Friday, May 30, 2014

What is Joy?

As you sit here, everything about you is about life and death, and they have to occur together. As soon as you are born, it is destined that you’ll die. And yet we find ourselves in a state of great joy when a child is born; and feel great sorrow when that same child dies. Why we do that we don’t know. Think about yourselves: if you were locked in a room for one hour you’d want to get out. On a long bus ride, halfway through the journey you want to get off because you can’t handle being closed in. Yet after nine months after being suffocated, and carried in a closed environment, we are so excited that this child is born into another state of pain, sorrow and depression, called life. Ask anyone how they’re feeling and they’ll say ‘okay’. Nobody feels excellent, or extra good. They all feel ‘okay’. The reason being that they are so crowded with thoughts of pain, of sorrow, of financial difficulty, and of stress, that they lose every touch with happiness and joy.

What is happiness and joy? We don’t know because we are individuals who seem to be happy when a child is born and sad when a child dies. The purpose of this birth is to never be born again. But all of us want to be born again. Continuously. ‘I wish I don’t have the same life in my next life’... Why do we speak like that? It’s because we’re so much in tune with our pain that we know no better. This whole life is about pain. Whether you’re a great sage, a pauper, or on the streets begging – the pain is the same. The only difference is that when you are in a state of affordability you can go for two hours to Sibaya or Suncoast and forget about the pain, only to remember it again as you leave the casino. You have two hours of painlessness – you hear ‘kling, kling, kling’ in your head until you get out. Then you have to think again about paying your lights and accounts. The pain does not stop.

We must think about this life of joy. What is joy? When Buddha wrote his manual, one of the things he asked was, ‘Why do humans always want a rope around their necks? It’s because they want to be born again and again’. We should say, ‘This is my last life and I’m going to make the best of it’. And the best of it is if you follow the spiritual path. Once you follow that you’ll find so much peace and bliss. I know who you are. You come here on a Friday just to get more of that and to be energized for the next week. Some of you look forward to Fridays. On Friday mornings you’re already getting ready for the evening. That is beyond the state of happiness, it’s beyond words.

On the spiritual journey you need to be in total states of ecstasy. You must dance like you’ve never danced before; sing like nobody is listening to you. Love like you have never loved before, and give like you have never given before. That is the state. Give continuously without thinking, as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (2.47) – do not wait for the rewards of your service. That will happen. You don’t have to wait. Even if it doesn’t happen you should be happy because this isn’t about birth and death. It’s about living. The period between birth and death is called life. And in that period you need to make the best of it. When I say make the best of it, let God be your constant companion in your mind. That’s all. Whether you’re sitting in the office in the bank writing legal documents, sitting in your garage counting all the cash you made, or whether you sell one car or hundreds, let God be your constant companion.

Hari Om.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Look after my legacy

As a temple organisation we pay the same as any other organization would pay for accounts and any articles required. We can’t go to Pick ‘n’ Pay and say ‘I need 20 bottles of 2 litre Coke so give me a special price because I come from the Gayathri Peedam’. We have to pay the same but we don’t receive enough contributions to offset that. Many of you pay timeously and many of you religiously make sure that you pay every month on pournmami. To all of you I say thank you. That has helped.

To sustain the organisation we really need to look at another way of increasing our monthly funding. And that can only be done through you. Only you can make that possible. I’m slowly aging out of this organization and I can see it. I don’t want this dream of my guru to fall by the wayside. Just as my guru has given me a dream in Africa, I intend to leave my dream with each one of you. And my dream is that you keep the Gayathri Peedam as a space ship of the material Startrek, and let the Gayathri mantra be the fuel for each one of you. This is very important.

Before my guru left his physical body he said to me ‘Shankarananda, I’ll be residing in South Africa after I leave this body, just because you are there’. And I know that as I stand here he’s listening to my words. And I know that if I leave this body you, as the future custodians of the Gayathri Peedam, will make it my dream that the Gayathri mantra is recited by everybody who walks through this door and walks out. Just as my doors are open to you at all times, I pray that you will keep these doors open after my demise. This is important for everyone. To mentally make a promise to ensure that the sustenance of this organisation grows from strength to strength and that each one of you as custodians of this organisation hold high the name of Gayathri Peedam wherever you go.

We’ve also talked about starting an open university for the senior secondary students, and we have the expertise of Suren in accounting, Deeps in physics and maths, and Radhika. To principal this university we have Donovan Nair. This is something that has to start because I want to tell you that every child who goes to a private school, when finished they go to a public teacher after hours to get a better education even though the parents are paying fantastic amounts to go to a private school. We want those students who cannot afford to pay teachers after school hours to come to us and be taught in the subjects that I just mentioned – free of charge.

We have schools around us where children do not have breakfast and they don’t know whether they will get a meal in the evening. We used to feed them but my funds ran out and I stopped. Then Deepak started again but eventually we found that at the school we were helping, the bread and jam started to grow legs so we stopped. But there are other schools here that we can help to sustain. Something for all of you to know is that even if we use R1 from your contribution to feed one child, it is considered anadanam. That means ‘feeding God’ because each one of us is made in the image of God, and because are made in the image of God we should be equal to God in certain aspects. Atma sudideni – the only cleanest part of our body is our atma and that is God. Always remember that 10% of your salary belongs to God. We Hindus are the only ones who don’t practice this. Subramoney Swamigul of the Himalayan Academy, wrote an article on why that 10 percent is so important.

I’m going to conclude by saying that for 23 years I’ve never worked one day, but my abundance to God, in whatever way, has sustained me all these years until this day. And I rely on that abundance continuously. So you will find, and Deeps is my witness, there is no organization that walks through these gates that doesn’t receive a donation from the Gayathri Peedam. As you give, so you will receive. I’m going to conclude by asking you to please fill in the forms in front of you so that we can contact you whenever we want to, especially when we want to increase your subs. May god bless you.

Hari Om.

Friday, May 23, 2014

How to recite the Gayathri Mantra

Hari Om.
During this period you’ll find that every one of you is going through a very stressful time. That stress is due to the planetary lineup as of April. It was supposed to have concluded on the 26th of April but for some reason the effects of that are still lingering and you’re all having problems. The best way to reduce those problems is to recite the Gayathri Mantra.

Now, not so long ago somebody said to me that they are reciting the Gayathri Mantra but it’s not working. When you recite the Gayathri Mantra, you can race it to finish a hundred and eight rounds quickly, or you can recite it properly. Many of you worry about getting to the end of the mala and I think as you sit here most of you are caught in that and keep looking how far the meru is. You shouldn’t do that because you’ll lose your concentration. The only time you should open your eyes is when you touch the meru. Then stop there.

How do you recite the Gayathri Mantra? Recite it slowly. (It should take at least thirty seconds to recite one mantra.) If you do it like that I can guarantee you will have so much peace in your life. But you don’t because you’re doing it wrong.  Don’t use your pointer finger and push the beads away from you. Use your thumb with the beads resting on your middle finger, and pull the beads towards you, like you’re calling them to you. Don’t push the beads away from you.

I’ll tell you a funny story. I always wondered why the Hare Krishna devotees have a bag with the beads inside and recite with their pointer finger sticking out of the bag. The other day I found out. I was watching one when all of a sudden his cellphone rang and that finger came in handy. I looked at him and I thought that Krishna was smart. He designed the finger sticking out for those guys. That is not concentration at all. Now every time you see one of them with his finger out, you’ll laugh. That finger gets you in trouble. The middle finger also gets you in trouble when you’re driving, but that’s another story.