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Women and Brahmacharya

(Sri Swami Sivananda)

An aspirant writes: "I would like to know whether the same theory regarding the formation of veerya and loss of the same holds good in the case of women also. Are they actually affected to the same extent as men?" The question is an important and pertinent one. Yes, indulgence in the sexual act is exhausting to the female system and a drain upon the vitality as in man. The nervous strain it imposes on the system is very great indeed.

The female gonads, the ovaries corresponding to the testes in the males, produce, develop and mature precious vital force like semen. This is the ovum. Though the woman does not actually lose this out of her body, as in the case of semen in man, yet, due to the sexual act, it leaves the ovaries and is taken up in the process of conception to form the embryo. And one knows only too well what a strain and drain on strength child-bearing is to a woman. Repeated depletion of this force and the strain of childbirth makes wrecks of healthy ladies and works havoc with their strength, beauty and grace as well as their youth and mental power. Eyes lose their lustre and sparkle that are indicative of the inner forces.

The intense sensuous excitement of the act shatters the nervous system and causes debility too. Their system being more delicate and high-strung, females are often more affected than men.

Women should preserve their precious vital force. The ovum and the hormones secreted by the ovaries are very essential for the maximum physical and mental well-being of women.

Secret of Health and Longevity

Pure air, pure water, wholesome food, physical exercise, outdoor games, walking with brisk steps, rowing, swimming, light games-all contribute to the maintenance of good health, strength and a high standard of vitality. There are indeed many ways to gain health and strength. These ways are doubtless indispensably requisite. But, brahmacharya is the most important of all. Without brahmacharya, all your exercises are nothing. It is the master key for opening the realms of health and happiness. It is the cornerstone of the edifice of bliss and unalloyed felicity.

After Dhanvantari had taught all the details about Ayurveda to his disciples, they enquired about the keynote of this medical science. The Master replied, "I tell you that brahmacharya is truly a precious jewel. It is the one most effective medicine-nectar indeed which destroys diseases, decay and death. For attaining peace, brightness, memory, knowledge, health and Self-realisation, one should observe brahmacharya which is the highest dharma. Brahmacharya is the highest knowledge. Brahmacharya is the greatest strength. Of the nature of brahmacharya is verily this Atma and in brahmacharya It resides. Saluting brahmacharya first, the cases beyond cure, I cure. Aye, brahmacharya can undo all the inauspicious signs."

Practice of brahmacharya gives good health, inner strength, peace of mind and long life. It invigorates the mind and the nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will force and brainpower. It bestows tremendous strength, vigour and vitality. Strength and fortitude are obtained.

The eye is the window of the mind. If the mind is pure and calm, the eye also is calm and steady. One who is established in brahmacharya will have lustrous eyes, a sweet voice and a beautiful complexion.

Women also should observe the vow of celibacy. They also can remain as naishthic brahmacharinis (life-long celibates) like Mirabai and devote themselves to the service and devotion of God. Or they can do brahma-vichar like Gargi and Sulabha.

Sulabha was a very learned lady. She was born in a royal family. She was a brahmacharini. She was instructed in the religion of emancipation. She observed the practice of asceticism. She was firm in the practices that belonged to the mode of life she led. She was steady in her vows. She never uttered a word without reflecting on its propriety. She was a yogini. She led the life of a sannyasini. She appeared before Janaka in his court and had a great discussion with him on brahma-vidya or the Science of the Self.

Gargi was also a brahmacharini. She also was a highly cultured lady. She also had a lengthy discussion with Yajnavalkya on brahma-vidya. The dialogue between them comes in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Change the Drishti or Angle of Vision

A man or a woman should practise self-analysis and self-examination. They should have a proper understanding of the ways in which lust operates and plays and the things and emotions which excite passion and the manner in which one falls a victim to the other. Then only control of lust is possible. It demands a subtle intellect and careful repeated introspection and vigilant watch.

Women should entertain the pita-bhava or isvara-bhava or atma-bhava towards males. Men should entertain mother-bhava or isvari-bhava or atma bhava towards females.

Brother-bhava or sister-bhava will not suffice. You may fail. Keeping of sister-bhava in men and brother-bhava in women will not help much in the eradication of sex attraction and impure thoughts. The sister-bhava and brother-bhava have deceived and deluded many. Pure love will degenerate at any moment into passion when one is careless and non-vigilant. Cobra-bhava only will help the sadhaks to a very great extent. After cobra-bhava comes the mother-bhava in men and father-bhava in women. Then lastly comes atma-bhava in both. Real struggling aspirants only can realise this well, not dry philosophers.

Change the bhava, change the mental attitude. You will have heaven on earth. You will be established in brahmacharya. This is an important method for becoming a true brahmachari or a brahmacharini. Reject all names and forms and take only the underlying essence, asti-bhati-priya or sat-chit-ananda. All names and forms are unreal. They are unreal like shadows, water in the mirage and blueness in the sky.

PAPA ANSWERS

(Swami Papa Ramdas)

Devotee: What is Papa's opinion about young unmarried women dedicating their lives for God-realisation, and what is Papa's message to such girl aspirants?

Papa: They must be like Mira; then only dedication is all right. They must be made of God. Then no rules and regulations can bind them. All dharmas are abandoned. Mira had transcended all dharmas. She looked upon God as everything. Her mind was completely concentrated upon God. One day her husband came to her and said, "I am your wedded husband. You must have some consideration for me. Give me at least a portion of your love." She replied, "Krishna has robbed my entire heart. There is nothing left for you. Even if I want to love you, wherefrom can I get that love?" That was her condition.

If their condition is like that, unmarried girls can dedicate their lives to God. It is a very hard life. Mira had to suffer so much from her own relations. They wanted to kill her in so many ways. All sorts of indignities were heaped upon her. Mira was day and night intoxicated with the idea of God. That is the preparation for dedication. Then they won't care for or seek anybody's advice. They go headlong. But God must bring about such a dedication; it must be by His will and grace, not by our effort. What can we puny creatures do?
Sita in the Asoka Vana was complaining to Hanuman, "I am thinking of Rama so much that I may some day become Rama; then where is Sita for Rama?" Hanuman said, "Rama is thinking always of you. So he will become Sita, and, therefore, Rama and Sita will continue to be." This is the kind of dedication we should have. It is not merely saying by word of mouth. Devotees who have dedicated their lives to God are really stark mad for Him. Ramdas was called a mad man when he was after God with all his heart.

WOMAN: THE POWER DIVINE

Parasakti-manifest as woman
All hail, all hail to Thee!
Thou art the great liberator
Of souls entrapped in the meshes
Of ignorance and desire.
Thou art the power divine
That rules all the worlds.
Man! Look up to Her with the purest vision,
Your heart aflame with faith and devotion.
See the light and glory of Motherhood
In all women of this blessed earth;
Be free from lust, greed and wrath;
Remember Maitreyi, Gargi, Sita, Savitri,
The world-mother Parvati-spouse of Siva,
The jewel Sharada-the consort of Ramakrishna,
Mirabai-the star among Krishna's devotees.
These are all illuminated women-
The very incarnations of light and purity.
Their holy names are ambrosia to your stricken soul.
Meditate on them and make your mind
Dazzle with the splendour of God.
Vaunt not with pride that you are great and wise.
Say not, woman is the cause of man's fall.
Man falls by his own weakness and folly.
Forget not, O man, you are woman-born.
Woman is Mother-be Her child.
Only then you have hope of redemption-
The final release from bondage
Of sense-desires that hurl you to the doom.
Blame Her not-tarnish not Her fair name
By words of slight and sneer.
Wake up. Shed your arrogance
And seek peace of salvation at Her feet.
Be humble before all living images
Of the Almighty Mother of the universe,
She is your saviour. Bow to Her.
If you would have real peace and freedom,
Get Her grace and be blessed and ever blessed.

--Swami Papa Ramdas

SANGHAMITRA

Sanghamitra was the great daughter of the great emperor Asoka, who after his conversion to Buddhism spent his life in the propagation of the Dharma.

The education of Sanghamitra and her brother Mahendra received the special attention of their father. At this time the prince was twenty years of age and the princess about eighteen. Both were handsome, sweet-tempered, intelligent and possessed great humility. Their close association with bhikshus and the moral and spiritual fervour of their environment made a deep impression on their young hearts.

When Asoka wished to appoint his son as heir to his throne, a teacher came to him and said, "He alone is a true friend of the Dharma who can dedicate his children to it." The king responded to these words, and turning towards his children with a loving look said: "Are you prepared to take the vow of lifelong poverty, chastity and service to the world?" At this question of the king, the pure and innocent hearts of Mahendra and Sanghamitra were delighted beyond measure. A desire to serve the sangha had already been born in their hearts, but they all along imagined that the duties and obligations of their royal descent would not permit them to renounce the world. But now with one voice they replied, "It would be a great destiny for us if we could be instrumental in spreading the message of universal love as taught by the compassionate Lord Buddha. If you will give us permission we will join the order and achieve that end and purpose of human life."

Asoka's heart was filled with joy to hear these words of renunciation from the lips of his children. He then sent word to the sangha that Asoka had dedicated his children in the service of the Lord Tathagata. Soon the news spread throughout the town of Pataliputra and the kingdom of Magadha, and the people rejoiced to hear of the high resolve and selflessness of parent and children.

Mahendra was renamed Dharmapala and Sanghamitra was henceforth known as Ayupali. Both were initiated into the order and began earnestly to follow the ways of the Lord. At the age of thirty-two Mahendra was sent to Singhala-dvipa, the island of Ceylon. Tishtha, who was then the reigning king there, was astonished to see the handsome face of Mahendra illumined with the light of spiritual knowledge. With great devotion and reverence the king welcomed him and treated him as a royal guest. Mahendra began his teachings, and thousands of men and women became his followers.

After some time Princess Anula of Ceylon and five hundred of her women companions decided to renounce their homes and families and join the order of Buddhist nuns. Thus it became imperative to find a suitable woman to teach and train these novitiates. Mahendra wrote to his father asking him if Sanghamitra could be sent to the island to work amongst the Singhalese women. When Sanghamitra heard of her brother's request, her happiness was unbounded and she left immediately for her new destination.

This was the first time in the history of India that the daughter of a great emperor, well-trained and educated, set out to give the message of peace and love to the women of a foreign land, and the enthusiasm with which this news was greeted by the Indian people can hardly be imagined. It is said that when Sanghamitra arrived in Singhala, seeing her radiant purity, her garb of utter renunciation and the nobility and peace that were stamped on her brow, the people were struck with wonder and became motionless as the figures of a painted picture. She soon established a nunnery and took charge of the training of the nuns. Due to the untiring labours of both brother and sister, the whole of Ceylon was converted to Buddhism. A great city called Anuradhapura was built in the centre of the island. Huge stupas and dilapidated stone buildings extending for miles and miles give us an idea of their attainments. Large figures of Buddha in meditation, preaching the Law or entering nirvana, were built and remind us even now of the glory of the Buddhist age.

In Mahavamsa it is written: "Sanghamitra attained complete knowledge. While living on the island she performed many meritorious deeds for the propagation of the Dharma. And when she died the king of Singhala performed her last rites with elaborate ceremony as a fitting tribute to her memory."

Two thousand years have passed, but the torch of love and truth lighted by Mahendra and Sanghamitra burns to this day in the island of Ceylon.

(Taken from "Women Saints of East and West" by Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre, London)


SANT MUKTABAI

While Muktabai was hailed as the incarnation of Goddess Adi Shakti or Sarasvati, the primordial power of the Supreme Reality, her three brothers, the maha yogis Nivritti, Jnanadev and Sopandev, were the incarnations of Bhagavan Sadashiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma.

The family underwent great humiliation from society.Vithalpant was criticised and rejected by the people of the village, who did not accept the idea of a sannyasi re-entering grihastashrama life. Thus, he became an outcast and went to live with Rukminibai on the banks of the river Indrayani, on the outskirts of Alandi. They led a life of prayer, contemplation and devotion in accordance with the scriptures, and thus was the ground prepared for the incarnation of the Almighty in the form of four children. Nivritti, Jnanadev, Sopandev and Muktabai were born in 1190, 1193, 1196 and 1199, respectively.

When the children went to the village of Sidhbet for bhiksha (alms), they were stoned and abused. This was endured with patience, for the children were firm in their pursuit of brahmavidya.

Vithalpant approached the pandits (brahmin scholars) in Alandi for the performance of the sacred thread ceremony, so that his children would be accepted by society. His request was refused by the pandits; instead they sentenced Vithalpant and Rukminibai to death. Even after this, the children were not spared from social torture.

Jnanadev became so disgusted with the abuse by society that he decided to give up his body through samadhi. He locked himself inside the family hut, and started to prepare himself. Nivritti and Sopandev pleaded with him not to leave them, but to no avail. Then Muktabai returned from the river and very lovingly, with a maturity and insight far beyond her young years, she began pleading with Jnanadev to open the door, and to give up his drastic plan. Muktabai's outpourings, which later became known as "Tatiche Abhang" were deeply inspiring in their effect.

"Oh my beloved brother, please open the door. How can you be angry with your own Self? The whole world is our Self. When one hand is trying to scratch the other hand and in that process blood seeps out, would one cut off the hand that is scratching? If one bites one's tongue with one's own teeth, would anybody try to destroy the teeth?

"O my beloved brother, do I need to tell you the qualities of a yogi who is ever in a tranquil state of mind and who calmly bears the insults and injuries inflicted upon him by the world? Even if the world is burning with the wrath of fire and jealousy, it is our duty to pour water over this fire and try to extinguish it. The world is holding a weapon of cruel words, but we have to accept this as a means for improving ourselves. What is this world and its beings? It is like the warp of a cloth woven with the brahmic thread; that is, our own part, as we are Brahman Itself.

"O my beloved brother, do I need to tell you who a saint is? He is a saint who is full of affection and kindness and compassion for others, and who is the very embodiment of forgiveness. He is not touched by greed; he has absolutely crushed his feeling of ego-sense. He only can be called a true virakta (unattached to worldly things) whose every word is the flow of jnana-ganga (stream of knowledge). How can he be tainted by the superimposed sounds in the air? Please open the door.

"O brother, is it so very easy to become a saint? One has to eat and digest grams made of iron balls, then only can one become established in the brahmic state. One has to bear all sorts of injuries and insults. The mind naturally tends to run to hundreds of different places; it has to be brought under control through persuasion and by force. Please open the door.

"O brother, for one who has attained that state of purity of mind, God-realisation is very near. Do I have to tell you this? You, who are Jnanadev, the Lord of Knowledge, your heart is like the flow of the pure Ganges. You have no difficulties in crossing over this ocean of samsara, but if you are displeased with the world, then who is to uplift the people and take them ashore? The whole world will plunge into darkness. I plead with you! O my brother! Your own Self, your little sister and child is calling you! Please open the door."

Jnanadev heard this from inside. His heart melted with every word that Muktabai spoke. His anger subsided completely, and he rushed out and took Muktabai in his arms, for she had reminded him of his mission.

On one occasion, Muktabai wished to cook sweet buns for her brothers. So she set off to the village to get a clay plate from the potter to roast them. A prominent leader of the village, Visoba, who was very cruel to the children, scolded her and ordered the village potters to refuse her request. As she returned home, she was weeping with sadness. Jnanadev asked her to prepare the dough. He then bent down, touching the floor with his hands and heated his back red-hot, asking Muktabai to roast the buns on it. She did so and happily gave them to her brothers. With shock and amazement, secretly watching this miracle through a window, Visoba Chaati, realised the power of these extraordinary children. He rushed inside the hut and picked up the crumbs of the buns, as their prasad. Seeing this, Muktabai exclaimed, "O khechara (mule) turn back!" These words completely transformed his heart. He fell at their feet, crying and begging their forgiveness. When he asked them to accept him as their disciple, Nivritti requested Muktabai to initiate him. After that Visoba left the village in order to spend the rest of his life in deep contemplation and sadhana. He achieved Self-realisation and became the guru of Saint Namdev.

The tests continued for the children. They were asked to go to Paithan, which is the seat of great Vedic scholars and pandits, for a letter of appraisal that would enable them to be accepted by society. But here too, they were mocked at by the pandits for being the children of a sannyasi. On this occasion, Jnanadev performed another extraordinary miracle and proved the oneness of all beings, by placing his hands on a buffalo and causing a flow of Vedic chants to emerge from its mouth. Realising the greatness of the children, the pandits repented and became their followers. The suffering of the children was thus brought to an end, and they were accepted by all as great saints. Everywhere people followed them and listened with great awe to their discourses and their singing of bhajans.

When they reached Newasa, Nivritti asked twelve-year old Jnanadev to expound the Srimad Bhagavad Gita in Marathi to the crowds of devotees who used to gather around them each day. It was here that the Jnaneshwari and Amritanubhava were composed by Jnanadev. Since then, wherever they went, people flocked to them and became their disciples. They were responsible for giving salvation to Changdev, who was a great yogi, aged 1400 years, but suffered from pride in his extraordinary achievements. His ego was obstructing his advancement. Hearing of the glory of the four yogi-children, Changdev was perplexed and wanted to test them. Hence, he sent them a note, but not knowing how to address them, he sent a blank paper. When the paper reached the children, Muktabai laughed at his ego-filled foolishness. Nivritti asked Jnaneshwar to write on this paper, and Jnaneshwar wrote 65 verses, the quintessence of Vedanta. This paper was returned to Changdev, who could not understand the verses. Therefore, he decided to meet the children and directly show them his power. He made this trip sitting upon a tiger, with a serpent in his hand as a whip, and was followed by thousands of his disciples. When the children saw him coming, they patted the wall upon which they were sitting; it became their vehicle. It rose up into the air, flying to meet Changdev, who was amazed to see this "inanimate wall" coming towards him. He realised the greatness of the children and prostrated at their feet and humbly approached them, wishing to be accepted as their disciple. Jnaneshwar told him the real meaning of surrendering the egoistic head to God, the Almighty, because that is the main obstruction in the path towards realisation. Muktabai then initiated him and removed from his mind all doubts and ignorance.

Likewise, Muktabai was responsible for removing the covering in the mind of Saint Namdev. When they met Namdev in Pandharpur, Nivritti, Jnaneshwar and Sopandev, in humility, prostrated before him. Namdev was filled with pride, because everyone in Pandharpur regarded him as a great saint. Muktabai, with great compassion for this sincere devotee, wished to remove this short-sightedness by giving him the cosmic vision. Thus, she did not fall at his feet, as her brothers did, but requested Gora Kumbhar (the potter saint) to test the pots. Gora Kumbhar understood and with his testing rod, began hitting the heads of Nivritti, Jnanadev, Sopandev and other saints who were present. All of them remained calm and quiet, upon which Gora Kumbhar proclaimed them fully baked. When he hit Namdev on the head, Namdev began shouting at him, thus Gora Kumbhar proclaimed him half-baked. Namdev was furious at this insult and ran to Lord Vittala in the temple. The Lord told him that they were right because he was seeing God only in Lord Vittala, rather than as the all-pervading Creative Presence. He was asked to go to Visoba Khechar, and through his practical teaching Namdev became fully enlightened.

When his earthly mission was fulfilled, Jnaneshwar took sanjeevani samadhi (samadhi while alive) at Alandi, at the age of twenty two years. Three months later, Sopandev took sanjeevani samadhi at Saswad. Muktabai, absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme, determined that her work too was complete. On the banks of the Tapi river, amidst a great storm, Muktabai closed her eyes, and as a flash of lightning streaked across the sky and disappeared. Thus, she became liberated from earthly bonds. One month later, Nivritti, the eldest brother and their guru, took sanjeevani samadhi at Traimbakeshwar.

Muktabai, who was graced with an intuitive knowledge of the Self at a very early age, gave the essence of Advaita Vedanta as follows: "What is this universe? It is Brahman, when Maya is uprooted."

The deeply moving words of her Tatiche Abhanga continue to live with us, an expression of the great compassion and philosophical truth that motivated Muktabai's life.

ANDAL

(Sri Swami Sivananda)

Andal is said to be the incarnation of Goddess Earth or Bhudevi, one of the three consorts of Lord Vishnu. She was specially sent down here to earth to reveal the delight of divine love. She was born at Srivilliputhur in Ramanathapuram district in South India. She was found under a Tulasi bush in the flower garden of Periyalwar in South India.

Periyalwar took the child to the local temple, saying, "This priceless treasure is but Thine, meant for Thy service." A heavenly voice spoke, "Periyalwar! Call this divine child Kothai and nurse her as your own daughter." "Kothai" means beautiful like a garland of flowers. She was called Andal because she obtained the grace and love of Lord Ranganatha.

Andal was a lovely and remarkable child. When she prattled, it was only the name of Lord Hari. She did not play like the other girls. She collected flowers and prepared garlands for the Lord. She worked in the flower garden with her father. She sang the Lord's glory. She found delight in hearing or reading the Puranas.

Andal was intensely devoted to Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. She ever thought of Ranga. She ever praised Ranga. She reached the pinnacle of madhurya bhava, the attitude of lover and beloved. Her father used to make flower garlands for the Lord every morning. After that he went for a bath and then offered the garland at the temple. But one day the priest found a hair in it. Sad at heart, Periyalwar made a new garland and brought it to the temple. But the next morning, instead of going for a bath, he secretly watched his daughter through the window. He saw how Andal was wearing the garland meant for the Lord, dance and admire her beauty in the mirror saying, "Will I be accepted by my sweet Lord Ranganatha? Am I beautiful enough to kindle His love?" She was in great joy and bliss. Her father ran to her and said, "O my beloved daughter! What are you doing? You have polluted the garland meant for the Lord. Please do not do this in future."

Periyalwar prepared fresh garlands and offered them to the Lord. But that night he had a dream. The Lord appeared and said, "The garlands worn by Andal are very sweet to Me. Offer those alone to Me. She is My bride, the Goddess of Earth, who has incarnated in human form. Bring only the garlands worn by her." From that day onwards Andal was known as Soodi Kodutha Nachiyar, meaning one who wore the garlands herself and then gave them to the Lord.

Andal was like a gopi. She loved Sri Krishna like a gopi. She had intense longing for Sri Krishna. Along with her playmates, Andal used to enact scenes from Sri Krishna's life. Her beautiful poems, Thiruppavai and Nachiyar Thirumozhi give a delightful description of such scenes and are full of great sweetness and charm.

Periyalwar began to search for a bridegroom for Andal in his own community. Andal said to her father, "I will not marry a mortal. My mind is centred on Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. He is my husband. He is my Lord. He is my all. Let the lovely hands of Sri Krishna alone possess me. I will marry only Lord Ranganatha."

Then Periyalwar had a dream in which Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam directed him to bring his daughter to that sacred place in a bridal dress. A similar dream was experienced by the executive officers of the Srirangam temple.

Andal was taken to Srirangam in her fourteenth year. She saw the Lord on His Sesha couch inside the sanctum. The desire of her life was fulfilled. At once Andal became one with Him. She showed to the world the glory of devotion to the Lord.

Andal sang Thiruppavai when she was only five years of age. This contains thirty verses of great charm and beauty. Nachiyar Thirumozhi reveals Andal's devotion to the Lord. She prays to Kama in her longing to see Lord Krishna. She falls at the feet of the cuckoo. She sends a cloud as her messenger. She enjoys Him in her dream. She requests her father and relatives to take her to where He is. Eventually the Lord appears and accepts Andal.

Andal sings:

"Wake up! O lovely ones of sweet Brindavan! Birds have started their singing. The temple conch is blown. Do you not hear this sound? Do you not hear the sound of the curd churned by the gopis? Are you deaf? Let us take bath in the sparkling Yamuna and behold Lord Krishna, the Flute-bearer of Brindavan, the joy of Devaki and worship Him with fresh flowers. Wake up, O daughters! Do not sleep any more. Open your door! The lotus opens!"

"Are you still sleeping? Shame. Arise! Be quick! The brahmamuhurta will go away. This is the best time for singing the Lord's glory, for prayer and meditation."

* * *

"Glory to Thy feet which are worshipped by the yogis, which measured the three worlds! Glory to Thee, O Lion that came roaring out of the pillar to protect Prahlada and to tear the dreadful Hiranya! Glory to Thee, O Saviour who danced on the hood of Kaliya! Glory to Thee, O yogi who multiplied in the Rasalila dance and pleased the thirsty gopis!"

DR. DEVAKI KUTTY

(Sri Swami Chidananda)

Worshipful homage to the Eternal and Infinite Supreme Universal Spirit, the Param-Atma.

This is a tribute to Dr. Devaki Kutty, my spiritual sister due to her discipleship to our most revered Guru Bhagavan, H.H. Parampujya Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. She was something of a mini-phenomenon in her own personality and daily activities.

All religions believe that God is an ocean of compassion. He is the one Being we can turn to when we have no one else. This is the truth and it is also a fact. However, in this world the Supreme Universal Spirit does not personally come down to attend to all our aches, pains, problems and complications. He manifests His divine grace and active help through chosen human instruments, that have proved worthy of being thus used as channels by their exemplary lives, their exceptional character and their noble and benign nature. Dr. Devaki Kutty was one such worthy person, whom the Lord Almighty decided to make a channel. He made her a super person par excellence for presiding over His work of creating new life in this human world and blessed her with great skill in the field of Gyneacology and Obstetrics. Thus she became well known as a top surgeon and maternity specialist in the greater part of Northern India.

Hailing from Kerala, graduating from Madras Medical College, destiny made North India the field of her work. To her parents she was one among three sisters and two brothers, she being the eldest among the sisters. Her career took on a dual capacity as a member of the teaching staff of the Lucknow Medical College and at the same time as a member of the medical staff in the King George's Hospital. Soon she became well known for both her academic and her hospital work. Her parents decided to live with her, because she had determined to be single in order to dedicate herself totally to her work. While living thus, a wish arose in her to take her parents on a pilgrimage to holy Badrinath. Little did she know that the wish was prompted by the Divine Indweller. For the time had come for a transformation. It was a moment of destiny in which she was to be blessed by a glance of grace from a towering spiritual personality of this Himalayan location. This great soul was no other than the saint and sage H.H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj of Sivananda Ashram on the road to Badrinath. You might have heard about the brief Latin saying "Veni, Vidi, Vici", ascribed to Julius Caesar, implying "I came, I saw, I conquered". Similar was the experience of Dr. Kutty. When she came into the presence of H.H. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj-she came, she saw, but she DID NOT conquer. Instead she was conquered by the magnetic divine personality of worshipful Gurudev within moments.

She had the feeling that she was not before a stranger. She felt that she was in the presence of a person whom she had known all her life. After making kind enquiries about her and her work, Gurudev said: "Remain here. We have our hospital in the Ashram. Do some seva there for some weeks. Then have a period of satsang and study before you return to Lucknow to resume your duty after your vacation. I shall give you some books which you can study while you are here. This is a very sacred place. You can go to Badrinath later. Badrinath is always there. You will not miss the darshan." Thus, a link came into being between the famous Himalayan doctor from Lucknow and this Himalayan saint and sage, who was soon to become her spiritual preceptor. Very soon Sivananda Ashram and the radiant personality of worshipful Swami Sivanandaji became her Badrinath, Kedarnath and all the other Himalayan dhams. Added to this was the pleasing knowledge that Swami Sivanandaji had been a practicing doctor in his pre-monastic life. She was not only before a Swami, but also before a senior professional colleague.

Dr. Kutty postponed her trip to Badrinath. She soon discovered that the work at the Ashram Hospital was not merely a professional technical functioning, but a spiritual process in which one encountered God. Swami Sivanandaji's approach to all activity was WORK IS WORSHIP. He approached the world seeing God in all beings. Any service was an act of adoration to God in man. This was the opening up of a new vision in Dr. Kutty. When the time came for her to return to Lucknow, Gurudev gave her a whole lot of books, Chyavanprash, Himalayan honey and Brahmi Amla cooling oil and said: "When you go back, this is how you must work. This is your sadhana. Do it with devotion and dedication. You will simultaneously achieve both ends, the secular and the spiritual."

Gurudev imparted spiritual impulses and set into activity her latent spirituality. The devotee in her became a sadhika. She returned to Lucknow with this spiritual gift and Gurudev's charming invitation "Ojee, come again!" She did not need this invitation. She had already decided that she would return to this wonderful spiritual environment during the next year's annual leave. From then onwards, year after year, she would depart from Lucknow the evening of the very day her annual leave commenced and arrive in Rishikesh the next morning and immediately start her bhakti- and karma-yoga seva at the Ashram for 30 days. After that, the last ten days were quiet days for darshan, satsang, spiritual sadhana, japa and study etc. Gurudev asked her to open a branch of the Divine Life Society in Lucknow. Her house at Jagat Narayan Road itself became the venue for the spiritual gatherings and satsangs and bhajans for the devotees. And one year her pilgrimage to Badrinath and the darshan of Lord Badrinarayana was also achieved. Her name became a by-word all over this hill area. Countless patients eagerly awaited her annual arrival. From 1953 to 1963 she became a regular "visiting doctor". She was looked upon as a administering angel bringing healing and relief. Gurudev was full of appreciation and admiration for her expertise and her untiring service. After Gurudev attained Mahasamadhi in July 1963, her dedicated work at the hospital continued without change as her Guru seva.

Dr. Kutty had already made up her mind that the last chapter of her life was to be at her own sacred Guru-Sthan, Gurudev's Ashram at the holy banks of Mother Ganga. She had made this her "inner sankalpa" when the Lucknow chapter closed, a new era began for the Sivananda Charitable Hospital. Dr. Kutty took charge of the hospital, streamlined it and plunged into the work with unsparing zeal and dedication. The medical work at the Divine Life Society got a fillip. The hospital had the great good fortune of having an expert surgeon and a top maternity specialist at its head. Soon it became the destination of countless couples from all walks of life and all strata of society. There is an old adage "All roads lead to Rome". With equal truth it could be said that "All roads lead to Sivananda Ashram Hospital". All manners of vehicles began to be parked in a long line before the hospital, long before its opening time as early as 4 a.m. when it was still dark. We had in Dr. Kutty "a gem of purest ray serene".

She had also a strong moral appeal to women patients. She reminded them all of the importance of virtue and chastity. For householders she would advise a husband, a father or a son to take care of the health and welfare of a woman patient. She was an embodiment of compassion and loving kindness. She was energetic and very hard working. Till the last day of her life, she saw all her patients and made sure all were properly taken care of.

She inspired countless brahmacharinis, sannyasinis and other spiritual aspirants through her own intense karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga, all combined together in a very practical and simple method and at the same time with great dynamic enthusiasm through all her activities, whether spiritual or social. She was a strong pillar and a guiding light to all in the mission of Sri Gurudev and The Divine Life Society. She attained to eternal rest and peace and parama sadgati, divine felicity, on the 8th August 2000, when God thought it fit to call her back to her real home.

....You came here as an angel
and with your divine hands healed
many a woman of her sufferings and
flew back as an archangel.
Lord bless you with everything in plenty.

--Swami Sivananda


TRANSFORM YOUR ACTIONS INTO SADHANA

(Dr. Devaki Kutty)

When I was a very young person, before I came into contact with Gurudev, I always used to wonder, being a doctor, particularly a junior doctor, how can I find time to do sadhana. We had no time for anything, we were called up all the time. For example, I had just sat down for my prayers, the telephone rang, and I was called to a serious patient. All the time I used to grumble that I had no time for sadhana. No time! But this completely changed when I came into contact with Gurudev. He emphasised that sadhana was not confined to the puja room. You may sit in the puja room for a specific period of time, do your prayers, do your meditation, do your yoga or pranayama or whatever you are used to, but once you are out of your puja room, you are completely forgetting all that and come back to your mundane life, which you think is distinct from your sadhana. He told us that sadhana is not distinct from life.

Everybody has to do some work. It may be your office work, it may be in any field, or it may be in your house as a husband or father, as a wife or a mother. It is the role God has given you to perform, and if you do it properly, then it becomes sadhana. What makes it a sadhana is the motive with which you do it. Very often our motive is just to succeed in the thing we are doing. That is all. And very often the means are forgotten for the end. Gurudev put a lot of emphasis on the means and less on the end. If you want to make your action into sadhana, then the motive behind it should be one of complete selflessness or unselfishness. And it should not be tainted with things that are not correct.

So, the first thing is to have an unselfish and pure motive, and the second thing which he always emphasised was, that all work should be towards excellence. You should do everything in such a way that nobody can do it better. What transforms an ordinary action into a spiritual action, is the motive. It should be pure and unselfish, and it should be towards excellence. Gurudev even said, if destiny demanded that you be a rogue, be the best rogue you can be. Don't be a half-hearted rogue, become a big rogue, a good rogue. In whatever way you are measured, it will not be by the quantum of your achievements, because a spiritual measurement is not concerned with your achievements. A spiritual measurement is done by the excellence you show in leading your life. Whatever God has put in your life, you may be a doctor or an engineer or a teacher or a sweeper, if you do it to the best of your ability and make it most excellent, then it is sadhana. This move towards excellence and a pure and unselfish motive, these transform all your actions into sadhana. It is not necessary that you have read all the Upanishads and do hours of meditation and all the prayers. All these are important, but they are not exclusively sadhana. Sadhana has to have a much wider perspective in Gurudev's vision. And it also has been said, that in his teachings he never condemned anything.

What is life? Life by ordinary connotation is a series of experiences which are either pleasurable or painful, bitter or sweet, when we are exposed to different people and events. These experiences differ from individual to individual, even under identical circumstances. And divine life is a life lived according to the laws of truth and dharma. When we live such a life, then all our experiences are neither bitter nor sweet, but they are woven into a fabric of joy and peace and harmony. That is the life we are aiming at, and that is divine life.

In the scriptures we are described as amritasya putraha, which means children of Immortality. And in the Gita, Bhagavan says: "Ishvarah sarvabhutaanaam hrddese arjuna tisthati" ("The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings", XVIII/61). If this is so, we know that we have a divine spark within us, that God dwells within us. But how is it that we don't feel it, that we are not aware of the divinity within us? It seems that we have some treasure within us, and we are living without the knowledge of it. Why are we not conscious of this divinity? Because it is covered up by so many debris and encrustations due to past karmas and past vasanas. There is a big obstacle between our awareness of the deep-rooted divinity within. You know the famous song "Ghunghat kaa pata khola re, piya milenge." ("Lift up the veil which covers your eyes, and you will meet your beloved.") What is the meaning of this song? There is a big curtain between us and God, which is made up of our past vasanas and karmas and our present thoughts, and to come face to face with God, we have to lift up this curtain. We have to purify ourselves from all the debris which we have collected around us, and then we can recapture the divinity within us. This is called a self-cleansing process, and it is done through self-evaluation.

If a gardener wants to make a good garden with flowers and trees in a nice arrangement, then he has to first get rid of the weeds in that garden. It is the gardener who knows best what he has to throw out. In our life, if we want to make it a thing of beauty and fragrance, if we want to make it a divine life, then we must ourselves throw out the weeds. For this purpose we have to start with self-evaluation and every day look at the triple mode of self-expression, namely thought, word and deed. Gurudev was very particular that every sadhaka should keep a spiritual diary. A form was given to every sadhaka either when he or she arrived or when he or she took diksha or if he or she decided to follow Gurudev's teachings. So the first step we have to take is self-analysis, and Gurudev was very particular about it.

If we look at the world of the last three or four decades, we see that there have been marvellous scientific achievements, mind-blowing technological breakthroughs. We have very sophisticated computers, we have internet and cybernet and so many other things. But the question has to be asked whether we are actually happier than our forefathers. I don't have to give the answer, because everybody knows how life was just a few years ago, in our childhood. And we have to say that we are not happier than our forefathers, in spite of all the material comforts. What has happened? To the extent that we have expanded outwardly, we are dying inwardly. There is much more insecurity, emotional stress, disharmony, fear. In our childhood we never heard about drugs. Today this is the biggest problem facing our young people. With these so-called advances the human being is going down. The hankering after material pleasures makes us less human and alienates us from divinity. This is the malady. And what is the treatment? The treatment was already described in our scriptures. We don't have to go far for it. And if you have a guru or a preceptor, he will give you the guidelines. But, he will only give the guidelines. The plodding, the actual effort to accept those teachings and make them a part of your life is your task. The effort has to come from you!

***

Excel in service!
Expand in love!
Advance in knowledge!

--Swami Sivananda


SANT JANABAI

Saint Janabai proclaimed to the world the glory of bhakti or devotion to God, for she made the Name of the Lord one with her own breath-from her mouth came the continuous flow of "Vittala, Vittala", and she always felt the presence of God.

From her childhood, Janabai was in close contact with Saint Namdev, who became her guru and for whom she performed constant guru-seva. Her dedicated service brought her the darshan of the Lord. Moreover, from her close proximity to the saints, she was able to gather the essence of Truth: real happiness lies not in outward objects which have a beginning and an end; real happiness lies within; it is our real nature. The secret lies in its discovery through repeating the Divine Name, for the essence of all is the Divine Name: "bhaja Govindam, bhaja Govindam, Govindam bhaja moodamate" ("sing the name of Govinda, sing the name of Govinda, you foolish man").

Remaining physically busy, with household chores for Saint Namdev and his family, but mentally in tune with the Lord and singing His praises, Janabai was always absorbed in the awareness of God. This poured from her heart in the form of beautiful songs, very simple, but with profound meaning. Although she was illiterate, she had deep knowledge of the Lord. This joy made her never-ending work seem a light load to carry.

Once Saint Kabirdas came to Pandharpur to meet Saint Jnaneshwar and Saint Namdev, among others. Hearing of the greatness of Janabai, he went in search of her in the fields where she was working. There, he saw two ladies quarrelling with each other, one of which was Janabai. He was greatly surprised, since he was expecting a serene demeanor. "I have come to this field for the darshan of Saint Janabai, and here I find two women fighting with each other. What is the meaning of this?" Janabai informed Kabirdas that she had spent long hours making these cow-dung cakes and had placed them in the field to dry. The other lady had placed her own cakes in the same place and was now claiming that all the cakes belonged to her. Thus, Kabirdas was expected to discover which cakes belonged to whom. Kabirdas was dumbfounded. Janabai merely requested him to pick up any cake and to hold it to his ear. Those that were her cakes would resound with the name "Vittala", and those that belonged to the other lady would remain quiet. Kabirdas was overwhelmed, for indeed, the name of Janabai's beloved Lord was echoing from some of these inanimate cakes. He became convinced of Janabai's greatness-she had created such deep vibrations of God's Name, that anything she touched was resounding with the Divine Name. For she was completely absorbed in God.

When Janabai became old in body, she continued to work for the family of Namdev. One night, Lord Vittala came to help her with the lengthy work of grinding rice. In the heat of the work, Lord Vittala removed His shawl and necklace and placed them in the corner of her hut. So it went on until dawn, when Lord Vittala disappeared to the temple. Instead of taking His own shawl, he took an old piece of Janabai's shawl. When worshippers opened the door of the temple to conduct the morning puja, they discovered, an old torn rag around Lord Vittala's shoulders. Both the Jari shawl and the necklace were missing. One worshipper recognised the old rag as belonging to Janabai, so they all went to her hut and began calling her a thief. Janabai emerged, with folded hands. They threw her rag around her and entered her hut, where they found the shawl and necklace of Lord Vittala. They beat Janabai and dragged her to the panchayat, where they declared her to be guilty of theft. Hence, they decided to give her the death sentence, by putting her on a pointed iron pole in a public place, which was the method of execution for one who had committed a heinous act.

She was taken in a procession to the place of execution, being cruelly beaten along the route. These beatings inflicted deep wounds on her body, and she was bleeding heavily. However, she remained calm and smiling, continuously repeating the Divine Name. As she passed the temple, she asked if she may have the last darshan of the Lord. Janabai reached the door of the temple with great difficulty, but finding the door locked and the key missing, she began to sing:

"O Lord, what is this play? Thou hast left Thy shawl and necklace in my lowly hut, and now these people are calling me a thief. Why doest Thou remain behind this locked door? Why doest Thou not give me darshan? Am I too dirty, with all that has been thrown upon me by these angry people? Is my body bleeding too heavily from the wounds inflicted by these angry people? Doest Thou not wish to see me?"

Suddenly, the whole temple started shaking and there was a thunderous sound with which the iron shackles of the door were broken and it flung open. Lord Vittala was standing on the pedestal, smiling. Janabai continued singing and pouring out her heart, in glorious expression. Then she took leave of Lord Vittala and walked towards the river Chandrabhaga, where the execution was to take place. She was followed by thousands of devotees and villagers. As she approached the iron pole, gazing at it and singing the Lord's praises, the pole melted and flowed into the river. Her devotees, seeing this miracle, began rejoicing, for God had saved His devotee and shown her greatness to all. Those who had condemned her were shocked and realised their terrible mistake. To restore their good position, they collected clothes, ornaments and garlands, and presented them to her. Janabai told them, smilingly and quietly, that her guru, Namdev, had shielded her with pure bhakti and all she needed was the Name of the Lord. She experienced the Lord everywhere, in all His creation. She taught the people not to look upon the Lord as a stone image, but to develop their devotion and to see Him everywhere.

To experience this divine cosmic vision and universal awareness, saints have undergone many difficult tests, but have emerged victorious through the grace of God and guru. Janabai lived for another thirty years and left her body at the ripe age of ninety. Her beautiful abhangas remain with us as expressions of complete surrender and pure love for the Lord. Her childlike, untainted simplicity and selfless service, as well as her bhakti, enabled her to realise and identify herself with the Lord. Indeed, as a child she became intoxicated with God and thus became one with God.


O Lord Hari, grant this boon that
I may sing Your Name ceaselessly!
Please fulfill this desire of mine to thus
Serve You constantly!
This is the only craving of my mind.
Let my eyes behold Your beautiful form always
And my mouth ever chant Your sweet Name!
O compassionate Lord, I take shelter at your Holy Feet!
So says daasi Jani.


MOTHER TERESA-MOTHER OF LOVE

(Jannie Mataji)

Not to relieve the sufferings of others, not to work for the poorest of the poor, but to dedicate her life wholeheartedly to God, to preach the message of love in action by being an embodiment of compassion and to serve the Lord in and through the poorest of the poor was the essence of the life of Mother Teresa; prayer was the very foundation of her life. Mother Teresa, respected and revered as a saint all over the world, was born as Agnes Bojaxhiu in Skopje (Yugoslavia) on 26 August 1910. When she told her mother that she felt God was calling her to a life dedicated completely to Him, her mother responded: "My daughter, if you begin something, begin it wholeheartedly or don't begin it at all. Put your hands in His and walk all the way with Him. Daughter, go with my blessing."

At the age of 18 she left her home to enter into monastic life. She left for Ireland, to join the Novitiate of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Loreto Abbey in Dublin. Two months later, on 29 November 1928, she arrived in Calcutta. Sister Teresa then served in St. Mary's Bengali Medium School, Loreto, Calcutta, teaching orphans, poor and homeless children. Throughout her life, this quality of teaching was ever active. Once when Mother was asked about her most important work, she answered: "To train the sisters." In May 1937 she took her final vows in Loreto Convent, Darjeeling, vowing herself to poverty, chastity and obedience.

On 9 September 1946, while on a train to Darjeeling, Mother received what she described as "a call within a call". She said: "The message was very clear: I must leave the convent to help the poor by living among them. This was a command, something to be done, something definite. I knew where I had to be, but I did not know how to get there." Pope Pius XII granted her permission to leave Loreto, and on 18 August 1948, she went out in pure faith, in a white sari with blue border. Faith, complete surrender and obedience to the Lord were the fruits of her continuous prayer. "She obeyed His promptings, His directions, without questioning. She did not think of herself, she did everything for Him. She saw the problem, fell to her knees, and prayed for a few seconds and then she was rattling off a list of supplies she needed." (Father Henri).

Mother's heart was bleeding for the poor. She has been called "Apostle of the unwanted". Hunger can be stilled by food, for physical disease often medicines are available, but the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody is much more difficult to cure. Prayer for the patient, a loving tender human touch and an ever smiling face was Mother's "first aid" and opened the hearts of many many people all over the world. "Dearest Lord, may I see You today and every day in the person of Your sick and whilst nursing them, minister unto You. Though You hide Yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognise You and say: "Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve You."

Mother never thought of money. At first she had only five rupees, but gradually, as people came to know what she was doing, they brought things and money. Mother had full trust in Divine Providence. "It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving." So said Mother: "Love is the driving force. God is love and love is God-'Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do it to me. I was hungry, I was sick, I was naked.'-Service must come from a heart filled with love."

A Missionary of Charity must be a missionary of love. She must be full of charity in her own soul and spread that same charity to the souls of others. Love until it hurts. To become an instrument, pure and receptive to the will of the Lord, one has to be a professional in prayer. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. In vocal prayer we speak to God, in mental prayer He speaks to us. We must never forget that we are bound by our state to tend towards perfection and to aim ceaselessly at it. The practice of daily mental prayer is necessary to reach our goal. Because it is the breath of life to our soul. We must help ourselves to pray. The first means to use is silence. Silence of mind, eyes and tongue. Internal and external silence."

Training of the Sisters was mentioned by Mother as her most important work. A six years spiritual training, hard work and strong discipline, with the only desire to love the One, and to allow Jesus to live His love and humility. Three points Mother stresses especially in the training of the sisters: Total surrender to God ("Even if He cuts us to pieces, to cry out: every piece is yours."), loving trust, cheerfulness.

Mother herself had ever been practical, concrete, quick to decide and implement her decisions. She believed in today; yesterday, she said, is past, tomorrow is not under our control, it may never come; we have only today to be up and doing, to work for the glory of God. She looked frail, increasingly so, as the years went by, but she was a bundle of energy. Her power came from above. She treated her body hard and made it obey her.

Mother traveled a lot, in India and abroad. Starting from The Motherhouse in Calcutta, she went into the streets and slums, picked up suffering patients, opened and visited many houses all over the world-homes for orphans, mentally retarded children and adults, houses for dying destitutes, for abused women, for the physically handicapped, for leprosy patients, for AIDS patients; education projects for street children, etc.

She instructed the sisters spiritually and practically, was often asked to speak at conferences and took everything as the will of the Lord. Each speech she started with: "God is Love." She was personally known to many political leaders. She was awarded with several International prizes, such as the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Superior of her own Order, The Missionaries of Charity (1950), which nowadays has more than 4000 vocations. But in spite of all this name and fame, she remained as humble and simple as always, radiating tender love and compassion to each and everyone. She regarded herself as the handmaid of the Lord, just as Mother Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom she called Our Lady and who was a source of inspiration for her. "No one has learned so well the lesson of humility as Mary did. She, being the handmaid of the Lord, was completely empty of self, and God filled her with grace. Full of grace means full of God. A handmaid is at someone's disposal, to be used according to someone's wish with full trust and joy, to belong to someone without reserve."

To belong to Jesus, Mother Teresa had given her body, mind and heart for the welfare of humanity. After the passing away of her body on 5 September 1997, Mothers Holy Tomb in the Mother House in Calcutta has become a place of prayer and pilgrimage.

"Mother of God's little Child, I am little too.
Guide my step and clear my path; lead me home to You."


PRACTICE SPIRITUALITY IN DAILY LIFE

(Swami Sivananda-Hridayananda Mataji)

(A MORNING WITH SWAMI SIVANANDA)

Kumari Santosh: "May I ask you a question, Swamiji? I am very keen to lead the divine life. I have read many books also; but I have not got a clear-cut idea as to what exactly I should do to live the divine life."

Swamiji: "You have to spiritualise all your activities. Give the mind to God and hands to the service of humanity. Now hear this:

Gopala Gopala Muralilola
Yasoda Nandana Gopibala.
Serve, love, give, purify, practise ahimsa,
Satyam, brahmacharya, take sattvic food, study Gita.
Have satsang, control the senses, do japa and kirtan,
Meditate in brahmamuhurta, know thyself.
Love all, embrace all, be kind to all.
Work is worship, serve all, serve the Lord in all.
Purify, concentrate, reflect, meditate,
Serve, love, give and be dispassionate.
Know Brahman, maya, samsar and "I",
Behold the goal of life, hey saumya nearby,
(Gopala Gopala.....)

Santosh: "That is alright Swamiji, but how can I practise it in my daily life? Kindly give me clear instructions."

Swamiji: (sings)

Radhe Govinda Bhajo Radhe Govinda,
Radhe Govinda Bhajo Sita Govinda,
Get up at 4 a.m. brahmamuhurta,
Get up at 4 a.m. japo Ram Ram Ram.
Get up at 4 a.m. do Brahma vichar,
Get up at 4 a.m. enquire "Who am I?"
Get up at 4 a.m. practise yogabhyasa,
Observe mouna daily for two hours,
Fast on ekadasi, take milk and fruits,
Study daily one chapter of the Gita.
Do regular charity, one-tenth income,
Rely on your own self, give up servants,
Do kirtan at night, have satsang,
Speak the truth at all costs, preserve veerya.
Satyam vada, dharmam chara, observe brahmacharya.
Ahimsa paramo dharma, love one and all,
Never hurt others' feelings, be kind to all.
Control anger by kshama, develop viswa prem.
Keep daily spiritual diary, you will evolve quickly.
(Hare Krishna Hare Rama......)

(Clock strikes one, enter a group of lady students)

Swamiji: "Oh is it 1 o'clock now? We must go now, I think."

Inmate: "Swamiji, a group of lady students from Dehra Dun has come to see Swamiji." (People talking).

Swamiji: "Call them. Give them books. Distribute these sweets to them. Avoji. Are you coming from Dehra Dun? Sit down. I will teach you a nice song." (Sings)

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise.
Be good. Do good. Be kind. Be compassionate.
Enquire 'Who am I'. Know thy Self and be free.
Detach-Attach. Detach-Attach.
Detach-Attach. Detach-Attach.
Detach the mind from the objects. Attach it to the Lord.
D.I.N., D.I.N., D.I.N.,
Do it now, do it now, do it now.
This is the way; this is the truth. This is life divine.
OM TAT SAT. OM SANTIH OM.
Ram Ram Ram Ram .............

Let All Divine Virtues Be Your Ornaments

Many a gem of the purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear.
Even so, there are Miras, Madalasas,
Maitreyis, Chudalasas, Anasuyas among you all.
Here is one Savitri, there is one Sita, awaken your dormant virtues,
Faculties, potentialities and powers.
Cultivate purity, modesty, chastity,
Care not for ornaments. Fight not for jewels.
Let chastity be your diamond necklace, generosity your ear-rings,
Self-restraint your nose-screw, patience your bangles,
Kindness your finger-ring, mercy your silk saree.
Atma is beauty of beauties, there is no need for external beautification.
How can you beautify beauty itself?
Let all divine virtues be your ornaments.
The destiny of the world is in your hands,
The key of the iron safe is also in your hands-
You can mould the destiny of your children.
Ladies, you can all have God-realisation easily,
Because love or sneha vritti is ingrained in you all.
This is part and parcel of your nature.
The only obstacle is moha for your children and ornaments.
May you all shine like Mira, Maitreyi, Savitri and Madalasa.

Swamiji: "Are you all returning today? Take Ganges bath. Have your food here, simple roti and daal."

May the Lord bless the lady students from Dehra Dun with health, long life and peace.


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