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LOVE BRINGS PERFECTION

We fall into love and we fall out of love because we do not know what is the ultimate love, what is bhakti. Attaining bhakti alone makes you perfect.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Our life cannot move an inch without love; it has sprung from love, it moves in love and culminates in love. Behind every desire there is love. Yet, we see that love comes with a tail called problems. If you love objects more, it becomes greed, if you love people more, it is entanglement, if you love yourself too much, ego and arrogance manifest and if you love someone too much, then jealousy comes behind it.

Whether jealousy, greed, lust, anger, there is love present in all of them. Love, when it ferments, becomes hatred and when it gets distorted, becomes fear. Every problem on this planet is caused by love.

There cannot be life without love. The spider makes its own web and gets trapped in it, yet there can be no spider without the web. Human life is in a similar situation. It cannot exist without love. Like the spider weaves its web from its own saliva, we weave our world with our own love and get trapped in our own world. Love takes away your freedom and the innate tendency of human life is to be free. Hence you search for a love that does not take away your freedom, a love that establishes you away from all imperfections and upholds life in its pure essence. That love is called bhakti or divine love.

How do you get it? Who has lived that love? The quest for answers to these questions is the beginning point of any spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is not a fantasy of attaining something different; it is the fulfillment of life’s ultimate aim or goal, which is bhakti, the Divine love. If you do not know love at all you cannot understand Divine love. Fortunately, there is not one creature on this planet that doesn’t know what love is.

Love has many manifestations, such as affection that you have for those who are younger than you, friendship with those who are your age, honour and respect for those elder to you. Similarly, you have love for objects, animals, trees, food and music. Your likes and dislikes are also based on love.

A person who cannot hear, cannot be made to understand what sound is. You can only make one understand what one already knows. Some may not be able to see, some may not be able to hear, but everyone can feel love. Even stones and animals can feel love. Dogs express their love. They run around you wagging their tail. They jump all over the place. Cats come near you and they purr. If you are away for a couple of days and come home they go mad. Just looking at you they don’t know what to do. They run all over you. So, we all, without exception, have the ability to feel love.

You cannot miss love in your life. Love is non-changing and it is immortal. This is what divine love is; it can never change, it is undying, unconditional and non-changing. These are the characteristics of that ultimate love where there is such a deep longing in you, a deep urge in you.

There is a story about Mullah Nasruddin. He was in love with a girl but he married somebody else. Someone asked, “I thought you were in love with someone else?” “Yes”, said Mullah, “I don’t want to marry her because then my love will disappear.”

We fall into love and we fall out of love because we do not know what is the ultimate love, what is bhakti. Attaining bhakti alone makes you perfect.

There are three levels of perfection. Perfection in action, perfection in your speech, and perfection in your being, in your mind. Some may do their action perfectly, but their feeling and their word, may not be so perfect. Some have good feelings, but their actions are not perfect. You’ll find in tropical countries people feel very good, they say nice, speak very nicely. But when it comes to action it doesn’t get done. In the cold climate countries people, action gets done but inside it is very rigid, stiff, sometimes angry and upset. But Siddha is one who is perfect in the feeling, in the speech and the action.

You can never be hundred percent accurate in the action, but you can be hundred percent accurate in the being, that is called Siddha. And love alone can bring you such perfection.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and an ambassador of peace.

There is a story about Mullah Nasruddin. He was in love with a girl but he married somebody else. Someone asked, “I thought you were in love with someone else?” “Yes”, said Mullah, “I don’t want to marry her because then my love will disappear.”

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Spiritually Speaking

Lord Krishna, the supreme personality of godhead

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Lord Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead and cause of all causes. He has 64 qualities in full. The other categories of living entities have the following qualities of Krishna – Visnu-tattva has 93.75%. Siva-tattva has 84.375%. Jiva-tattva has 78.125%. Lord Krishna has 64 qualities which is 100% of his own attributes. Other living entities have as follows-

Visnu-tattva has 60 of Krishna’s qualities which is 93.75%

Siva-tattva has 55 of Krishna’s qualities which is 84.375%

Jiva-tattva has 50 of Krishna’s qualities which is 78.125%

Srila Prabhupada – “Lord Siva has fifty-five qualities, Lord Narayaṛa has sixty qualities, but Kṛishna has in full all sixty-four qualities. Cent percent, hundred percent all the qualities. Therefore either Lord Siva, Lord Brahma or the marginal living entities (jiva-souls) can be equal to Kṛishna. This is the conception of God.” (Lecture on SB 5.5.1 – Los Angeles, January 20, 1969)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna has all these sixty-four transcendental qualities in full. In actual fact, the extent of Krishna’s qualities is inconceivable.

(1) Beautiful features of the entire body

(2) Marked with all auspicious characteristics

(3) Extremely pleasing

(4) Effulgent

(5) Strong

(6) Ever youthful

(7) Wonderful linguist

(8) Truthful

(9) Talks pleasingly

(10) Fluent

(11) Highly learned

(12) Highly intelligent

(13) Genius

(14) Artistic

(15) Extremely clever

(16) Expert

(17) Grateful

(18) Firmly determined

(19) An expert judge of time and circumstances

(20) Sees and speaks on the authority of Vedas, or scriptures

(21) Pure

(22) Self-controlled

(23) Steadfast

(24) Forbearing

(25) Forgiving

(26) Grave

(27) Self-satisfied

(28) Possessing equilibrium

(29) Magnanimous

(30) Religious

(31) Heroic

(32) Compassionate

(33) Respectful

(34) Gentle

(35) Liberal

(36) Shy

(37) The protector of surrendered souls

(38) Happy

(39) The well-wisher of devotees

(40) Controlled by love

(41) All-auspicious

(42) Most powerful

(43) All-famous

(44) Popular

(45) Partial to devotees

(46) Very attractive to all women

(47) All-worship able

(48) All-opulent

(49) All-honourable

(50) The supreme controller.

Besides all of the above-mentioned fifty qualities, Lord Kṛishna possesses five more, which are sometimes partially manifested in Lord Brahma or Lord Siva.

These transcendental qualities are as follows:

(51) Changeless

(52) All-cognizant

(53) Ever fresh

(54) Sac-cid-ananda-ananda (possessing an eternal blissful body)

(55) Possessing all mystic perfections.

Kṛishna also possesses five other qualities, which are manifest in the body of Narayana/Vishnu, and they are listed as follows:

(56) He has inconceivable potency.

(57) Uncountable universes generate from his body.

(58) He is the original source of all incarnations.

(59) He is the giver of salvation to the enemies whom he kills.

(60) He is the attractor of liberated souls.

Besides these sixty transcendental qualities, Kṛishna has four more, which are not manifested even in the Vishnu/Narayana form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities. They are as follows:

(61) He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially his childhood pastimes).

(62) He is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead.

(63) He can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on his flute.

(64) He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivalled anywhere in the creation.

The Absolute Truth is anandamaya (desiring to increase his joy), hence from his original form he expands and becomes many. These emanations from the Supreme Person are of two categories- full expansions and partially manifested expansions. The Lord’s various full and partial expansions and the Lord himself simultaneously co-exist, only appearing to manifest under the influence of time. These expansions of the Supreme Being are known as Visnu-tattva, and they are also Supreme Absolute Truth. While non-different from the Lord, the Visnu-tattva all accept their own role as Godhead in the mood of Servitor to the “original” Supreme Being. This relationship is the foundation of Vedic monotheism, which encompasses the inconceivable, absolute personal nature of the original Godhead. The Supreme Being possesses two other expansive qualities known as Siva-tattva and jiva-tattva. Together with Visnu-tattva, these three qualities are representative of the Absolute Person’s internal, external and marginal energies. The Lord has expanded himself as Lord Siva and Lord Brahma, and we, the living entities, are also expansions. Like us, Lord Brahma is also jiva-tattva. Lord Siva is between Visnu-tattva and jiva-tattva. And Lord Vishnu is Visnu-tattva. Visnu-tattva, via media, and jiva-tattva – they are all expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore we can summarize as follows as a reminder-

Lord Kṛishna has 64 qualities in full.

Visnu-tattva has 60 qualities, or 93.75% of Krishna’s attributes.

Siva-tattva has 55 qualities, or 84.375% of Krishna’s attributes.

Jiva-tattva (jiva-souls) has 50 qualities or 78.125% of Krishna’s attributes.

This is the reason why Krishna is called Param Purushottam, Purnavatar or Supreme Personality of Godhead. Reference from (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.29)

Learned scholars in transcendental subjects have carefully analyzed the summum bonum Krishna to have sixty-four principal attributes. All the expansions or categories of the Lord possess only some percentages of these attributes. But Sri Krishna is the possessor of the attributes cent percent. And his personal expansions such as svayam-prakasa, tad-ekatma up to the categories of the avataras who are all Vishnu-tattva, possess up to 93.75% of these transcendental attributes. Lord Siva, who is neither avatara nor avesa nor in between them, possesses 84.375% of Krishna’s attributes. But the jiva-souls, or the individual marginal living beings in different statuses of life, possess only up to the limit of 78.125% of Krishna’s attributes.

In the conditioned state of material existence, the living being possesses these attributes in very minute quantity, varying in terms of the pious life of the marginal living being (jiva-souls). The most perfect of marginal living entities (jiva-souls) is Brahma, the supreme administrator of each material universe inside each massive Brahmanda universal outer shell. Like all other marginal living entities, Brahma also possesses 78.125% of the attributes in full. All other demigods have the same attributes in less quantity, whereas human beings possess the attributes in very minute quantity. The standard of perfection for a human being is to develop the attributes up to 78.125% in full. The marginal living entity (jiva-soul) can never possess attributes of Siva, Vishnu or Lord Krishna. A marginal living entity or jiva-soul can become godly by developing the 78.125% transcendental attributes in fullness, but he can never become a God like Siva, Vishnu or Krishna. He can become a Brahma in due course.

The godly living beings who are all residents of the planets in the spiritual sky are eternal associates of God in different spiritual planets called Hari-dhama and Mahesa-dhama. The abode of Lord Krishna is above all the spiritual Vaikuntha planets and is called Krishnaloka or Goloka-Vrndavana. The perfected marginal living entity (jiva-soul), by developing their full potential of 78.125% of Krishna‘s attributes, can enter the planet of Krsnaloka after leaving the present material bodily vessel.

Gaurangasundar Das is Iskcon, Inc Communication Director and SM IT head.

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Spiritually Speaking

Worshipping gods of successes and failures

Arun Malhotra

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This Universe is a great energy field and the earth is also a huge energy field. Science says that energy never dies. The physical world is pulsating with energy. Energy transforms into energy. What we call consciousness is the greatest mystery of science.

Awakened ones tell us how to be a conscious being. One consciousness pervades this entire universe. The earth is pulsating in consciousness. Energies of winds swaying energies of trees to dance. Birds fluttering wings in excitement and animals sprinting. And a child is contentedly smiling in the beingness of energy.

Life is an amazing play of consciousness. Animals, trees, humans, the universe, and planets are pulsating in consciousness. Earth is speeding around the sun in consciousness. It is a dance of energy fields. We are energy. When you look at someone’s eyes you get energy there.

Earth came into existence some 14 billion years ago and life started 4 billion years ago. The storehouse of all energies on earth is consciousness. A resource that doesn’t let up. All energies grow out of consciousness Neuro-electric system in our body produces 100 watts of energy. One hundred watts of energy is enough to run a fan and few lights. Our body constantly generates heat to stay at 36.11 degree Celsius. Senses are run on energy. In deep embrace, energies of two beings become one.

When a child is conceived an energy field is constructed in the womb of the mother. A field of consciousness incarnates the energy field. Body of a child embodies inside the womb. The child is born a mine full of energy and pure consciousness embodies the body. When born the child looks at the mesmerizing world outside. A world of light, colour, sound and senses.

The child does not know who he is. Slowly he identifies his mother and identifies himself to be a given name. But the child is never the name of the child. A word is never a thing. It is a symbol. He identifies a world around him. That becomes his world. He learns to express language. The world around him pressurises him to be a somebody, not him. To follow what society considers successes in life poses a great challenge to him. A whole neurosis that poisons society is bred in his mind.

To be a somebody, deep down one has to accept that one is nothing. Therefore a somebody is born. A child has to change the nature that he is born with. To change the quality that he has endowed from nature. He has to change the matrix of thoughts to adorn the feather of that somebody.

An artificial wanting is born in the mind. An artificial craving to lend some meaning to life. A deep crisis begins. A deep obsession with successes is born. One’s success depends on failure of another. It is measured in comparisons with what others are doing. Narrative of successes keeps changing in society.

Initially from being a pure consciousness and a field of energy, one is hypnotized by the madness of successes and failures in the physical world. A wide gap appears between one and one’s thoughts. Between what one is and what one thinks one is, the gap keeps widening.

Man thinks that only successes will lend significance to life, the real meaning to his life. But a failure stares at him from behind every success. Future is always certain. To make it certain man has invented the Gods of Successes and Failures to act as Gods of Future. Pressure from society and pressure from Temple Organizations breed fear of insecurity of a defeat. Man is forced to worship the Gods of Successes but somehow it seems his prayers are heard by the Gods of Failures.

Astrology is a great science that could predict a probability of a future event. But it is not destiny. Astrology can point towards a probability exactly like a probability in a Quantum Theory which collapses when the observer is present. Like Buddha who was destined to be a great Emperor ended up an ascetic. Because the observer, that Buddha was, destined to be what that observer wanted to be destined. Not that what astrologer predicted it to be destined. But the theory of society forces you to please the Deities and Lords of Planets who pose threats to your success. Dogmatic prayers are outsourced to priests because Gods of Successes do not hear without them.

Society and religion go hand in hand. Society is run on the social-political authority. The best way to establish a successful socio-political authority is through the temple power. Kings in all civilizations either assumed the role of demi-Gods or kept God’s organizations by their side to stay in power. The one who didn’t couldn’t avoid oblivion. As much as it is a surprising oxymoron that a godless man like Adolf Hitler tried to appropriate the legacy of Friedrich Nietzsche to dub a meaning to the madness he was doing.

Surprisingly, awakened ones Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, Christ and others are exploited by God’s Organizations to help succeed or to be richer to get fame. The awakened ones lit the flame of awakening to make you wake up in a world plagued by slumber. Gods of Successes are like pliable Gods in the hands of humans who are being exploited for success.

Your perception of competition has made you a beggar. To get ahead humanity has gotten far behind. Far behind animals. Man’s fear of staying behind in the rat race has birthed the belief in the Gods of Successes. Gods of Successes are neither Gods of Successes nor Gods of Failures. In fact, they are the ones who were ultimately successful. The ones who were born as humans but attained Godhood and passed on the roadmaps of the journey to humanity. Milestones are not prayers of successes but are roadmaps to walk on them.

A godly man is truly successful. He does not crop a desire to succeed or to defeat someone. Therefore, he cannot be defeated because he stays out of the race. You have fear of losing thus far you are in the race. You have to understand that you are born as an energy field. The source of that energy field is pure consciousness the one which has incarnated your body.

That fear of not being successful is the neurosis of the society. Energy is always childlike. Energy never lets you grow old. A gleam of love shines in your gaze when you see a beloved. A smile automatically dawns lips when you close your eyes. A flow of energy is dancing all around. And to be one with the flow of energy is our destiny.

Look that who is the energy in the birds. In trees it is revealed in the tree-ness of its being. In flowers it is revealed in the flower-ness of its being. Pure consciousness is revealed in the flowered being. Look into the flowerness of being from the pure consciousness of your being. You will find the two energy fields become one.

Let the energy dance. Mind is also part of the energy but we have let the mind employed to the society. Society corrupts the mind and makes it miserable. Not that poor people are miserable but even billionaires, despite them being ahead of the competition, are miserably miserable. Nature does not breed competition. Your successfulness is a statement against failures of others. When one does not want to defeat others one tends to become truly successful. One comes out of the rat race.

Sportfulness, meditation, mindfulness, wakefulness being in the pureness of your energy and being in the beingness of the being is like being one with the energy. Be the energy. Be yourself. Be successful.

The author is a spiritual teacher. He can be reached at arunavlokitta@gmail.com.

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Spiritually Speaking

TRUE LOVE AND WHAT IT CAN DO

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What is true love? The love of a true heart makes others loving, and it is the foundation of a fulfilling life. One cannot have a blissful life without the experience of spiritual love. Such love can transform even the stone-hearted. Where there is love, there is a light and happy life; without love, life is dry and tedious.

God’s love is similar. When we love other people, our love is channelled in different directions as we try to fulfil the expectations of many. Loving God brings together the fragmented pieces of the heart. Loving the Father, from the heart, makes us cooperative with everyone because the Father is the seed. Just as when the seed is watered the leaves receive water and there is no need to water each leaf, forging love with the spiritual Father creates good wishes for everyone.

Love also makes tasks easy, as it frees us from labouring. When there is love for the task, we do not feel burdened by it. On the other hand, no matter how knowledgeable or skilled we are, if there is no love, the task feels tedious.

When love is missing, mere knowledge or intellectual understanding of a situation often gives rise to doubts and questions: “why”, “what”, “how”? Consequently, the mind is not in peace and there will be a battle with the self, and many waste thoughts. On the other hand, when our understanding is accompanied by love, there is no battle.

This has great significance on the spiritual path. Some people easily recognise spiritual truths, live by them and benefit therefrom. They lead peaceful, happy lives.

Some others, however, are racked by doubt. The reason is their intellectual approach devoid of love. They know many things, but there is little love for God. The result is that they are unable to experience his love.

We see this in everyday life too. A small gift of love brings great joy, but if the relationship is transactional, based on selfish motives, even if we receive a lot from someone, there is no contentment, and we may still find fault with the other person.

Love for God is the key to steady progress in spiritual life. In its absence, there is discontentment and fluctuation. This is because we would be like a hot air balloon: when it is full, it goes very high, but when it goes flat, it falls down. It appears to be very beautiful when it is flying, but that is temporary.

We can easily check whether we are truly loving with God and other people: our level of contentment is the proof.

B.K. Sheilu is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

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Spiritually Speaking

LIFE IS A MIND GAME

Yogesh Sharda

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Everything we do is driven by a conscious or subconscious desire to experience happiness. It is part of the soul’s DNA – to be happy. Happiness has at its heart, a peaceful mind. In fact, what each one should be able to experience in life, is peace of mind and happiness, and the wherewithal to naturally share love, good wishes and kindness with others because a life of too much thinking is not a life. So why, when we look around is there stress, anxiety and unhappiness – what has gone wrong?

It starts when we are very young. Most newborn children have the blessings of good wishes upon them from their parents and relatives. We wish them happiness, love, peace of mind, security and contentment. Then we tell them that in order to get that they must aim to have a good education, the right, well-paid job, accumulate money, travel and buy a big house and car and then all the things that were wished for will come true. So, all the energy goes into the pursuit of the means, rather than the aim. If after all of that, there is some happiness or peace it is merely a bonus. The very common reality though, is that all of this acquisition comes at a cost of some of the very things we aim for. In the quest for the material supports people find they are stressed, have problems in relationships, live in unhappy marriages and have the disquieting sense of having in fact achieved nothing.

What has gone wrong is that all the energy has gone on the outer world rather than the inner world. This does not mean that we have to fail exams, or get a job where we are underachieving or in any way, hide our abilities and natural talents. I can express the best of myself and reach my full potential while, at the same time, being the owner of my peace of mind and happiness. It is all a question of making my mind my friend.

All I have to do is care for my mind, and then nothing in life will cause me any stress. When I understand that there is no single person or life event that I can, in fact, control, and that the people I find difficult are actually teaching me great lessons, then I can take control of my own mind.

It is a challenge because we have a deeply ingrained habit of trying to control life. We do not have to learn how to manage people or events, we have to learn how to make the mind stronger by the cultivation of greater tolerance, patience and understanding. If I am concerned more with how I would like to be and develop my inner strength, then life is unable to cause me stress.

Life is a mind game – conquer the mind and you can conquer your world. When we spend time in daily meditation and strengthen our natural and intrinsic spiritual strength, we are respecting and taking care of our mind for this journey we call life.

Yogesh Sharda is the National Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris’ services in Turkey.

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Spiritually Speaking

10 principles for living in the spirit of silence

Those who use the inner, eternal principles as reference points work with enthusiasm and silence, and they radiate optimism into the darkest corners of the deepest negativity. They persevere because they believe ‘there is always a way’.

Anthony Strano

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“Each of us has specialities. Each of us has our own individual part. Do not compare or compete; there is no point – you cannot become like anyone else. You are who you are – unique. Take whatever is good inside you and leave the rest. Now perform such a miracle that God is visible through your eyes and your heart.”

Dadi Janki

The universe runs on principles that maintain and sustain well-being. If we respect these principles, then everything – individuals, the community and the Earth – will flourish. Practising silence helps us to tune into these guiding principles. Here are ten guiding principles that help us to live in the spirit of silence.

PRINCIPLE 1: LIVE FULLY IN THE MOMENT

There is little point in entertaining memories that stimulate guilt, regret or nostalgia. The past is past; it is over and we must move on.

PRINCIPLE 2: BE AWARE OF YOUR INNER RESOURCES

We can always find reasons to complain about and blame external systems – religious, political or social – and thereby conveniently excuse our own inertia, frustration and negativity. However, often the problem itself is not the problem. The problem is the way we think about and approach difficult behaviour or harmful acts. When we practise silence, we never focus on a problem but instead consciously make room for alternatives and solutions.

Those who use the inner, eternal principles as reference points, work with enthusiasm and silence, and they radiate optimism into the darkest corners of the deepest negativity. They persevere because they believe ‘there is always a way’.

PRINCIPLE 3: REJOICE IN GENEROSITY

Generosity is our natural state. It comes with no obligations because it flows from a state of fullness, completion and freedom – of abundance. This flow of abundance comes when we free ourselves from the limited narrow viewpoint of ‘I’ and ‘my’. Practising silence encourages us to see beyond the limited ‘I’, inspiring us to share the abundance we endlessly receive.

PRINCIPLE 4: LEARN FROM POSITIVE OPPOSITES

To complete any task effectively, we need a team of values. We need to recognise not to focus solely on one value by ignoring the ‘opposite’ value. For example, determination encourages focus, concentration and the will to face obstacles. However, if we rely only on this quality, it may degenerate into rigidity, stubbornness, harshness or even obsession. When we practise silence, we are more likely to notice signals telling us to use the partner values to a quality. In the case of determination, that would be, patience and flexibility to maintain balance and flow in situations and relationships.

PRINCIPLE 5: VALUE YOURSELF

When you value your uniqueness, you become strong and free, not bound by success or failure, by your talents and opinions, or by your relationships and past experiences. You are not overly lifted by words of praise, nor do you feel crushed by misunderstandings or dislike. When we practise silence, we step back from others’ images of us and are able to appreciate the value of our unique self. We learn that we have an original value that cannot be destroyed, damaged or copied, and when we get in touch with this inner blueprint, we feel the value of the real self so deeply that self-respect begins to flower. This, combined with humility allows us to give value to others and respect their uniqueness alongside our own.

PRINCIPLE 6: KEEP CONNECTED

Our inner world needs to connect with the outer world, or society – otherwise, it is like having a seed that is not planted and so can never flower. Creating and maintaining a bridge between the inner and outer worlds facilitates genuine communication with others and helps us to maintain balance and a happy life. The external world, with its variety of relationships and situations, stimulates us to renew and re-evaluate our internal world of thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Practising silence equips us to retreat from the outside world and use the lessons we meet there as opportunities for reflection and change.

PRINCIPLE 7: TUNE IN TO EACH NEW MOMENT

We create happiness when we move according to moment-by-moment awareness, not according to a convenient formula, of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. By taking a moment to be still and silent during the day, we touch the moment and can see what has to be understood and done.

PRINCIPLE 8: WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

Whatever we throw out to the universe will rebound, sooner or later. Silence helps us to take a moment and tune in before we act.

PRINCIPLE 9: A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE

When we recognise a thought, or a mistake, and without hesitation or fear, act on it, life gets better. Practising silence tunes us into our intuition and our better selves so that we recognise the thoughts we must act on and also clearly see mistakes.

PRINCIPLE 10: ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

Someone caught up in trivia, pettiness and drama lives in a state of constant complaint and they seek similar companions. While a group may glitter, criticism and the pleasure of putting others down, cancel our right to happiness. It is vital to keep company with truth and values to stay in freedom and happiness.

The late Anthony Strano was an author and Rajyoga teacher with the Brahma Kumaris.

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Spiritually Speaking

Jhankriti to celebrate unity via cultural diversity

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For a long time, art has nurtured creativity, innovation, and cultural diversity for all and played an important role in knowledge sharing, encouraging curiosity and dialogue for a long time. These are qualities that art has always had & will remain if we continue to support environments where artists and artistic freedom are nurtured, promoted, and protected. What diversity stands for is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. There has been an increasing amount of scientific evidence that shows art can change a person’s outlook and the way they experience the world and help them grow.

Art and culture are key to the blossoming of an individual and society at large. We reflect, rejoice, and rejuvenate in our beings through art and culture, reconnect with who we are, and move forward.

To keep the traditions of classical art and dance forms alive amongst youngsters, acknowledge talents and give artists a platform, the Art of Living’s World Forum for Art and Culture, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture as part of the Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav campaign, launched Jhankriti. It is a performance art festival and competition like no other. World Forum for Art and Culture’s quest for finding and promoting talent finds a beautiful expression in this exquisite festival called Kriti (a word born from the union of the words- Jhankaar and Sanskriti). While it is designed like a competition, it truly is a festival—a festival to celebrate the diversity of Indian classical art forms.

The concept of Jhankriti was first initiated in 2019 in Delhi-NCR with over 40 maestros and senior artists and more than 500 participants. A very well acknowledged and appreciated response to that 

elicited the idea to bring it on a national level. It is yet another an opportunity for young & old to take pride in the Indian heritage and an inspiration to carry forward these forms learnt from Gurus.

A unique feature of Jhankriti is that every participant also gets an opportunity to be mentored by extraordinary mentors with the goal to create a seamless transition from the temple and proscenium traditions to the online medium of performance while maintaining the purity and integrity of performing arts. Renowned artists like Prachee Shah Paandya and Sandhya Raju, academician Dr Sandhya Purecha, Harikatha exponent Sharat Prabhat along with music maestros Pt Ronu Mazumdar, Padmashri Sumitra Guha, Pt Jayatheerth Mevunde, Vidwan Sikkil Gurucharan, Pt Debashish Bhattacharya and Vidwan K U Jayachandra Rao will be the visionary mentors to the next generation of performers of India who participate in Jhankriti 2022.

While addressing the initiative, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “It is important to save and preserve our culture.” Many years ago, it was observed that our youth were moving away from Indian classical music and dance. That’s when we decided to create a platform. With larger programs, more and more people started coming together and realising the respect and honour they received. “

Meeting of the right minds for the right initiatives for the right purpose, God always helps, and since this is for the interest of culture and art and we all have a common goal, the people that are here, all the Gurus, legends in their respective art forms, are the ones who I admire in my heart, but there is no occasion to celebrate everyone, so, it filled my heart with gratitude and enthusiasm on seeing everyone for the event, said Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture. 

The competition will be conducted online, giving an opportunity to participants from every corner of the country. Jhankriti boasts of a Star Jury with luminaries like Padmavibhushan Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Padmavibhushan Pt Sajan Mishra, Padmabhushan Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, Padmabhushan Sudha Raghunathan, Padmashri Dr Puru Dadheech, and Sangeet Samrat Chitravina Ravikiran.

The event was launched on June 1, 2022 in the virtual presence of global humanitarian and spiritual master, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; Meenakshi Lekhi, and Priyanka Chandra, Chief Director of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, at the PhD Chamber of Commerce, New Delhi. The launch event was conducted in a blended format, where dignitaries from more than 90 countries joined live through Zoom. The Art of Living foundation broadcast the event to more than 156 countries. Vibrant performances in tribute to the motherland were presented by more than 50 young artists from Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai, each performing from their respective cities to create a seamless spectacle for both the live and online participants.

The Festival of Jhankriti celebrates three fields of art: Gayan (classical/semi-classical vocal (light/folk music, Hindustani and Carnatic), Vadan (instrumental/percussion), and Nritya (classical dance forms). This is structured into three broad age groups: under 8 years, 8 to 16 years, and 17 to 25 years.

The most important aspect of this event is that the registration is free. Anyone from any strata of society can participate. There is an easily accessible format through video submissions, which makes this an equal opportunity for everyone. Applications are still open and registration will close by August 15, 2022. With prize money amounting to more than 30 lakhs, Jhankriti has come at the right time to support the younger generation trying to find their footing after the pandemic.

Important dates –

Registration Closes – 15th August, 2022

Finals – 2nd & 3rd November, 2022

Award Ceremony in November/December in Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore

Interested participants can register on www.jhankriti.org

The writer is Art of Living faculty.

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