Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:42 am

Hari Om Everyone,

I hope this email finds everyone well...

If we think about the greatest joys and sorrows we have experienced in our lives, we will come to appreciate that these have been connected to other humans. Whenever we have forged a relationship we have laughed. And whenever we have fractured a relationship we have cried. A catalyst to the making and breaking of relationships is trust. Nodding to acknowledge the importance of trust in our lives, we explore through our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections…

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( November 15, 2010 ) --- Trust and Trusting

*We have no option but to trust – no matter what amount of ‘ research ’ ( i.e. experience, talking to third parties, etc. ) we direct towards another, we can never definitively ensure whether someone is trustworthy or not

*Gaining and giving trust is a natural process and not a transaction or a critical mass or any such objective measures – once we trust another, they and all associated with them becomes our reality

*Our best strategy is to be sure that what we are offering is true and have faith that what another offers is true as well – to trust oneself and not offer the same is the ego at play

*Where there is mistrust there ‘ inception ’ is active – when we cannot trust, seeds of doubt are planted and inevitably these grow into thoughts of bitterness, disappointment and finally apathy

*My trust and your trust is subjective, determined by our own inner processes – whenever we trust or distrust we should look within and work hard to understand why we think in such and such manner for only then will we understand ourselves and be able to use trust more intelligently and spiritually

*Trust is truth in the sincerest form, truth is required for trust to be – just as Truth is Absolute, so too Trust is Absolute and reflecting on this we should give more weight to the practice and acknowledgement of this means to Oneness

RRRRREEEEEAAAAACCCCCTTTTT!!!!! This is what we have become programmed to do. And so we do, causing madness within and without. TTTTTTTTTTHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNKKKKKKKKKK……….This is what we are learning to do. And by doing so, we will invoke peace within and without. Please read the following incident and ask yourself if you are a reactor or a thinker...

Suddenly, a cockroach flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. I wondered if this was the cockroach’s response to all the glory that is spoken about it!

She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group got cranky to what was happening. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach to another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behaviour of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed and threw it out with his fingers.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering!

Was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behaviour?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized even in my case then, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss that disturbs me, but it is my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It is not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by traffic jams that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it is my reaction to the problem that hurts me.

And remember, this Wednesday ( Nov 17 ) is our Adults Q & A Live Webcast for November from 7.30p - 9.00p ( EST ). To view this, simply click on the Ustream link below.

" An egotist is never satisfied, be he rich, poor, a clerk, or king of the world. A divine man is happy, whether in a palace, a poor hut, or a monk's cell. " --- Paramahansa Yogananda

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:22 am

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( November 22, 2010 )

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

As we approach the end of the calendar year, for most people in the world, and certainly most people receiving this email, winter approaches. Winter brings less sunlight, more snowflakes and typically gloom. H O W are we allowing the weather make us believe that our Nature is not Joy? And more importantly, W H Y are we making this choice? Rationally thinking about winter to relieve us of our habituated way of feeling about winter is the inspiration of our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections…

Weathering Winter

* Regardless of our tears and fears, winter will simply not change so why engage in such futile actions and thoughts – learning to accept the weather aids us in learning to accept other inevitable facets of living ( i.e. growing old, people’s personalities, inconsistent nature of situations, etc. )

* The nature of every facet of the universe is to change, change and keep on changing – while facing the wind-chill on an upcoming bitter cold January morning, remember that those mornings will soon change to rain, to sun, to wind and back to bitter cold.

* When we are cold we tend to go on mentally and verbally ‘ talking ’ about how cold we are and this only makes the experience more painful – a more intelligent strategy to deal with the experience is to acknowledge the coldness and then move on
* Familiarity often breeds contempt and absence tends to breed miss – seasons are a blessing for us to appreciate seasons
Relatively intense temperatures provide an opportunity ( tapas ) for us develop toughness ( titiksha ) – when we can engage in the intense with a smile, engaging in the normal is all the more effortless

* Some like winter, some dislike winter, and so winter, like all objects, beings and situations, is not intrinsically joy-filled or joy-less – our living is determined by our thinking, our thinking is determined by our attitude, our attitude is determined by our knowledge

This past week we engaged in our Adult and Young Adult Q & A Live Webcasts for November. The sound, lighting and recording were improved, combined with experience to make these Webcasts enjoyable and enlightening. For those unable to watch / listen live, these have been archived and can be accessed in the following link - Ustream - Acharya Vivek -- http://www.ustream.tv/channel/e-vichara

Continuing with the vision of creating satsanga, i wanted to share with everyone details about special Spiritual Retreats and Camps i am blessed to be part of and hope that you in me for these noble gatherings:

November 26 - 28, 2010 --- Houston, Texas
Young Adults Retreat on Satsanga, Seva and Sadhana

December 27 - 31, 2010 --- Silver Spring, Maryland
Youth Camp on HEROES

January 14 - 16, 2011 --- Chicago, Illinois
Young Adults Retreat on Mind & Meditation

And most importantly, a precious opportunity to be with the Great Spiritual Master, Pujya Swami Tejomayananda...
July 29 - August 3, 2011 --- Chicago, Illinois
Family Retreat on Mind and Beyond: The Gita Way

" Laughing faces do not mean that there is absence of sorrow! But it means that they have the ability to deal with it. " --- Shakespeare

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:53 pm

November 29, 2010

Hari Om from Phoenix!

i hope this email finds everyone well...

Recently, i was part of a satsanga at McMaster University where i shared some insights on Understanding Anger. Post satsanga i was reflecting on how anger is sourced from desire. Add greed into the equation and we have ' The Gates to Hell '. Does this mean desire, anger and greed will cause us to suffer after we die? No. These inner enemies cause our peace to die here and now. Heaven and hell is a state of mind. With this introduction, the nature of desire is the 1st of a 3 part series on 'The Gates to Hell ', through our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( November 29, 2010 ) --- The Gates to Hell - Part 1

Ignorance of our Nature causes us to believe we are incomplete - in such a hallucination our innate and eternal motive is to reassert our Completeness ( purpose of living )

* While we are in such a limbo the intellect devises plans ( desires ), shaking the mind into agitation ( thoughts ), kicking the body into restlessness ( actions ) - if our desires are self centered this pendulum never ends driving us mad whereas if our desires are Self centered this pendulum is ' thrown off the table ' driving us mad in Joy.

* The typical tendency of ours is to become greedy when a base desire is fulfilled and angry when a base desire is unfulfilled - why are we engaging in a game we cannot end let alone win

* Just as the means and goal of japa ( chanting ) is to change the quality and quantity of thoughts so too the desire for Enlightenment changes the quality and quantity of desires - why are we so hypnotized by the pursuit of entertainment when Enlightenment can dehypnotize

* The antidote to the disease of indulgent desire is the practice of divine contentment - where Bhagavan Rama is, kama ( pleasure oriented desire ) cannot be

* A natural subsequent question would be how to practice contentment - and a natural subsequent answer would be know who you are courtesy of Vedanta vichara

As we think about the ideas of Spirituality, just as important it is to think about the practice of these ideas. The following is a short story on how simple such practice can be...

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job, a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked towards the front door, he paused briefly at a tree, touching the tips of the tree. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.

His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

" Oh, that's my trouble tree ", he replied. " I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is ", he smiled, " When I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before. "


" It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities. " --- Dumbledore

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:16 pm

December 6th, 2010

Hari Om from Chicago!

i hope this email finds everyone well...

We often associate heaven and hell to be ‘ other worldly ’. However, in Vedanta heaven and hell is here and now. When we think nobly we are peaceful. When we think selfishly we are possessed. We are in the middle a 3 part series on ‘ The Gates to Hell ’. Kama or desire has been explored. Now we continue to the 2nd gate which is krodha or anger. For all of us who tend to loiter around this gate, our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections…

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( December 6, 2010 ) --- The Gates to Hell Part 2

* A desire denied is frustrated ( anger ) and a desire accepted is a satiated ( greed ) – regardless of what gate we enter we suffer

* Like any negativity, anger tends to be directed outside of us ( i.e. car, family, economy, etc. ), yet the biggest loser in the equation is us – why do we enjoy and entertain such sadistic sorrow

* Anger is a complex whereby we believe we control situations – all that we control in our lives is ourselves and so if we are going to get angry, this should be directed at ourselves and no other party

* The opposite of anger is acceptance – acceptance is not escapism, rather is embracing the truth that control is a fallacy, that all always changes

* To address and annihilate any vice, the first step is to appreciate the returns of changing ( greater freedom ) and not changing ( continuing bondage ) – the second step is acting on this opportunity cost

* Anger is a reaction and so developing the habit of pausing ( how long is dependent on the person and place ) before any action will act as an inhibitor to th.e disease of anger – anger controlled is a means of communication, controlled by anger is a means of conflict.

Yet again, what our Sages and Seers have been expounding for millennia is only now being embraced by modern day scientists, physicians and sociologists. A concentrated mind is source of happiness and a distracted mind is a course of sadness. The following is an article from Miller-McCune on the benefits of focusing - Don't Wander, Be Happy at http://www.miller-mccune.com/health/memo-to-the-mind-dont-wander-be-happy-25262/

This past week has been one of milestones for me / society. Since returning from Sandeepany 3 years ago, Houston is the 20th Chinmaya Mission Center i have been invited to, to teach Vedanta. And having not cut my hair since the Overseas Acharyas Conference 19 months ago, i shaved my head in Phoenix offering 9 inches of hair towards making a wig for those patients who may need one. i offer my humblest and sincerest gratitude to the Guru Parampara for giving me the opportunity to share the purpose of Vedanta and to the Divine for giving me the ability to share the purpose of this body.

“ When we wake up in the morning, we have two simple choices: go back to sleep and dream or wake up and chase those dreams. The choice is ours…” --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:04 am

13th December, 2010

Hari Om from Savannah!

i hope this email finds everyone well…

" There is enough in this world for everybody's need, but not enough for everyone's greed. "( Mahatma Gandhi ) Having analyzed how kama ( desire ) and krodha ( anger ) toss us into a state of hell, we now discuss the last of ‘ The Gates of Hell ’, lobha ( greed ). Only when we become intensely aware of the torture inflicted by these inner enemies will we not engage them. Hence the purpose of our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections…

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( December 13, 2010 ) --- The Gates to Hell – Part 3

* Desire can never be satiated by the fulfillment of base desires as this only infuriates more desires a.k.a. greed – if we practice awareness and appreciation of all we have the potency of greed will decrease and the potency of contentment will increase

Greed is -- not being content and expecting quantity to change this – if quantity were the cause of contentment why would some of the privileged want more and why would some of the underprivileged not want more ?

When we attribute joy to an object, being or situation, we never fully appreciate that experience for innately we know that experience will fade and so will the apparent joy which is why we are always planning for more of that experience – when was the last time we enjoyed an experience without remembrance of a similar past experience (smaranam ) or expectation of a similar future experience ( cintanam )

* We can only sleep in one bed at a time, we can only eat as much as the stomach allows, we can only listen to one person speak at any given moment, so why are we destroying ourselves for more than we can handle – we all came to this world with only the impressions of our mind and we will all leave this world with only the impressions of our mind so why the craze for acquiring stuff and neglect of acquiring substance ?

* The message of Vedanta is not one of anti-materialism, rather is one of pro-Joy – when we are Content we are no longer dependent on any objects, beings or situations leave alone any combination or permutation of them.

* Our greed needs to change in quality and quantity – first we need to be greedy for satsanga, seva and sadhana and second we need to be greedy for the Lord only

Being raised in an environment not founded on faith and being educated in an environment founded on analysis, my Love for our Knowledge, Scriptures and Masters is based on rationalism. Our each and every moment is subject to being an opportunity cost :- we can partake in A and forsake B or vice versa. The 2 ¼ years i was in Bharat studying our Knowledge, Scriptures and Masters were the greatest investment i have been part of and am confident in stating that i will ever be part of…2 ¼ years of natural discipline towards the reward of smiling forever…

With this in mind, our 15th Vedanta Course, with Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda as the presiding Acharya and Pujya Swami Advayananda as the residing Acharya, will begin on September 1, 2011. Applications must be sent on or before March 31, 2011 and i encourage all those who are serious about Happiness to consider applying for this life changing experience.

The Invitation from our Pujya Guruji for this unparalleled Course:

http://sandeepany.chinmayamission.com/apply-now/
http://mychinmaya.org/docs/vendanta-course-2011-2013.pdf

" The world suffers a lot not because of the violence of bad people but because of the silence of good people! " --- Napoleon

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:05 am

December 20th, 2010

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

As we reflected on the perpetual dangers of playing with ( selfish ) desire, anger and greed, we discovered a common safety - practicing contentment. Contentment is a moving message offered by all our Scriptures and all our Masters. A special Scripture invoked by a special Master teaching us to realize how special we truly are is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. A universal message shared through these divine portals is the eternal niyamas ( active commitments or do's ), now being explored through our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( December 20, 2010 ) ---

Assertive Commitments

* For the mind, doing is natural and not doing is a struggle - by sincerely practicing any of the 5 niyamas, all are practiced and more importantly their opposite is naturally not practiced ( i.e if we practice exercising naturally we are not practicing laziness )

* Saucha ( cleanliness ) is to practice being pure in thought, word and deed - the key to cultivating purity is to reflect before we think, speak or act -- and if these are not going to create real peace, we should desist from following through with these

* Santosha ( contentment ) is to practice being the happiest we can be - to be genuinely happy we need to be appreciative of material blessings and ambitious for spiritual blessings

* Tapasa ( discipline ) is to practice control of the body, mind and intellect for the purpose of transcending the ego - by directing the equipments towards the Infinite, these equipments are guarded from drowning in the sea of mundane existence

* Svadhyaya - ( study ) is to practice introspection of who we are - for most people reading this thought, secular studies has been encouraged from all around, yet without knowing the Knower how thorough is any of our knowledge ? So we need to invest some time each and every day asking ourselves ' Who am i? '

* Ishwara Pranidhana ( surrender ) is to practice living worry free and humbly - in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan Krishna ( Guru ) teaches Prince Arjuna ( us ) to let go of his worries about results and having practiced this, to let go of his arrogance towards doership because the effect and cause is all the jurisdiction of the Divine

Continuing with the idea of practicing contentment, the following is a short story about the selfishness that is inevitable by depending on objects, beings and situations for peace instead of the Self...

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, " If I could only see the world, I will marry you. "

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her, " Now that you can see the world, will you marry me? " The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying, ' Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine. '


This is how the mind often works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before.

To know Contentment, one needs to know the Self. To know the Self, one needs to know Meditation. To know Meditation, one needs to participate in our Mind & Meditation Retreat for Young Adults ( CHYKs ), happening in Chicago from Jan 14 - 16! Please check out the following clip created by the ever entertaining CHYKs of Chicago for more details on the Retreat and please spread the word to all the Young Adults you know - Perception, Inception and Meditation -- here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqF05w8xwkw

Remember our next Young Adults Q & A Live Webcast is on Mon Dec 27 from 8p - 9p. If you have any questions email them to Bhavana ( bhavana.shivakumar@gmail.com ) before that Monday and please join us at this Ustream link http://www.ustream.tv/channel/e-vichara

" It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone. " --- John Keats

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:25 am

December 27, 2010

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

This upcoming Saturday millions of hopeful people will begin their promise to be better. Some will plan to lose weight, some will plan to read more, some will plan to overcome anger! This upcoming Sunday millions of hopeful people will begin breaking their promise to be better. WHAT HAPPENS IN 1 DAY, 1 WEEK, 1 MONTH FOR US TO GIVE UP ON OURSELVES? Thoughts on how to keep promises are promised through our keeping E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( December 27, 2010 ) --- Keeping Promises

* We may try to be better for another person or purpose yet at the end of the day we only try to be better for ourselves - unable to absorb this truth, we should actively place our reason to be better on another person or purpose ( i.e. spouse, society, etc. )

* When making a resolve, we should be humbly open about this for then we are held accountable by those we have shared with - and having succeeded or failed in our resolve, the fabric of the situation should be woven with humility

* Just as we cannot love others if we do not love ourselves, so too we will not keep promises to others if we do not keep promises to ourselves - the mind is what confuses the resolve and the intellect is what clarifies the resolve

* Everywhere we go we see clubs for the body ( gyms ) and clubs for the mind ( bars ) yet so few clubs for the intellect ( ashrams ) - funny is our understanding of how we live, going about believing the body guides the intellect, leading us to an utterly limited lifestyle

* How do we know what areas we should be growing in - any facet of our lives whereby growth will lead to long term peace is any area we have to grow

* For 2011 we should resolve to give 10% of our income to charity, 10% of our time to volunteering and 10% of our energy to reflection - the return on this simple and practical investment is a 1000% rise in Joy...

" The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war. " This powerful quote by Pujya Swami Tejomayananda instills how tapas ( voluntary discipline ) enables titiksha ( involuntary discipline ). With this in mind, from this past Deepavali to the upcoming Deepavali i am fasting from eating my beloved chocolate! Adding to this, upon returning to Niagara in January i will practice being a vegan for 1 month. Why? " Not to do what you feel like doing is freedom. " This liberating quote by Pujya Swami Chinmayananda is emphasized in the following Business Week article on the discipline of being a vegan - [b]The Rise of the Power Vegans[/b] http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_46/b4203103862097.htm

Remember our next Adults Q & A Live Webcast is this Wed Dec 29 from 8p - 9p. If you have any questions email them to Bindu ( menta.bindu@gmail.com ) before that Wed and please join us at the Ustream link here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/e-vichara

" Walk with the wise and be wise; mix with the stupid and be misled. " --- Proverb

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby meera » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:36 pm

3rd January 2011

Hari Om from Washington DC!

i hope this email finds everyone well...

People often share they do not believe in ' organized religion ' or ' spiritual organizations ' or even ' organized learning ' to a degree. Having pursued religion, spirituality and learning in a non-organized manner as well as a organized environment, i have come to appreciate how being involved in an organization is a catalyst to inner growth. And so we study these opportunities an organization creates through our ORGANIZED E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( Jan 3, 2010 ) --- Opportunities through Organizations

*Like a society, an organization is group of people organized for some purpose or end or work - with this in mind, if we agree with the purpose or end or work why not be part of the organization for the sake of efficiency

*If we reflect on the greatest challenges we have ever faced, we will come to appreciate that all revolved around people - dealing with people is THE opportunity to transform values ( theory ) to virtues ( application )

*To be able to listen, reflect and meditate in one's own neighbourhood, in one's own home, in one's own room demands an evolved mind - to be able to listen, reflect and meditate amidst the ' movement ' of an organization is demands an even more evolved mind

* Being involved in an organization is like being involved in a marriage where one is consistently exposed to different perspectives, different tastes, different differences -
and so the lessons to be learned in an organization are the same as marriage ( i.e. sacrifice and service infused with silence encourages egolessness ), yet this is instilled not by one partner and family of in-laws but numerous ' partners' and ' families of in-laws '

* When we volunteer with an organization, we need to be more punctual, more positive and more potent for we are the ones who made the choice to serve - with the right attitude, development of life skills ( i.e. time management, creative writing, public speaking, etc. ) is a blessing an organization can offer if we are ready to receive

*Many of the greatest thinkers have created and encouraged organizations ( i.e. Adi Shankaracharya and the Amnaya Maths, Pujya Swami Chinmayananda and the Chinmaya Mission, Greg Mortenson and Pennies for Peace ) not for their own benefit, rather for our benefit - the problem with organized religion, spirituality and learning is in the vision of the organization and the vision of the participant, not the vision of religion, spirituality and learning so let us develop a noble vision and serve a noble organization

Our Young Adults Q & A Live Webcast for December was to be this past Monday. However, i was in New York City and the winter storm caused me to not have access to the internet so this was not possible. Archived Webcasts and a Schedule of Webcasts can be accessed at the Ustream link below.

Meditation, the means to Realization, concentration and even beautification! Please check out the following article from the Huffington Post on scientific research and scientific results on the countless benefits of Meditation ( i know if i write ' scientific ' people will open their minds more ): Putting the Om in Chromosome http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/meditation-research_b_780525.html

" Whenever you want to know how rich you are, never count your currency. Just shed a tear and count how many hands reach out to wipe that tear. That is true richness. " --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:39 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

HEROES...when you read this word what comes to mind? For most, names like Swami Vivekananda, Terry Fox, Batman, etc. will arise. Yet, without us being heroic enough to want to grow, we will not have heroes. The first, original, fundamental hero has to be ourselves. Only then can a external hero have any impact on us and so relevance to us. With this in mind, the meaning and means of being H.E.R.O.E.S is the plot of our E-Vichara / Electrionic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( January 10, 2011 ) --- How to be a Hero

* ( Be ) Honest about the quality of one's personality with the focus being on one's weaknesses - most of us believe we are noble yet we live ignobly and this dishonesty with ourselves paralyzes the inclination to grow
* Explore wholesome means to addressing our weaknesses - Vedanta accepts the need for some to examine the world ( pariksha lokan ) before turning within, in the same way we need to try different strategies to ' grow beyond ' our weaknesses even if we fall, even if we fail
* Reflect on what the Scriptures, Masters, the wise in general, advise in dealing with weaknesses - these are precious sources of knowledge whose authority is based on successful experience a.k.a. what we want
* Orchestrate one's resources, time and efforts to ceaselessly raise oneself - knowing the solutions to one's weaknesses is 1/2 the battle and the other 1/2 is executing the solutions thereby executing the weaknesses
* Endure the felicitations and insults from society that is inevitable when one decides to change leave alone actually changes - offer the honour to the Masters whose grace alone enables any growth and offer the dishonour into the ' fire of self development ' providing more fuel to grow
* Serve all in all ways empowering others to be heroes as well - a true gauge of a true hero is how united with humanity he / she is, radiating light all around and inspiring the same, leading to the illumination of the whole universe

Without the attitude of gratitude one can never grow. When we are grateful, we invoke grace. And grace simply evokes us to be more grateful. This peace manifests not only in the mind but the body too! Please read the following brief article published by the Harvard Medical School on the health benefits sourced from gratitude: Being Thankful is Being Happy ( http://view.mail.health.harvard.edu/?j=fe5e1675706207787610&m=febb15747d630d7a&ls=fdfc1c747766077c73167476&l=fe57157677630c7b7217&s=fe591c7976610c787514&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe2c167971600c7d761574&r=0 )

" To do for the world more than the world does for you, that is success. " --- Henry Ford

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:09 am

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

Everyday i read more and more about how society is more and more unhealthy. Why? A variety of reasons ( i.e. confusion of priorities, etc. ) at a variety of levels ( i.e. social, etc. ). One of the most fundamental reasons at one of the most fundamental levels is eating for the body. In all the Retreats & Camps i am actively involved with organizing, i push for 1 hour of Exercise & Elevation for the well being of the body & mind. Being unable to reach all through such Retreats & Camps, we aspire to create awareness on the ruinous repercussions of eating for the body through our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( January 24, 2011 ) --- Eating for Enlightenment

* Most animals have their brain, heart, stomach and genital organ at the same level compared to humans who have one above the other - our physical structure is an indication of what our priorities should be in life otherwise we are as evolved as the next animal
* Sarira madhyamam khalu dharmasadhanam ( the body is the medium to practice righteousness ) - poor eating / drinking habits are a disservice to oneself and to society for one cannot serve then, rather need to be served
* Only through the assistance of the body are we able to exhaust vasanas ( innate tendencies ) which blind us to our Joyous Nature - by indulging in eating and drinking we not only fail to use this embodiment but also succeed in crystallizing our spiritual ignorance
* By consuming foods / drinks that are tamasic ( base ) our personalities reflect the same, likewise with foods / drinks that are rajasic ( aggressive ) and sattvic ( noble ) - experiment with these ideas by changing one's diet to consume a majority of foods / drinks that are tamasic ( i.e. meat and alcohol ), rajasic ( i.e. oily and sodas ), sattvic ( i.e. vegetables and milk ) for a week each and observe whether we are what we eat
* We should eat many light meals rather than a couple of heavy meals as the former encourages a balanced circulation of blood whereas the latter encourages a skewed circulation of blood to the stomach - to be able to engage in sravanam ( listening ), mananam ( reflection ) and nidhidhyasanam ( meditation ) proper blood flow to the brain is vital
* Whenever ill, we consume only as much medicine as we need, never more, never less - Adi Shankaracharya teaches us to adopt the attitude of hunger and thirst being a daily disease which needs to be treated with some food and some drink not licentious eating / drinking

Week after week after week, positive thoughts are shared through our E-Vichara. If these thoughts do not translate into actions the E-Vichara is just as good as junk mail. Try! Explore!! Practice!!! The E-Vichara is by us, for us. On this note, i have shed 7 pounds over the last 4 months by abiding in my year long fast from chocolate, month long practice of veganism and experimenting with the ideas shared every Monday. With this in mind, please read the following short story on how ' putting oneself on the line ' is a catalyst to one ' transcending the line ' ...

Once, a Persian King received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to the members of his court. Yet the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, " Maybe I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem. " So he cried out to his court, " Go and get a farmer. "

In the morning the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, " Bring me the doer of this miracle. " The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, " How did you make the falcon fly? "

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, " It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting. "

Remember our next Adults Q & A Live Webcast is this Wed Jan 26 from 8p - 9p. If you have any questions email them to Bindu ( menta.bindu@gmail.com ) before Wed and please join us at the Ustream link below.

" If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn't oversleep. " --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:56 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

" To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on ourselves, " shared our Pujya Swami Chinmayananda. Considering how utterly universal this message is, more of an introduction would be distracting and so we focus on our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( January 31, 2011 ) --- Art of Forgiving

* Though anger and almost all weaknesses are thrown outwards ( i.e. to our car, to our sibling, to our weather, etc. ), like a boomerang, this negativity returns to us - our preoccupation with masochism is frightening
* Developing relations requires time, effort, understanding whereas destroying relations requires a fraction of time, effort, understanding - let us reflect on how much we have invested in relationships only to dissolve these for we were not willing to invite ' the mediator of forgiveness '
* To believe we can commit mistakes yet others cannot is an expression of great egotism - whenever faced with a situation involving offense let us empathize with the other person/s and then think and feel from that perspective
* Forgiving is not about forgetting, rather about learning from the past and valuing a person more than an incident / situation - a healthy way to value a person is to engage in dialogue ( i.e. talk about what is the matter ) and appreciation ( i.e. be grateful for the person and quite often for the criticism they offered for they had the courage to share how we can be better )
* If the Divine remunerated us for what we deserve we would all be miserable - the Divine is generous in looking at our selflessness and overlooking our selfishness and we can be Divinely peaceful by practicing the same
* The highest forgiveness is to not take offense - just as the tongue is not offended when the teeth bite it because both are part of the same body, so too the only way to practice the highest forgiveness is to embrace Oneness

Technology controlling is a curse. Technology controlled is a blessing. A couple of weeks ago i had the great honour of teaching over 100 young adults from all over North America who gathered in Chicago to learn about Mind & Meditation. The discourses from this Retreat have been recorded and are available for your study at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Mind+and+Meditation+CHYK&aq=f

Continuing with the idea of how preparation of mind is needed to forgive, needed to meditate, well this is needed to be happy as well. Please read the following excerpt from The Road to Happiness by Mac Anderson & BJ Gallagher...

On one trip about ten years ago, I was making conversation with the taxi driver, asking him my usual questions about how he came to live where he lived. Then I asked him a hypothetical question: " If you could live anywhere in the world and if money was no object, where would you live? "

Without hesitating even for a second, he replied, " I live in my heart. So it really doesn't matter where my body lives. If I am happy inside, then I live in paradise, no matter where my residence is. "

I felt humbled and a little foolish for my question. Of course he was right, happiness is an inside job. He had reminded me of something I already knew, but had forgotten. If you can't find happiness inside yourself, you'll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move. Wherever you go, there you are. You take yourself with you.


" The satisfaction of getting revenge lasts only for a moment. The glory of forgiveness lasts forever. " --- Tirukural verse 156

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:27 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

The E-Vichara is a weekly email envisioned…the Super Bowl commercials were so flashyto provide spiritual thoughts for seekers…the weather is going to be harsh tonight…to reflect upon and instill a peaceful perspective. Distracted? If yes, read on. If no, stop lying hahaha! Focusing on distractions is the…come on, pay attentionthe concentration of our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections…

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( February 7, 2011 ) --- Distracted? Desist!

* We waste endless amounts of resources, time and effort by allowing ourselves to be hypnotized by the dialogue between the mind and senses - experiences had and experiences to be had are enemies of the present experience
* The more we align ourselves with Awareness the more we will know when we are distracted - having become alert of when we are not focusing we need to continue being alert to guide ourselves back to focusing
* The cure to a vice is to practice the opposite virtue ( i.e. contentment for desire, patience for anger, appreciation for greed, etc. ) - to remedy the ever growing disease of distraction we have to participate in the medicine of concentration
* We do not lack the ability to concentrate, rather we lack interest in what we do ( i.e. reading a report vs. watching a movie ) – if we learn that all we do has a purpose we will develop a greater liking for all we do
* A simple and effective way to develop concentration is to keep our minds where our hands are - by appreciating the sheer rise in efficiency applicable to each and every facet of living ( i.e. exercising, writing emails, making decisions, etc. ) if we are able to pay attention, we will take this subject more seriously
* When we are distracted from the task at hand we tend to get frustrated and this only distracts us further - one should always be honest about one's present capabilities, that being we are human, yet never forget our potential, that being we are Divine

When we are distracted from our goal we engage in compromising the noble for the selfish. We we are focused on our goal we engage in sacrificing the selfish for the noble. Compromise leads to failure and sacrifice to success. Please read the following short story of how compromise and sacrifice in the workplace leads to such different scenes...

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over his business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, " It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. " The young executives were shocked but the boss continued. " I am going to give each one of you a seed. I want you to plant the seed, tend to the seed and we will meet 1 year from today with what has become of the seed I have given you. I will then judge what you bring and will choose a CEO accordingly.

One man named Jim was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly narrated to his wife the background to the seed. Together they planted the seed and everyday they would water the seed and watch to see if it had grown. After about 3 weeks some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed yet nothing ever grew. Week after week passed, still he had nothing. By now others were talking about their plants. Yet Jim had no plant and felt like a failure. Half the year went by and Jim had nothing to show. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had tall plants now and he, nothing. Jim did not say anything to his colleagues. He just continued to water and fertilize the soil. Finally a year passed and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim had told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach for this was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life. Still he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed! A few even felt sorry for him.

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. " My, what great plants, flowers and trees you have grown," said the CEO. " Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO! "

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room beside his empty pot. He asked Jim to come to the front. Terrified, he thought, " The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired! " When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed and so Jim explained his situation. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at him and then announced to the young executives, " Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim! "

Jim couldn't believe it. He couldn't even grow his seed.

" How could he be the new CEO? " the others said.

Then the CEO said, " One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it and bring

it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead. Growing them was not possible. All of you, except Jim, have brought me plants and flowers and trees. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer! "


Remember our next Young Adults Q & A Live Webcast is on Monday, February 14 from 8.30p - 9.15p. If you have any questions email them to Bhavana ( bhavana.shivakumar@gmail.com ) before that Monday. And please join us ( check out Ustream ) in this satsanga...the real way Valentine's Day should be celebrated, not with a forced display of emotions and materialism.

" I wrote on the door of my heart, ' Please do not enter '. Love came smiling and said: ' Sorry, I am an illiterate. ' ". --- Michael Paul

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:36 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

100,000...the number of kilometers ( 62,500 miles for our ' unique ' friends who do not believe in a universal measurement system ) i have driven the Kartavyaha ( the name i have given the Honda Civic i drive which means duty in Sanskrit ) over the last 2 1/2 years of seva ( since Pujya Swami Tejomayananda has blessed me as an Acharya ). Seeing this number evolve in the odometer lead me to think of the evolution of numbers on the spiritual path. Naturally these are shared through our 87th E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( February 14, 2011 ) --- Countdown to Reality

* Six enemies of the mind in the form of desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride and jealousy torture us incessantly - through cultivating awareness we learn to Love ourselves and others leaving these enemies no ' fuel to burn '
* Five debts we owe to nature, beings, society, ancestors and sages for incessantly blessing us with all we have and all we are - through appreciation, harmony and giving one is ' freed of these debts '
* Four aims of living in morality, prosperity, enjoyment and Freedom have to culminate in the last otherwise living is a waste - living fundamentally only has one purpose and that is Freedom, Realizing which all the other aims are realized and made redundant
* Three innate qualities of dullness, aggression and peace which are the fabric of every object, being and situation binding one to finitude - through surrendering more and more to peace, in time all these ' ropes are broken '
* Two perspectives of the object and subject which forever leave one and all afflicted with the ' fear virus ' - through regular and sincere reflection we realize that the object is dependent on the subject and so only the subject has an independent reality
* One Teacher, Body, Family, World, God, Love, Existence, Awareness, Joy - whether labeled or not, whether acknowledged or not, whether appreciated or not, if we meditate on One, Oneness will leave us no choice but to smile and smile and smile ( smiling as i write this... )

Well that was fun! And so is Meditation. Check out the following article published by Massachusetts General Hospital on how Meditation actually changes the structure of the brain. For those who are following along with the E-Vicharas i hope you are beginning to appreciate how advanced our Rishis ( Seers ) were in their thinking...http://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=1329

Creative? Prove it. Our Gurukul for the Performing Arts ( Chinmaya Naada Bindu ) is seeking for a logo by which the world would recognize this noble school. Please see the attached for more information on this seva and opportunity.

" Thought is the most powerful form of creation in the world. With one thought, you can experience pain, misery or absolute terror. Without that thought, you experience wholeness, peace and divine connection. Allow your thoughts to be your best friends and together we will create heaven on earth. " --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:01 pm

Hari Om from Columbus!

i hope this email finds everyone well...

A blessing that comes with traveling is meeting different types of people. And in my travels i am coming across quite a different type of people...a minor inclination for spirituality...a major inclination for marketing...combined to become self proclaimed gurus, life coaches, personality consultants, etc. Well for this E-Vichara, i am going to play the same game! i am going to set aside the endless evidence, logic and guidance ' authority ' ( our Scriptures / Masters ) has taught me on the Nature of Oneness. Instead, i am going to go ' new age ' styles and share unsupported observations on how we are all One, through our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( February 21, 2011 ) --- Observations on One

* Whenever we have an enjoyable experience we encourage others to as well ( i.e. eating at a tasty restaurant and then telling a friend to do the same ) - if we are all not connected why would we put in such efforts
* Appreciating one's abundance, we are naturally inclined to create the same abundance ( i.e. knowing how much one has in their bank account, knowing how much one needs to live, one then gives some of the excess away ) - if we are truly separate why would another's joy bring us joy
* Seeing smiles, seeing tears, etc. becomes a catalyst for us to become smiley, teary, whatever - how can we be independent of each other when we are perpetually and utterly influenced by each other
* Each and every living entity in the Universe is ' looking in the same direction ', towards greater peace - we may move in different directions ( i.e. some seek peace through intoxication and others inspiration ) yet these are divergent actions, not divergent attitudes
* Princes and paupers are united in their experience of sleep the ' great equalizer ' - our differences are apparent ( thinking based ) not fundamental ( energy based )
* We are all born with our hands closed ( a-yoga or wanting nothing ) and we will all die with our hands open ( a-kshema or keeping nothing ) - knowing we are One at birth and death, we have to reflect and realize we are One while living too

Remember our next Adults Q & A Live Webcast is this Wednesday, February 23 from 8.15p - 9.00p. If you have any questions email them to Bindu ( menta.bindu@gmail.com ) before Wednesday and please join us at the Ustream.

" The guru, for the purposes of meditation, is one who has guided you to detect and experience your divinity. He need not be a priest or a monk; he can be a friend, a leader in society, or an insignificant person in your neighbourhood. He who has through his life and work unveiled a greater vision, provided you with a thirst to aspire, or kindled in you a greater hunger to live and to face your problems courageously - he is your guru. The teacher may be a book, it may be a passing statement, it may be an experience in life itself. The teacher is the one whose remembrance helps you to become a critic of yourself. He is a guide who, at all moments of moral and ethical compromises, rises up somewhere in your memory to warn you not to fall prey to temptations, and lends you courage to come away from the fascination of the moment and walk heroically the rugged path of righteousness. " --- Swami Chinmayananda


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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:48 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

Every year i go skiing at least once. The past couple of years i have skied Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia. This year however, i am unable to on account of going to Piercy to teach instead of Vancouver. Awesomely, this past Saturday i was invited to go skiing and so could not resist such an opportunity! While i was skiing i was thinking about nature, children, the body, the mind, you, and me. What connected with me, i am now connecting with all of you through our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( February 28, 2011 ) --- Skiing is Believing!

* The ultimate purpose of Nature is to Be, the ultimate purpose of ours is to Be - knowing Nature and us to be One, we should Be with Nature and let Nature Be
* Children are a universal and understandable embodiment of purity - there is minimal identification with the body in regards to getting injured, there is minimal fear in the mind in regards to getting insulted
* Hunger, cold, fatigue, etc. limit the body when the body is not engaged - when we engage the body in an entertaining ( ordinary ) or enlightening ( extraordinary ) pursuit even pain becomes trivial
* There is nothing to fear but fear - when we think negatively we bind ourselves and when we think positively we liberate ourselves
* A true test of understanding an idea is to be able to make another understand the same - writing and sharing writings is a powerful sadhana ( spiritual discipline )
* Applying all i learned above, i skied faster, sharper and free-er than ever before - Vedanta is the most practical, potent, peaceful Knowledge if one lives this

Quantum Consciousness...WHAT? Read! And discover...Life: A Cosmic Symphony ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ervin-laszlo/cosmic-symphony-a-deeper_b_532315.html )

" I am thankful to all those who said no to me. Its because of them I did it myself. " --- Einstein

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:38 pm

Hari Om from Merrillville!

i hope this email finds everyone well...

In the business field there is a revenue model known as a pyramid scheme. The basics of this scheme is those on a higher level of the pyramid earn on the sales of those on a lower level on the pyramid. This revenue model is considered to be quite shady on account of the types of businesses utilizing this strategy ( though at the end of the day almost all businesses operate within the framework of a pyramid scheme ). However, the idea is ingenious. Instead of linear growth, exponential growth! Countless facets of nature adhere to this behaviour, unfortunately including cancer. Appreciating how powerful a pyramid scheme is, why not employ this strategy to serve society? Race! RACE!! R A C E!!! Random Acts of Care, Engaged!, a cooler version of ' random acts of kindness ', is the inspiration for our E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara / Electronic Reflections ( March 7, 2011 ) --- Random Acts of Care, Engaged! ( RACE! )

* Why is our kindness random - ideally our kindness should be unbiased and unending, though to evolve to this noble mindedness, being randomly kind is a start
* The more one gives to ' Life ' the more one receives from ' Life ' and so the belief that random acts of kindness only benefits others is myopic for the greater beneficiary is oneself - again, why should we randomly strive to benefit ourselves when every moment is an opportunity to benefit oneself
* Whenever serving others, in whatever way, the only reciprocity we should ask or aspire for is that they too offer service, in whatever way - our Guru Parampara ( Tradition of Teachers ) is the epitome of gaining and giving
* As Mahatma Gandhi has taught us, " There is not a single moment when man cannot serve, " we should reflect on how we can contribute to society - all of us are extraordinary in at least one way and if we share this than our ordinary will be extraordinary
* We can be kind in infinite ways ( i.e. holding doors, picking up litter, shoveling a neighbour's driveway, replying to emails, not sending emails, being on time, donating clothing , donating food , donating funds, teaching, etc. ) - kindness can be expressed at the level of thought, word and deed and the most potent kindness at these levels are smiling ( positive thinking ), silence ( accepting others ) and serving ( renouncing selfishness ) respectively
* This E-Vichara will be sent by 1 recipient ( me ) to 1,354 recipients ( you ) and if these recipients send these thoughts to only 3 people then 4,062 will be privy to RACE! and if these recipients send this message to only 3 people then in a matter of a few minutes over 12,000 people can begin to RACE! - i have sent these thoughts so what are you waiting for...unlike the disproportionate benefit of a material pyramid scheme, a spiritual pyramid scheme is built on all benefiting sans anyone being expensed

We often receive ' emotional ' emails, stories, presentations, etc. about how we have a choice to forward the same on if you are friend and blah blah blah. A more pertinent choice is the choice we make every morning...to smile or succumb. Please read the following short story on the choice of a wise old man...

Once, an old man was about to move into a retirement home. His wife recently passed away and so he chose to donate his home to be an orphanage. As he waited in the retirement home lobby for several hours, when he was told his room is ready he smiled. The lady that was taking him to his room was describing the small room to him, including the sheet that hung over the window which acted as a curtain. He reacted by saying, "I like it very much!"

"Sir, you haven’t even seen the room yet", the lady replied.

"That has nothing to do with it", he gently responded. "Happiness is something I choose in advance. Whether or not I like the room does not depend on the furniture or the decor. Rather, depends on how I decide to see it. I have already decided in my mind that I like my room. I make such a decision every morning. I decide. I can spend my day in bed enumerating all the difficulties that I have with the parts of my body that no longer work very well or I can get up and give thanks for those parts that are still in working order. Everyday is a gift"...he concluded.


Remember our concluding Young Adults Q & A Live Webcast is on Monday, March 14 from 8.30p - 9.15p. If you have any questions email them to Bhavana ( bhavana.shivakumar@gmail.com ) or at the following link Questions for Vivekji ( http://chykhouston.wufoo.com/reports/list-of-questions-for-vivekji/ ) before that Monday. And please do join us as we conclude this seva by checking out Ustream.

" If the most positive and enthusiastic person you know is not yourself, something needs adjusting. " --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:39 am

Hari Om from Portland!

i hope this email finds everyone well...

On March 11, 2011 our family in Japan suffered from an unimaginable natural disaster. On March 14, 2011 the suffering continues. Such adversity teaches humanity in ways that prosperity never can. Reporting these truths is the 'call of duty' of our E-Vichara/Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara/Electronic Reflections (March 14, 2011) --- Teachings through Tragedy

* Mother Nature's strength is unparalleled - humanity can never ever create what Mother Nature can (i.e. Niagara Falls, Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, etc.)
* Again, Mother Nature's strength is unparalleled - humanity can never ever destroy what Mother Nature can (i.e. through earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.)
* Regardless of how we might try to prevent and prepare our creations (i.e. buildings, roads, ports, etc.) from Her strength, if Mother Nature wishes creation/destruction, we can do nothing - let us acknowledge, accept and appreciate the forces of Nature
* When one is thirsty, cold, tired, how trivial do matters of the world become (i.e. Dow Jones Industrial Average, Libyan political struggles, E-Vicharas, etc.) - knowing this, we should do whatever it takes to feed, shelter, comfort our struggling family for sympathy does not serve the world, empathy does
* For those unable to physically serve our aching brothers and sisters, sincerely support those able to provide fundamental necessities (i.e governments, service organizations, empowered and expert citizens, etc.) - for those unable to physically serve our aching brothers and sisters, pray passionately to the One who can truly provide
* In times of great despair, people tend to forget their differences and help without question - sad how tragedy is needed before unity is wanted

As we think about those in need during emergency situations, let us also think about ourselves during daily affairs. Have you taken the Triple Filter Test...

In ancient Greece, Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day a friend ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?" asked the friend.

"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about Diogenes, let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said. "Actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man became embarrassed. Socrates continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "If what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me or anyone at all?"

The man was confused and ashamed.


Remember our concluding Adults Q & A Live Webcast is on Wednesday, March 23 from 8.15p - 9.00p. If you have any questions, email them to Bindu (menta.bindu@gmail.com) before that Wednesday. And please do join us as we conclude this seva by checking out Ustream (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/e-vichara).

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." --- Peter F. Drucker

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:54 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

The past 2 weeks i have been touring NW Indiana and Portland. In NW Indiana i had the honour of speaking at the Community Healthcare System's Cardiovascular Research Symposium on Health is Wealth; Peace is Prosperity. In Portland i had the honour of speaking at Intel's Jones Farm Convention Center Auditorium on Essential Gita. The audience in the former was primarily patients. The audience in the latter was primarily parents. Regardless of city, topic and audience, the message was singular, was simple. We have 2 choices and only 2 choices: to be peace-full OR peace-less. All else is details. Choosing to reflect on choices, our choice E-Vichara/Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara/Electronic Reflections (March 21, 2011) --- Only Two Choices

* The health of the mind has an unimaginable and unappreciated influence on the health of the body - scientists have studied how thoughts affect the formation of water crystals (positive thinking) or lack thereof (negative thinking) so imagine what such thinking does to an entity whose body is approximately 2/3 water
* No one wants to listen to someone who judges, who stresses, who nags, yet a great deal of our direct/indirect communication is engaging in this - a bond is developed, a relationship is sustained when one can be open with another and judging, stressing, nagging inhibits this
* Physicians are discovering more and more how patients that are connected to their families, prayer, the Divine heal more efficiently and effectively than those who are 'disconnected' - even if one's family is insincere, even if prayer is to an artificial entity, even if the Divine is a placebo, the effect of being connected is the all same
* We cannot live the life of another nor can anyone live our life - reflecting on this simple fact, we need to be aware of the difference between instructing (filled with subjective expectations) and guiding (filled with objective welfare)
* When we are ill, naturally there is associated pain - yet pain is a subjective phenomenon interpreted by the mind and if we engage the mind in a field greater than the pain, the pain fades to a indiscernible 'background music'
* By losing one's balance with a family member/s how can we ever be support for them - true concern demands true independence for only the strong are able to Love, not the ones who are swayed with each passing situation

The struggle, the suffering, the silence continues in Japan. Let us offer our tan (body) by collecting basic amenities and coordinating the delivery of these to the needy. Let us offer our man (mind) by praying sincerely and regularly for the well being of all those winning, losing and lost. Let us offer our dhan (resources) by sacrificing our wants for the needs of our Japanese sisters and brothers. We all have our own ways to offer our tan, man and dhan. For those wanting more guidance, please consider the following means of doing so: Direct Relief International (https://secure2.convio.net/dri/site/Donation2?idb=215618552&df_id=1700&1700.donation=form1&)

Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Be-ing) or what foreigners labeled as Hinduism, is eternal. Check out the following short video on how Sanatana Dharma was/is the foundation for civilizations all across Southern Asia including countries where other religions now claim dominance: Eternal Presence of Hinduism in Indonesia (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_1-3IC6X34&feature=related)

Finally, i would like to meet everyone on this ever increasing distribution list. And so i have posted my itinerary (have to write subject to change hahaha!) at the following link hoping we can meet in the various cities i am so fortunate to teach in: Acharya Vivek Itinerary (http://www.chinmayamission.org/acharya.php?id=56)

" The two thieves of life are regret and fear. If we regret the past and fear the future, we crucify ourselves between them. " --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:51 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

Yeh zindagi hai, ek juaa. Kabhi jeet bhi, kabhi har bhi (This life is, a game. Sometimes there is victory. Sometimes there is defeat.). Knowing this, why do we brag when we win? Knowing this, why do we become bitter when we lose? Developing dignity as a winner, is the lesson plan for our next E-Vichara. Developing dignity as a loser, is the lesson plan for our E-Vichara/Electronic Reflections...

E-Vichara/Electronic Reflections (March 28, 2011) --- Dignified Losing is Winning

* We explore losing first because throughout our lives we have all lost more than we have won and this trend will not change - appreciating that in a typical secular scenario (i.e. playing Monopoly, competing for Valedictorian, seeking a significant other, etc.) there can only be one 'winner', why do we think we are so special that we should always win
* We explore losing first because our ego reacts exponentially more when losing than when winning - losing is an opportunity to deprive the ego of what it feeds on, superiority, inferiority, difference
* The glory of losing is invoking the motivation to be better, to keep on trying - no doubt we learn more in adversity than in prosperity
* Just as shaking hands before and after a game is encouraged in sports, just as bowing down before and after a fight is encouraged in martial arts, so too before and after any 'challenge' we should mentally appreciate, respect and identify with all those involved in the challenge - by openly praising the one who 'beat' us we dissolve jealousy, unforgiving and bitterness
* Repulsively, each one of us has made each one of us a competitor of each one of us (i.e. whose house is most expensive, whose spouse is most obedient, whose email address is most prominent, etc.) - as we reflect on the message of Vedanta we begin to 'look within' and evolve to understand that our only competitor is our lesser self
* We should elevate our thinking beyond traditional victory and defeat (i.e. of rewards) and engage in fundamental victory and defeat (i.e. of Joy) - living this, we free ourselves of the dependency on the world to inspire and become independently inspired for we are the ONLY Source of Joy

Recently i was made aware of a Facebook 'Hate Group'. Naturally many ideas on the Internet are simply to seek attention. However, this 'Hate Group' is genuinely wicked. As one who has dedicated his life to defeating defeating-discrimination, i invest countless hours sharing related thoughts and now i am asking everyone who is reading this email to support me in protesting against this 'Hate Group'.

i cannot even bear to write what is being conveyed...

Please register your protest with Facebook administrators through the following steps:

1) Click on http://www.facebook.com/pages/EveryBody-Draw-Gando-Gay-Ramkrishna-and-Randi-Sita-and-all-Bhagwan-Photos/131078843628810

2) Click on 'Report Page' on the left side of the screen.

3) Click on 'Contains hate speech or attacks on individual'.

4) Click on 'Targets a religious group'.

5) Click on 'Submit'

As per policy, when a critical number of protests are received by Facebook administrators, they will be compelled to remove this 'Hate Group. Such proactive action will go a long way in controlling fanatics who disrespect Sanatana Dharma. Please act and encourage the same with your communities. Vande Mataram!

"A sharp tongue can cut your own throat." --- Unknown

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Re: Viveka & Vichara - weekly contemplation from Acharya Vivekji

Postby AcharyaVivek » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:58 pm

Hari Om Everyone,

i hope this email finds everyone well...

Through our past E-Vichara we thought about being dignified while losing for with such an attitude we can never lose. Through this E-Vichara we will explore being dignified while winning. Our Indian Cricket Team exemplified the right attitude while losing and winning at the 2011 International Cricket Council World Cup and so our tribute to the World Champions is our E-Vichara...

E-Vichara (April 4, 2011) --- Dignified Winning has no Losers

* Whenever we prevail as the winners of a competition we should appreciate the contribution of luck towards our victory (i.e. the coin toss, direction of the wind, changing surface of the playing field, etc.) - the implication is we will not take our victory so seriously and we will encourage our competitor/s to not take their defeat so seriously
* Whenever we prevail as the winners of a competition we should silently offer our gratitude to all parties who enabled us to be victorious (i.e. our parents who nourished us, our friends who tested us, our role models who inspired us, etc.) - just as true knowledge brings humility (vidya dadati vinayam) so too, true victory brings humility (jo jeeta wohi sikander)
* Our base ego thrives on winning for this is an opportunity to assert difference between the superior and inferior - naturally the base ego of another is sensitive upon losing so we should practice empathy by exercising silence or brotherhood
* The real playing field is our minds and the real triumph is being at peace - reflecting on this truth, if we are agitated we have won nothing real and if we are at peace we have lost nothing real
* Almost all secular situations are a 'zero sum game' whereby my gain is your loss and vice versa - almost all sacred situations are not a 'zero sum game' whereby my gain is your gain (i.e the secret to being happy is to make others happy)
* Just as Sri Krishna eternally teaches that we do not control our results, that we do control our actions, we should open our minds and hearts and live this - let us find joy in competition not the 'labels' associated with competition for then we become the masters of joy

'What you give is what you get.' This simple yet profound proverb is beautifully woven into a story for us to think about...which beggar are we:

Once, a philanthropist moved into a small town. Knowing this, three beggars thought of approaching the wealthy man for help.
The first beggar went to the man and said: "O Lord! I want five dollars. Please give me five dollars."

The rich man was taken aback at this beggar's impudence. "What? You demand five dollars from me as though I owe you the money! How dare you? How can I afford to give five dollars to a single beggar? Here, take two dollars and go away," he said. The man went away with the two dollars.

The next beggar went to the philanthropist and said: "O Lord! I have not taken a square meal for the past ten days. Please help me."

"How much do you want?" asked the man.

"Whatever you give me, Lord," replied the beggar.

"Here, take this ten dollar bill. You can have decent food for at least three days." The beggar walked away with the ten dollars.

Then the third beggar came. "O Lord! I have heard about your noble qualities. Hence, I have come to see you. Men of such charitable disposition are verily the manifestations of Divinity on Earth," he said.

"Please sit down," said the rich man. "You appear to be tired. Please take this food," he said and offered food to the beggar. "Now please tell me what I can do for you."

"O Lord," replied the beggar, "I merely came to meet such a noble personage that you are. You have given me this rich food already. What more can I ask for? You have already shown extraordinary kindness towards me. May the Divine bless you!"

Moved by the beggar's spirit, the philanthropist requested the beggar to remain with him, built a decent house for him in his own compound and looked after him for the rest of his life...

In this story, the Divine is the philanthropist and we are the beggars.

The selfish person is full of vanity, full of arrogance, full of desires. He/she demands only worldly objects from the Divine. Since such a person has the good sense to approach the Divine, he/she is blessed with some part of the desired objects. Though even these very soon pass away, just as the two dollars the first beggar received were spent before nightfall.

The average person approaches the Divine for relief from the sufferings of the world. Such a person is better than the first for he/she is willing to accept the plans of the Divine. To such a person the Divine grants full relief from suffering and much prosperity.

The selfless person just remembers the Divine. Such a person does not ask. Filled with the spirit of independence, contentment and acceptance the Divine blesses such a person with the Divine...Infinite Peace


See you all next week!

"Nothing is more revolting than the majority; for it consists of few vigorous predecessors, of knaves who accommodate themselves, of weak people who assimilate themselves, and the mass that toddles after them without knowing the least what it wants." --- Goethe

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