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HINDU TEMPLE OF FLORIDA: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 962-6890.

SHIV MANDIR: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday; officiating priests are Pandit Balraj Maharaj and Ram Maharaj; 2001 N. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33607; (813) 907-6311.

DADA BHAGWAN’S GROUP OF TAMPA BAY: Satsang every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.; everyone is invited; call Ramesh Patel at (813) 926-1143 or Mukesh Patel at (813) 969-1740.

JAIN SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY: Monthly bhavna from 3 to 5 p.m. every fourth Sunday; also, non-Jains can take Dev Darshan of statues made of marbles by sculpture-artist from Rajasthan; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.; both events at Days Inn hotel at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75; call Kini Shah at (813) 503-0715 or Pradeep Bavishi at (727) 525-5400.

VISHNU MANDIR: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday only, discourse by Pandit Vishnu Sharma; 5303 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 654-2551.

SANATAN MANDIR: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday; 311 East Palm Ave., Tampa, FL 33602; (813) 221-4482.

SHRI SARASWATI DEVI MANDIR: 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday only; officiating priest is Pandit Purnanan Sharma; 16220 Livingston Avenue, Lutz, FL 33559; (813) 264-1539.

BAPS SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; darshan is closed between noon and 4 p.m. but reopens at 4 p.m.; 9226 E. Fowler Ave. (between Interstate 75 and U.S. 301); (813) 986-5473.

MANAV DHARMA ASHRAM: sumiran is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. first Thursday of every month; satsang is 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, followed by dinner; yoga classes begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday; bhajans are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every third Sunday; 7520 Caron Road, Tampa, FL 33615; call the ashram at (813) 889-7155, Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or Ashok Modh at (813) 935-3439.

SHREE YAMUNA PREETI SEVA SAMAJ: Pushtimargiya Satsang Mandal invites Vaishnavs of Tampa Bay area to weekend Satsang sabhas and kirtans; 1340 Robin Road S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707; call Smitabein Patel at (813) 961-3816 or Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661.

ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY AREA MOSQUE: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; 7326 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa, FL 33601; Tel: (813) 628-0007.

GURDWARA: 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. daily; 15302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592; (813) 986-6205.


HINDU SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: 8:30 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707; (407) 699-5277.

GURDWARA, SIKH SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: 11:30 A.M. to 1 p.m. Sunday; 2527 W. Aloma Ave. (west State Road 426), Oviedo; (407) 805-0404.

MASJID AL-RAHIM, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, WEST ORLANDO: five times daily prayers and pray on Friday; 4962 Old Winter Garden Road, Orlando, FL 32811; (407) 523-7882.

SARASWATI DEVI MANDIR/INDO CARIBBEAN CENTER: Sunday service is from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; all special days observed with worship; 1453 N. Pine Hills Road, Orlando, FL 32808; for information, call (407) 522-1988 or click on

SHRI SHIVDHAM HINDU TEMPLE AND BRAHMRISHI YOGASHRAM: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 460 O’Berry Hoover Road, Orlando, FL 32825; (407) 380-2661 or e-mail

SANTOSHI MA TEMPLE: bhajan and aarti first Friday of every month; 10900 Park Ridge Gotha Road, Windermere, FL 34786; (407) 996-2830.

SHRI LAXMINARAYAN MANDIR: 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday; 269 N. Klondike Ave., Pine Hills, FL 32811; (407) 877-7916.

SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR (BAPS): 1325 W. Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, FL 32809; (407) 857-0091.


ISKCON OF ALACHUA (International Society for Krishna Consciousness): founder is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, P.O. Box 819, Alachua, FL 32616; (386) 462-2017.


SHIRDI SAI CENTER: 4707 Pleasant Grove Road, Inverness, FL 34452; for timings of the center and any other information, call (352) 860-2181 or e-mail

Send information on upcoming events to Nitish S. Rele, Khaas Baat, 18313 Cypress Stand Circle, Tampa, FL 33647
or e-mail
Deadline for submissions is the 18th of each month to be included in the next issue.


Swami Suryadevananda
SECOND SECTION : Speech of Vishvamitra – 2

We ended last time with the story of Suka by Sage Vishvamitra who praises the conclusion reached by Rama on his aversion for worldly enjoyments based on an understanding that it is these, the fruits of action so to say, that bind us completely. Vishvamitra goes on to tell Rama that just as with Suka in the earlier story, he too needed the doubts of his mind cleared and his understanding confirmed.

Why does knowledge need confirmation from others? It is so because the mind is a trickster and has the slippery ability to present something for consideration and then quickly change seats to be the approving authority at the same time as in a play with one actor only. The mind does not like to be validated and thrives on the freedom of being judge, jury and executioner – all-in-one. The mind has to be overseen by a sharp intellect and this intellect must not be a puppet of the mind. The intellect functions determinately based on Light borrowed from the Eternal. Ultimately, it is this Light of the Eternal that must be the source of our reason as life is a whole and only the Eternal can see this correctly. One who is established in the supreme knowledge by direct experience and can tell you if your conclusions are correct, as his conclusions being intuitive, are free from the defect of mental jugglery.

Sage Vishvamitra goes on to tell Rama that it is desire, which is the root of all problems as it is with this that we get bound and it is in checking desires properly that the path to freedom is seen. The distaste for objects as items that give joy of any kind is not easily had as we are constantly pulled by our senses in the direction of objects, which promise satisfaction but never deliver. Spiritual knowledge is relatively easy to obtain in comparison to freedom from the pull of objects of sense satisfaction. But, just as vegetables do not grow in sterile soil, knowledge cannot take seed in a mind congested with desires. The mind has to first be rendered stable and made free from the hooks of desire so the seeds of knowledge can bear fruit.

This is something often overlooked by many ardent but over-enthusiastic spiritual seekers, who try to get as far a jump right at starting only to have to painfully retrace their steps and make the arduous trek all over again. There are no shortcuts in the spiritual path and there are certain stages through which all have to pass. The hardest task before a spiritual seeker is the acceptance of not knowing and the need for ridding oneself of the weeds in the garden of the mind. The complete-seeking personality has to be raked and aligned so that all of ‘us’ is facing the ‘All,’ without preconceived notions; this also is called posturing. Sage Patanjali places enormous emphasis on the earlier steps in Yoga and these require adjustment of the self. This adjustment of the self or, personality we may call it, is not well received by the mind as it tries with all its powers to convince you that there is nothing wrong within and the outside is what needs to be changed. Initially, spiritual seekers face this battle; the mind wanting to only look outboard and disallow internal changes but this has to be pierced. There are no problems with the world, it has been the way it is for a long time and may continue to be the same way in the future. However, there are some errors in our perceptions and the way we deal with things and this has to be corrected.

Rama was considered ripe for receiving this supreme knowledge since he was not swayed by sense satisfaction and had reached a state of dispassion where the pitfalls and snares of sense gratification were clear to him. Sage Vishvamitra then urged the Sage Vasistha to impart to Rama the supreme knowledge, which they both had received from the creator Brahma to quell an earlier existing enmity and thus, bring about a confirmation of the truth by clearing any and all doubts. Vishvamitra further stated that Rama was ready as a spotless mirror since he was devoid of passions, affections, fear, anger, pride and sin and was seeking to make his life a stream of selfless service rendered unto the world. Vasistha was the family preceptor and guru of Rama and hence, it would be best to receive the knowledge of liberation by the Sage Vasistha.

In a calm pond, everything outside reflects itself clearly but in a pond that is constantly agitated, the resulting ripples distort the reflection of the external and what is seen is not how things are. The mind can be compared to the pond in this analogy; it has to be rendered serene and the agitation must cease. It has an impulsive habit of catering to every whim and fancy of senses and this has to first be corrected. The senses demand instant gratification and tantalize you with many promises but deliver nothing at all and this is the reason we are still left wanting finally. What is needed is not a forceful suppression of senses as given the right conditions, they will shoot stem once again like plants that lay dormant, thirsting for a rainfall. They must not be allowed to exert the pressure on us. This takes right understanding.

There were great acclaims at the end of Sage Vishvamitra’s speech and Sage Vasistha answered that he would perform the duty as commanded by the wise Sage Vishvamitra. However, he was aware that the sage was thoroughly competent in his understanding and attainment himself.

Sage Vasistha takes on the task placed before him with confidence and said that he would destroy the mental darkness of Rama with the light of knowledge just as darkness is dispelled by the light of a lamp. He stated that he remembered well the lessons of the creator Brahma for dispelling errors based on ignorance and incorrect understanding. The high-minded Sage Vasistha surveyed the situation before him and set out to tackle the task of dispelling the doubts of Rama immediately with total resolve and determination. In the undertaking of something that is good and needing to be done, there should be no delay as time does not offer any guarantees of tomorrow.

What the wise Sage Vasistha had to say to the Prince Rama, we will begin looking into the next time.

Swami Suryadevananda, presently residing in St. Petersburg, is with the Divine Life Society founded by Sri Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, India. He can be reached via e-mail at

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