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JAN. 11: ID UL ZUHA (Bakri Id – Feast of the Sacrifice)





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: The Behaviour of The Seeker (…Continued from last month)

The second section in the Yoga Vasistha is important as it deals with the “Behavior of the Seeker.” It is here that we find the prerequisites and preparation needed in a sincere seeker. A careful study of this portion will tell us how we need to be, the do’s and don’ts and the pitfalls to be watched out for so we do not have to backtrack later as there are no shortcuts in the spiritual path.

Sage Vasistha commences his lecture to Rama with the bold declaration that it is the mind that gives rise to all things. What we see spread out as an external world is desire solidified and its subsequent bondage. Unfulfilled desire is the cause for rebirth just like currents of oceanic current give rise to surging waves. The waves that are visible to sense perception are the appearance while the reality is hidden behind causes, unknown and unseen by the physical eye.

It is therefore important to ensure that our efforts are guided toward what lies behind all these successive causes or all of life’s efforts may be considered in vain. Life demands the exertion of effort and hence, it is profitable for us to ascertain that these efforts are guided by high thinking as what we call bondage is the play of muddled thinking and lack of being able to see things as they really are. No one is free from the demand of efforts of some kind or the other and thought always precedes effort, even if briefly. Thought can be said to be the shaper of effort and hence, we have to be careful about how and what we think since it is the energy behind the action that only follows. All efforts results in consequence and our present consequences may be said to be the results of our earlier efforts.

One cannot live life carelessly as we are the recorders of our own wisdom or folly, which will insist on an appropriate arena for its enactment. Fate is not an externally imposed condition so to say; it is the circumstantial form of our present evolution. Destiny is only a term that is used as a scapegoat, as an escape by self-excuse from the reality of our vested ‘agency’ exercised earlier. The wise see destiny as a term of self-consolation for the consequence of a previous careless activity. If we are fortunate to find ourselves with a body free of disease and a mind free of troubles, it is wisdom to know the knowable and prevent the cycle of rebirth.

Desires are deeds in the field of the mind waiting to introduce themselves physically, so to say, in the world of visible forms; when the circumstances are suitable. The mind tends to lean toward the path of least resistance and has to be trained, just as in the training of a child, by an educative process that these desires may be burnt through sublimation over the fire of wisdom and continual vigilance. Whatever one practices, one becomes perfect with time. Hence, proper exertion of efforts is obligatory and there is no substitute.

Though it may seem the tendencies of the past weigh heavily on the present, careful scrutiny will reveal that these tendencies are of two kinds – the pure and the impure. Remember that one is free to act on these and there is no one compelling anyone in any way. Acting on pure tendencies will enhance inner purity and loosen the grip of impure tendencies simultaneously. Acting on impure tendencies have to be deliberately avoided, they will gradually weaken by disuse as they have grown strong as they may seem by use in the past. However, this will not happen by itself, one will have to recourse to broadening the pathways by acting on the pure while avoiding the impure.

In some villages in India, the farmers have a wonderful technique used in irrigation. Channels or groves are cut in the ground for the flow of water to the different portions or tracts of land. When one portion or tract of land does not need any more water, the farmer blocks the groove with a wedge of some sort and, at the same time, opens up a new pathway for the flow of water. If this is not done, the water that is being prevented by the wedge will see water building against it till it can rise over or dislodge it. In short, just starving a tendency alone will not rid one of it. Out of sight is not completely out and a tendency will lay waiting for any moment of dissatisfaction so to say to revolt with a vengeance of overwhelming force.

Even the worthiness of the best knowledge requires self-effort. Vigilance, knowledge, reason and deliberate effort have to be used without remission to quell the unceasing excitement of the senses and disturbances in the mind. All the troubles of the world cannot affect the wise who in the darkest storm, maintain the lamp fuelled by wisdom within; just as it is impossible for the flame of fire to burn down wood drenched by the rains.

The mind is fickle and it cannot be left unguarded for even a moment. The mind and senses have to be restrained by continual and deliberate self-effort, which being put forth wisely will surely take one to liberation.

There are four gatekeepers that are said to keep watch at the gate of liberation.

Sama: Tranquility, self-control or control of the mind. An unchecked mind will not allow self-enquiry, deep contemplation or even to stay with one thing long enough.

Vichara: This has been loosely known as ‘enquiry,’ but it is not something that happens once in a while, as and when decided upon. It is rather a state of inner vigilance where the mind is continually being observed. It is like a good immune system, it has to always be present.

Santosha: Contentment or the absence of craving. Contentment is not avoidance of action but constantly striving to do one’s best and equating success in all endeavors with self-effort and not outcome as there are many other factors that determine the outcome of effort.

Satsanga: Company of the wise; they are considered receptacles of knowledge. Here, one should be careful to avoid the company of those not conducive to one’s growth.

One should strive to make friends with all four gatekeepers. If this is difficult, one should try to make friends with at least three. If this too is a formidable undertaking, one should make friends with two. If for some reason, making good friends with two gatekeepers is not possible, one should make good friends with one, even at the cost of one’s life as the gatekeeper will introduce you to the others gradually.

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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