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FESTIVALS THIS MONTH:


TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG/CLEARWATER

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.

SHRI RADHA-KRISHNA MANDIR: daily morning arotik at 7 followed by Srimad-Bhavatavam class; 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday Bhagavad-Gita class followed by prasadam; 14610 N. 17th St., Tampa; (813) 971-6474 or click on www.iskcontampa.com

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.

ORLANDO AREA

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 www.saraswatidevimandir.com

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 ymcco@yahoo.com

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.

POINCIANA HINDU MANDIR INC.: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each Sunday and on special festivals; 3999 Monterey Road, Kissimmee, FL 34758; (407) 873-2679.

LAKELAND(POLK COUNTY)

SHRI SWAMINARAYAN TEMPLE: 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland, FL 33815; (863) 682-8260.

ALACHUA (ALACHUA COUNTY)

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.

INVERNESS (CITRUS COUNTY)

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 shirdi@gowebco.com

JACKSONVILLE/ORANGE PARK

HINDU SOCIETY OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA (HSNEF): 714 Park Ave., Orange Park; for information, call (904) 269-1155 or click on www.jaxhindutemple.org

SOUTH FLORIDA (MIAMI AREA)

SOUTH FLORIDA HINDU TEMPLE: 13010 W. Griffin Road, Southwest Ranches, FL 33330; for timings and classes at the temple, call (954) 438-3675 or e-mail info@sfht.org

SHIVA VISHNU TEMPLE OF SOUTH FLORIDA: 5661 Dykes Road, Southwest Ranches, FL 33331; 9 a.m. to noon and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays; call (954) 689-0471 or click on www.shivavishnu.org


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



RELIGION: IN A SERIES
WISDOM OF THE ‘YOGA VASISTHA’
By SWAMI SURYADEVANANDA



Swami Suryadevananda
FOURTH SECTION: ON CREATION

Nature of the Mind

We left off the last time with Rama questioning Sage Vasistha on the nature and form of the ‘mind,’ which develops itself into what we see as objects in the universe.

Sage Vasistha replies that the mind has no form or substantiality that would make it an object of perception. The mind is not confined in its location within the body or in any specific part of it but is present everywhere. What we see as the universe of objects is a presentation of the mind only and not something real as a solid substance, so to say.

This mind is called the ‘thinking principle’ but it is more than just thought. It includes what we call ‘will’ or volition. Will and mind are inseparable, and where there is will, there the mind is also. Thinking and willing are functions of the mind. The mind also is a receptacle and reflector of ideas in perception. The experiences in perception are the play of ideas reflected in the mind.

The embodied self is called the mind when the self identifies with the mind completely. What we call ignorance, bondage and sins are the resulting experiences of this error in identification. This is reason the mind is mistaken for the self, all because of a total identification with it whereby one is seen as the other.

Just as different ornaments potentially exist in the substance of gold, all objects exist potentially in the mind of the subject. We cannot say that there are objects if there is no mind, and similarly, we cannot say that there is anything called the mind without objects. The mind and objects justify each other and are necessary for the other’s existence to be perceived.

The senses, mind and intellect relentlessly insist in the separation of what we perceive as ‘objects’ as an external something with which we are not connected. This insistence is so vehement that it becomes the basis of all other thoughts. What we see as objects are nothing but forms that have been given a name, and instantly they are disconnected with every other form and name. These are reinforced by the cement of certain qualities that we associate with this package of name and form, and we get the solid buildings, which are nothing but structures made of form, name and qualities, and these we mistake for solid dwellings.

The forms were given names for the sake of convention and since they now enjoy the status of independence from other such formations, various attitudes such as ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ arise within us, which in turn, lead to intensifying the object experience. This snowball effect of errors is felt as the pressure of bondage, necessitating a cry for freedom.

The Strength of Perception

Rama asks the wise Sage Vasistha how these errors in perception, which though being unreal, seem so real, and if these erroneous perceptions can be overcome.

Sage Vasistha proclaims that this has been done by others and it can be done even now since what is attempted to overcome is an unreal psychological condition imagined and then experienced in the same mind. The mind imagines that it is bound by the erroneous ideas it entertains in relevance to other forms, and then develops what it feels are justified attitudes toward these errors in perception. The wish to return to the original state where the experiences of mind-created relationships and attitudes were not known is the beginning of the song for liberation!

On The Original Cause

A question is then raised by Rama as to the source and origin of the mind.

Sage Vasistha takes Rama’s mind to a time before the dawn of creation when the only existence was the Supreme Lord; eternal, unborn, self-effulgent, omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent. In a series of verses, Sage Vasistha goes into raptures describing the majesty of the Supreme Lord.

He alone is, but is unseen by the world. Very close is He, as He is within the body also though appearing far, and from him arise infinite worlds, rays from the sun, or ripples in an ocean! He is the cosmic intelligence in which everything and all is perceived. Everyone and everything exists because it is His existence animating what we see as the appearances of the many. The Supreme Being, who is pure intelligence, is the source and origin of the mind. The omnipresence of the Supreme Lord disallows the possibility of any distance with ourself or anything for the matter of that. Every speck is pervaded through and through by this Supreme Being and second to Him, none is, none can be.

The Movement to Liberation

Vasistha tells Rama that wisdom is necessary for the realization of this to dawn in oneself as wisdom alone can ignite the total conviction that the Self alone is real. Until this conviction of unreality of the phenomenal world, as well as one’s own self as a separate existence and not vitally connected with everyone and everything else, one will not have the strength and momentum needed for the movement towards liberation.

The initial stirring comes about differently; sometimes by the events that unfold in our lives that make us retreat into ourself and examine what has been considered as truth; sometimes by a deep inquiry into the ‘why’ of things, or sometimes by combination of reasons. This brings about a pause where we begin to examine things, and great care is needed in this stage so the initial steps are not taken in the wrong direction. It is here that fondness for good company and study of sacred scriptures are considered essential in the effort to ignite wisdom.

This spark of ‘ignited wisdom’ has to be fed the firewood of experience in the fireplace of life’s activity so that the resulting contact of heat and fire (light and power) can give one the direct experience, which is wisdom as an ‘unmistakable knowing’. The Upanishads teach that ‘to know’ is ‘to be,’ and that being is identical with knowing. Activity results from the will to do something, and this is preceded by thought, which in turn, is preceded by understanding. Life and its experiences are necessary for the realization of the Truth and therefore, it has to be lived in the light of wisdom so that the effort may move in the direction of the aim and not miss completely its mark.

Contentment is a condition that gradually arises as wisdom ignites, and the higher mind or reason starts operating vigorously. It is then that one begins to see the vanity in the fulfillment of the raging fire of desires, which cannot be fulfilled, and one gradually realizes that what is actually sought is not objects, but a condition of completeness.

The mind gets steady and ripe for meditation on spiritual knowledge as expounded in the scriptures. With this steady mind, emotions and passions dried-up, progress comes quickly, and the cycle of study, contemplation, meditation and living in the light of wisdom feeds on itself, giving one increased momentum and motivation to climb to greater heights of understanding and realization.

Swami Suryadevananda is with The Divine Life Society, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, India. He can be reached at suryadevananda@gmail.com by email.





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