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Focusing on God

Once a woman was standing outside in the street searching and searching for something under the bright street lamp. A wise man walked by and asked her, “Mother, what are you searching for?” She replied, “I have lost my needle and I am looking for it.” The man helped her search for quite sometime, all to no avail.  Finally, he asked, “Mother, where exactly did you lose your needle?” She replied, “I was sewing inside on the chair and the needle was lost there.” The wise man queried, “But Mother, if...

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Navratri – Worship of the Mother Goddess

The festival of Navaratri is a glorious time of the year, filled with joy, celebration, and also with great lessons for our lives. Navaratri means “nine nights.” This festival occurs twice a year, at the change from winter to summer in the Spring, and again at the change from summer to winter in the Autumn. The Autumn festival is celebrated from the first day to the ninth day of the bright half of Ashvina/Aswayuja (September-October), while the Spring Festival is celebrated in Chaitra (April – May).  The two Navaratri celebrations are known...

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Buddha Jayanti – Enlightenment in Action

This month we celebrated the sacred day of Buddha Purnima. There are so many beautiful lessons to learn from the life of the Buddha. His life is the epitome of enlightenment in action. When he was born, an astrologer told Buddha’s father that his son would either be an emperor or a sanyasi (holy renunciant). The king understood that in order to prevent his son from renouncing the material world in favor of the spiritual world, he would have to keep him sheltered and protected. Thus, Siddharth (the young Buddha) was raised...

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What is Our Dharma?

Once there was a sadhu, a renunciant living on the banks of a river, performing his sadhana with great piety and determination. One day as the holy man went for his bath in the river, he noticed a scorpion struggling in the water. Scorpions, by nature, cannot swim and the sadhu knew that if he did not save the scorpion, it would drown. Therefore, carefully picking up the scorpion, the saint lifted it out of the waters and was just about to set it down gently on the land when the...

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The Pain of A Broken Connection

A man once went to see a doctor complaining of aches and pains all over his body. “Doctor my whole body hurts me,” he moaned. The doctor asked him to show exactly where the pain was. The man explained, “When I touch my shoulder, it hurts. When I touch my back it hurts. When I touch my legs, they hurt.” The doctor did a thorough examination and told the man, “Sir, there is nothing wrong with your body. Your finger is broken. That is why it hurts wherever you touch. Get your finger...

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Pariksha, Samiksha & Pratiksha: The 3 Components of a Spiritual Life

At the day of the final “test” from the Swami Narayana Gurukul – Rajkot Sadhana Camp, held at Parmarth Niketan, Pujya Swamiji was requested to give blessings and pravachan.  Following is an excerpt from that lecture: Today you are taking your “pariksha” (test); however, a spiritual path has three important components: Pariksha (tests), Samiksha (introspection) and Pratiksha (waiting). The true Pariksha is not simply passing a test given by someone else. The true pariksha is when you start taking your own test. The true pariksha is when you start taking your own photo with...

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Raise Yourself, Don’t Erase Others

Once, Swami Rama gave a demonstration in front of a large class. He drew a horizontal line on the chalkboard and asked the class the following question: “Is there anyone in the room who can make this line appear shorter without erasing it?” The students thought and thought. They concluded that the only possible way to reduce the size of the line would be to erase part of it from either side. Thus, they told Swamiji, “No, there is no way to reduce the size of the line without erasing...

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Rakhsha Bandhan – A Festival of Love, Affection & Protection

The holiday of Rakhsha Bandhan, or Rakhi, is a celebration of the bond of love and the bond of family. On this day, sisters tie sacred threads around their brothers’ wrists, symbolizing their love and affection. In return, the brother promises to protect his sister and to always be there for her. Rakhsha means protection or security and bandhan means a bond or relation. Thus, Rakhsha Bandhan symbolizes the bond of security and protection between brothers and sisters. Indian Culture – the world is one family However, on Rakhi, the brothers and sisters do...

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Fasting – Its Meaning, Its Purpose

Today, fasting has become a great trend across the world. In any bookstore you will find volumes of literature extolling one fast or another. There are juice fasts, water fasts, fruit fasts, etc. Fasting is frequently heralded as the “miracle weight loss” for those who have tried all else without success. Connection with the Divine However, while fasting is certainly of great health benefit, to define it merely as a type of “diet” is to undermine one of the oldest and most sacred spiritual practices. Fasting has been used for millennia by...

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Tolerance

In the major plenary session, at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, titled Bridging Religious Divides, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thami, Emir of Qatar; Mr. Klaus Schwab; The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Meir Lau; H.E. Frances Cardinal Arinze; H.E. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia; His Grace George L. Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji (Muniji) answered questions posed by Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and president of the World Economic Forum. Pujya Swamiji’s question was as follows:  “Tolerance is the fundamental virtue to overcome discrimination, hatred and...

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