Saturday, August 17, 2019

190825 - 25th August 2019 : MEDITATION IN ACTION

श्री  गणेश  मंदिर   -  शिक्षा वाणी
Sri Ganesh mandir - Serene Sunday Reflections
25th August 2019 : MEDITATION IN ACTION
KEYWORDS :: Karma Yoga, Meditation, Samadhi, Action, Passion, Rashtra Dharma, Jnana, Bhakti

Last week we reflected on the Importance of Karma, On the path of Karma, Karma Yoga with fully aware of the chosen destination and path as prescribed by scripters, following Dharma Sasthra through the Jnana-Marga in Devotion, Bhakti Marga; what we do is Mediation in Action / Meditative Action or Dynamic Meditation.
Meditation is Samadhi conceptually and practically it is Dharana as people practice Guided meditation, that too for a specific interval of time in groups etc. When Samadhi is the state in which you are not connected to this world and is within you, how is this possible.
As per ashtanga yoga, yama (), niyama (self-discipline), asana (Physical yoga – body making flexible), pranayama (breath practice), prathyahara (withdrawing sensory perception), dharana (concentrating on one, focused), Dhyana (devotional), samadhi (merge into self) are the progressive steps for meditation.
You must have seen when one drives, his focus is in driving and when (s)he could do it so casually and all the actions are perfect and quick response to situations without any brain activity is what proves that (s)he is an expert driver. He is in fact in Meditative action. And he is enjoying driving, the brain is not taxed and long drive is so casual. Ask him to be in a place closed eyes, it may be so difficult for him and makes him upset as he thinks the time he was wasting and is unproductive.
Same is the case with one cleaning a place, setting-up the house, reading, music, cooking, walking, lecturing, doing worship, bhajan etc. But each of us have to choose the modes of work that makes us to find in the mind of no taxing, casual, and soothing to make the life in bliss. Mostly this activity that gives us this state is that which we call as hobby, or passion.
Not many are gifted with a profession that could be a passion. But assume you are skillful and also devoted fully in that, then the action is that you enjoy. That means if the karma in which you have enough jnana and is submitted with full bhakti, that is what is Meditation in Action. Thus Jnana-Yoga and Bhakti-Yoga mixed in the action that you are leading into  Karma-Yoga then that is what is Meditation in Action.
Question is will it be possible to make many / most of the activities in life as meditative, then you are in bliss. Else, for the time being when one is in that action, he is happy and rest of the time again in agony. This shouldn’t happen, as work is not done for the life; but life itself is work. Thinking that I am working to live is waste as when we work, that time itself you are not living. As whole life we are in action and the action itself is not to lead to what you think is the target of life, it is the path that is the target in the life when we think of each and every stage in relation to earlier and next stage in life.
Learning is to get a job to earn. If learning is not meditative and you don’t enjoy, you will somehow push the days and you are in a job. Your job is for getting a good wife and a good status in life. The job in hand is just done as you are aiming for something from it and it itself is not interesting. The wife and status is not your aim, but it is that what you wanted to show others that you have and you are neither enjoying all that is around in us. So whole life goes with all these troubles of future and more of external satisfaction and nothing in as to self is seen interesting and passionate. No happiness is seen and found in life, family, society, etc.
Meditative action is not just one action in meditation, all that we are into must be in sequence made into meditative and enjoying experience to make life meaningful and meditative. Any job when added to skill/knowledge and done in devotion with people around us who can enjoy the benefit, that means your actions are for a public better and social motive, you enjoy the fruit of it from the feelings of others, specialy to the benefit of the nation you are in (Rashtra Dharma).
This is the focus of Karma Yoga in Bhagavad Gita, therefore we shall reflect on Bhagavad Gita in the coming week.
----- Next Week 1st September 2019 – Bhagavad Gita ------

190818 - 18th August 2019: IMPORTANCE OF KARMA (ACTION)

श्री  गणेश  मंदिर   -  शिक्षा वाणी
Sri Ganesh mandir - Serene Sunday Reflections
KEYWORDS :: Karma, Yogam, Margam, Action, Intention, Timeline, Meditative Action

Having reflected on Jnana-Margam (path of Knowledge), now we shall discuss Karma Yogam - Importance of Action. Karma Yogam is to purify the thoughts/mind. Karma Yogam prescribes dharma in work as a Godly action with Awareness, Detachment, Joy, Compassion, and Love; benefit for the self is unimportant in comparison to the larger good.
The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit word “Kri” meaning to do. Any action that we do and its aftereffects are called Karma. Our Karma determines what we deserve and what we can assimilate. With regard to Karma-Yoga, the Gita mentions it as the science of doing work with cleverness. According to Gita when one knows how to work, he/she can obtain the greatest results. A man works with various motives - people work for fame, money, power, satisfaction, etc. [KARMA YOGA by Swamy Vivekananda].
Action is done with two intentions - Sakama and Nishkama. Sakama Karma is done with a selfish motive. There is no yogam for sakama karma as it is a bondage and creates egoism, hatred and jealousy. Nishkama Karma breaks the bondage of karma and hence is a selfless action. Forgiveness, helping, compassionate behaviour of humanity are the examples of selfless action leading to renunciation, which further purifies the mind.
Based on the timeline, Karma is categorized into Sanchita - Prarabdha - Agami Karmas; which are based on the actions we had performed in the past, performing now & the result of the actions we will perform in the future. Sanchita karma is an accumulated work of the past. Prarabdha is the karma (performed action) is responsible for the present condition of a person, as a debt of our past karma. Agami means forthcoming, which can be modified according to the actions that we are into at this moment. The Law of Karma states that what we do in the past defines our present and our present will govern the future.
It is not what we do that matters, but how we do is important too which is explained through this famous Story of the Three Brick Masons. When the masons were asked what they were doing - the first one answered, “I’m building a wall”, the second one replied, “I’m working in order to earn money for my family”. But, the third man enthusiastically said, “I’m building a cathedral!”
There is a joy in acting (serving) naturally out of enthusiasm and generosity without anxieties, fears, and expectations. None in this world, when they are in jagrath (not in sleep) can avoid Karma; wanted or not, consciously or unconsciously all of us are into action.
When we add the word Yogam, it means an action performed with meditative awareness. So, Karma Yogam is actually the yoga of Dynamic Meditation or Meditation in Action. Next week we shall reflect on this Meditation in Action.
----- Next Week 25th August 2019 – Meditation in Action ------

190811 - IMPORTANCE OF GNANA/JNANA (Knowledge)

Sri Ganesh Mandir - Serene Sunday Reflections
श्री  गणेश  मंदिर   -  शिक्षा वाणी :: 11th August 2019 
KEYWORDS :: Veda, Knowledge, Jnana, Bliss, Gnana, Marga, Yogam, Logic, Devotion, Action

Last week we reflected on Prayers leading to Devotion, Bhakti Yogam. To attain the blessings of God, Hindu philosophy prescribes three paths, Bhakti (devotion), Karma (action), and Gnana / Jnana (wisdom). We shall now discuss on Importance of Jnana.
When one speaks of Hinduism, the first and foremost word that gets associated is Veda which means knowledge (Jnana). All the associated scriptures on Veda, Upa-Veda, Vedangas, Bhrahmana, Aranyaka, Upanishads,  Ithihasa, etc and millions of Commentaries and Interpretations on all these are aiming at leading us through Jnana Margam (the spiritual path that emphasizes Knowledge) for self-realization in search of the answer to the question who am I.
In earlier reflections on purusharthas and moksha ( we learned that dharma is utmost important. Realizing this dharma is the path, one has to know, this knowing is what is prescribed through the ithihasa purushas (members introduced in the texts like Ramayana and Mahabharata).
Even in Bhagavad Gita Krishna took the confused and sad Arjuna from the Vishadha Yogam (1st chapter) through the Karma and Bhakti Yogam and finally through Jnana Yogam to the Moksha Sanyasa Yogam (18th chapter).
Bhagavad Gita which is the essence of Upanishads logically takes us to the devotional karma applying knowledge. Hindu scriptures clearly say “युक्तियुक्तं वचो ग्राह्यं बालादपि शुकादपि 
अयुक्तमपि  ग्राह्यं साक्षादपि बृहस्पतेः 
(yuktiyukta vaco grāhya bālādapi
śukādapi, ayuktamapi na grāhya sākādapi bhaspate)
Anyone speaking with logic should be recognized, even let it be a child or a parrot. Illogical words should not be taken, even if it is coming from Brihaspati - God’s Guru.
Thus, knowledge is that which makes one able to get to the discriminative, logical, analytical, creative, balanced thinking in understanding the practical life. Jnana marga is to travel through the righteous and true path tested over time and space being in the real world. Even the supreme being (God) has examples to show what is dharma (to be followed) and adharma (not to be followed). For example, adhering to dharma was of priority for them before any relations (Ramayana and Mahabharata are the classic examples). Thus, one can get to God through devotion for a larger cause with detached attachment and attached detachment and by being in the present.
Here we have reflected on Gnana as the base for Hindu philosophy. Next week we shall reflect on Karma path according to the Hinduism.
----- Next Week 18th August 2019 - Importance of Karma ------

190804 - 4th August 2019 : PRAYERS IN DAILY LIFE

श्री  गणेश  मंदिर   -  शिक्षा वाणी
Sri Ganesh mandir - Serene Sunday Reflections
4th August 2019 : PRAYERS IN DAILY LIFE
KEYWORDS :: Hymn, Mantra, Sthothra, Bhajan, Prayer, Chanting, Worship, Hindu Home

Last week we reflected on the Energy in Manthra in Temples and drawn a parallel to Prayers in Daily Life in Homes. Heart of Hinduism is in the Homes of Hindus. Prayers is the Life of Hinduism. Thus Prayers in Daily Life is most important to every Hindus. Prayers are the asset that traditions from the past transferred to us and we are responsible to pass it to the next generation. There are uncountable prayers around uncountable God/Godesses apart from hymns / manthras / sookthas / suthras / anushtups / chanda  etc. in the Vedic Texts. We shall now see only the Daily Prayers and reserve our discussions on scripters one by one in the later weeks.
Hinduism doesn’t prescribe a style of Prarthana (Prayer / worship / adore / honour / pay respect) to individuals at home. It is all the tradition and culture imbibed from past or picked up from relatives or friends and at times it is prescribed by their mentors / GURU. Home worship may have a family chosen (deity – Kula (family) deva (God) or an Ishta (favourate) Deva) shrine / a few pictures / murti on a shelf in the living room / kitchen or a dedicate room to worship and be in Dhyana (devotion in prayers).
A scaled version of the temple Puja (worship process) could be a half an hour in the morning / evening or both times after bath and chanting manthras related to cleanliness like Sapta Sudhi etc.. Children are learned by practice and no special training is generally done on this. The sequence in puja could be Gayatri Mantra, Santhi mantra, Ganesha Vandanam and followed by decorations and offerings and then sthuthi (praising); all these are through japa (prayers).
As part of the Puja at Home,  light, flower, water and incense, and/or fruit / the food before eating is offered to God/Godess and believed it as the Prasad (Sanctified), during this prasada offering at times ‘Sahana vavathu sahanau bhunakthu…’ is chanted (to have the concept that God too is living and eating with us). A puja thali (plate) consists of a Diyaa/lamp, Haldi/Kumkum, Sweet meats or fruits, Water, Bell, incense, and Perfume sticks. All these ingradients are offered with specific mantha / chanting / sloka / sthuthi / sloka / sthothra /  Aarti (circumblation of light around the puja is generally with Prayers. This will be continued with the japa (prayers in silence) and or Bhajan (group singing).
After the pooja is done, Kumkum / Vibhoothi (Sacred Ash) is put on the forehead and Prasadam (Nivedhyam) (a bit of the sanctified food is consumed) with appropriate Prayers like (brahmarpanam …). Then do an athma pradakshina with chanting kani-yani-cha-papani….. followed by sashtanga pranamam by laying on the floor stretching folded hands towards the puja place. May read more at
All these activities have a scientific / philosophical / spiritual meaning and deep understanding is what one has to learn, for want of space we will not get into those details. Could read
Just now we reflected by discussing the Bhakti (devotion) path to attain the blessings of God. The other major path as per Hindu Philosophy is Gnana (Wisdom path) which we shall reflect in the coming week.
----- Next Week 11th August 2019 - Importance of Gnana ------

Friday, August 2, 2019

190802 - Making of Sri Ganesh Mandir - I do HOPE

Message from DrTPS for Sri Ganesh Mandir – Groundbreaking
Planning and Making a temple with all the rituals in it is part of the process of self-learning and realizing the importance of Hinduism to ourselves, friends and relatives at large to our community apart from sharing the experience with the coming generations who are to take it forward. Temple and the activities around it – like puja, festivals, religious and spiritual classes, and discussions, art, culture, etc are important for all around us in a culturally shifted community like American Indians as that is the way to receive, experience, learn and transfer the age-old tradition of sanathana dharma. Not compromising on the spiritual values and the significance we are here to follow ritual experiences from the ground-breaking to the long-anticipated follow-up and maintenance of the temple for the next many generations to come. When one has to take pride, let this American community think of this Sri Ganesh Mandir as not just a temple but tradition that is brought from native to this new world of each of the Hindu-Indians and followers to follow the heritage and use it in this modern life to be in bliss. I hope to see the Traditional Steps are followed in the making of the Temple, as this will be lessons for the community and all the generations to come.

Ground Breaking of a HINDU Temple
– Bhumi Puja Vidhi (Prescription)
[First part of this article is made on 28th July 2019 on Srikanth’s request and posted to Vijaygopal for the 3rd August 2019 Groundbreaking as tri-leaf distribution for the proposed Sri Ganesh Mandir. Guessing - that the Gharbhakudi Puja as Sasthra Prescription is not being done as the NE corner for the House / Shed Bhumi Puja is done and not at the Brahmasthana. Thought of writing this edited/added version on this day 2nd August 2019, as an answer to those who were asking me the details of Groundbreaking. It could be modified for the American way.]

   Hinduism has approximately 1.1 billion adherents worldwide (15–16% of world's population). Nepal (81.3%) and India(79.8%) are countries with Hindus being the majority of their respective populations.  There are an estimated over  60 to 70 million Hindus who lived outside India. In USA there are around 2,300,000 (2017) Hindus, that is  
0.7% of the U.S. population.
Hinduism is by BIRTH and not adapted. Many Hindus are callow and are yet to be schooled in the noble religion they had been born into. Hinduism is existing in this world for past millions of years and is still relevant because of its Values and Virtues, called SANATHANA DHARMA (meaning Chirapurathana – Oldest of the oldest; and Most Modern – Nithya Noothana). Hindus live with the concept of Vasudhaiva kutumbakam, "The whole world is one family" with The Virtue of Nonviolence, The Wisdom of Tolerance, and Effective Forms of Worship.
HINDU Gods are omnipresent as is in our Mind which can reach-out anywhere, it is symbolic to place God in a Room, in a Temple in shape as God is indescribable. But to permeate the concept and religious practices to the Generations from the past, temples installed.
Hindu temples in every corner of the world offer Hindus an achievable way to experience God's sacred presence. Divinity's presence uplifts those attending the temple, inspiring them to bring forth and perpetuate traditional Hindu culture in the form of sacred music, art and dance. As such, the temple becomes the hub of religious life in the surrounding Hindu community and thus is undeniably relevant to modern life.
Hinduism has tools, maps and guidelines for reaching every space of human goals. Through Purusharthas (4-fold stages in life achievements) explained in steps of Kama (desire), attaining Artha (wealth) through Dharma (Values) to attain Moksha (Happiness) is lessons from Temples.
First and MOST Popular event when  - HINDUISM Discussed in the United States was Swami Vivekananda's address to the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. He spent two years in the United States, and lectured in several cities including Detroit, Boston, and New York. 
  Hindu temples come in many styles, are situated in diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs, yet almost all of them share certain core ideas, symbolism and themes.
HINDU Temples in AMERICA was started by the Vedanta Society by building first informal temple in United States (1906). Traditional Temple (Mandir) in the United States is Shiva Murugan Temple, Concord, CA (1957) known as Palanisamy Temple. Today there are around 500 Hindu Temples across the United States.

     Hinduism is one such religion which has a ritual for almost every occasion in a person's life. Be it the birth of a child, marriage or buying a new house, there are certain rituals which have to be followed without fail. One of the basic rituals which is followed in almost all the Hindu occasions is the Havan or Homa.
HAVAN is an age-old Hindu ritual in which offerings of ghee, googol, sugar and other saamaagri are offered into the sacred fire to the accompaniment of Sanskrit mantras. Fire is the central element of this "sacrifice ritual" because the fire destroys the offering (HAVIS). Fire has been regarded as The Prime God - SUN. Hence, the offerings made to the sacred fire is said to purify the surroundings as well as the individuals. The sacred fire is supposed to be the link between human consciousness and the cosmic consciousness. A Havan is performed with the aim to achieve material as well as spiritual success.
     Purpose of Havan According to the scientific theory, matter can neither be created nor destroyed. It can be only transformed from one form to another. Therefore, whatever is offered to the fire in a Havan is transformed from a material form to non-material form and is said to directly reach the divine spirits.
The process of BHOOTHA-SUDDHI (purification) of the TATWAS (material elements) is what is attained through HAVAN, thereby transforming one’s thoughts and behavior (Anger, Rash, irrational thinking etc.) to Calm, Tranquil and place the individual as a Citizen in the society in BLISS, which offers a brighter DAILY LIFE.
  As part of the BHOOMI POOJA (Ground-Breaking) major POOJA is for the brahmasthana /Garbhagraha (the main shrine) where the seat of the presiding Deity will be placed. At the base of the foundation of the brahmasthana, located at the station of Brahma on the vastu-purusha-mandala, a ritual called the garbhadhana. The ritual is to invite the soul of the temple to enter within the building to construct. During this ritual, a golden box is placed in the earth as part of the ground-breaking ceremony. The box is ritualistically filled with the presence of the corresponding God/Goddesses planned to be installed as the main Deity. At times the NAVARATNA (diamond, emerald, ruby, pearl, yellow sapphire, blue sapphire, red coral, cats-eye and jade) too posted within as symbolically it is representing the energy of God in which the universe rests in space. The nine jewels invoke the astrological influence of the nine planets. A gold lid with the seven continents of the earth engraved on it is placed on top of the box following which the agnihotra, or sanctification ceremony. During the agni-hotra, the priest offers clarified butter, the symbol of religious principles, into the fire, which represents the mouth of the Cosmic Being. Along with the offering of clarified butter five types of grains-rice, wheat, barley, rye, and dhal, are also offered with the chanting of mantras. The set of priests includes from Rig-Yajur-Sama Veda Traditions as they have the role of direction-Performance-explanation.
   Special on this 2019 August 3rd Sri Ganesh Mandir Groundbreaking - arrangements are made for - 
·       Public to Support and Energize the Main Pooja through Maha Ganapathi Homa Yajna.
·       Family Havan that will contribute into the Main Havan by performing for a Ghati (Nazhika) which is 24 minutes.
·       Any material activity requires funding and as part of the remembrance of the contributors we have the BRICK OFFERING that will be part of the temple wall to mark a thanksgiving for their contribution.
·       Today is the day for you to assure yourself as part of this great event as volunteers to spark in making the great dream realizes with your prayers and contribution.
For and behalf of
Sri Ganesh Mandir, HSSI, Columbus, Indiana, USA
These steps explained below are to make a house / shed and then make the temple within the building as per the tradition.
STHAPATHI / Yajaman for the PROGRAM is to be the person to guide the whole process -

Items required -
1.    coconuts [with husk if possible] bananas
2.    Seasonal Fruits 5 kinds
3.    betel leaves
4.    betel nuts (whole)
5.    Yellow mustard seeds Kumkum
6.    flowers
7.    camphor
8.    rice [white]
9.    matches or lighter
10.                     incense sticks
11.                     Sweet (mitai) or halwa Yoghurt
12.                     Black gram (boiled)
13.                     mango leaves - unblemished (washed) 5 paper towels (or hand towels) 1 roll Banana leaves 1
14.                     3 liters of water (if tap not available)
15.                     large mat to sit on
16.                     a few large trays and large bowls bag for rubbish

A poojari/priest and three associates from vedic tradition, viz., rig, yajur, sama to be part of the rituals.

BHUMI PUJA / Groundbreaking
*   Request forgiveness of mother earth as we are troubling the nature and breaking the harmony
*   Request forgiveness for disturbing the BHOOTHA (many creatures whose home we are disturbing.
*   requesting spirits to leave the site and allow us to build the house and live in peace.

— once the construction is done, on moving in to use the house, this can be done.

Pratama-Ishtika / Corner Stone Laying

The first stone for the Temple structure.
It could be done for both the building and also the temple brahmasthana / Sikhara/Gopuram/Kumbham/kalasam/dome/mandapam.

If the side wall inside the house as a Brahmasthana is made - The towers (vimanas) that rise over the main place to install God, is to be taken as the temple

AS and when the temple is being made inside / on mainland – for the Garbhakudi / Brahmasthana – do – SHILA KARMA (NYASA)as is the Pratama-Ishtika Karma is done
 — laying of the foundation stones. Once excavated the land to perform this ceremony.
- sanctify 5 bricks and place them in the corners and center of the foundation.
- lay five metals (pancha-loha) and also the nava-ratna.
- Do a slab on this and construct on this


A golden box containing avahana manthra written + valuable gems (Navaratna) + sanctified herbs and grains - place underneath the Vigraha before installation; symbolic Garbhadharana (birth of the spiritual energy – embyon – consumed from the nature)


Dwaara Staapana / DOOR Installation

Keeping the Door – is the pulling of the Human Leg as the birth is in Process. Rajagopuram (royal gateway) can be the main entry / specific to the mandapam / gharbhakudi.

Nayanonmilanam is for opening the eyes of new idols


All the deities to be installed are to be covered in all these from the time it is brought in and till it is installed to be placed in sleeping position
Preferably running water
gems, paddy
INSTALATION - place at designated location
Homas (doing different havan as per Agama Sastra) and Poornahuti (final pouring to the agni) and place the vigraha.


Ashta-Bandhanam means tying or fixing on all the 8 sides - an icon to its pedestal (peetham) with a clay-like paste made of 8 specific herbs mixed with wood lac, limestone powder, resin, red ochre, beeswax and butter. The paste is formed into long rolls about 2 cm thick and applied directly around the base of the icon, so that the cemented joints become watertight. This process is believed to keep the icon rejuvenated for a period of 12 years. When the Bandhanam is performed with gold (Swarnabandhanam), the rejuvenating power of the deity is believed to last for a period of 100 years.
The '''Ashtabandhanam' paste is pliable like rubber. Through repeated interactions with abhishekha dravyams - materials used to bathe the icon during daily worship like water, milk, buttermilk, sandal paste and oils - and atmospheric oxidants, the paste loses its flexibility, becomes rigid and gets riddled with a lot of fissures. Through these fissures, the abhisheka dravyams percolate and attack the Yantra embedded under the peetham, obliterating the Bijaksharamantras-- mantras of sacred syllables (bija) -- that are inscribed on the Yantra, and this is believed to contribute to the lowering of the pranic spiritual power of the deity with the passage of time.


Prana (life force / breath) and Pratiṣṭhā (resting / position/installed/consecrated) of an idol or image means-  bringing life to the temple.
Traditionally, this was the step when the eye of the sculptured idol is opened inside the garbhagriha (Purusha space of the temple).

Samprokshanam / Kumbhabhishekham / consecration
Nuutana Alaya Ashta Bandhana Maha Samprokshanam is called AVARTHAM.

Pouring the water from top to the stoopa is to enargise, homogenize, synergize, get united to nature with the unique mystic powers of the deity. 
Giving Bath is Abhisekham/Prokshanam

Message from DrTPS for Sri Ganesh Mandir – Groundbreaking
Planning and Making a temple with all the rituals in it is part of the process of self-learning and realizing the importance of Hinduism to ourselves, friends and relatives at large to our community apart from sharing the experience with the coming generations who are to take it forward. Temple and the activities around it – like puja, festivals, religious and spiritual classes, and discussions, art, culture, etc are important for all around us in a culturally shifted community like American Indians as that is the way to receive, experience, learn and transfer the age-old tradition of sanathana dharma. Not compromising on the spiritual values and the significance we are here to follow ritual experiences from the ground-breaking to the long-anticipated follow-up and maintenance of the temple for the next many generations to come. When one has to take pride, let this American community think of this Sri Ganesh Mandir as not just a temple but tradition that is brought from native to this new world of each of the Hindu-Indians and followers to follow the heritage and use it in this modern life to be in bliss. I hope to see the Traditional Steps are followed in the making of the Temple, as this will be lessons for the community and all the generations to come.