Delhi devotees welcomed Poojya Swamiji and Mā on the 31st of October with their hearts overflowing with love and devotion and a pleasant anticipation of the divine, enriching days in the company of the Mahātmās.
People from Delhi and Vasundhara assembled for the Pādapoojā on the 3rd of November. Smt Upma and Sri Vijay Pal Tyagi performed Pāda-poojā to the accompaniment of chanting of hymns and Nāmāvalī in adoration of our Poojya Gurudev. After the message by Poojya Swamiji, all assembled devotees offered flowers at Swamiji’s feet and received prasāda.
Deepavali Retreat (4-8 November):
The Deepavali Retreat was an occasion for all devotees to sit at the feet of Poojya Swamiji and Mā, and absorb the knowledge being imparted. Many devotees from Vasundhara, Delhi as well as from many parts of India participated in the retreat. The day started with morning prayers and meditation. There were Swamiji’s classes in the morning and the day generally concluded with Mā’s talk in the evening.
Poojya Swamiji and Mā went to Lucknow for one day on 4th to visit Poojya Swamiji’s critically ailing disciple Sri Rakesh Mittalji. Swamiji’s visit brought strength and solace to both Rakeshji and his wife Arunaji. Sri Rakesh Mittalji passed away on the 13th of November.
Vivekacūḍāmaṇi classes: Classes based on Ādi Śaṅkara’s Vivekacūḍāmaṇi titled ‘Harnessing Inner Resources for Interactional Excellence’ were held from 5th to 8th and from 17th to 19th of November.
Starting this year’s talk with śloka 365 of Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, Swamiji infused the listeners with the need to delve into the mind. Explaining the ślokas Swamiji stressed on the need for all seekers to practise restraint of mind (chitta-nirodha) in order to experience unflickering joy and contentment.
The Satsang hall resonated with the ślokas chanted on vairāgya. Connecting the Vivekacuūḍāmaṇi ślokas on vairāgya with ślokas from ‘Vairāgya áatakam’ and other texts Swamiji highlighted the need for a seeker to disconnect himself from both external as well as internal objects. “Vairāgya should always be coupled with viveka”, said Swamiji interpreting the ślokas, “only then it will lead to liberation”.
Paramātmā ke Āliṅgan mein (In the Blissful Embrace of the Lord): Mā commenced the talk extolling little Prahlāda who was always ‘Govinda Parirambhitah’ (in the embrace of the Lord). This was the catchphrase of the 3-day discourses in Hindi in which Mā told us how this divine embrace can be had by us in the midst of all activities. Every day Mā reiterated the fact that we have to bring the Lord into all our work and in all our thoughts. Teaching the ślokas selected from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Bodha Sāram, Bhagavad Gita and other spiritual texts, Mā explained how Bhakti can be enhanced and how one can attain Supreme joy by purifying oneself. “Learn to chant ślokas”, urged Mā, “it is a great sādhanā”.
Deepavali day: Nutan Swamiji arrived on this day lighting up the hearts of all devotees. In the evening, CIRD sparkled with the gentle glow of the candles that were lit all over. All devotees congregated in the Satsang hall in the presence of Poojya Swamiji, Nutan Swamiji and Mā. Clearly, the glow of the saints outshone all external lights. Poojya Swamiji was garlanded by Smt. Saroj and Sri Gautam; Nutan Swamiji was offered a floral garland by Sri Balwant Singh, and Mā was garlanded by Smt Raj Dagur. Acceding to the request of the devotees, Swamiji gave a short and meaningful Deepavali message making the assembled devotees understand the need to light up their own beings with the divine light of knowledge.
Meditation and Beyond (11-13 November): This 3-day discourse series was held in the Siri Fort Auditorium. Poojya Swamiji defined meditation as ‘abiding in the middle presence’.
“The middle presence is the source of everything. Sit in a place, close your eyes, enter the mind arena and tackle it” urged Swamiji. “When you approach the mind and analyse the mind, you realize that all experiences are in the mind. Its magnitude is immense. It has given rise to the world and it can draw to you whatever you need or deserve”. Swamiji stated emphatically that only by a process of repeated contemplation and analysis one has to purify, expand and refine the mind. Meditation is for purifying one’s personality.
Swamiji stressed that meditation will have to support one during all the interactional hours of the day. Swamiji added, “The success in life is handling all the interactions well, with poise, in an excellent manner. The mind should get more enriched and enlightened by the interactions. All interactions should be a continuous sādhanā”.
Quoting ślokas from the Bhagavad Gita, Swamiji said that one can abide in that middle presence during interactions. Swamiji urged: “Let nothing inundate you. Let your mind assimilate all interactional impacts”.
A Great Association: This long-awaited book written by Nutan Swamiji was released on 10th November in a very sublime function in the Siri Fort auditorium. This unique book offers rare glimpses into the life and work of Poojya Swamiji. The first copy of the book was presented by Sri Shashi Shekhar Vempati to Dr. E. Sreedharanji.
Science of Inner Redemption (Vol 3): Poojya Swamiji’s elevating commentary on the verses of Nirvā¸a Prakara¸a of Yoga VāsiÀ¶ha Rāmāya¸a was released on 11th November in the Siri Fort auditorium and the first copy was received by Sri Balasubramanian of Chennai.
Mere Pyaare Baba: The Hindi translation of ‘My Beloved Baba’ was released on 13th November at the Siri Fort Hall. The first copy was received by Smt Meera Malhotra.
Prakash Mehrotra Memorial Lecture (16th November):
This is the ninth year in succession that Swamiji has been delivering these lectures. ‘Empowering the mind - Key to Performantial Excellence’ was the subject on which Swamiji spoke in the Teen Murti House Auditorium in Delhi.
“Excellence is a quality which the inner personality should imbibe” said Swamiji, “Excellence is a Subjective quality and whatever you do should be excellent”. Swamiji exhorted the listeners to strive for this excellence by contemplating and spending mind-hours on it.
The listeners were left in no doubt that excellence is something to strive for, cultivate and display. With instances from the Kurukshetra battlefield Swamiji showed how Sri Krishna displayed excellence in every situation. Throughout Bhagavad Gita this message of Krishna is extolled. Swamiji asked everyone to keep the example of Sri Krishna’s excellence and imbibe it. Sri Krishna analysed the human personality and instilled Arjuna with courage and excellence throughout the 18 chapters.
Swamiji said: “Bhagavad Gita will make you excellent. This is one book in which the art and process of instilling excellence into oneself and others is clearly described very effectively”.
CHC children interaction with Poojya Swamiji and Mā (18th November):
The ‘cultural heritage class’ is being conducted in CIRD Delhi for the past 17 years. Every year the children look forward to be with Poojya Swamiji. This year around 21 children of the CHC spent a short while with Poojya Swamiji. They chanted some ślokas from the 13th chapter. Swamiji spoke to the children and gave them each a lunch box, water bottle and some snacks and juice. After offering pra¸āms, the children had Bhakti Bhoj, with dishes specially prepared for them.
Anna-vastra Dāna Satram (18th November):
Around 2000 indigent families in Ghaziabad received 3 kilograms of rice, a fleece blanket and a packet of halwa prasada each. Coupons were distributed in the nearby areas and volunteer devotees started the process of rice packing one week earlier. Halwa prasada packing started in the morning and continued for many hours till everything was ready for distribution.
Much before the scheduled 4.00 pm, recipients with their coupons queued up outside CIRD. They received the articles in a peaceful and organized manner. All devoteevolunteers felt enriched by this community effort and also blessed to be part of such a unique event.
Interactive Satsang with Poojya Swamiji (17th and 19th November): These interactive Satsangs in Hindi were attended by many from Vasundhara and Delhi. The Satsang hall was filled to capacity and everyone heard with rapt attention the message of knowledge delivered by Swamiji. On 19th, Swamiji spoke on Bhakti with special focus on Bhāgavatam.
Bhajan Sandhya: On the second Friday of every month, a Bhajan session is being held in CIRD Delhi. The 15 to 20 participants of this Bhajan session are all from the neighbouring areas in Vasundhara. On 20th November, the Bhajan group congregated in the Satsang Hall in the evening and a Bhajan session was held in the presence of Poojya Swamiji and Mā. The Satsang hall reverberated with Bhajans accompanied by sounds of dholak (drum), cymbals, harmonium and other instruments. Faces glowed with joy and enthusiasm.
This year, the annual Jμāna-yajμa was very well attended by devotees from Vasundhara and Delhi. Devotees from all over India also availed of the opportunity to be in Gurusa ´ga and participated in all the programs of Jμāna-yajμa. Devotees from Malaysia, United States, Jamshedpur, Bengaluru and Chennai congregated in CIRD Delhi for the momentous occasion of the release of Nutan Swamiji’s book ‘A Great Association’.
On 21st November when Poojya Swamiji and Mā left for the Ashram all felt that the 20 days of the Jμāna-yajμa had indeed been a festivity. Every moment of this festivity had been intertwined with divinity. Every word spoken by Poojya Swamiji, Nutan Swamiji and Mā had only contributed to more and more clarity and understanding in the minds of all seekers. By remembering their words, contemplating on their import, absorbing them, reliving the moments spent in the holy company, the internal festivity continues.