November 29th, 2017
follow site IDG– http://stlbrunch.com/category/outside-the-box/page/2/ Intimate, Dependable God– Yes, that is how God is: our own, and absolutely dependable and trustworthy. The day we put complete faith in Him alone, we realize this. I have experienced this through my mentor for so many years. Ishwar Devi Gupta wrote her initials as IDG, and truly her life was nothing, but IDG: Intimately Depending on God. A follower of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa she had a godly core in her heart and never had an iota of even the spiritual ego about her being so privileged to receive God’s grace and command. All things, she said, are drafted and driven by God: make your plans but surrender them to God for only His plan works out.
She told me that you would find many people good at preaching or singing in the temples, but when you go to their homes, you find their lives in a mess. You cannot know a person’s walk with God from a person’s actions in a temple. You should closely see a person, in his daily life to know if s/he has a real character of God. I did not understand it fully at that time. But since I had developed a lot of love and respect for her, I started going to her home and started helping her in God’s work on a daily basis. The first day I went to her, she gave me a small emblem having Ma Sarada’s (the Holy Mother’s) saying on it: Many are known to do great works under the stress of some strong emotion. But a man’s true nature is known from the manner in which he does his insignificant daily tasks. (Insignificant daily tasks are like cleaning your house, cleaning your bathroom, making your bed, keeping your children clean, treating your neighbor, treating your maid, treating your elders and many more). I now realize what it meant.
One day a middle-aged male devotee came and said to her that he wanted to learn spirituality. She asked him: do you know how to knead the dough? And when he said no, she asked him to learn and practice it first before he even thinks of knowing spirituality. This, she said, was necessary for a person to become self-dependent. If you cannot sustain yourself and are dependent on someone else to fulfill your smallest and so basic need of yours (i.e. to be able to feed yourself), you can never attain God. Also, it helps to smother the ego. For being dependent on God, you need to learn to be dependent on yourself alone first.
About trust: She told me one day, ‘you cannot give what you do not have.’ ‘Your trust in others is not your trust in their person, but in God, and He will return your trust manifold.’
She also emphasized on always remembering your weaknesses. The point she emphasized was, by remembering your weaknesses and submitting them to God, you ask for forgiveness, and grace from Him. She would tell me: ‘Put your best in your work and do not rest till it is finished completely. After that pray to God and surrender your work to Him not expecting a reward, but only blessings and love from Him. Praise God because it is He who got it done from you. And thus, you will always be at peace.’
Work according to her, was not a means to live, but a worship of God who rewards you with a living and His company. One thing that struck me deep inside the heart is her saying: ‘You should stretch and try to climb up to God, rather than bring Him down for your convenience.’ We desperately seek God, when we are in need, but at other times, we do not even remember Him. But if we make Him our own and put Him first, we will find Him with us at all times.
And this was the best thing she told me: God is the most important person in your life. Always keep Him first and He will never fail you. There are many more things to write. But the key to all her wisdom is: how to love God, make Him your own and put Him first in your life, and thus enjoy daily living! -Vinay Mehta
November 12th, 2017
Some of us, very often, rather daily, read the scripture to make us aware of God’s prescription for our lives as a routine. Many of us are content with just reading it, and believe that just reading would be much beneficial to us, and that “we” are far better than others who do not even glance at the Word. God, however, sees us differently. I would like to quote two scriptures that are close to my heart in this regard:
The Bible says in James (1:22) “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Thakur makes us understand this with an interesting story: “A man received a letter from home informing him that certain presents were to be sent to his relatives. The names of the articles were given in the letter. As he was about to go shopping for them, he found that the letter was missing. He began anxiously to search for it, several others joining in the search. For a long time, they continued to search. When at last the letter was discovered, his joy knew no bounds. With great eagerness, he opened the letter and read it. It said that he was to buy five seers of sweets, a piece of cloth, and a few other things. Then he did not need the letter anymore, for it had served its purpose. Putting it aside, he went out to buy the things. How long is such a letter necessary? As long as its contents are not known. When the contents are known one proceeds to carry out the directions.
“In the scriptures, you will find the way to realize God. But after getting all the information about the path, you must begin to work. Only then can you attain your goal.
“What will it avail a man to have a mere scholarship? A pundit may have studied many scriptures, he may recite many sacred texts, but if he is still attached to the world and if inwardly he loves ‘woman and gold’, then he has not assimilated the contents of the scriptures. For such a man the study of scriptures is futile.
“The almanac forecasts the rainfall tor the year. You may squeeze the book, but you won’t get a drop of water — not even a single drop.”
Therefore, my friends, the key to a happy life is to practice the scripture in our life. Without it, we remain where we are and do not progress to the next level. Moving forward means that we are learning our lessons from the scripture and then practicing them in our daily lives.
God bless you with the practice of the Word!- Vinay Mehta
September 6th, 2017
In view of how people are choosing their Gurus, I thought of sharing something that will make us understand that we need to use our discernment when we choose a Guru. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa emphasized that a human being cannot be a Guru, only Satchidananda (God) is Guru. What does this mean? When we go ahead and start following someone the first thing one needs to look into is, whether he/she is a renouncer or an accumulator. Jesus, Guru Nanak, Mohammad, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, were true renouncers, they were God incarnate. Why do we then not hold on to the Truth instead of holding the fake?
I want to share something of Sri Ramakrishna’s character which will further clarify my point. When Sri Ramakrishna wanted to teach humility to himself, this is what He did (as per excerpt below). This has been picked by from the book of Swami Vivekananda- Swamiji on Himself, in Swamiji’s own words.
Whenever he (Sri Ramakrishna) wanted to do anything he never confined himself to fine theories but would enter into the practice immediately. We see many persons talking the most wonderfully fine things about charity and about equality and the rights of other people and all that, but it is only in theory. I was so fortunate as to find one who was able to carry theory into practice. He had the most wonderful faculty of carrying everything into practice which he thought was right. Now, there was a family of Pariahs living near the place. . . . My Master would go to a Pariah and ask to be allowed to clean his house. The business of the Pariah is to clean the streets of the cities and to keep houses clean. . . . By birth, the Brahmin stands for holiness and the Pariah for the very reverse. And this Brahmin asked to be allowed to do the menial services in the house of the Pariah. The Pariah, of course, could not allow that, for they all think that if they allow a Brahmin to do such menial work it will be an awful sin, and they will become extinct. The Pariah would not permit it; so in the dead of night, when all were sleeping, Ramakrishna would enter the house. He had long hair, and with his hair he would wipe the place, saying, “Oh, my Mother, make me the servant of the Pariah, make me feel that I am even lower than the Pariah”. . . .
All are Avataras are an epitome of humility. Thus, when you desire for a Guru, ask God to become your Guru, I did and learned the true meaning of who a true Guru is. God only is the One who has clarified all questions lurking in my soul and spirit. So seek God!
August 16th, 2017
On August 16th an Avatar leela (sport) came to an end in 1886, when Thakur Sri Ramakrishna left His mortal body.
Thakur told His devotees till the time they did not come here (meaning to Him), they had forgotten who they were; now they will be able to understand who they are. God comes in form of Guru to make the devotee understand his real nature.
To emphasize His point, he narrated a story. A tigress attacked a flock of goats. A hunter saw her from far and killed her. There was a cub in her tummy and while she died the cub was born. That cub initially had milk of the goats and as he started to grow in the flock of goats. Subsequently, he grew big but would eat only grass and bleat like a goat. And during an animal attack would run like the goats.
One day a ferocious tiger attacked the flock of goats. He was shocked to see a tiger eating grass among them and running with them. The ferocious tiger without going after the goats caught hold of this tiger who had been brought up by the goats. That other tiger started bleating and wanted to run away. That is when the ferocious tiger dragged him to the water hole and forced him to see himself in the water. He said to him, see just as my face is the shape of a bone, your face too is like that. After that, the ferocious tiger forced a piece of meat into his mouth and asked him to eat. Initially, the other tiger wouldn’t eat but after a while, he got the taste of meat and started eating it. The ferocious tiger said, you were with the goats and started eating grass like them, shame on you, the other tiger felt embarrassed.
Eating grass means living with lust for money and women/men. Running and bleating like a goat is like living a life of an ordinary being. Going with Tiger is like Guru who has helped you to realize God, to surrender unto him. Seeing your own face meaning knowing your own Self.
This story brings forth a great lesson for each of us who seek God. Knowing that a true Guru who is none other than God Himself when comes in human form makes you realize your true Self. God bless you with discernment and dispassion which would help you realize your true Self.
July 16th, 2017
I’ve read this so many times while contemplating on the Words of Sri Ramakrishna and also read in the Word through the Holy Mother Sarada Devi that -“One may have the grace of the Guru; the grace of God, and the grace of his devotees, but without the grace, of one’s own mind, one may be completely ruined”. It always amazed me, the connection of mind with realizing God. When I read this excerpt of Swami Premananda’s teachings, it made so much sense, that I knew I had to share this.
Following is the excerpt-
I have heard Sri Ramakrishna say: “One may have the grace of the Guru; the grace of Krishna [God], and the grace of his devotees, but without the grace, of one’s own mind, one may be completely ruined”. What is this grace of one’s own mind? It is that, one must desire God and struggle to realize Him. He must struggle to purify his mind. Have firm faith in your own Self. “I will surely find God, I can never fail” – this self-confidence and firm determination are needed. Let the field be ready; then, if a good seed falls upon it, the seed will sprout and grow into a tree. Increase your love for God. Let strong renunciation and intense yearning possess you. Then only will you experience God’s grace and receive peace. (Refer Mark 4:8, Mathew 13:8 and Luke 8:8)
The above teaching explained and spoke by itself everything. That also answers why one must spend time with God, or with Holy (sadhu) people. Why one must study the scripture and worship God. Why one needs to sing His praises and focus on developing a relationship with Him. Because till the direction of the mind is not changed from the World, to the lotus feet of God, it will never yearn for God. It is rightly said that the company you choose to spend your time with, that colour your mind adorns. So, one needs to soak the mind in those things that makes you remember God, just as if you soak your hands in handling peeled beetroot, your hands will get the ruby colour of beetroot.
Thus, once the field of your mind is ready and prepared, realization comes through His grace.
June 23rd, 2017
Three questions were put forth to Thakur Sri Ramakrishna by Sri M, the author of the Sri Sri Ramakrihsna Kathamrita- How does one realize God? What is experiencing or seeing God like? And how does it happen?
To this, Thakur gave a detailed reply. People who are walking on the path of God or who have realized God- are categorized as- starter (pravartak), seeker (saadhak), knower (siddha) and realized (siddha of siddhas). One who has just now started walking on God’s path is a starter. One who worships, meditates, sings His praises is a seeker. One who has known that God is there, he is a knower. There is an example in the Vedanta – A person is lying in a dark room. Another person comes looking for him in the dark room, touching the window he says this is not him, touching the door he says, not him. In the end his hand touches the body of the man, he then knows that yes, it is him. Meaning, he has known that the person he was looking for is there but he has not been able to see him in his form.
There is another category, called realized. If the knower is able to communicate and talk to the person he was looking for then this is a different state like if one is able to communicate with God out of love and devotion for Him. Even the knower has known God but the realized being has interacted with God in a very special way.
Thakur says to realize God one must adopt a specific relationship with Him. Relationship can be that of peace, a servant, a friend, mother, child or a lover.
Peace, the rishis had a peace attitude. They did not lust for any desire of the world except for God.
Servant, like Hanuman. He was like a lion when he served Ram, ever ready.
Friend, come and sit with me. Sridas and other gopas would feed Krishna with their eaten fruit and would make Him sit on their shoulders.
Mother’s love, Yashoda would think if I don’t take care of Krishna, who would. Like a mother feels completely satisfied when her son eats full stomach.
Lover, like Radha. This relationship in itself has peaceful, servant, friend and mother’s love. Like a wife has for her husband.
Sri Ramakrishna had an attitude of a child, he would say that in Kaliyuga, seeing God as Father/mother is the best relationship. This relationship helps you depend on God easily.
Sri M. asked – can one see God through these eyes only? To which Thakur replied that one cannot see Him with physical eyes. When one yearns for God consistently he develops a special form of love, eyes of love and ears of love. Through these he sees and through those ears he is able to hear God’s voice. Till one does not get deep love for God, it does not happen.
May 6th, 2017
Thank you God for choosing your people to get your work done. Thank you to our precious donors for their unflinching support for God’s work.🙂
April 22nd, 2017
Karma has been quite a hot topic for some people irrespective of whichever religion they belong to. So, I thought let me share something about Karma. Sometime back we had shared a message – Even the injunctions of destiny are cancelled if one takes refuge in God. Destiny strikes off with her own hand what she has written about such a person. What does it mean? As per Hindus, Sikhs, Jains or Buddhists whatever actions you do, in thought or in physical world, right or wrong (karma), you’ll bear the result of them. Same way in Bible too it is written that- what a man sows, so shall he reap. And I noticed that some people get so much focused on the law of Karma that they make it superior and higher to God. Well, the Law of Karma is UNDER God. When you love Him with all your heart, no laws can hurt you, neither you need to fear them, because the One who created those laws is with you all the time. But for those who believe in the Law of Karma to be above God, it works for them that way only.
An observation I would like to share, people who talk about karma all the time remain focused on other people’s karma and as a result forget about their own karma and are unable to bring a change in themselves, while the one who sees God superior to all, humbles himself in front of God and is always willing to change. So, his life remains healthy and happy, and nothing wrong happens through him.
Hence, the above words of the Holy Mother Sarada Devi, that even the injunctions of destiny are cancelled, are true to the core.
March 26th, 2017
I would like to share with you something that God revealed to me. God fulfills all our deepest desires sometime or the other in our life. Sometimes we remember and other times we forget. You would have noticed someone got rich after starting a new business and whatever he put his hand in would flourish and prosper. While on the other hand there is this other person no matter how talented she/he is, they are not able to flourish in terms of worldly prosperity or in other words, money.
Also, sometimes I see some people become so popular and liked by people around them even though someone else would be doing the same thing but they are more popular and liked for whatever they do. We end up thinking probably the person is more tactful or their stars are shining bright. The person also gets deluded by his/her own thinking that it is his/her own efforts that made him suddenly rich or I am so nice that people like me. But the actual reason is that it is God fulfilling the deep desire of your heart to be liked by others and it’s through God’s power the person is becoming rich or popular (or in other words God through those people appreciated you and you felt accepted).
So, what is this fulfilling of desires? Every soul adorns a body to fulfill the desires or in other words भोग करने के लिये ही आत्मा शरीर धारण करती है . Only when all desires of the soul through various births are exhausted, only then does it become free to go back to its original abode, that is in God. So this also explains why some others are not able to get the desired results, because even though the mind does not realize it, that soul has already fulfilled its desires. So, next time when something good manifests through you, know that it not your effort but God’s power manifesting through you.
February 15th, 2017
This is a very special month, why special because we celebrate the 181st birthday of Sri Ramakrishna who was God in mortal form as He descended to earth and blessed this country with His pious presence on February 18th, 1836. Though as per Hindu calendar we would be celebrating on 28th February, this year.
Recently God revealed to me about journey of a devotee relating to the advent of various Avataras, which I thought must be shared with you. Leading the life of a devotee is not easy. God revealed that when Sri Ram and Mother Sita came to earth, their life was full of challenges, there was never a time where they could enjoy and live together as a couple and enjoy the bliss of being Divine. Hanuman, the humble servant of Sri Ram always waited for that time, but it was like – there is never a dull moment. When they married, they were sent to exile where they faced many challenges including slaying of many demons, including Ravana. When they returned and Mother Sita was carrying she was sent away from the palace in that state. And in all this it seemed God (Sri Ram) was heartless and least concerned especially to Mother Sita whose heart remembered only Sri Ram. Same is the first stage in a devotee’s life – it’s like there is never a dull moment, he gets out of one test and before he can even breathe, he is into another. But all this while, if devotee clings to God alone, he comes out stronger, bolder and evolved. Sri Ram through Hanuman taught how Bhakti is most precious and faith in His Name is absolutely essential.
The second stage of a devotee’s life is like coming of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna came as Avatar, He was completely different in His dealings from Sri Ram. He taught the world how it was essential to be skillful to reign over one’s enemies. And His teachings to us in the clearest form are in the Bhagvad Gita. The Gita can only be understood, practiced and followed by a true devotee. A devotee is pure and simple at heart, the main criteria for a soul to receive God in heart. But this makes worldly people take advantage of devotees. Sri Krishna’s ways teach a devotee how to deal with world. Thakur Sri Ramakrishna used to say that why would a believer of God be a fool. And it is essential for a devotee to learn at this stage. This stage in a devotee’s life is life-changing. Initially devotee is apprehensive because a devotee is projected in a particular way. But when he accepts the change, his understanding of God’s ways enables him to adapt.
Then Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa came, and he came very recently. Thakur’s main teachings evolved around Bhakti, pure love and pure devotion for God, without which a devotee cannot depend on God completely. This teaches a devotee to surrender, see God as a person and develop a relationship with Him. Thakur emphasized that it was essential for a devotee to see God as his friend, as a parent, or any other relationship other than that of lover. A relationship makes the devotion deeper and profound.
I believe this revelation would help you in your walk with God to make your relationship with God stronger and deeper. Though at the same time I would like to emphasize this revelation does not mean God has come only as these three Avataras, because once Sri Krishna asked Arjun to count how many black things were there on a tree, when Arjun went close he saw countless faces of Krishna. Sri Krishna told Arjun can a human mind understand, it is like these countless fruit that I come in various forms.
God bless you in everything that you do-Shalini Mehta