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|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
10 April 2010 @ 11:29 am
The word "dharma" does not refer to a particular sectarian faith, but to the very function of the soul. The shastras teach us that it is the inherent nature of everyone to render service. When that service is directed ultimately towards ourselves, in a selfish manner, it becomes the source of our own bondage in the material world. When that same service propensity is directed to the absolute truth, it becomes the key to our liberation from bondage. That selfless service, when directed towards the absolute is "sanatana-dharma", or the eternal function of the living entity.

As is implied by the word "sanatana" (eternal) there is no question of changing or stopping this inherent nature of service. We may misdirect our service in a selfish manner, but we can never cease engaging in service. Thus dharma, or sanatana-dharma is not merely a matter of faith or belief, but it is the reality of the self. It is the quality of the soul.

The quality of an object does not change based on a belief or faith. Water does not become wet due to our belief that it is wet. It's factual nature is that it is wet, regardless of faith or belief. The dharma of the soul is to engage in service; whether we believe or do not believe, whether we have faith or do not have faith, is irrelevant. We will factually engage in service, as it is our very quality. If we are selfless, our service will be directed towards the absolute; if we are selfish, our service will be directed towards our own senses, either directly or indirectly.

Religion, on the other hand, is a belief or faith held within the mind. One may today be a Christian, and tomorrow change one's mind (or faith) to become a Muslim. Does this mental belief have any factual bearing on the eternal spirit soul? The answer is no. One should not give in to the waverings of the mind. The Gita teaches us to rise beyond the body, beyond the mind, beyond the intelligence, and to come to the point of understanding the eternal self, the soul or atma. Those who become attached to false mental conceptions of the self (material designations) remain in the shackles of avidya (ignorance) despite their external rituals of religion.

Material designations are nothing but the temptations of maya (illusion) for the mind. The body is tempted by external sense enjoyment, whereas the mind is tempted by false conceptions of the self. These material designations may be focused on religion, nation, family, caste, creed, or belief. All of them are blocks on the path of self-realization.

The great saint Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us that we are not the external material body or its temporary designations, but are factually an eternal servant of the absolute. To convert from one aspect of ignorance to another is meaningless. It simply satisfies an uncontrolled mind, which finds peace in constant change. Like the flickering of a candle flame, the mind pushes us to waver between various mental conceptions of identity (religion, nationality, race, etc.). These shallow changes of belief have no factual effect on the soul. They only increase our bondage by creating a false conception of accomplishment.

Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our divine master and guide, has stated in his introduction to Bhagavad Gita the following, which clearly explains the distinction between religion and sanatana-dharma (the eternal function of the soul):

'Sanatana-dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord. Sanatana-dharma refers, as stated previously, to the eternal occupation of the living entity. Ramanujacarya has explained the word sanatana as "that which has neither beginning nor end," so when we speak of sanatana-dharma, we must take it for granted on the authority of Sri Ramanujacarya that it has neither beginning nor end.'

'The English world "religion" is a little different from sanatana-dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but sanatana-dharma refers to that activity which cannot be changed. For instance, liquidity cannot be taken from water, nor can heat be taken from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken from the living entity. Sanatana-dharma is eternally integral with the living entity. When we speak of sanatana-dharma, therefore, we must take it for granted on the authority of Sri Ramanujacarya that it has neither beginning nor end. That which has neither end nor beginning must not be sectarian, for it cannot be limited by any boundaries. Yet those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that sanatana-dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeply into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, it is possible for us to see that sanatana-dharma is the business of all the people of the world--nay, of all the living entities of the universe.'

'Non-sanatana religious faith may have some beginning in the annals of human history, but there is no beginning to the history of sanatana-dharma because it remains eternally with the living entities. Insofar as the living entities are concerned, the authoritative sastras state that the living entity has neither birth nor death. In the Gita it is stated that the living entity is never born, and he never dies. He is eternal and indestructible, and he continues to live after the destruction of his temporary material body. In reference to the concept of sanatana-dharma, we must try to understand the concept of religion from the Sanskrit root meaning of the word. Dharma refers to that which is constantly existing with a particular object. We conclude that there is heat and light along with the fire; without heat and light, there is no meaning to the word fire. Similarly, we must discover the essential part of the living being, that part which is his constant companion. That constant companion is his eternal quality, and that eternal quality is his eternal religion.' - From "Introduction to Bhagavad Gita" by Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Yours in service,

Jahnava Nitai Das,
Bhaktivedanta Ashram &
Bhaktivedanta International Charities

|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
10 December 2009 @ 01:14 pm
Every week as a part of spiritual practice and for others that are interested in these topics the SSRF hosts free phone conference study groups to clarify any doubts or questions and for discussion on various topics on spirituality. Tomorrow's SSRF phone study group looks to be an interesting one :)

Topics covered tomorrow include:

The spiritual life of Nostradamus
A spiritual perspective on giving and receiving gifts
The hierarchy of power in the universe

|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
07 December 2009 @ 11:27 pm
A Langara journalist student wrote a short article for their school's newspaper on the most recent workshop on the spiritual research conducted on ancestors :)
(Click image to enlarge)
|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
An article by Rajal, a very nice seeker from Toronto :)

Science has failed to predict calamities which have never been experienced before. Saints, on the other hand, have predicted such things.

On the evening of August 20, 2009, the Canadian city of Vaughan (just north of Toronto) got hit by a series of tornadoes. The tornadoes were completely unexpected as the “Tornado Alley” of the region runs much further west of Vaughan. A later search on Wikipedia showed that there hadn’t been any reported tornadoes in Vaughan up until then.

I was interested in this because while I live in Toronto, and we did not get the tornadoes, I witnessed the storm that brought them. My first reaction to the storm was that of disbelief which soon changed to awe tinged with fear. Watching it, I forgot what I had been doing when it started.

It would not seem easy to prepare oneself for something like a natural disaster, or for any kind of emergency for that matter. Even safely tucked away in my apartment, I could not help getting absorbed in the event which was unfolding before us as I observed the might of nature.

Although many rationalists of the 21st century boast about the progress made by science, nobody was actually able to warn about many of the serious disasters of the last few years, such as the South Asian tsunami or the more recent China earthquake. The limitations of science can be observed during such calamities.

One of the reasons given by the Indian weather observatory for not predicting the 2004 tsunami was, “India has never before experienced a tsunami, which made it hard to predict”. Even in the scientifically advanced and hurricane-prone US, hurricane prediction specialists admit that although hurricane predictions are improving, there is a lot to be wished for. This shows that though science has advanced, to a large extent it is still not able to understand nature.

Science has failed to predict calamities which have never been experienced before. Saints, on the other hand, have predicted these things.

His Holiness Gagangiri Maharaj has said that the coming period will be so bad that even Saints think that They would be better off leaving Their gross body during such bad times. Thus, as predicted by Saints, the upcoming times are going to be difficult. As found through SSRF’s spiritual research too, there will be more natural disasters. The natural disasters will cause scarcity of day-to-day necessities like food, water, electricity, petrol.

However the most important thing is that Saints haven’t just given warnings but have even suggested the means to overcome these calamities by guiding people to increase their devotion towards God. Our devotion can be increased by performing daily spiritual practice as per the six basic principles. It is by following these basic principles, and learning how to offer our body, mind and wealth that we can build enough spiritual strength to sustain ourselves in difficult circumstances.

While I was very lightly affected by the unexpected tornado storms, for me they were a welcome reminder of the predictions given by Saints, and of the need to intensify my spiritual practice in order to prepare for the times ahead.

Some related links to future predictions given by Saints & guidance on spiritual practice:
Armageddon & World War III
Start your Spiritual Journey
Who is a Saint?

|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
The ultimate quest of the entire world is peace. Only in peace do we have joy. Not by acquiring things, not by doing things, not by earning or learning, but by dedication. Your entire life must be a sacrifice. Think for the sake of others. To such a person, peace is guaranteed.

For this, you don't need to go to a monastery or sit in a cave somewhere—because it is not in renouncing actions that you will find peace, but in renouncing your attachment to the results of the actions. A truly dedicated person is the king of kings, the richest person in the world. Who is the richest person? The one who wants nothing.

There is only one cause for all mental problems, worries and anxieties: selfishness. Restlessness of mind is caused by disappointments. Only selfishness can cause unhappiness. To maintain your tranquility you must keep your mind away from duality—pleasure, pain; profit, loss; praise, blame. If you can keep your mind away from duality, you can still have ideas and perform actions, but they won't affect you. When you renounce your attachment, there is nothing to shake you. It is the feeling of possession, of clinging, that disturbs the mind.

Test all your desires and actions. Ask yourself, "Is this going to cause restlessness to my mind?" Which should you choose, peace or the other thing? Peace is worth preserving more than anything else, even at the cost of your life. Actually peace is God.

Dedicate your life in the name of God or humanity and your mind will always be clean and calm. You will reflect your true nature always. That is the goal of all the different paths: to keep the mind clean and calm.

If you lose your peace, you won't be able to help anyone else, let alone yourself. Still, many people ask, "How can we do all these things for our own peace when the world is so full of suffering?" Normally, we think of the world first. But Yoga believes in transforming the individual before transforming the world. Whatever change we want to happen outside should happen within. And if you walk in peace and express that peace in your very life, others will see you and learn something.

|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
26 November 2009 @ 09:19 am
The fourth workshop in the series will be held in the coming weeks :)
Please do pass on the invitation to anyone else you may know that may be interested.

You are invited to attend a free workshop on the spiritual research conducted on the causes and treatment of addictions.

* What are addictions?
* Causes of addictions
* Why do some people become addicts and others do not?
* Suggested preventive treatment
* What are the critical success factors?

Date: Saturday, December 19, 2009
Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: 1455 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver BC

Please register for the event as there are limited seats:

The Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) is a non-profit organisation that over the past 20 years has undertaken extensive and exhaustive research in the spiritual realm. It has recently begun to publish its spiritual research on its website www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org. In doing so, the SSRF intends to demistify the spiritual realm and provide research that will help humanity to effectively alleviate difficulties in life.

Even if you are unable to attend the workshop, there are articles published on this topic:

|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
06 December 2008 @ 02:37 pm
Just got back from meeting with Chelsea who's with Global Agents for Change and that's what we were going to talk about initially. So we met up at the Starbucks near Commercial Station, and of course, I always get some butterflies about meetings and such, but knew that it was all good.

The meeting went really well, we talked a little about our own backgrounds and I explained why I was drawn to global afc and such. Since I honestly think everything they're doing is great and just want to help out any way I can, Chelsea gave me an overview of what's coming up and what they'll need help with. The one that I was most interested in is being part of the committee for the Young Agents Awards. This is where 8 groups of youth that have ideas and initiatives that they want to pursue involving global or local issues that need solutions, are chosen and given funding as well as a mentor in the appropriate field to launch their initiatives. They also take part in the Gala and we organize the awards event for them. So I think that would be really great to be a part of because I always find it really inspiring when young, energetic people have amazing ideas and to help them with the resources that will enable them to make a difference is just great.

I found out that Chelsea is also a part of Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE) and asked her to tell me more about it. What really inspired me about them is that they reach out to youth who have been victims of violence, or have been perpetrators of violence and want to change - and they help them turn their experiences around 180 and become community leaders of violence prevention. They meet Monday/Wednesday, and that should work out because I won't be in school on Mondays next term.

So yeah, she's going to get me hooked up with the right people and I can start getting involved. It's all very exciting and I feel re-energized. I feel that although I really enjoyed my first term of post secondary, something was missing. Especially after just getting out of highschool and being used to being a part of various things and feeling a part of a greater cause...so it's good :) I'm finding my niche.
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
Current Music: xr2 - m.i.a.
|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
28 October 2008 @ 09:55 pm
my wishlist keeps growing :P

Mia Kirshner's new book sounds interesting...

This book on the tar sands in Alberta just came out and after reading the preface it sounds promising. It kills me knowing that one of the world's most destructive projects is right here in Canada.

Everything that is due at the end of the month has been revealed. I don't know how everything will get done, but just because mid terms are done with, it doesn't mean I can coast freely for the next two weeks. I actually need to catch up on what I didn't focus on while studying for the exams as our classes still went ahead with new material.
Current Mood: tiredtired
|| Sree Gurave Namaha ||
26 October 2008 @ 08:36 pm

Was super glad to hand in my last mid term essay on Friday, signifying the end to the temporary lock down I made myself take in order to do well on my tests and such. I think it worked cause I'm pretty sure I did well. I got my Anthro mid term back on Friday and got 48/50 :D most of which were part marks taken off certain questions.

After school on Friday I came home and hung out upstairs with Matty, Gabby and my aunt until it was time to get ready to head out to meet up with Ryan and Milena. My aunts and cousins are always fun to be around. It's going to be really weird when I don't live with them and it's going to make me really sad because then the kids will seem to have grown up so fast as every time I see them, it'll feel like so much time has passed.

I got to Main a bit early so I popped into Pulp Fiction and succumbed to picking up The New Avengers, The Colour of Magic, and Great Expectations.

Met up with Ryan and Milena at The Foundation and we had some yummy food while catching up. I love their chick pea dishes, and was too full to have sugar pie.

We took the bus down and were walking toward Oak to catch the second bus, when we decide to call Mihai cause we knew he wanted to see the play but wasn't sure if he would make it there in time. Long and behold it turns out he is on the bus that was about to pass us the time we called up (spooky!) and he got off and connected up with us.

When we were about to cross the street to the bus shelter, we see our bus take off, much to our despair. So we wait for the next one and are about 15-20 minutes late getting into the theatre, but the ticket ladies were really nice and we took our seats near the back (still a great view).

The play was really good, and Sarah S (from MEC) was so good and hilarious. She played a stubborn Jewish maid and had a thick accent. The murderer was totally not someone I had thought would have been the murderer! haha so that was a good twist there.

Afterwards we got out and waited at the bus stop in the cold for a while, then realized we should actually be on the other side of the street haha and we walked back up past the Metro Theatre and I saw Sarah S in the lobby and went in to say hi to her. She was all excited and gave me a big hug and ran out to say thanks to the others for coming to see the show. She's really great and so much fun.

Was a good night, and was glad I got to see those folks cause I haven't seen'em in a while :)


Had work from 12:00 - 6:30, and it was a usual Saturday. As I was going up to start my shift I pass by an aisle and Kristen gets my attention (apparently I was walking robotically up to cash haha) and we chatted for a bit. She was letting me know that she has a project idea to start a Reiki circle where healers in the community and her students that want to take part, can give treatments to clients either for free or by donation regularly. She's looking into finding a space to do it and asking people if they want to get involved. I think it's a great idea and told her I'd totally be into that. It's a great way to create a community, help those who might not be able to afford treatments, and to practise my own Reiki skills...a total win-win situation.

Was going to head up to Commercial with Sam and after our shift we used his make up to bloodify ourselves up and such. The looks we got on the super crowded bus was awesome haha

Got to the station and called Ann cause they said they would be at Broadway and Commercial to meet me. I tell her where I am at the intersection and she's like "Oh! I can see you! Can you see meeee?" and I'm look across and am like..."no?" THEN haha I see the big white blob waving at me and I'm like "OH! HAHAHA YES I DO!!"

They had gotten sheets from value village and brought scissors to cut two holes for eyes for us to wear. Kev and Angie were there as well. Said goodbyes to Sam who continued on ahead to meet up with some of his friends and got some texts from Kristen who was also there letting me know where some cool things were happening and where she was at the time, but the timing was a little off and I didn't get to meet up with her.

We also met up with Bryan, and Karston and Mike (the latter two go to Emily Carr with Ann). We were a cool group of sheeted ghosts haha After admiring all the crazy awesome costumes, and eating some samosas, we headed to the park to see the Pyro show and at first couldn't see well, so Ann, Karston, Mike and I climbed up on the roof of that shed where a couple other people were and had a good view but the show ended after a couple minutes anyway. Security came and haha gosh, Ann and them were running back and forth to the opposite side of the roof in attempt to not be spotted, but of course the security people keep circling the shed telling us to get down, so we finally do.

There was a pause in the show, and the others were still by the fence so by the time the finale fire show with the band started we had perfect positions. I got a call from Cam and went out to the road to meet up with him and saw Stacey, Cale, and his cousin. Talked with them for a bit and then was going to meet them after the pyro show was over.

Fire always amazes me and pyro performers are so crazy awesome and are hawt (literally, too). Watching them makes me want to learn cause they look so crazy cool.

Afterwards we walked back up the street and I said hellos to some of the other chapters peeps who were also there and said goodbyes and hugs. I like making people crouch down to hug me haha

We made our way back, seeing some awesssomee costumes. Lego Indianian Jones! A group of peeps themed up to be a barcode and this girl jumps out of nowhere with her red bike light and leaps in front of them and "scans" them with her red light hahaha super awesome. Another guy was an airplane everything...I didn't bring my camera but Ann did and I asked her to send me her pics when she gets the chance.

We parted ways at the skytrain, Ann, Karston, Mike, and I headed downtown to Robson to get bubble tea and just wandered around Granville. Ended up walking all the way down to the bridge and then parted ways with the boys and Ann came back to my place.

She stayed for a while and we talked lots about random things and I was able to give her stuff I got for her during my trips in the summer (finally!) and she borrowed a couple graphic novels. Lots of talk about love lives and lack of love lives haha oh and I also showed her the stolen pay phone box that someone brought near the skytrain tracks near my house and smashed. She's considering taking it to use for an art piece, but it's so heavy haha she left around 1ish

Was a lot of fun, and was really cool to see everyone. Seemed like a lot more people I knew came out that night compared to last year. Or maybe it just means my network of cool people to know has expanded, which is a good thing, I'm sure.


Woke up and practised driving as we went to breakfast and did a few errands. We came back to the house and then I went with my dad to learn how to ride the electric scooter.

Pretty fun, actually. We went to the elementary school near our house and my dad had little pylons and set up a course similar to what he had to go through for his motorcycle riding test.

Did that for a while, improving as time went on. My dad said that it's probably a lot easier for me than Ashley cause I ride my bike and know how to shift my weight, etc.

Am glad that I am learning to ride a scooter cause I'd rather be on a scooter than a car.

We headed back home and then went back out to the David Copperfield show at The Centre across from Central Library. The show was good. David Copperfield is obviously a lot older now, and my mom was commenting on how short he was compared to her expectations haha

Some cool tricks, but of course we were nit picking and trying to reveal how he did certain illusions. I will give him props for that crazy car one that he did. He made the car appear out of nowhere on these columns where people were standing with thick ropes all around and people were underneath holding onto the columns...jeebus. His sarcasm and jokes were good, as well haha

Anyways, am back home now, also finished reading The New Avengers - so good, art is so so so good...
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Times of Trouble - Temple of the Dog