Sunday, August 30, 2009


As far as our worldly way of life goes, we are constantly under illusions and delusions. These two limitations don’t allow us to see reality, to think rationally and to observe correctly. Again Sattva, Rajas, Tamas – the three Gunas – the attributes of Maya play the same vicious role. Time imposes many limitations. Our actions are misguided by Maya, our illusory existence. As a result we get only illusory happiness which ultimately results in unhappiness. Happiness is followed by unhappiness. The ever-changing scenario of life makes us ugly in old age. Through all hurdles and hitches and with tears we march into the lap of death, which again throws us into the net of births and re-births after suffering the hell-like life. Such is the life of an average human being.

To save all beings from such a plight, Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan provided a new dimension to the traditional vow of Ekadashi and asked one and all to observe it strictly.

Certain restrictions and observances are necessary for developing physical, moral, mental and spiritual strength. This is why Swami Vivekanand declared : ‘YOU MUST HAVE COURAGE TO SAY NO.'

For achieving maximum, durable happiness even in our routine life, for achieving spiritual bliss, for pleasing Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan and to make sure about our permanent stay in Akshardham after death, we have to retreat from extroversion and fall back to ambiversion. This can be done without much difficulty by observing the vow of Ekadashi.

This vow is called Ekadashithe vow of the eleven, because as defined by Shree Hari Himself – the vow of Ekadashi is said to have been performed when one withdraws ten senses and the eleventh, the mind; from their objects of pleasure and joining them to God. (Vachanamrit G.P. 38).

Shree Hari has laid greater emphasis upon the psychological side of this vow because ‘psyche’ originally meant the soul. And again, because mind is nearer to the self. On this day one has to make strong conscious efforts to control the five physical senses – the ears, the skin, the eyes, the tongue and the nose and five senses of knowledge – cognition and eleventh, the mind. The objects of pleasure of these senses are their subtle food.

On the physical side we have to practise change and restrictions in our diet to make the mind free from its conditional food-fads. Only light, non-irritant and less than enough diet should be sparingly taken.

The animal goes on fasting when weak or when it gets no food. Such fast or merely fasting has no spiritual benefits. This is called DHOR LANGHAN (Animal-fasting).

On the physical side too, we have to observe the following rules : (1) Violence of all types should be completely avoided, (2) Silence (except reciting devotional songs and stotras) should be observed, (3) Celibacy should be strictly observed, (4) Sleeping on a carpet at night, (5) Not sleeping at day time, (6) Special worship at home or at the temple, (7) Dishonesty in all dealings should be avoided cautiously, (8) Try to sit at one place and meditate upon God as far as you can, (9) Avoid all tasty dishes, (10) Keep awake at least up to midnight, singing devotional songs and (11) Listen to some holy scriptures.

Thus you have to make Ekadashi an extra-ordinary day of self-control which will develop your will-power elsewhere.

The vow of Ekadashi has its origin in a Puranic story. Lord Vishnu after withdrawing His eleven senses was once in Yoga-Nidra. Moor, the most powerful demon came to destroy Lord Vishnu. At that time a young girl manifested from the divine light of His senses. The demon asked for her hand in marriage, but she beheaded the demon. When Lord Vishnu woke up, she introduced herself as Ekadashi, as she manifested from God’s eleven senses. She got the boon from God that people would observe her vow (who seek for their Moksha, and spiritual bliss) described as before. This vow is observed on the eleventh days – both of the bright half and dark half of every month. It is observed daily by the liberated souls of Shvetdwipa.

Certain restrictions about diet are made on this day, because different diets have different effects on mind. To keep our mind and body light, fresh, Sattvic – light diet (except food-grains) should be taken on this day. Over eating on such a day will lead to drowsiness. As a result of that our senses may become excited and our mind cannot be inclined towards meditation and other devotional practices.

Satsangi Jeevan (C-3, Ch.–31) says that non observance of the vow of Ekadashi is a heinous sin (the sin that becomes an obstacle between your soul and God Supreme).

So, all our readers, should observe the vow of Ekadashi for better life here and best life hereinafter.

Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

Nectar of Divine

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Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

Chitra Varta

“A dog would like repeatedly bite a dry bone by taking it to a lonely place and when his mouth bleeds, the bone is smeared with blood which he licks and gets joy. But that stupid dog does not realize that the blood is his own and he finds it tasty!"

“Similarly a devotee of God even cannot give up the bone of conceit and whatever practice he does, he does it out of conceit but he does not practise devotion after learning all about it and for pleasing God. And even when he practises devotion, he loves conceit but not for pleasing God. And hardly there may be devotees like Ratanji and Miyanji who may be practising devotion to God only for pleasing God. But all cannot give up the taste for conceit."

Oh Tulsi, you’ve renounced
The lure of gold and love of women,
You care not for wealth and plate
You take but a frugal repast,
Yet your self-love leaves you

A person may give up gold, give up women and give up association with metals and he may eat sparingly. But as Tulsidas declares: He lives only by enjoying conceit.

Listening to this couplet Shreeji Maharaj said: “A person does not love anything as he loves conceit. So, he should be considered as the greatest among God’s devotees who worship God after giving up conceit.” (Vachanamrut Gadhada Madhya – 41).

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Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

Menstrual Cycle And Religion

Great significance is attached to the menstrual cycle of women in Swaminarayan Dispensation. Since the days of menstruation, are the days of unusual physiological activities and chemical changes in the female body, they are sure to have somatopsychological impact of unusual nature. The whole process is closely associated with the destruction and elimination of the creative potential principle, associated with potential pregnancy

The idea of the loss of blood in any form is closely connected with our fear of weakness and death. That is why consciously or unconsciously, the women feel a sense of sickness and depression and some unknown fear. Nature has provided a peculiar odour to this menstrual blood. This odour is repulsive to all. That is why, by nature the women in menstrual cycle prefer to remain aloof.

As this blood is likely to carry microbes, the women are considered to be sick and the food cooked by such a woman is considered to be unacceptable. Even Africans believed that food cooked by such a woman would make them sick. Some medical experts believe that the menstrual period adversely affects the job-performance. Mythologically the menstrual blood was looked upon as a sin. So the women of naskapi tribe in Canada conceited their faces with skin-veil and they slept on deer-hyde.

Just before the onset of the ejection of menstrual blood, the woman becomes more emotional and unpredictable. She also becomes slightly depressed. There are bouts of anger. At times, they weep for no apparent cause. They get strange food cravings. All this is said to be the result of chemical changes occurring in their bodies.

Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan ordains in Shikshapatri: “All female followers, married (including virgins) and widows should never conceal the fact of menstruation. – (Shikshapatri verse – 173).

The direction was given to provide prophylatic effect against the spread of diseases by menstrual blood. Women in various jobs have to touch men at times. This may be inevitable in few cases. But in most of cases women can pull on normally without touching any man or woman for 3 to 4 days without great difficulty or inconvenience Modern science sees through experiments but spiritually enlightened persons have found out certain truths through intuition. Which may be taken as hypothesis for modern medical science to find out truth behind them through experimentation and critical studies.

Shree Hari further directs: “And when they come into menses they shall not touch any person or other clothes for 3 days but on the 4th day, after taking bath, they may do so. – (Shikshapatri verse – 174).

There is deep meaning behind this verse. Women in those days were considered to be an instrument to fulfill all services towards the family and to give birth to child and to bring them up. For the woman, maximum hours of a day are taken-up for the duties towards the family. When the woman is having her period, for those 4 to 5 days she has a very piteous and destructive attitude. She does not know what to do with the energy which vibrates and haunts the innermost core of her being.

To make this destructive energy constructive, the woman has to become more alert and aware, so that she can rise a little higher than her biology. If she does not follow this, she is in grip of this destructive phase.

People generally deal with woman in these days as if she is a washerwoman of the house. They take maximum work from her in such critical period, which is totally unfair. She is a kind of patient, so she deserves sympathy.

Women are prohibited to touch person or clothes because they must be free at least these 3 to 4 days of stress. In such time they cannot perform rituals but they must do recitation and meditation. This will induce a harmony with their biological imbalance. And they will be free from the clutch of the above said destructive and depressive phase of the peculiar 3 to 4 days.

Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

Manushya Dehnu Mahatva

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Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal

Lotus Feet Of Lord Swaminarayan.

Lord Swaminarayan was at Samarkha, a village about seven kms. From anand. Two Brahmin devotees from Anand earnestly desired that the Lord must pay a holy visit to Anand. So, they went to Samarkha and prayed the Lord for that beseechingly. At that time Anand was the stronghold of Vaishnavas and Shaivites, some of whom felt that the new Holy Fellowship which Bhagwan Swaminarayan had organized was unworthy. So they were feeling strongly against it.

Lord Swaminarayan knew about this but the devotional sentiments of the two devotees were so strong that he had to agree to visit Anand. Then the two devotees left for advance preparation for receiving the Lord at Anand.

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But as soon as the word spread that Lord Swaminarayan was to visit Anand, the fanatic group of opponents opposed the plan vehemently and decided to form a mob and to stop the entry of the Lord by fighting tooth and nail.

Lord Swaminarayan, being omniscient foresaw all this. He instructed all the members of His entourage to remain completely disciplined and non-violent to the last breath. Then they proceeded towards Anand. As the procession of the entourage reached Anand, the miscreants threw dust, dung and stones at them but they all remained cool and calm and did not raise the voice or their hands even! They silently passed on and retreated without any grudge, to Vadtal.

At the holy assembly held at Vadtal all expressed sorrow at the incident but the dacoit-turned staunch devotee Joban Pagi said : “Lord, if your Lordship permits we would place huge heaps of thorns around Anand and destroy the whole town through a devastating conflagration.

The Lord said : “I have come upon the earth to create; not to destroy, to develop; not to damage and to build; not to break.” Saying this He spread some food grains from a heap before Him. The doves swooped upon the food grains, and when they pecked the food grains, they passed into super conscious state of divine bliss!

Then the Lord said : “The lives of all are under My command. I am the omnipotent Lord."

Raising the hand in blessing, our Lord smiled and looked at the doves. And lo! The doves came to life and flew away!

Then some Brahmins came there and bowed down to the Lord with respect and said: “Lord, when we just look at your physical form, you look like human being but when we look at your holy feet with distinct, remarkable signs, we are fully convinced that they are the marks of Godhood."

The Lord smiled at them and said : “Brahma, the creator of this universe prayed for his fifty years (amounting to millions of human years). Then only I have come upon the earth so that people can worship My feet to ensure ultimate, immortal place in My residence, Akshardham."

The Lord’s lotus-feet have sixteen holy signs, symbolic of His Godhood and we shall describe them in the next issue.

Design & Concept : Jnan Baug, Vadtal