5 Things to do Everyday for Happiness.
Ananda Vrindavanesvari Divi Dasi: The ancient teachings of the Vedas say there are 5 things humans can do everyday to be happy. We would say that these are directly connected to an effective spiritual practice. If we understand that life is meant for self-realization then the following 5 support and help us achieve that goal, while being happy along the way.
Here they are:
Get up before the sun
Worship the Lord
Give in charity
Get up before the sun – this sounds easy but we all know it can be oh so difficult to pull ourselves from the comfort of the comforter. Planning ahead is the key – this means early to bed, which means turning off screens, which means being determined to value the early morning hours. What’s so good about the time before sunrise? Rise early and you will see!
Get clean – this is not just about teeth and body. This is also about our space. A clean body and a clean space really help control the mind. This is a good thing as the mind, according to the bhakti teachings, is the source of all misery. If cleaning is not your thing, try setting your phone timer for 15mins and do a blitz. You will be amazed how much can be achieved and how good you will feel.
Worship the Lord – whether it’s for 5 minutes or 15 or for a few hours, the absolute best thing to do before anything else is to connect with Krishna. Of course we can do this at anytime during the day, but the tendency is to get busy and forget. Get up, get clean and get absorbed in some worship – in our practice it can be mantra meditation, or offering flowers or incense at an altar, or reading something wonderful about Krishna and His associates.
Give in charity – this is such a nice reminder. It is described that there is a difference in giving to those in need and giving to God, who is not in need. Giving donations to those in need shares our wealth; giving to Krishna acknowledges the source of our wealth and the importance of deepening our relationship with Krishna through our giving. Giving is such a core component of self-realization – giving up, giving away, giving back, but it’s also a complex and nuanced activity. We should reflect on the spiritual call to give and do so in small and big ways every day.
Receive guests – in the traditions of the Vedas, guests are to be treated as good as God. Especially unexpected guests – they are signs of good fortune. No matter if we are at home or at work, we can try to interact with others as if they are guests in our space. Treat them as guests for that moment and be happy in their company. Offer water or some refreshment and kind words. Receive at least one guest into your life every day and be blessed.
The Light of Bhakti.
Varsana Swami: Deeply cherished amongst devotional practices which Kartik inspires, it is essential to sing the beautiful Damodarastakam prayers while offering small individual candles or lamps to the Lord.
Lighting the candle depicts igniting the spirit, the inner flame, to consume the outer wax, or flesh, integrating body and soul as they unite in the luminous and purifying nature of fire.
As Kartik is a time for reaffirming our vows and increasing our service, this offering of fire kindles a spirit of dedication and inspires the heart to burn with a desire for seva. In the luster cast by hearts ablaze, we perceive life in a more wholesome perspective, being reminded again of our true spiritual nature.
In the light of eternity, our daily struggles become increasingly consumed in the burning heart of a greater love. This love never dies but forever shines forth as the light of the world, the effulgence of bhakti, which the rays of the sun represent.
We place our little candles in the sand at Damodara’s lotus feet, and as they flicker and fade, we witness how the luster of His toenails shines on like an endless series of moons glittering in the light of the countless devotees. The endless reflections symbolize the eternal nature of this simple ceremony of offering a small flame to our dear most Lord.
By Daamodara Dhananjaya Das
Today, one of the best avenues to reach out, not just to the masses, but also to the upper most class of people, is through the Press or the Print Media (Newspapers) and the Electronic Media (TV News & Entertainment Channels and Radio Channels). Reading newspapers and watching TV News Channels, is now one of the preeminent necessities of life. These days apparently oxygen seems to be of the secondary importance, as compared to the need of the Media. So much so that the preachers too, in order to keep up with the pace, sometimes are forced to surrender to this bewitching incarnation of Mayadevi. Hence, at ISKCON Ahmedabad, somewhere around 2007, we too decided to cultivate our relationship with the Media, so as to spread the Holy Name to each and every dwelling, where Mayadevi has her encroachment through them. Continue reading
By ISKCON Perth
This year marks the 50 th anniversary of the incorporation of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York by our dear Srila Prabhupada. As a special offering to His Divine Grace, the ISKCON Perth Temple with the help of the congregational devotees had planned to hold one program every day on the Holy Name during the 18 day span of the celebration Continue reading
Radhanath Swami and Marci Shimoff on Finding Everlasting Happiness (Album with photos)
Silicon Valley which is a hotbed for innovation for technology, scientific developments, and entrepreneurship, hacked into spirituality for a mindset shift on July 16, 2016, with Bhakti-yoga leader Radhanath Swami and Marci Shimoff, bestselling author of several self-help books including Love for No Reason and Happy for No Reason. Marci Shimoff is also the woman’s face of Chicken Soup for the Soul and is a featured teacher in the international film and book sensation, The Secret.
Held at the Jain Center, the program was cohosted by Bay Area entrepreneurs N. Prameela, Damodar Reddy, Sushant and Namrata Patnaik as well as by Artha Forum, a community dedicated to providing healthy work/life balance and business ethics based on spiritual principles. Around 300 entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and thought leaders attended the event.
During his introduction N.Damodar Reddy, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SutiSoft Inc., shared about Radhanath Swami, “One thing that stands out with all my conversations with Swamii is that it’s all about finding love within your own heart. And that is the essence of Bhakti-yoga.”
The event began with a mesmerizing flute recital by the Director of Digital Commerce at Adobe Prasad Bhandarkar and his son Kunal. This created a mood of tranquility for the evening.
Marci Shimoff spoke briefly about finding happiness in a world plagued by sorrow and gloom. Sharing her personal story about finding happiness she said, “Since childhood, I had existential angst. In June 1998, I had three books on NYT bestseller list. I felt like an author rock star. But I burst into tears. I couldn’t convince myself to believe to be happy. After a lot of interviews with people who practice spirituality and happiness, I realized being joyful is not dependent on external circumstances.”
Radhanath Swami began his talk by explaining the aphorism “annada mayo ‘bhyasat”. “We are all seeking happiness. From the cockroach on the kitchen counter to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Everyone is trying to avoid what interferes with their happiness. This question leads to the very basis of spirituality – Who Am I?” said Swami.
Find them here: https://goo.gl/fWsjqU
TOVP: The First Cornice is Installed (Album with photos)
Sadbhuja Das: We have reached a new level of work in our external ornamentation of the TOVP. On Saturday September 24, 2016 we installed our first decorative cornice. The cornice was installed above a pillar’s capitol.
We are decorating the outside of the temple in a systematic order. We work on one section at a time on one level that goes around the whole temple. Once the pattern is completed, we then move up vertically to the next section. We will do this until the whole outside of the temple is decorated from the top to the bottom.
Thus, the entire outer circumference of the TOVP will be decorated with cornices in a linear fashion. Once this is complete, we will then go up above the cornice to the next level of white marble and sandstone work. On that new level, then the same white marble and sandstone pattern that was applied before will be repeated in the new location.
Find them here: https://goo.gl/p3XebP
By Chaitanya Charan das
During my visit to Central New Jersey, on 18th September, 2016, Govinda Prabhu and I spoke at Princeton University on the topic of “Tragic Hero? Lessons from the life of the Mahabharata character Karna.” Addressing the Karna-Duryodhana friendship, I spoke on how a low self-esteem makes us emotionally vulnerable to be manipulated by whoever seems to offer us respect. After the talk, on seeing the intense interest throughout of a pan-Indian and a non-Indian audience, I felt reinforced in my conviction realized that sharing life lessons through epics comprises an appealing and powerful way of connecting scriptural wisdom with people’s practical concerns – a way that we bhakti teachers need to tap much more effectively. Continue reading