations with Loka-Geet and everyone getting a chance to rock Bala-Krishna in his cradle.
Day 6: This was a night to relish; the Bala-Leela of our Thakurji. Starting from Putana Moksha then Shataksura, Trinavarta and Krishna’s pranks (stealing Butter, eating Mud and Damodar Leela). The Katha concluded with the Govardhan Leela. Then there was Govardhan Puja – where everyone made offerings to our Govardhanji. Everyone did Parikrama with Nama-Sankirtan and danced and rejoiced during this festive occasion.
Day 7: Rukmini Devi’s Charitra (Kalyana) was discussed on Sunday. Thereafter we heard the Charitra of Sudhama. This touching sambhava about the friendship of Krishna and Sudhama and the Lord’s compassion brought tears to many eyes. Finally the saptaaha ended with glorification of Bhagavata Dharma – which is the essence of all the Shastras and the ultimate conclusion of the Bhagavatam. The day ended with ecstatic Nama Sankirtan and Parikrama of our Thakurji and the Bhagavatam and Salagram.
All in all, it was a week of great celebration and festivity. Maha-prasadam was provided by the hosts everyday. For the whole week, devotees packed the temple. There were 150 to 300 people every day. The devotees belonged to all age-groups, a pleasant surprise to temple organisers. There were many kids, adolescents and also many seniors. The katha was presented in a mixture of English and Hindi. Everyone openly relished the Katha and the Mahamantra Kirtans. All throughout the presence of our beloved Gurudeva was intimately felt.
On the basis of this resounding success, the Temple committee immediately decided to make Bhagavatam Katha a monthly fixture.
Our humble Pranaams to Sri Sri Swamiji for making this possible.
18th July 2010 – GK 2010 Class 5
In today’s class, children revised the slokas on Lord Ganesha, Krishna, Lakshmi and Hanuman and the bhajans learnt in the previous classes. Children were asked to recite some of the stories learnt in the previous classes. 8 children attended the class.
6th Aug 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The group continued to learn Dhruva sthuthi and revised the sthuthis learnt in the previous classes. About 11 people attended the study group.
22nd Aug 2010 – GK 2010 Class
In today’ss class, children learnt a sloka from Srimad Bhagavatam about Lord’s grace. Children learnt the story of Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu and Prahlad, a great devotee of the Lord. Children were asked to narrate how they celebrated Ganesha chathurthi at their homes. 14 children attended the class.
3rd Sep 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The group continued to learn Dhruva stuthi and revised the stuthis and dhyana slokas learnt in the previous classes. A brief discussion and a informal quiz on Srimad Bhagavatam was conducted. About 11 people attended the study group.
19th Sep 2010 – GK 2010 Class
Children learnt a sloka on Goddess Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Durga to mark the ensuing festival of Navrathri. Children were taught the meaning of the sloka and how praying to the three Goddesses would bestow wisdom, wealth and courage. Children also learnt about the significance of celebrating Navrathri and how it is celebrated in various parts of India. 12 children attended the class.
21st Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Satsang members gathered to welcome Bhagyaji at Sri Rajaram and Smt Usha’s residence at Cherrybrook, Sydney. Bhagyaji started the satsang with nama sankirtan followed by a talk. He started with a simple perspective on Bhakthi, what it actually is. The common behaviour of people is to attribute all good things in their life to their own effort and label bad things as God’s doing. Even so, if we realise that we got this human birth without any personal effort, there lies the grass roots of Bhakthi? Should we not attribute atleast our birth to Him and be thankful and indebted to HIm for giving this life. Devotion/bhakthi should start from this grass root level and flourish. In this age, following the path of Bhakthi is the easiest amongst all paths, because by definition all you need to do in this path is to place your responsibilities on HIM and HE shall take care of the rest. HE will steer your life and make sure you reach the destination. There is nothing else to do unlike other paths where there is a lot of onus on the self-effort.
Bhagyaji said, “be like a crying child who wants to go the market with his father, but is not capable of getting himself dressed”. So the father, dresses up the child and takes him to the market. Similarly, allow yourself to be transformed by HIM and HE will make sure you get what is best for you, for HE is the only one who knows you best. Take to the direct path of calling HIM by chanting HIS divine name, the Mahamantra. HE is there waiting to be called by you. He will come running to you as soon you call him. Even a bypasser, when he hears someone calling his name, turns back to look who called him, so is Bhagavan, when you call HIm by HIS name, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, HE will come running to you. Chanting nama is the direct path, and undoubtedly it will bring Bhagavan before you!
22nd Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Purpose of Life
Bhagyaji’s second day satsang was at Sri Ramakrishnan and Smt Jaishree’s residence at Bella Vista, Sydney. The event was attended by more than 50 members in spite of being a week-night right in the middle of the week. The programmme commenced at 8 pm sharp with Nama chanting and the topic for the night was “Purpose of Life”.
Bhagyaji started with the observation that One often wonders whether all the talk about the human life being termed the rarest and most precious is a mere hype and simply a way of drumming up self praise and at best could serve only as a ego booster. He quickly laid this to rest by saying that the human birth is indeed the rarest and the best. All rishis and mahans have absolutely concurred on this point and it should be taken very seriously. We must realise the tremendous opprtunity given to us as humans whereby we find ourselves in the middle rung of the evolution ladder. One could fritter away this opportunity and fall to the bottom of the species hierarchy through bad deeds or progress to be a deva, brahma and even attain the lotus feet of Bhagvan in this very birth. This background sets the purpose of life and a realisation of this is the “very defining moment” in one’s life.
Bhagyaji quoted several incidents in the life of Bhagvan Sri Ramana Maharishi to substantiate that there is a continuum to life and one’s current actions set the tone for future, maybe within the current life time or even beyond. In spite of witnessing the very transient nature of things around us, people dying suddenly or suffering the miseries of diesease etc, we are trapped into a false sense of security. We somehow think that we are immune to all these miseries and carry on with our material pursuits. This verily is Maya, according to our Swamiji.
Building on this tremendous foundation set that enables one to truly sense the need for a purpose in life, Bhagyaji proceeded to share his thoughts on what that purpose is. He mentioned that Our own Swamiji brings this to a very sharp focus with an astounding example from Aksharamanamalai. The particuar verse that Swamiji was commentating upon says that a dog has an in-born quality whereby the moment it sniffs an object, it sets forth in haste to track down the source of that scent, no question of sitting and analysing how good or bad that scent is or getting carried away by the joy that scent may provide. On the contrary, we humans are intelligent enough to understand that behind this wonderful creation, is an Easwara but for whom nothing exists. We know that He is the one who has created all these objects around us that we enjoy. But what do we do? We are simply mesmerised by the worldly objects and drown in them totally oblivious to the larger purpose of life that we should start our journey to the source of these very sense objects, the creator and attain Him.
An example from Pattinaththar’s life was given by Bhagyaji to bring about a sense of urgency to the purpose. Pattinaththar put an abrupt end to his material pursuits in the wake of a “defining moment” in his life when he almost gives up his son for dead in the rough seas and when the son does return alive, his mind reverts back to the old habits and starts looking for the wealth that his son was expected to bring along. In a moment, he had forgotten how fervently he had prayed to the God to get his son back alive and pledging that he needed absolutely nothing else in his life. When his own son pointed out this lapse, Pattinaththar lets go of all his possessions in a flash and sets about the pursuit of divinity.
In conclusion, Bhagyaji pointed out that the purpose of life is doing what it takes to get us closer to God which is verily what the Nama chanting does. This should be given the highest priority in one’s life and made an everyday habit. It is not to say that material enjoyment should be totally shunned. It just needs to be put in the right perspective and understood that everything else we do are only supportive to the main purpose of chanting the mahamantra.
The satsang concluded with the singing of “Kaliyai bali Kollum..” and arthi.
23rd Sep 2010 – Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Kali Dharma Undiyar
Today’s satsang was at Smt Anitha and Sri Murali Manohar, at Carlingford, Sydney. Sydney devotees were very fortunate to listen to Bhagyaji speak on Sri Swamiji’s work “Kali Dharma Undiyar’, which conveys the core message of our Sri Swamiji. In today’s session Bhagyaji gave an introduction to “Kali dharma undhiyar”. There are 31 verses in total in this work. Few more sessions have been planned in the coming week.
Bhagyaji opened the topic with the remark that one should “assess” a spiritual path with two simple tests before going down that path. A disciple of Sri Ramana Maharishi expressed a dissatisfaction that he was not seeing any progress in a particular path that he had followed for a period of time with all dedication. He felt very despondent about the time and energy that had gone in that pursuit. Bhagavan replied that it certainly was not a waste since it produced an outcome that the particular path was not for him and he could now be very sure about it. Hence the importance of proper assessment right at the outset. The two tests to be applied are, firstly whether the particular path has the approval of the scriptures and Mahans and secondly whether it is suitable for the individual to follow in the manner prescribed taking into account the individual’s circumstance. If either of the tests fail, one cannot be absolutely sure of the results going down that particular path.
Compassionate as they are, the scriptures do not even want people to be struggling to apply the second test and loosing precious time experimenting. They clearly spell out the particular path for the particular period (yuga) and thus in a sense, apart from asking us to apply the question they also provide the answer. Srimath Bhagavatham spells out that the chosen path for the kali yuga is Namasankirtan. As for the first test that needs to be applied, one need not go too far for an answer. The Vedas are the gospel and of the 108 main upanishads that speak of various spiritual paths, only one has the name of the yuga itself in its title, Kalisantarana upanishad. This upanishad speaks of the glory and simplicity of the Mahamantra as THE path of kali yuga.
Bhagyaji mentioned a deeper meaning behind the concept of Avatar. Avatar is generally understood to occur only when there is a major and visible catastrophy such as dharma getting completely routed etc. There is a subtler side to it as well. Often, people find themselves at the crossroads, unable to either follow their traditional spiritual practices in the manner they really like to nor “break out” from their tradition and just succumb to the constraints that the modern times throw at them. An Avatara Purusha is seen to emerge under these circumstances who will show a path suited to that age and which can be followed by everyone. Thus, one is able to abandon all the doubts in one’s mind and simply get on to that path with all trust and faith.
Examples can be seen in this aspect of Avatar in the lives of Sri Chaitanya Maha prabhu and Swami Bodendra, a former pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt. Sri Chaintanya mahaprabhu, a scholar and jnani beyond compare in his times took it upon himself to lead the world down the path of Mahamantra. Swami Bodendra was the acharya heading the Kanchi Mutt, the very seat of vedic karmas but propounded the Nama Siddhantha as The path for this age. The Satsang concluded with Nama Sankirtan and Aarathi.
24th Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Madhurasmaranam Part 1
Today’s satsang started with nama sankirtan by satsang members. Sri Somasekar- Secretary, GOD Australia welcomed everyone to the much awaited Madhura Smaranam Satsang and narrated his experiences with Sri Swamiji.
Bhagyaji honoured Sri Deepak Vinod, GOD satsang member with a shawl. Bhagyaji spoke highly about Deepak’s humility and nama prachara service.
Bhagyaji said in this Mahdurasmaranam Satsang he would like to share with the devotees glimpses and some of the precious moments with Sri Swamiji.
What is Madhura Smaranam? We all think that things are better when it is big in size, but one famous devotee of Krishna says that vamana avatar is the sweetest one. The infinite God condenses itself into a small avatar. Fresh milk from cow is sweet and when it is condensed, it is sweeter. God condenses himself in the form of a Guru and he is so sweet – madhuram. When we do smaranam of this sweetness, it is madhura smaranam.
The purpose of madhura smaranam is to enjoy this sweetness – to dive into it and to completely lose ourselves in it. A verse in Srimad Bhagavatham mentions about how anthima smrithi on Sriman Narayana will lead to liberation. Unless we are in constant smaranam of the Guru, the final thought will definitely elude us and stray away from Narayana or the Guru.
It is very common to think that ” I have accepted so and so as my Guru”, but in fact it is the other way. The Guru has to accept us as HIS devotee. We can see this in the lives of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sri Yogi Ramsurat Kumar. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has said that Devi shows the faces of people who would come to him. Once, many people were waiting to have Yogi Ramsurat Kumar’s darshan. Yogiji took one person inside and left the others unattended and said that the darshan was over for the day. This devotee felt bad that because of him, darshan for others was denied, to which Yogiji replied, ” My father chooses and the beggar only picks up”.
We all think we have accepted a GURU. In reality, it is the Guru who chooses the disciple – not the other way.
During one of the early days of Sri Swamiji, when HE lived in Kumbakonam, one day, a calling came to him from Lord Panduranga of Pandarpur. He immediately left for Pandarpur. As Sri Swamiji entered Pandarpur, HE felt that HE was not new to the place. Everything was familiar to HIM, including streets, the temple and other surroundings. Sri Swamiji went to Panduranga and said, Lord I have come. Lord answered, “You didn’t come, I called you”. After darshan, Sri Swamiji came out and went to Chandrabagha river. HE was lying on the river bed. HE could see groups and groups of people started coming towards him, smiling at him in the quiet part of the night. Sri Swamiji started to wonder where they were coming from and Panduranga immediately replied that these are the people who would come to him from all parts of the world in the years to come.
Once, Sri Swamiji spotted a young boy in a large gathering and told one of his devotees, “He is mine. He will come to me one day, knocking at my door hanging a bag on his shoulder ( jolna bag)”. Several years later, it happened and it was the same devotee who was with him previously opened the door and found this boy standing with a jolna bag.
On this note, Bhagyaji ended the day. Dolotsavam was performed to Sri Swamiji and prasadam distributed.
5-26 Sep 2010 Lectures Interstate-Dr Bhagyanathan
Adelaide and Melbourne Satsangs
The evening satsangh was well planned and executed by Sri Rajaganesh-Smt Bhama and Smt Bhanu. The Vishnau sahasranamam group recited in unison and this was followed by “Kaliyai bali kollum”. Following this, Sri Bhagyaji gave a moving talk about the efficacy and simplicity of the path of mahamantra kirtan that Guru Maharaj was showing us. He quoted instances from the Divya charitra of Sri Sri Swamiji with special focus on chanting with faith relying on His Grace rather than analyzing with our intellect which has its own limits. The entire satsangh listened in rapt attention and in the end, all chanted with deep involvement.
Satsangh was organised by Sri Ganapathyji, Sri Subbuji and Sri Prabhakarji at a common hall in Melbourne from 3 to 6 pm. Satsangh commenced with mahamantra kirtan. Subbuji gave a brief outline about the activities of the Melbourne group. Sri Bhagyaji addressed the gathering for about 90 minutes. The core message was that the easiest way to attain God realisation was to win a place in the Guru’s heart and that could be done very easily by chanting the mahamantra that is closest to His heart.
27th Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Madhurasmaranam Part 2
Today’s satsang started with nama sankirtan by satsang members. Sri Rajagopalan shared some of his experiences with Swamiji.
It was the 8th of November, 1961, Deepavali, in the month of Aippasi and the Pilava year on the Tamil calendar. When the star Swathi was on the ascent, Sri Swamiji was born to Sri Rajagopalan and Smt Savithri in Manjakuppam, Cuddalore, Tamilnadu, India. Deepavali signifies the annihilation of darkness and the ascendence of light. Similarly the sole purpose of Sri Swamiji’s descent is to remove ignorance and lead us to the ultimate truth. Similar to Gargacharya, who named Sri Krishna, Sri Swamiji’s cousin, Sundararaman gave the sweet name Muralidharan.
Sri Swamiji studied in St Joseph’s school in Cuddalore. From a very young age, Sri Swamiji had a liking for the saffron robe and had an inclination to enquire deeply about things he observed in nature. Swamiji is very fond of Tamil language and once, when his teacher asked one of the students to run the class, he spoke about a few verses from Kamba Ramayana. The teacher was so impressed by the eloquence and delivery that he said that he would like to be Sri Swamiji’s student. Sri Swamiji loved debates and would (even today) be able to present all points for one side and then take up the opposite position and would still bring in many points against all that were raised previously.
Sri Swamiji was attracted to Srinivasa perumal from a very young age and always longed to go to Tirupathi. Sri Swamiji used to do thirumanjanam to a picture of Srinivasa Perumal, he found at school. One day, Sri Swamiji had a dream about him visiting many kshethras and within a few days, he did go to those kshethras for the first time and saw all the places to be exactly as they appeared in his dream. Sri Swamiji used to go to Vadavambalam often to be at the Samadhi of Athma Bodhendhral (Guru of Sri Bodhendhra Swamigal of Govindapuram).
Sri Swamiji moved to Chidambaran to continue his college education (B.Sc – Maths) at Annamalai University. Swamiji used to say that Chidambaram Nataraja was his best friend during this period. Sri Swamiji used to do lots of japa in the temple and would go around the temple often and would chant “Soundharya Lahari” many times. He had many divine visions and prathyaksha dharsanam of Goddess Durga guarding the temple at night. On another occasion he heard the anklets of Ambal behind him when walking around the temple and looked over his shoulders. Devi was verily there and handed him a handful of sugar candy. On one occasion in chidambaram, for a strange reason he desired to see the dwaja in the dwajasthambha flap around like a flag. It did, immediately.
Sri Bhagyaji brought the lecture to a close on this note. Dolotsavam was performed to Sri Swamiji and prasadam was distributed to all the devotees.
28th Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Madhurasmaranam Part 3
The third day of Satsang resumed with Nama Sankeertan. Smt Anitha shared her Nama Anubhava’s.
Bhagyaji continued to transport us to a totally different world again on Day 3 as we journeyed through a very important phase in the life of Swamiji. During this period, Sri Swamiji was frequently in solitude and continued on HIS spiritual quest. One place which Swamiji used to frequent was the Bhodendhra swamigal athishtanam in Thirumangalakudi village where he had many divine experiences.
Another interesting incident was the choice of the Chaitanya Kuteeram ashram in Govindapuram. Years back when Swamiji was visiting the Samadhi of Shri Bhodendra Swamigal, HE sat in a coconut grove nearby and was doing Srimad Bhagavata parayanam and mentioned to one of the devotees that “We will have an ashram here”. Years later it turned to be the exact place where Chaitanya Kuteeram came up.
Sri Swamiji had a very good companion in those days – The Lord Ganesha in Thirumangalakudi village. Once when Swamiji was passing that village, HE decided to visit HIS friend, Ganesha. Swamiji was shocked to find the shrine in a run down state. The place was very dirty. Swamiji shed tears seeing the condition in which Lord Ganesha was place. Sri Swamiji started cleaning the place all by himself. He asked the devotees who were accompanying to buy the pooja articles like vastram, fruit, coconut,flower, oil, puffed rice for offering etc..
The devotees bought everything for pooja but forgot to buy a match box. Suddenly from nowhere a small chubby fisherman boy came and the devotees who were with Swamiji approached this boy and asked him if he had a match box. The boy had one in his bag and readily gave it to them. Sri Swamiji did the pooja and aarathi to Lord Ganesha. Swamiji gave the Prasad that was offered to Lord Ganesha to this boy. The boy was gleaming with joy. Soon after receiving the prasad the boy left. Sri Swamiji turned back and asked him for his name and he replied Vignesh. It was none other than the Lord Ganesha himself who came there to help the devotees and participate in the Pooja that Sri Swamiji performed. Much later after couple of months, Sri Swamiji was passing by that village and visited the temple. It was found that the temple was renovated and transformed into a full-fledged temple. This shows that a mere sankalpa of Swamiji to see the temple in good order resulted in the renovation coming true.
Sri Swamiji then moved to Chennai and was staying in Pammal. Blessed was his uncle’s place in Pammal where Swamiji stayed. Swamiji used to meditate continuously in the backyard of this house. At the time when this particular house was purchased a great Mahan said that Sthalam, Theertham, Moorthy were all there in this land, so no wonder Swamiji came to stay there. An interesting incident was narrated here by Bhagyaji. Once Sri Swamiji went on a Brindavan yatra and a particular devotee could not go with Sri Swamiji. This devotee was feeling very miserable as he could not go. After returning from Brindavan Sri Swamiji narrated the whole trip to this devotee. This devotee felt even more miserable that he was not lucky enough to go to Brindavan along with Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji after a while asked this devotee if he was still upset and to this the devotee nodded his head and said he was still upset. Then Sri Swamiji said to this devotee “Brindavan is simply the place in which I AM”, so why should you get upset. There is a kirtan of Sri Swamiji ‘Brindavaname Un maname”, which means your mind is verily the Brindavan. To a true bhaktha, the place where HIS Guru resides is the punya Kshetra, his Guru is the presiding deity in this kshetra.
In this same house Swamiji used to spend lots of time on the terrace meditating. On One day an old lady who came looking for Swamiji was struck by the divinity surrounding the place and prostrated immediately to Swamiji. Sri Swamiji used to wander continuously and was trying to detach himself maximally from worldly things. HE often used to frequent the graveyard and meditate there.
Swamiji then left Pammal and moved to Chennai and was staying with a friend in a small room. HE would sit for hours together in that dark poorly ventilated room and would even instruct his friend to lock the door from outside. While Swamiji was locked like this in the room many devotees have said that they have seen him elsewhere outside.
Among Swamiji’s favourite temple is the Aravamudhan temple in Kumbakonam. Swamiji had experienced the same divine feeling as mentioned in the Sthalapurana and wrote ” keerthanam Kaithalam patrinen” kirtan.
29th Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Madhurasmaranam Part 4
The Satsang started with Namasankirtan followed by Nama Anubhav by Sri Muthu who shared several experiences in his personal life and also highlighted Sri Swamiji’s compassion. Smt Jayanthi shared the wonderfull experience that day in the Ryde hospital where Bhagyaji’s healing meditation workshop was highly successful and very well received by everyone with request for more such programs. Niveda Sekar and Namdev Sekar sang ” Krupa samudra” song composed by Sri Sri Swamiji.
Bhagyaji resumed by explaining the meaning of the Dhyana sloka on our Sri Swamiji ” Kalaye Sundarakaram” which was composed by a devotee. In essence the sloka describes -The Sadguru who is all absorbing ,who looks at us and pours the love and grace through his eyes, who removes that ignorance and takes us to God realisation is Muralidhara -The God himself. A special grammatical aspect of sanskrit is followed in this sloka whereby the first and the last words by themselves convey the gist. In this case they refer to the form and name respectively implying that they are no different from each other. Further, Sri Swamiji himself has said that where his picture is, he himself verily is.
Continuing to take us through the Kshetra visits by Sri Swamiji, Bhagyaji narrated the beautiful experience in Thiruvannamalai where he often used to circumambulate the Arunachala hill for hours together. On a particular night after such a tiring walk Sri Swamiji retired to Ramanashram. He was also very hungry. Swamiji has never asked anything from anybody. When Swamiji was lying down tired & hungry an elderly devotee who came there looked at Swamiji and with great compassion enquired Swamiji if he was very hungry, who also then prepared prasadham and offered even though Sri Swamiji refused as it was so late in the night. Sri Swamiji often recollects this incident and instructs people in our ashram to adopt such attitude to service stressing the fact that the ashrams are intended for only such purposes. Another similar incident happened in Thiruvannamali Sheshadri Swamigal ashram where Sri Swamiji was served a feast late at night by the priest there who said to Sri Swamiji that for some unknown reason he felt that Sri Swamiji would come and he should keep the food ready to serve him.
Another very important quality of Sri Swamiji was explained by Bhagyaji. This is the very highest state of mahatmas who treat everything similar, joy or sorrow, praise or abuse. There was a person who used to come to the ashram stand outside and keep abusing Sri Swamiji continuously. Sri Swamiji would stand there listening without any impact. Sometime, later during an utsavam in the ashram this same person was seen as a completely transformed person participating wholeheartedly in the proceedings. Later when Sri Swamiji met this person he told him that everybody was saying good things about him and atleast there was one person who was abusing him and this was a real test for him to make sure that it did not impact him or make him react.
Once Sri Swamiji visited Brindavan with some devotees who were really fortunate. Sri Swamiji was in great Bhava during the entire trip and was going around everywhere with so much familiarity of the whole place. One day HE took everybody to a small island. Sri Swamiji and the devotees were all sitting together and sang keertans. Sri Swamiji told the devotees that the island was the same place were Uddhava took the rajas of the Gopika’s. While they were singing and dancing everybody was blessed to see two tiny feet with lotus in the middle moving around which was without any doubt the Lord himself in their midst. Back from Brindavan Sri Swamiji explained the entire trip to a devotee who could not accompany Sri Swamiji to Brindavan. The devotee was even more upset after listening to Sri Swamiji thinking he missed a great trip. Sri Swamiji consoled the devotee saying “Where ever I am is verily Brindavan”.
Once, a devotee’s 3 year old child was adamant to go with Sri Swamiji in his car. Sri Swamiji took him along and pampered him with everything that he asked for. On returning back the child left Sri Swamiji with a comment ” onn pechhu kaa” meaning “I won’t speak to you anymore:. Sri Swamiji was stunned and went into a quiet mood, the reason being that Sri Swamiji related this to a similar incident in Srimad Bhagavatham where Krishna tricks Badra as being a friend just to enjoy the sweets and later on dismisses him saying he doesn’t know him. Similarly during Radhashtami when Sri Swamiji saw a young girl dressed in nice silk attire Sri Swamiji went into bhava.
Recently in April 2010 there was a big utsavam in Govindapuram. Devotees were staying in Govindapuram and Aaduthurai ( which is 5km away from Govindapuram). On one of the days suddenly it started raining in Aaduthurai.
In Govindapuram all arrangements were made in open grounds by erecting shamianas (pandals).Satsang volunteers were very much worried. Thousands of people had come there to attend the function at Govindapuram. Everybody was worried as rains at that time would spoil the whole event. One of the devotees went to Sri Swamiji and told that it has started raining in Aaduthurai and as clouds were gathering very thick in Govindapuram it is likely that it may start raining here too. Sri Swamiji went to the terrace and sat in meditation quietly and to everybody’s surprise except in Aaduthurai there were no rains anywhere. At that point everyone felt as if they were under the Govardhana Giri lifted by the Lord to save the vrajvasi from rains.
While Sri Swamiji was staying at 51 K Ashok nagar in a small flat, he used to have lot of spiritual experiences. One day in this flat Sri Swamiji had the wonderful experience of visiting the Lord’s abode which has been beautifully explained in the ” Golokam sendru vanthen” Keerthan.
Sri Swamiji spent couple of days alone in Thirukurungudi temple which is on top of the hill. When Sri Swamiji was in dhyana , during the night he could see the devas offering pooja to the lord exactly as specified in the ashtothra namavali ” Rathro Devatha architaya namaha”
With this Bhagyaji concluded the satsang. Guruji’s keerthan was sung by Siddarth Murali followed by Dolotsav . Prasad was served and the satsang came to and end.
29th Sep 2010-Workshop at Ryde, NSW
Dr Bhagyanathan conducted a guided meditation workshop in a Hospital in Sydney. About 25 people attended the workshop. The uniqueness of this workshop was that everyone participated with great sense of involvement and enthusiastically chanted the Mahamantra. In the two hour workshop, Bhagyaji explained how Mahamantra meditation can help overcome anxiety and depression.
The participants responded very positively asking a lot of questions and were very interactive. The coordinator has requested more such programmes from G.O.D
Bhagyaji started the interactive workshop by explaining the concept of the three focal points – Body, Intellect and Mind. If we look at life when it started, one thing that has been happening constantly is strengthening the physical body, that is, we always ensure that we keep ourselves healthy and fit. The actual process of physical strengthening begins even before we are born, in the mother’s womb. The next process is Intellect, to put in simpler terms it is gaining knowledge. It again begins when one is within the mother’s womb. This intellectual strengthening happens through out one’s life. Everyday we learn something new. Then comes the Mind. Mind is nothing but a collection of thoughts. Mind is the factor which defines our life. But we don’t always pay much attention to it. You may find a person who is physically fit and strong and also very knowledgeable. If he is weak mentally however, he is faced with difficulties in doing many normal activities.
Where does meditation fit in with this scheme? Meditation functions at the level of the thought, where the problem originates. This will complement other therapeutic options that are used widely. Meditation and other therapeutic options complement each other and help us achieve that peace of mind that we are looking for. Another benefit is the strengthening of the mind which lets us withstand other challenges that may arise in the future.
So what exactly is mantra meditation? Mantra is a powerful suggestion to the mind. By paying attention to the mantra though hearing, it will gradually overcome all other thoughts that compete for our attention and help us to focus and then relax the mind. Meditation helps at the level of mind to stop swinging or jumping from one thought to another. So by doing the mantra meditation we are supplying a steadying weight that the mind holds on to. By giving the weight in the form of a powerful thought, we can reach a point where the mind is still. It can be better explained like this. Trunk of an elephant can never stay still much like the pendulum. If you want to make the pendulum to stop, what would you do from it oscillating? If you increase the mass of that object that suspends the pendulum then it stops. Similarly when the mahout wants the elephant not to move its trunk (as it can scare people away) then he gets the elephant to hold a chain and it stays still.
What is that focus that helps us to meditate? It is Sound! We need a technique that is simple and easy to practice. Sound has its effect on the mind, explained beautifully with an example. In a horror movie, there is a scene where a child is riding a tricycle and goes so fast. You are so scared that the child will have an accident. But if you get the same movie and play it at your home and mute the sound in this particular scene, you are not anywhere as afraid. What was it that was scaring you in the theatre? It was the music and sound effects that scared you.
Similarly, when we want to bring the mind to a focus we use the (mass) “mantra”. Mantra is that sound which helps to focus our mind. It is a rational and simple technique. Even in sleep the thoughts slow down. But that is not meditation. In meditation we are alert and taking control of the situation by focusing.
When you don’t want posters to be stuck on your compound wall, you stick a notice saying” Bill posters will be prosecuted” and that acts as a deterrent to people who would stick bills. So, similarly when you want unwanted thoughts to stay away from your mind, then you have to hold on to a powerful thought which suppresses the generation of other thoughts. The whole process of meditation in itself is meant to be done in a relaxed and comfortable manner. You can sit on the floor or on a couch, whichever may be comfortable for you, but make sure your back is straight.
In meditation, we start from the outside, that is at the body level and delve deeper and ever inward. First we pay attention to our body, then move on to paying attention to the breath and go on to the mind to pay attention to our thoughts. So, meditation is paying attention. The moment we start paying attention to our thoughts, we are bombarded by a million more thoughts. Our Spiritual Master says, pay attention to that inattention when you perceive that the mind is wandering. That itself will change the mind. Bhagyaji illustrated this principle by using the theory of the Hawthorne effect. Production in a manufacturing plant suddenly decreases. The management undertakes measures to investigate the cause behind the decline in production. It was found that when adequately supervised, the workers started working hard and the production increased. On the contrary, when left on their own, the workers became lazy and productivity suffered. So when you start paying attention to the mind, the unwanted thoughts are slowly cast off. When you observe, then the one that is observed changes.
Bhagyaji completed the workshop with a practical demonstration of Maha Mantra Meditation. All the participants in the workshop participated enthusiastically. The whole workshop was interactive and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and greatly benefited from it. Guided meditation CD’s and Mahamantra table top holders were given to the participants.
30th Sep 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Topic: Madhurasmaranam 5
The final day Madhurasmaranam Satsang started with Namasankeerthan followed by another Nama Anubhav by Muthuji and continued by Jayanthiji who shared her Prathama Darshan of Swamiji, when Swamiji had cut short his trip and came to Chennai making it possible. Little Sharadha of the satsang family once again stole everybody’s heart by reciting flawlessly Srimad Bhagavatha slokas.
Bhagyaji started by explaining that the simplest path towards God realisation is by pure devotion and to attain this we need Guru Kripa. The Guru is filled with divinity because he is interacting with the Lord directly. He talks, sings, walks and plays with him all the time and that is why the place is full of Sanithyam. Many devotees have mentioned that they could hear the sound of anklets in Premika Bhavanam even after the Chanting and Bhajans have stopped. Swamiji has confirmed that it is the sound of Premika varadhan running around and playing. Similarly the location of the Mahranyam Ashram is also significant because there is historical evidence that Lord Rama and Lakshmana had stayed there for 3 days.
Once during school holidays the patashala in the ashram was closed and all the students had gone home and preparations were underway for Vasanthotsavam festival. At this point Premika varadhan insisted to Swamiji that he wanted to go on holidays as well and Swamiji had to shift the vasanthotsavam to Thirunangoor. Interestingly when Premika varadhan set foot in Thirunangoor the whole place became cool and it started raining in the middle of peak summer.
As many bhaktas have said “the portrait of Swamiji and Swamiji are no different”. Bhagyaji narrated a wonderful such experience. One of the senior disciples in the ashram was sent by Swamiji to attend to his mother who was ill. He stayed for a while and wanted to come back, but Swamiji did not give a positive reply and so he had to continue staying in spite of repeated requests. One day while Swamiji was travelling to ashram, suddenly he asked to turn back to Chennai and wanted to visit this bhakta’s place. As they went into the house the disciple and the mother were dumbstruck because it turned out that the mother had just a few minutes ago prayed in front of Swamiji’s photo for his darshan. This incident shows that the portrait and Swamiji are no different from each other and to cap it off Bhagyaji even went one step further and said “The portrait is even powerful than Swamiji itself”. There was another similar incident where Swamiji had the strong smell of Gulabjamun and samosa while travelling in the car when neither of the dishes was present. Only upon coming to Premika Bhavanam they realised that one of the devotee had prepared both and waiting to offer to Swamiji.
Then Bhagyaji spoke about Swamiji’s upanyasam which are nothing other than ” Divya Vani”-the words of the very Lord himself. Swamiji goes into the respective bhavas when he is delivering these upanyasas and is very difficult for him to engage in the day to day situation. Bhagyaji narrated one such wonderful divine experience. Years back Swamiji met a couple in train and was discussing with them various spiritual things. Interested by Swamiji’s talk the couple requested Swamiji to do Bhagavatha saptaham in their house which Swamiji agreed. While doing the saptaha, Swamiji did not expound on Varaha avtar for want of time. That night, the Lord appeared as Varaha moorthy in Swamiji’s dream and expressed disappointment over Swamiji skipping his avtara story. The very next day Swamiji elaborated on the story of Varaha avtar in his discourse. Some years later when Swamiji was visiting sri mushnam the temple of varaha avtar, he was stunned to see the moorthy exactly the same as the one that appeared in his dreams. When Swamiji asked whether he was the same, the garland on the moorthy snapped and acknowledged it.
When we talk about Krishna bhakthi or any other bhakthi, often people consider that as narrow mindedness and blame that we are not broadminded enough to do bhakthi to other Gods. Bhagyaji gave a wonderfull explanation as given by Swamiji to this. When people involve in bhakthi to one god like Meerabhai to Giridhari and Tulsidas to Rama, they always see their respective god in each and everything which is a much more broad minded approach rather than seeing individually each God and narrowing it down. Concluding the Madhurasmaranam satsang, Bhagyaji once again reiterated that the purpose of Madurasmaranam is not to glorify Swamiji because we cannot do it and moreover ” who are we to glorify him “? This is just for us to relish and enjoy.
Then Bhagya ji gave this very important message that after having immersed in this nectar for so many days, after having known about Swamiji, his Leelas, we should try to change ourselves and practise only those things that our Swamiji wants us to do which is nothing other than chanting the Mahamantra and leading the life in the right way. If we fail to CHANGE then it is nothing other than HERO WORSHIP which thousands of other people do. He said that we need to view madhura smaranam as a “spiritual awakening” and not a “spiritual entertainment”.
With this Bhagyaji concluded the satsang offering pranams to the Lotus feet of Guru Maharaj and also thanking the Bhaktas who had participated in this satsang. Guruji’s keerthan was sung by Ashwin and Siddarth followed by Dolotsav . Maha Prasad was served to all the devotees.
30th Sep 2010-Workshop at Hurstville, NSW
Bhagyaji was invited to attend a forum of Senior Citizens group in Hurstville and address the Seniors. Bhagyaji spoke on the importance of nama and conducted Mantra Meditation workshop. About 50-55 Senior Citizens attend the workshop
1st Oct 2010 – Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Bhagyaji was invited to speak in the “Ram Krishna Temple” at Prestons on True Happiness. It was attended by 50 devotees. Most of them heard Bhagyaji for the first time.
At the outset, Bhagyaji discussed what true happiness meant. The very fact that happiness needs to be qualified by an Adjective of ‘True’ – means that there is something that is known as seeming or false or fleeting happiness.
Generally, when we refer to happiness, we look at these things – Wealth, Prestige, Family. Bhagya ji clinically went through all these so called happiness and illustrated how they cannot contribute to our TRUE Happiness.
He gave an example of a King who was envious of a Barber who was always happy, while the King himself was always anxious and agitated always worrying about Preserving what he had. The Minister promised the King that he will do something about it.
So, the next day the King saw that the Barber was really despondent. Then the King was happy to see that the Barber was no longer happy. When the King asked the Minister as to what he did to make the Barber worried, the Minister replied that he put in the path of the barber a pot which was 75% filled with gold. When striking that pot of gold, the Barber was initially overjoyed. Soon however, that gain gave birth into an aspiration in the mind of the Barber to get the jar 100% filled. And because of that the Barber was now concerned as to how he will be able to get that Pot filled 100% to the top. This caused him to be morose. Bhagya Ji further narrated that we are this Barber. In all that we have, it is pretty much a pot of gold 3/4 full. However instead of being content, we are seeking to make it 100% full. In that endeavour, we are never happy and satisfied and we lose our Happiness.
Next Bhagyaji, showed that how the desire for Loka-Kirti (Fame and Prestige) is also such a viscious cycle and not the actual reason for our happinness. He gave an example of a dog which was hit by a Beggar in Ram Rajya. When lord Rama asked the dog what he wished as a punishment for the beggar who admitted his wrong-doing, the dog asked for the Beggar to be made a loka-patihi. Contrary to everyone admiring the magnanimous character of the dog for his forgiveness, lord Rama described that the dog was actually very smart. The dog himself was a loka-Patihi in his previous life and knew that he was blinded by the fame and Kirti of that position so much so that he acted unrighteously and thereby had to be born as a dog. Hence he wished the same for the beggar.
Bhagyaji summed up how true happiness is in the feet of Bhagavan and Guru. And that True happiness can be got by chanting his Divine names. The Satsangh concluded with Nama. Thereafter Bhagyaji presented the president of the Temple Sri Anil Singhji with Publications of Swamiji.
2nd Oct 2010- Mass Prayer at Parramatta, NSW
Mahatma Gandhi Jayanthi & International day of peace – A prayer in unison
The Global Organisation for Divinity organised a cultural evening and mass prayer at the Parramatta Town Hall on the 2nd October’10, the day of Gandhi Jayanthi. An elite set of special guests attended the function adding a sense of depth and character to the purpose behind the gathering – one of devout tradition and a pertinent spiritual message. The guests were Hon Julie Owens MP, member for Parramatta, Councillor Glenn Elmore, Woodville Ward, Mr Gambhir Watts, President of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Australia and Swami Atmeshananda of Ramakrishna Mutt, Sydney.
The programme commenced with the prayer song Maithrim Bhajatha by Kausthub Krishnamurthy. This song was written by Paramacharya of Kanchi and sung at the 50th anniversary of the U.N assembly by Smt. M. S. Subbalakshmi. The song is about universal love and peace in the world. Gandhiji’s favourite “Raghupathi Raghava” was sung melodiously by Sindhu Sharma. This was followed by the rendering of “Vaishnava janatho” by Kaavya Jaishankar. Written by the famous Narasimha Mehta, this song was a part of Gandhiji’s everyday prayer. It qualifies the term
Vaishnav as that which applies to one who feels the pain of others, helps those in need, humble and sees everyone as equal. Above all, a Vaishnav revels in chanting the divine name of Ram.
Sri Soma Sekar, Secretary, Global Organisation for Divinity, welcomed everyone which was followed by the ceremonial lighting of lamp by Hon Julie Owens MP. Bhagyaji honoured the special guests with a shawl.
The Gandhian principle of simple living and high thinking is something Sri Swamiji,values very much and has himself written a song “ElimaiyAna vAzhkai”, on that virtue. Ashwin Bhaskaran and Siddharth Murali Manohar sang this song. They also sang a song “My Ji” in western classical style, the song written by Deepak Vinodh, a member of the G.O.D team as a humble offering to Sri Swamiji. The melodious music was composed by Ashwin Bhaskaran.
Vishwaas Productions’ band is a UNSW based society and has made a name for itself in the sydney culutral scene through its multi award winning productions, “Gandhi:The Power of One” and “The Legend of Asoka”. The band with Gana Aruneswaran on Guitar, Chiranth Wodeyar on Mandolin, Yashneel Prasad on Tabla , Sabinesh Pottekkatt and Siddarth Murali on vocals delivered a fantastic song “Mahatma”. Mr Bibhu Agarwal, a 4th year student of commercial law at the Sydney university made a very nice and crisp speech on Gandhiji. Bibhu was the scriptwriter of the award winning “Gandhi, The Power of One” play staged by Vishwaas Productions in 2009.
Hon Julie Owens MP, member for Parramatta who had earlier lit the lamp for the function made a nice speech on how she was able to relate so very well to the musical extravaganza because of her own background in music. She welcomed the idea of G.O.D choosing to celebrate the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi in such a nice theme mixing culture and prayer.
Bhagyaji presided over the function, and delivered a spectacular speech very apt for the occasion. He mentioned that even without any religion telling us that love is the binding factor bringing the entire humanity together, everyone is instinctly aware of that. To seek that love in a material sense, one goes down the external path whereas if we seek inward, we find that peace. The external search gains us material joy through scientific inventions but not a sense of peace.
Once entrenched in that peaceful bliss, one is able to bring forth unconditional love towards everyone around and this universal love is the need of the hour. Even though God is omnipresent, we see the need for the temple or a place of worship because it brings people together for a common purpose. We are all children of one God and each child has a unique way of relating to the father. One needs to realise this and only an inner transformation makes this possible thus bringing forth universal peace and harmony. Chanting the divine name is the easiest and best way of bringing about this inner transformation as demonstrated by Gandhiji. He led the peace movement that endeared him to millions around the world through the power of the divine name of Ram. Just like the staff in his hands that he held firm always, his mind was always chanting the divine name. From this great example, we need to adopt the practice of chanting the divine name, whatever else we do.
After the speech, Bhagyaji led a prayer session in which the Mahamantra was chanted by all those present. The event concluded with a vote of thanks. A special mention was made that the multiculturalism in the Australian society was well demonstrated by the active participation of the members of the Government in the event. Sri Swamiji’s kumkum prasad was distributed to everyone that attended the Mass Prayer.
3rd Oct 2010-Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
The satsang was well attended by 70-80 people. Many new people attended the satsang. Bhagyaji spoke on the three stages of devotion narrating Vritrasura charitram from Srimad Bhagavatham. In his discourse. Towards the end, a mass prayer with Mahamantra Kirtan was performed.
4th Oct 2010 – GK Spring Camp
Venue: Parramatta Scout Hall, Sydney
Global Organisation for Divinity organised a day camp for kids (aged 5-12 years) on Monday, 4th October 2010 at Scout Hall, Parramatta from 9 am to 5 pm.
GOD team arrived earlier and did the setting up of the hall for the day’s activities. Parents started to arrive with kids around 8.45 am. Registrations started at 9 am and a total of 21 children attended the camp.
The day started with the chanting of the Maha Mantra. The morning session consisted of interactive story sessions by Bhagyaji, teaching of slokas and bhajans by Jayashree Ramakrishnan, morning stretches by Sitara and group activities by Saroja Narayanan, Chitra, Meera and Uma. Children learnt “Madhurashtakam” and a couple of bhajans written by Swamiji, “Jaya Jaya Radhe” and “Anjaneya Rama…” All children enthusiastically participated in the interactive story sessions conducted by Bhagyaji.
In the afternoon, children were split into two groups, to practice role-play of stories of Dhruva and Shabari. Children also did a number of craft activities, including Origami and finger puppets and Sharanya and Kirtana joined the group to help children with the craft work.
Morning tea, vegetarian lunch and afternoon tea were provided to children.
Parents had been asked to arrive at 4 pm as the GOD team had planned to showcase the learning o by children. Children sang Madhurashtakam and Bhajans, with Ashwin Bhaskaran accompanying them on guitar. They also acted out the stories of Dhruva and Shabari. Bhagyaji gave a concluding talk and handed out gifts to children. All children worked well together and enjoyed all the activities and the parents expressed their happiness and thanked GOD team for organising the day’s program for kids.
It was a remarkable day of learning and fun for everyone.
9th Oct 2010-Radio Interview-Dr Bhagyanathan
Dr. Bhagyanathanji participated in the live radio interview on ATBC on the night of October 9th from 11PM to 1 AM. There are a huge number of people who tune into this radio station. The questions were about the relevance of spirituality in today’s world and about the practical way to attain God realisation today. Bhagyaji summarised the message of Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji , and the objectives of GOD. Mahamantra Kirtan in Sri Swamiji’s voice ws played on live radio for about 15 minutes.
9th Oct 2010 – Lecture by Dr Bhagyanathan
Sri Bhagyaji discoursed on Guru Mahima at the residence of Sri Kanthanji.
10th Oct 2010 – Lecture Dr Bhagyanathan
Dr. Bhagyaji delivered a discourse on the greatness of Nama at Shri Deepak Vinodji’s residence.
17th Oct 2010 – GK 2010 Class
Children learnt a sloka and its meaning on deepam (light) and about the festival â€œDiwaliâ€. Children also learnt a bhajan on Lord Krishna, composed by Sri Swamiji and the story of the triumph of good over evil,the story of victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura, which marks the celebration for the festival of Diwali. Children shared their experiences about how they celebrate Diwali in their houses. 9 children attended the class.
5th Nov 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class
The Bhagavatam study group commenced learning the chanting of Gajendra sthuthi using the recorded chanting of Poornimaji. About 11 people participated in the study group.
21st Nov 2010 – GK 2010 Class
Children revised the slokas and bhajans learnt in the Gopa Kuteeram class in the previous months. 13 children attended the class
3rd Dec 2010 – Bhagavatam 2010 Class 8
The group continued to learn the chanting of Gajendra stuthi and also revised the stuthis learnt in the previous class. About 14 people attended the class.
7th March 2010-Clean Up Australia Day
The Global Organisation for Divinity takes pleasure in serving the community in a variety of ways. To help make a clean environment is not only our duty as a citizen but also a good step towards cleaning our own inner selves. If we do it chanting the Mahamantra, the effect on the inner purification will be manifold and it will also be a unique way of doing the task.
It was a crisp autumn day most conducive for a stint in the streets. G O D volunteers gathered infront of the Fire Station at Wigram St, Harris park which was the site allotted for the street clean up. After a quick briefing from the supervisor the troop pounced on the task, attired well for the job and armed with brooms, bags, rakes and the like. Street cleaning can be a back-breaking ordeal and the perfect weather was an immediate testimony that if we set about a task with an earnestness and and keep the Mahamantra in the background, all goes well.
Striding down the street stroking their broom with a flourish and humming the Mahamantra, the group quickly attracted welcome attention from the passers by. Pausing in their task, the volunteers exchanged pleasantries and continued chanting which created interest from the passers by. The businesses around applauded the efforts taken by G O D in adopting the street for clean up. One of the residents of the area said ‘ You are the first organisation that we are seeing cleaning the street, well done’.
The group gathered just outside a restaurant in the street and chanted the Mahamantra aloud, people came out of the premises to have a look. After about an hour and a half of hard physical work made much lighter by the chanting, the members were ready to wind up leaving Wigram Street clean and their own minds cleaner.
It is aptly said that constant chanting of the Mahamantra removes all the negative thoughts of the mind which is very essential to develop universal love and brotherhood. The ‘cleaning’ project signified this literally and the members dispersed homeward with this firm thought in mind, resolving to instil a habit of chanting alongside any task that they may be doing henceforth.
15th May 2010 – An evening of Music and dance
Just a few days ago was Pradosham, the day of celestial dance by Lord Shiva. Offering God something He likes doing Himself is a high form of devotion, a very appropriate way for the Global Organisation for Divinity, Australia to go about their fund raiser event in Sydney. But what about the theme for the Music and Dance evening? Lord Shiva is a proponent Himself of the Tharaka Mantra and ever entrenched in the Rama Nama Himself. It is even said that in Kashi, He whispers the Rama Nama in the departed person’s ears and offers them salvation. “Madhura Geetham” and “Namami Naryanam” in praise of Lord Rama and Krishna thus became the most apt theme for the evening on the 15th May’10 at The Sydney Baha’i Centre, Silverwater. It should be said that the theme and contents for the event were entirely decided by the artists and this background information is only a retrospective expression in awe.
For the organisers at G.O.D, the 15th May’10 could not have dawned any sooner. They were in absolute readiness confident that “someone” is going to ensure the results and all they have to do on the day was to be task oriented and do the individual tasks with dedication. So enthused was the lot that a few of them could not contain themselves and visited the venue the previous night itself to do up the stage and the decorations. On arriving at the site on the afternoon of 15th, the organisers huddled together and chanted the Mahamantra eleven times and disbursed to their corners for the respective tasks. For the next couple of hours, the scene could have been mistaken for a busy airport, too many things happening everywhere but with absolutely no interference with one another and no panic. People knew exactly what they had to do. The fervent MC’s (Dinesh and Chitra) were practicing away, the food stall folks setting up the stall that almost resembled an airport cafeteria.