Overview of Upcoming Ganesha Chaturthi Trip

Bodhinatha offers everyone in the temple an overview of his coming trip to California, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore.

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Questions? Bodhinatha is the successor of "Gurudeva," Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. If you have questions on subjects about spiritual life you will find answers in Gurudeva's books and teachings. Learn about ways to study these teachings by visiting The Master Course site or writing to mastercourse@hindu.org.

Unedited Transcript:

We are getting ready for our trip, writing up all our talks. One talk for our Satsangs at the Missions, which we will send out to everyone who lives on Kauai so you can also get it. I didn't want to read it this morning. It is on 'Resolving Matters'. It praises everyone for following the first two steps in 'Karma Management' so well. Refraining from retaliation, accepting responsibility. But it says, in general, we could do better at the third step which is forgiving the offender. This applies to any situation which causes hard feelings, which is not resolved.

Good friends, one friend insults another and instead of resolving the matter they stop seeing one another. A typical example of not resolving a problem. Whereas, Gurudeva says when something like that happens, you need to resolve it. You need to smooth it out ,so all the pranas are harmonized between those involved. Of course, this does not always happen. But it is important that it does happen. It gives some advise on that subject. So we will send it out to everyone on Kauai as well.

We have a talk for the Arangetram, a ten-minute talk on four points in common between studying Bharatanatyam and pursuing the spiritual path.

A nice talk for the Dharmasala for Ganesha Chaturthi. In Mauritius, Ganesha Chaturthi is a public holiday. So, lots of people come to the Dharmasala. We are told last year some five thousand people were there. Five thousand people, that is a lot! The talk of course is in English, translated into Creole. We have to send it over right away, so it gets into Creole. It is on, 'My Friend, Lord Ganesha', just a general topic. It is the same talk, slightly modified that I gave in Penang last year, which focuses on Ganesha as a real Being. It gives examples. It talks about Gurudeva's statement. "Some people say that Lord Ganesha is just a symbol but to me He is a real Being. I have seen Him." It talks about the milk miracle. Ask people to raise their hand who saw the milk miracle. Lord Ganesha was drinking milk. Many people saw that and, of course, that shows the reality of it. Something happened, something is there, something is real, milk was drunk. Even though you have not had a vision of Lord Ganesha, you experienced His reality through the miracle of drinking milk. So that is for the Dharmasala.

Then we have a public talk at the Tamil temple, in a city that I can't pronounce, It ends in an 'x', a beautiful French name!! That is on 'God Siva as the Supreme Being'. Siva performing all Five actions, it goes through Creator, Preserver, Destroyer, Veiler and Revealer and then relates them to the names Isana, Tatpurusha, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojata. It talks about God as Love, God as the perfect parent and so forth. The best way to think about God Siva is He is the perfect parent. You have heard me talk about that. Mother and Father. He is our parent because He created our soul and He is perfect because He always loves us, no matter what we do. Love always flows out, like the perfect parent always loves the child. No matter what ridiculous thing the child has done, the love does not stop. So that is that one.

We are going to Malaysia and the Mission talk is the same as the Mission talks given in Mauritius at another event. In Malaysia, we have a book release. We finished the hard-cover edition of 'Dancing with Siva', soft cover as well, for the Bookstores. So we are going to release the entire Trilogy and give copies of the hard-cover books, all three of them to key VIPs in the country such as the Head of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, President of the Selangor Saivite Association and so forth. It is a book signing event. We have also finished a Pocketbook edition of 'Dancing with Siva'. A real small one and inexpensive and we will probably sell a lot of those. We printed five thousand of those, a thousand are going to Singapore.

That is in Klang, the talk is drawn from a future 'Publisher's Desk', so it is in unedited form. At the present moment, it is called 'I want to see God'. 'Suggestions on where and how to look', is the subtitle! It is a nice talk. It starts out with the story of Swami Vivekananda going to see Ramakrishna. You know, you have heard me tell that story. He used to go around and give all the Swamis a hard time. "Have you seen God? Have you seen God?" And they would say, "No". He asked Ramakrishna of course, "Have you seen God?" and Ramakrishna's response is something like, "Of course, I have seen God. He is more real to me than you are. He is as real as an apple on the palm of the hand. And you can see God too." That is what he told him on the second time he met Ramakrishna. That convinced him that Ramakrishna was his Guru.

Then it goes on through Gurudeva's traditional ways of seeing God. In a Holy Man is the easiest place, and then looking deeply into the eyes of another person. uyirkkuyir, God is the Life of life. It goes into, in the temple through the energy that comes through the Murthi. We can feel God's Presence in the temple, through the sacred energy particularly on auspicious days. In meditation, we can experience God within. So those are all the different ways Gurudeva gives us that we can experience God.

Of course, experiencing God is the central point in the Hindu religion. Whereas, in some religions, just belief in God is the whole religion. You don't believe in God? You believe in God? Okay, that is it. We are done with this religion, we believe in God. Hinduism's belief in God is just the first step toward experiencing God. So it is a fun talk, a future 'Publisher's Desk'.

In Malaysia, we are there for a whole week almost. So, we are able to meet privately with all the families, something we have not done on recent trips. In a nice hotel with a big room and able to meet families for twenty minutes. Go through all the Church families as well as, some who are quite near membership, some new students.

We have a Kumbhabhishekam in Ulu Behrang Ganesha temple, Jothiswaran Temple on Sunday morning and we have a short talk on Ganesha for that.

Then we fly off to Singapore, get there Sunday night and Monday night and Tuesday night we have talks. So it is going to be a longer version. They want an hour talk, which is a long time for me. An hour long talk. I am going to take the, 'I want to see God' talk and lengthen it, which has yet to be done, the other talks are all written. But Singapore which is roughly two weeks away, it is not finished yet. I have to add two more sections to the talk to get it up to an hour long.

I am thinking, something like self-concept. It starts out as about seeing God and of course, the prerequisite for that is the right self-concept. If we have a negative self-concept about ourselves, "I am an unworthy person," you know, all of that stuff. Well, we have to work through the self-concept, "I am a worthy person, I am a divine being" and then, "The essence of my divinity is God." The three positive forms of self image that will take us through 'Merging with Siva'. Probably, that is going to be the second topic.

The third topic might be happiness. That is a nice one, the three ways of being happy. I think that is the current 'Publisher's Desk', the one that is just coming out.

Gurudeva's favorite one which is, "If you want to be happy, simply make other people happy." It is that simple. Unhappiness is simply like stagnant water, water that is standing still. Happiness is like flowing water. So unhappiness is like stagnant energy, happiness is like flowing energy. So when you are stagnant it means you are self-centered. You are all wrapped up in yourself or you are wrapped up in yourself too much, at least. That is what is making you unhappy. You are thinking about yourself. Your energy is not flowing.

How do you get out of that mood? By thinking about other people and making them happy. If a monk wants to be happy, what does he do? He cooks cookies for the whole monastery. That is a great way to become happy and it makes everybody else happy and it makes you happier, lots of happiness. That is a simple example, you know, you do something for somebody else.

It is the one thing you don't want to do. "Oh, I am going to stay home and be unhappy." You just don't want to get out and mix with other people and make them happy. It is exactly what you don't want to do but it is exactly what you should do, of course.

That is a wonderful guideline from Gurudeva on happiness. In addition to that, we have two other guidelines. Uplifting ourselves through temple worship. We can come to the temple and if we are kind of sad. In our tradition, the worship of Lord Ganesha is particularly important. Ganesha is seated in the muladhara chakra and if we are unhappy, we are below that chakra. So if we can worship Ganesha and tune ourselves to His shakti, we come up in consciousness and happiness is, of course, related to our state of consciousness.

The first one is called the service way, seva. Happiness through service. The second one is happiness through devotion and the third one, of course, is happiness through meditation.

We can make ourselves very happy through getting the energy up into the higher chakras through meditation and that is really super happiness called bliss.

Yogaswami says, "Bliss, bliss, bliss! Here, there everywhere am I." Ananda, that is the kind of happiness we can achieve through meditation. But all three methods are useful and have a place in life.

Again, if you are unhappy you don't want to meditate, you don't want to go to the temple, you don't want to help others. It is very interesting, you just want to stay unhappy! "I want to be stagnant energy, slightly slumped over, unhappy."

Three different ways of becoming happy and of course, the whole premise is based upon being wise enough to overcome the conscious mind fallacy that "I will be happy, if I acquire this. All I need is a new computer and I will be happy. If I get an A in class instead of a B, I will be happy." Always something new to acquire will give you happiness.

Whereas, of course, we know that if we get in that mode, true it makes us happy. But how long does that last before we are unhappy again? Not very long.

One of the greatest fallacies is, "Oh, I am so unhappy. But if I get married, I will be happy." It does not work that way. You should be a happy person who wants to get married. Don't count on marriage making you happy if you are unhappy! It won't work that way, it will wear off. Because happiness, anything external to us even marriage, does not provide a lasting solution to our state of mind. Our state of mind is controlled by us.

Learning to be happy in all circumstances is really the essence of yoga, no matter what the external circumstances. If we have a hurricane and everything is a mess, it does not change our state of mind. We lose our job, we are still happy. We have that much control, "Oh, it is my karma. What do you know? How do I deal with it?"

If things go well, if things go poorly, maintaining equanimity, maintaining the same amount of happiness, that is mind control. Of yoga, that is the goal.

That is all wrapped up in that 'Publisher's Desk', though I think I will throw that in and give me a third subject. I need three subjects to get through now.

Have a wonderful day everyone!