Newsletter
Birth Centenary
logo
  • Donate

 

chinmayamissionorlandoheader.gif
Newsletter - April 2015
Chinmaya Mission Orlando - www.chinmayaorlando.org
"Love is a consistent passion to give, not a meek persistent hope to receive. The only demand of life is the privilege to love all."
 
 
– Swami Chinmayananda
Pujya Gurudev - As I See Him
 
An article by Swami Tejomayananda

The Upanishads, Gita and innumerable spiritual texts and works use the most fascinating and powerful words to “describe” the indescribable Brahman. Every one of these words also describes Pujya Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda. Brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati – the knower of Brahman is verily Brahman. How can I ever “describe” Him better than these great scriptures? Yet I will try.

 Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram and Updesha Saram describe the Lord as ashtamurti – eightfaceted divinity. For us, Pujya Gurudev is indeed the Lord Himself. Hence I will present some of my ideas and reminiscences about Him through eight of His countless facets.

GurudevLaughing

A Peerless Personality

Even though the guru is the supreme Self, still he has an individuality and a personality that attracts devotees and disciples towards Him. He blesses them with knowledge and devotion. Pujya Gurudev had a many-faceted personality that is difficult to capture in a few words or names.

 An Epitome of Evolution

I saw Him as a perfect jivanmukta purusha – a person liberated while living. Many a time I have felt that it is easier to describe Brahman than to describe a jivanmukta. We find many verses in our scriptures in praise of such an enlightened soul. One such characteristic that comes to my mind is that the enlightened person is one who is free from worry over the past, anxiety for the future and is totally detached and objective in dealing with the present. Gurudev Himself used to speak about such a person as someone like a mirror, “A mirror accepts everything, rejects nothing, reflects everything, but keeps nothing”. Indeed, He was that jivanmukta purusha.

 A Cosmic Charmer

 His presence was most appealing. It spoke more than His words and taught more than His lectures. I see His presence in His pictures also. Just to be with Him was a great joy and an experience in itself. No one was immune to His cosmic charm.

A Matchless Role Model
His greatness went beyond His presence and that He revealed in every little thing. In big things every one shows off, but Gurudev revealed His greatness even in small things. For instance, when I was studying Vedanta at Sandeepany, Mumbai, I also used to teach Sanskrit to the brahmacharins. There was a small hall where I used to hold the class. Once Swamiji wanted to discuss something with a group of people. He brought them there and only then saw that I was teaching. He could have asked me to finish the class at once, but He humbly requested, “May I use this hall for some time?” That was His greatness. He did not say, “Get out! I want to use this place.”
 
A Magnificent Mentor
I also had the great fortune of learning from Him. Actually, I felt that He used to teach just me. Every now and then, He would ask questions, and if out of ten questions, I did not answer just one or did not answer quickly enough, He would say that I did not know the answer or that I was sleeping through the class! Or, sometimes He would speak and pause in the middle of the sentence and wait for me to complete it. And if I spoke softly, He would ask me to go out on the banks of the Ganga and speak so loudly that the man on the other side could hear me! Of course He knew what I would be doing for the best part of the rest of my life!
 
A Divine Disciplinarian
Discipline was one thing that He loved. Not only was He Himself a very disciplined person, but He also enforced it on others. The beauty of His discipline was that it was not dry or harsh, but was accompanied with compassion. For instance, once during a Gita Jnana Yajna some of the brahmacharis skipped the meditation class. That day He ordered, “The brahmacharis will not be given lunch today,” but at teatime, we were given special upama along with the tea. Thus He punctuated discipline with compassion.
 
A Vast Visionary
His vast vision for the mission was essentially two-fold. The first aspect was external, relating to activities and projects, while the other was internal, the unfoldment of the personalities of the members while undertaking those projects. The outer activities started by Him have expanded, grown and benefited the society, but unfoldment by itself is subjective, and each worker will have to sincerely and honestly evaluate himself or herself. The very fact that thousands of people have been working for such a long period of time shows that they have been getting something or else they will not work. So we have succeeded to a great extent. However, never think of stopping at a final goal. Both outwardly and inwardly, the sky is the limit.
 
A Lamp of Love
I consider myself extremely blessed to have come in contact with Him and served Him. The most striking quality that I saw in Him was His unconditional love for me that made Him forgive me many a time. I know that is true of any one who reached His feet. He was, is and ever will be an akhanda jyoti of love, light, devotion and knowledge perfectly integrated.
 
May His blessings be ever upon us all to serve Him.
 
(This article is an adapted version of article written by Swami Tejomayananda.Source: Chinmaya Mission Dallas/ Fort Worth)
 
 

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 

Jai Gurudev, Jai Jai Jagadishwara

Blessed Self,

Greetings and Hari Om

Spring is in the air as if the beautiful season is getting ready to greet Pujya Sri Gurudev's Jayanti, the beginning of His birth centenary celebrations. Saints are like the Spring season, not only their physical presence, but even a thought about them in mind brings the sweet fragrance of their subtle presence. 

May Pujya Gurudev's birth centenary remind us always that He resides in our hearts as Pure Consciousness, the very life in us.  Let us strive hard to perform our duties perfectly and surrender at His lotus feet and purify our minds. Let us offer our best to Him.

Unto Him, our best,.

Love,

Acharya Shailaja Nadkarni

President, Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Upcoming Events
Event Date/Time Venue
Every Friday in the evening's and Saturday morning's
Devotees Residence
Saturday, May 02, 2015 at 10.30am
Gurudev Jayanthi Celebration
  •  Friday, Saturday: Launch of a series of Gnyana Yagnas by Acharya Shailaja ji on Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 15 (Purushottam Yoga)
  • Sunday: Gurudev Paduka Puja by Balavihar Children, Mother's day Celebration, Annual Day Function
Friday, May 08 to Sunday, May 10
Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Final Exams
24-May 2015
Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Last day of Bala Vihar
31-May 2015
Chinmaya Mission Orlando
Financial Update 

Financial Statement for Dec 16, 2014 to March 31,2015

In order to promote full transparency, in each newsletter, we will be giving you a financial update for the previous quarter. Please feel free to contact Kiran Patel or Harmohan Suri if you would like any additional details on our financials.
Beginning Bank Balance on Dec 16, 2014 $  389,222.00
Donations (Shivratri pooja sponsorship, Building donations, Bookstore sales, weekly sponsorships etc.
$   69,386.00
Mortgage Payment
$   19,838.00
Construction Expenses (Material and Builder payment) $   206,165.00
All Other expenses (CMW, Priest expense, Utilities, supplies,groceries etc.,)
$    43,252.00
Ending Bank Balance as of March 15, 2015. $    189,353.00
Approx outstanding Loan from United Legacy Bank. $    651,416.00
Chinmaya Birth Centenary Celebrations (Reprinted from the Tapovan Prasad)
 
 
Guruji

Pujya gurudev's birthday centenary will be celebrated from 2015 to 2016. We have to understand his significance and discuss how we can celebrate it . In this process we should also know how we can grow at the individual level , expand the respective centres and achieve the objective of the mission at large. And for all this, we have to plan well in advance. In March 2012, at a conference of regional heads and some senior members, we had decided the theme of this entire program. Since Pujya Gurudev, in his life,gave us his best,we should also give him our best. So we decided that the theme will be ''Vande Chinmaya Sadgurum(Salutations to Sri Chinmaya Sadgurudev): Unto him our best.'' We have also conceived quite a few programs during that conference and some of these, like publishing his works through the mananam series have started already.

 

Highlights Of The Celebration

Flagging Off : On 8th May 2015,the CBCC ( Chinmaya Birth Centenary Celebrations) will be flagged off with a grand program in Ernakulam,the birth place of Pujya Gurudev. Swami Viviktananda,the regional head of Kerala,will be in charge of this. Details of the program will be intimated later. The celebrations will begin on 6th May and conclude on the evening of 8th May at 7.30 p.m.-the birth time of Pujya Gurudev. A lamp with Gurudev's 'Om' signature will be lit by the devotees world over at that auspicious time,along with a prayer.After that the Mission Pledge and a world anthem for transformation will be chanted.

Chinmaya Jyoti : A jyothi yatra will start from Ernakulam on May 8th and reach Sidhabari on August 3rd. It will travel through a particular route and will be handed over to the centres that are on the way. There will be various programs en route and material relating to Gurudev's life and works will be distributed. Similarly, jyothis (ligthed lamps) will be brought from places like Kashmir, Kutch and Assam to Sidhabari. And finally, the lamp will be brought to Chinmaya Vibhooti and kept there as an akhanda jyoti, kept burning forever, reminding us to keep his vision glowing always. In India ,Swami Mitrananda will be in charge of this program and in the U.S. Swami Sarveshananda will take charge. A similar program can be organized for the centres in other countries also.

 Gita Chanting Competition: This is a very popular program and in the centenary year, we will have it for all age groups on Gita Ch.15 . It will be held at the city, state and national levels and the finals will be held in 2015. The purpose is that you learn to chant first,then reflect on the meaning and finally, live the ideas thus learnt. A motto will be created accordingly.

I have composed a couplet explaning the importance of this competition:

Gitapathe Rthajijnasa 
Tato Jnanam Bhaisyati, 
Krtarthata Hi Jnanena
Tasmat Gitam Pathennarah.

When you chant the Gita, there will be curiosity to know its meaning, and when you enquire into the meaning , then Knowledge will take place. And the result of that Knowledge is total fulfilment in life. Therefore , one must study the Gita. The Chinmaya Institude of Technology , Kannur, will be in charge of this competition . We can also have programs of mass chanting, quiz on the Gita and so on, to motivate people to study the text. This was Pujya Gurudev's mission in life.

 Film and Ballet on Gurudev's Life: A short film on Pujya Gurudev's life and work will be produced and Swami Mitrananda is in charge of this. A dance ballet will also be produced under the guidanace of Swami Swaroopananda.

 Upanishad Ganga: Upanishad Ganga: Videos of Upanishad Ganga should be made available in other languages to reach all those who do not know Hindi. It can be done by providing sub-titles or dubbing. A study course based on Upanishad Ganga in the four South Indian languages and some foreign languages too. There can be jnana yajnas based on the Upanishad Ganga. Special screening of particular episodes can be organized along with any talk which deals with that given topic. Besides these, each centre can chalk out their special programs of celebration for all the wings of the mission like Balavihar,CHYK,Study Groups,Devi Groups etc.

 
The ‘I’ Phone by Swami Nikhilananda
 
 
Guruji

The ‘I’ is separate from the BMI, that the body, mind and intellect are applied to dealing with the world, that they are My equipment. Just as my mobile phone is also an equipment to deal with the world and is not Me. I keep it in my pocket and I use it.

 This mobile has an outer body, a battery, and a sim card. The outer body is like our gross physical body. The battery is like our panch prānas, which remain awake even when we switch off the phone. Then there is a clock in the mobile, which keeps running even when the phone is switched off – like the beating of our heart even when we are in deep sleep.

The sim card is an interesting part here. It contains the user identity. It has samskāras (records) of out-going and in-coming calls. All the samskāras are there in the sim card. The sim card is like the antahkarana - mana, buddhi, chitta and ahamkāra. The karmendriyas and jnānendriyas are like the keyboard.

  Very good....if the phone compares to our body and its sim card to our antahkarana, then who is the jiva?

 The one who is using the phone... that is the jiva, also called the Prājna. The user of the BMI.  The user is not the part of this phone, just as the jiva is not part of the body.

 Now, we use the phone to interact with the world outside, to call, to message and so on. Every aspect of the phone is brought to use. But when we travel by plane, and we turn the phone to ‘flight-mode’, we can however continue playing games and accessing other applications, say note-pad, contacts etc. But there is no incoming and outgoing call or messaging. We can say, the phone is in the swapna awastha, exactly like the jiva’s dream state.

 Now, if we switch off the phone, although the batteries are functioning, there is no incoming or outgoing communication and you cannot access the information or applications either. Thus, when the batteries or prānas continue to run, but my BMI is ‘switched off’, the phone is in deep sleep; I, the user, keep the phone down and relax. In the same way, the jiva in deep sleep, becomes one with his master, the Cause, his real Self, i.e. Brahman. The Jiva’s  BMI tool kit is in deep sleep, switched off, only batteries (prāna) working and ‘I’ unifies with Brahman.

 These are the three states of Waking, Dream and Deep Sleep or Jāgrat, Swapna and Sushupti.

 There is also the fourth – Turiya. The fourth is like when the mobile phone is on silent mode. When I am not disturbed by the mobile but the vyavahar - transaction in the mobile phone can go on. This is the state of a jivanmukta. A jivanmukta lives in this world, see the world, performs actions but he is free.

 There is also a state brought about when the sim and the batteries are removed. The phone is now dead. This is akin to when the antahkarana and prānas cease to function; when the body dies.  Where is the ‘I’?

 I am there as the User, the jiva.  That ‘I’ generally takes on another body when it leaves the current body (on death).

 When the user of a mobile phone sees another model with (for example) better features, he selects the new instrument. The exiting of the old phone makes it apreta (dead body) when the sim card and batteries are removed. When the sim card is put into the new phone, the user id is activated all over again but in a new body.  That is called rebirth.

 What happens in this rebirth? The records of the calls and messages from the old phone now shift into the new phone.The samskāras (records) in the antahkarana are still there. They have not died. The (old) samskāras merely get carried forward into the new equipment, and get expressed through a new medium.  I cannot say ‘Oh, I have made lot of phone calls from this mobile instrument, so let me remove the sim card, put it in another instrument, and nobody will find me!’ No.... that is not so. Because the sim card has not changed, the bill will come to me, the old user.

 Similarly, with the jiva, the antahkarana (mind, buddhi, chitta and ahamkār) and prānas – together called subtle body --  do not die  with the death of the body. With the death of the body only the brain which is the outer physical equipment, dies. The thinking is done by the mind, intellect. Brain does not think. It is just an equipment. This gross physical equipment is required for the intellect to function. Without that it cannot function. Just as the seeing faculty needs eyes to function, the hearing faculty needs the ears to function, so too the intellect and mind need the brain equipment to function. So what dies is only the brain.

 Now going back to the deep sleep state, in that state jiva is totally cut off from the BMI which he has been calling ‘myself’.  When I wake up and think of the sleep state I know was present there but I do not know who I am. Not knowing myself is avidyā.

 This we experience in the context of the mobile phone as well. I am holding on to it. I call it mine. I am using it. I am interacting with the world with it. But I exist without the mobile phone. Who am I, I am not clear, but when I use the mobile phone, I know myself in relation to others. That is why the moment the plane touches down, everyone switch on the phone – to experience a sense of ‘I’ in the context of calls received and calls made!

 I the jiva too, (as yet) I do not know who I am, but I consider myself as the equipment I use, the equipment with which I relate to the world --  the BMI. Hence I know myself as my body, as my mind as my intellect. (This is the same attachment that I develop for the mobile phone which helps me know who I am in relation to others in my Contacts list.)

 Thus I say, I am a man (whereas the body is male); I am unhappy (whereas the mind is unhappy);  The mind is feeling, intellect is thinking. The ahamkāra is doing the action assuming ownership and doership. The prānas are keeping the body alive. But I say, ‘I am doing it’. But I still don’t know myself and yet I consider this gross physical body, the subtle body as myself. I have superimposed idea of ‘I’ on this equipment. And also I have superimposed idea of equipment on myself. Worse, I even assume the condition of the equipment as my condition. All because of this avidyā – of not knowing myself...

 And identifying with them I say, I am hungry, I am anxious, I decide.... I consider myself as the doer and I perform the actions and use the equipment. This is the jiva briefly. 

 The author is Head of Chinmaya Mission Delhi and NCR. 

 
Enchanting Tales
  Hiss You may but bite you shall not!! - by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

ramakrishna

Some cowherd boys used to tend their cows in a meadow where a terrible poisonous snake lived. Everyone was on the alert for fear of it. One day a brahmachari was going along the meadow. The boys ran to him and said: "Revered sir, please don't go that way. A venomous snake lives over there." "What of it, my good children?" said the brahmachari. "I am not afraid of the snake. I know some mantras." So saying, he continued on his way along the meadow. But the cowherd boys, being afraid, did not accompany him. 

In the meantime the snake moved swiftly towards him with upraised hood. As soon as it came near, he recited a mantra, and the snake lay at his feet like an earth worm. The brahmachari said: "Look here. Why do you go about doing harm? Come, I will give you a holy word. By repeating it you will learn to love God. Ultimately you will realize Him and also get rid of your violent nature." Saying this, he taught the snake a holy word and initiated it into spiritual life. The snake bowed before the teacher and said, "Revered sir, how I shall practise spiritual discipline?" "Repeat that sacred word", said the teacher, "and do no harm to anybody." As he was about to depart, the brahmachari said, "I shall see you again." 

Some days passed and the cowherd boys noticed that the snake would not bite. They threw stones at it. Still it showed no anger; it behaved as if it were an earthworm. One day one of the boys came close to it, caught it by the tail, and whirling it round and round, dashed it again and again on the ground and- threw it away. The snake vomited blood and became unconscious. It was stunned. It could not move. So, thinking it dead, the boys went their way. Late at night the snake regained consciousness. Slowly and with great difficulty it dragged itself into its hole; its bones were broken and it could scarcely move. Many days passed. The snake became a mere skeleton covered with skin. Now and then, at night, it would come out in search of food. For fear of the boys it would not leave its hole during the day time. Since receiving the sacred word from the teacher, it had given up doing harm to others. It maintained its life on dirt, leaves, or the fruit that dropped from trees. 

About a year later the brahmachari came that way again and asked after the snake. The cowherd boys told him that it was dead. But he couldn't believe them. He knew that the snake would not die before attaining the fruit of the holy word with which it had been initiated. He found his way to the place and searching here and there, called it by the name he had given it. Hearing the Guru's voice, it came out of its hole and bowed before him with great reverence. "How are you?" asked the brahmachari. "I am well, sir", replied the snake. "But", the teacher asked, "why are you so thin?" The snake replied, 'Revered sir, you ordered me not to harm anybody. So I have been living only on leaves and fruit. Perhaps that has made me thinner."

The snake had developed the quality of sattva; it  could not be angry with anyone. It had totally forgotten that the cowherd boys had almost killed it.The brahmachari said: "It can't be mere want of food that has reduced you to this state. There must be some other reason. Think a little." Then the snake remembered that the boys had dashed it against the ground. It said: "Yes, revered sir, now I remember. The boys one day dashed me violently against theground. They are ignorant, after all. They didn't realise what a great change had come over my mind. How could they know I wouldn't bite or harm anyone?" The brahmachari exclaimed: "What a shame! You are such a fool! You don't know how to protect yourself. I asked you not to bite, but I didn't forbid you to hiss. Why didn't you scare them away by hissing?"

So you must hiss at wicked people. You must frighten them lest they should do you harm. But never inject your venom into them. One must not injure others.

Why do we do what we do?
Why do we offer Coconut?
 
 
In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut. It is also offered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. It is offered in the sacrificial fire whilst performing homa. The coconut is broken and placed before the Lord. It is later distributed as prasaada.
 
 
 
The fibre covering of the dried coconut is removed except for a tuft on the top. The marks on the coconut make it look like the head of a human being. The coconut is broken, symbolising the breaking of the ego. The juice within, representing the inner tendencies (vaasanas) is offered along with the white kernel - the mind, to the Lord.
 
 
pujaroom
 
A mind thus purified by the touch of the Lord is used as prasaada ( a holy gift). In the traditional abhishekha ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits on worshippers. Tender coconut water is used in abhisheka rituals since it is believed to bestow spiritual growth on the seeker.
 
 
 
The coconut also symbolises selfless service. Every part of the tree -the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc. Is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc. It takes in even salty water from the earth and converts it into sweet nutritive water that is especially beneficial to sick people. It is used in the preparation of many ayurvedic medicines and in other alternative medicinal systems.
 
 
The marks on the coconut are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva and therefore it is considered to be a means to fulfill our desires.
Divine Chants

pradakshina

कायेन वाचा मनसेन्द्रियैर्वा ।

बुद्ध्यात्मना वा प्रकृतिस्वभावात् ।

करोमि यद्यत् सकलं परस्मै ।

नारायणायेति समर्पयामि ॥ ॥

 

Whatever I perform with my body, speech, mind, limbs, intellect, or my inner self either intentionally or unintentionally, I dedicate it all to that Supreme Lord Narayana.

English Muffin Pizza, dish by Jaisree Sreeram

quinoasalad
 
Ingredients and Directions
  1. 1 pack of English muffins (White or Wheat)
  2. Pasta or Pizza sauce
  3. Mozzarella Cheese 
  4. Optional: Other toppings (green pepper, spinach or any other vegetables)
 
Preparation and Serving Instructions:
  1. Split the english muffin open and place the two halves on the tray of a toaster oven or a baking sheet.
  2. Spread each half with 1-1/2 Tbsp. pasta/pizza sauce, and add any other toppings you would like to add.
  3. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the pasta/pizza sauce on each half.
  4. Bake 4 to 6 minutes at 350 degrees in a toaster oven or regular oven, until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
 Word Search Puzzle
 
 Find the following hidden words in the puzzlepuzzleapr2015
  1. Shivananda
  2. Tapovanam
  3. Balakrishnan
  4. Kuttamenon
  5. Parukutty
  6. Ernakulam
  7. Uttarkashi
  8. Chinmayananda
  9. Brahmins
  10. Sanyasa
  11. Vedanta
  12. Tejomayananda
 
 
Disclaimer:
CMO (Chinmaya Mission, Orlando) mail circular is never sent unsolicited. CMO only sends emails to registered and/or subscribed members of CMO. If you would like to unsubscribe, or if you feel that you have received this message without your knowledge, then please go to CMO homepage to unsubscribe from the mailing list.
Copyright © 2015 Chinmaya Mission Orlando

Contact Us

Physical Address :
1221 Chinmaya Way,
Casselberry, FL, USA 32707
Phone: 407-699-7331 (Answered on Sundays from 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM. You can leave a message and we will call you back.)
Email: info[at]chinmayaorlando.org

NOTE: The street leading to our facility was recently renamed "Chinmaya Way". It used to be known previously as "Florida Road". The physical street signs reflect the new name but GPS units and smartphones may or may not recognize that name. If "Chinmaya Way" does not work for GPS navigation, please try "Florida Road" instead.

Mailing Address :
Chinmaya Mission of Orlando Inc.
PO Box 140461
Orlando FL 32814

If you need an immediate response, please contact any of the following:

  • Chandra Brahmasandra   (407) 376-9564
  • Satish Nagarajan (407) 314-9206
  • Vibhu Agrawal  (407) 963-6301

 

Chinmaya Mission Orlando is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our tax ID# is 59-2889773