Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Experience sharing from participants of Bhagavatam

I felt relieved from my burdens. I felt the love and comfort of my co-students. I became a better Christian. I felt such presence of god, of which I have been void in my life –Elaine Filion

I feel very grateful and blessed to welcome to this home and to receive these stories - Suzanne

Divine love in every word – Satish Kumar

Wonderful, amazing, when we made plans to visit Austin, TX, we never knew that Bhagavatam is going to happen, so fortunate to be part of this program. Thank you all, with great pleasure enjoyed the program and gained the knowledge. Thank you again Rajima – Vaidehi Raghunathan

I had the pleasure of hosting Rajima’s Bhagavatam. Listening to holy scriptures is one of the ways to increase spiritual knowledge, spread bhakti, and induce good character and moral values in the community. Sincere thanks to Rajima for being a catalyst to remind us of our duties and the purpose of our lives. – Chandrika Kaushik

I experienced bliss in all flavors, she herself is divine. It was a magical experience to see how each lesson kindled an emotion, experience and much more right away. Life couldn’t seem be any better than right now, it was a blessing - Anonymous  

It was a wonderful and amazing 5 days. Bhagavatam is interpreted as as if we are totally Bhagavatam ourselves and how each story has the effect on our day to day life and how we can separate the good from the bad.  – K Ramachandran

I thought I knew the story of Krishna from childhood. After this discourse, I realize what I knew was a speck in the whole vastness of knowledge, the Bhagavatam discourse Rajima offered. That god is egoless to help you and if you drop the same, you can reach him is the holy grain of this discourse. How beautiful the scriptures are, thank you Rajima – Geethapriya Raghavan

Knowledge snippets from Texas Ashram

Yesterday was Rama-Navami and guruji gave a beautiful perspective for Ramayana.

Rama stands for light/shine inside us (or as Rajima puts it that which is shining in us is Rama)

Dasharatha is Rama’s father, the name means lord of ten chariots. We with our 5 external senses of 5 senses of perception form the Dasharatha

Kausalya is Rama’s mother, the name means skill (which can be attained by purifying, I will get to this later)

Hanuman is the breath

Sita is the mind

Ravana means the one who does not listen to anybody, he comes up with 10 different types of logic to prove he is right (stands for his ten head). He stands for Ego

So, if we look at the story of Ramayana in a nut shell, we (Dasharatha) with the skill (Kausalya) can give rise to the light (Rama) in us and this light with the help of breath (Hanuman) will rescue the mind (Sita) from the ego (Ravana)

Now the skill, the skill can be attained by act of purification, here are things we can do to become pure.

Seva – Purifies the action, self less action

Satsang – Purifies the mind

Sadhana – Purifies the thought/memory, he mentioned pranayamas, Kriya and meditation

Knowledge – Purifies the intellect, Ashtavakra Gita, Bhakti Sutras, Bhagavatam, Yoga Vasishta and so on

Charity – Purifies the money, guruji said at a minimum 1% of our money should be donated to charity

Fasting – Purifies the body, guruji said to listen to the body and fast 1 or 2 days every six months.

He also spoke about calm with in and action outside and not the other way.

ps: I may have Satsang, Sadhana and Knowledge jumbled, it doesn’t matter just do it all.      

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bhagavatam with Rajima

The other day I was sitting in my office at ~5:30PM and I got a call from my buddy Sanjeev asking me to show up for Rajima’s Bhagavatam sessions. I had almost made up my mind not to go and looking for other excuses to completely make up. Then suddenly there was a shift in my mental state and I decided to show up to the session. After 14hrs (spread over 5 days) of intense sessions, I cannot thank Sanjeev enough for making that phone call.

Bhagavatam as Rajima said on the first day of the class is not just stories but about life, it is about me and you and it is about the lessons to be learnt to lead a righteous life.

Being born and brought up in India, most stories that Rajima talked about during the sessions were not new to me but the fact that it is also my story in the present life was completely new to me. The perspective Rajima presented to the stories were new, fresh and hit home. I had heard and read quite a few commentaries on the stories in Bhagavatam, but none came closer to what Rajima had to offer last week. In an essence she gave the right vision to the story.

If you are like me and had the questions like,

  • Why was Sudhama being a friend of lord Krishna (the king and god) was so poor?
  • What is the significance of Elephant Crocodile story?
  • What is the significance of Amruta Manthana (churning of the milk ocean)?
  • Was god fair in sending Bali to the underground?, even though he was such a good king and so on and so forth

My sincere suggestion is for to you attend a Bhagavatam session with Rajima. I will do a complete injustice if I even try and answer these questions, the answers coming from the right source makes all the difference. One thing I would like to share though, there is a big significance for all the avatars of the lord (it is not just the story of evolution) and the stories associated with it. Here are a couple of learning I would like to share, don’t get stuck in the physical level of the story or get attached to the form, do not treat the scriptures as cock and bull stories.  

The best part I still admire about her is her punctuality, she started on time, she ended on time. Her sense of humor, her impromptu songs (in multiple languages) and the motherly love I felt during the time is something all of us to experience. Not a single moment in the sessions I felt bored or the question “when will this end” arose in me, in fact when she used to say, “we will stop with this story for tonight/today”, I used to feel, “No Rajima, please keep going”. Of course I should be considerate to the vocal chords of the 60+ year old woman.

During the question and answer sessions she insisted that we should, ask things that matter to you, that is bothering you, that can help you make your life better and not hearsay and/or imaginary things and the answers were right on the money. 

This is the second time that Rajima has given commentaries on the Bhagavatam in Austin, first time was in 2009 and I didn’t attend. This time around in 2011, I almost missed it too. I definitely consider myself lucky for having completed this session.

There are DVDs of her earlier sessions available for sale but my friend it is secondary or even tertiary, her presence is what matters. If she is in your town and conducting these sessions, do not miss it, just show up. 

With my wife and baby daughter being gone to India for a trip, I sure was to get bored (I experienced that for the first couple of days in the week) but thanks to Rajima, the week went past like a breeze. I am sad the series have ended. 

I have collected the experience sharing from the Bhagavatam sessions and will post them on the blog in the next couple of days.        

Friday, April 08, 2011

Creatures big and small support a noble cause - fight against corruption

We all are aware of the battle against corruption going on in India, where a renowned Gandhian Anna Hazare has taken up to fast until death to force the government to pass a strong legislation against corruption. One of the days in the ongoing Bhagavatam class, senior teacher Rajima asked us to fast for a day in support of this cause. The following is an account of how Elaine Filion managed to do it with her family (two lovely poodles, Scott and Red).

Dear Rajima,
Thank you for sharing the information about  the man in India who is fasting in an effort to put a stop to corruption.Corruption is such a serious issue but I believe in the spirit of love we can counter this evil .I have not fasted for anything more than a blood test for 50 years until today.Thank you for encouraging us to do this.I have done it with the purest of intentions.To go a step farther,as you know I have two small poodle dogs.They are very dear to me.I ask them this morning to fast with me.They usually beg for treats when I am working on my computer,but this morning after the first whimper I ask them to be good and not beg.Within a few minutes they went to another room to lie down.I also picked up their gravity food bowl but of course left the water.I am convinced that St Francis,the patron saint of animals must have been whispering to them as through out the day there was not one demand for a treat or food.It is very refreshing to have witnessed this marvel and I can certainly testify that most creatures great and small are willing to sacrifice to help.
To further get my point across,I have enclosed this picture of the poodle looking at the treat but not touching it.
Elaine Filion
Your humble student
Austin TX


PS: Rajima mentioned that, with the support of the poodles, this time we will make it happen and yes it happened.