IVY Swadhyay - July 2018

 “A truly awakened soul is not attached to anything” says Brahmnisht Minalben.

‘When we step into the outside world, we realise that we are different from a lot of people in many ways. The lessons that we are taught, the perspective with which we observe our surrounding and the ways in which we learn to deal with situations, makes IVY mumukshus realize that we are extra-ordinary. With the help of the teachings of an enlightened Master like Krupalu Dev,  we learn to be able to maintain a balance between the society as well as our spiritual life, so that we can also attain such spiritual peaks like Him.’

What does it mean to be living a spiritual life?

1.         When we do the agnas given to us by our satguru

2.         Not giving upon anything, but centering our lives around the satguru and his agna

3.         Not to get entangled in the seen but to seek the unseen

“Happiness in materialistic things is going to be temporary,” Minalben reminded all of us. “So at a certain age, we might like something but after a few years we might not like it at all. This shows that happiness is ephemeral and transient when attached to an object, place or a person.”

All of us were encouraged to read at least one page from the book – ‘The pinnacle of spirituality’ everyday, to better understand Krupalu Dev‘s life. With the help of this book we get to know how Shrimad perceived Jainism and also helped us realise its importance and depth.

Minalben also helped us understand the qualities of our soul and drew our attention to our individual strengths. While discussing the outstanding talents of Krupalu Dev and especially his phenomenal memory, she pointed out that our soul is as beautiful and powerful as that of Krupalu Dev and Tirthankars. The degree to which we clean the karmas maligning our soul is the degree to which we would be able to experience its virtues and purity.

This swadhyay was unique for the basket full of topics that were discussed and also because  the IVY group was fortunate to hear insightful stories of Pujya Bapuji’s life from Brahmnisht Vinubhai. He stated that just like Krupalu Dev, Bapuji too had great memory. He would concentrate well in the class. And because he would stay focused on his task, even with few hours of study, he could score great marks in his examination.

Next Vinubhai talked about an inspiring story from the life of Albert Schweitzer, a French-German theologian, humanitarian and physician. Schweitzer often said that ‘the purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. “True compassion means not only feeling about others’ pain but also being moved to help relieve it ”. With this thought, Albert served and treated many people in South Africa. He was so dedicated to his work that he didn’t even go to receive the Noble Peace Prize award. Vinubhai urged all of us: ‘just like his soul, we all have a soul that is filled with Daya and Karuna Bhaav, awaken it and dedicate it for serving others’.

Vinubhai reminded us of how extremely fortunate we all were to have got this human birth. We need to do such work that our cycle birth and death gets diminished and eventually break and we can reach moksh.

- Vidhi Boradia

IVY Swadhyay - Making Paryushan easy and part of our daily life

IVY Swadhyay - July 2017

Making Paryushan Easy and part of our daily life.

With the holy festival of Paryushan not even a month from now, all the believers in Jainism would have plans to increase their level of spirituality by fasting, meditating and praying.
While fasting is not always easy, there are other options that everybody (regardless of age, intelligence, profession or class) can undertake easily like the four principles of Jainism. Practicing them daily helps them integrate effortlessly into our lives.

Non-Violence (Ahimsa) - Ensuring that we do not harm to any soul in any way. That is, being extremely careful when you walk, talk, move, eat, use water, electricity etc.

Truth (Satya) - Always speak the truth. Pujya Bapuji would often say: ‘In difficult situations keep mum rather than speak a lie’. Either do not engage into things that you cannot tell others about or have the courage to confess when you have committed any wrong deed.

Non-cheating/Stealing (Achaurya) - Never let even the thought of stealing or cheating enter your mind. In case it does, be vigilant enough to not entertain such a thought.

Non-Possession/Non-attachment (Aparigrah) - Often our stress comes from trying to handle more than necessary – same goes for possessions or material things – allocate the quantity of things you need and give away excess possessions to those in need.

At the end of the day, we may have saved some lives and stopped ourselves from hurting others and mustered courage to own our mistakes, confess and ask for forgiveness.
For spiritual enrichment, Brahmnisht Minalben suggested to follow 6 simple things everyday. These 6 tasks have as much potential as meditation to uplift one’s spirits, make one happy and lead a disciplined life filled with gratitude.
    •    Wake up with a smile, look at life with enthusiasm and bow 3 times before the enlightened souls to say ‘Thank you’.
    •    Fold your hands in namaskar mudra to the universe and establish connection with everyone who is a part of it – celestial bodies, nature, family & friends. All souls are alike; the only difference is in the bodily form they take.
    •    Resolve to see things in positive light. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.
    •    Aspire something for the day. It can be anything as simple as spending time with an elderly person, teaching something to someone, helping a friend, politely talking to a person you dislike, to anything personal as beginning to learn a new skill. One must remember that desire is not the same as aspiration. Desire has latent selfishness whereas aspiration is about the joy of learning and giving.
    •    Never let yourself feel lonely. At any point you feel that you are alone, remind yourself that our Sadguru and our mother are always with you.
    •    Lastly, before going to bed, pray the Almighty to organize your life, while giving you the strength to take care of your day-to-day activities and the courage to live life judiciously.
Minalben ended with a beautiful and empowering couplet-

Alone I can say, together we can talk
Alone I can enjoy, together we can celebrate
Alone I can smile, together we can laugh
 
Giving his discourse in the same vein, Brahmnisht Vikrambhai sang a spiritually elevating song from the movie ‘Hamraaz, 1967’ that inspires about living life to the fullest and not letting anything influence you negatively, let alone harm you.

“If life is a song - sing it.
If life is an opportunity – grab it.
If life is a game - play it.
If life is a challenge - meet it.
If life is a dream - realize it.
If life is a sacrifice - offer it.
If life is love - enjoy it.”
Sai Baba”
 
Vikrambhai said: “Come what may, I choose to be Happy from within. I will not shy away from my duties, be righteous in my conduct, respond and not react in any circumstances. I will not let any force shake my determination, weaken my will or steal away my joy, even if that force is the thought of death. We often associate sadness and sorrow with death; but once you have befriended death, every moment of one’s life will be absolutely exciting. Think of life like a restaurant where everyone is served what they deserve. Thus, there is no place for complaints or regrets. There is going to be acceptance, love and happiness.”
Lyrics: Words so profound that they fill us with courage; a stirring power is transpired in us:

ના મૂંહ છૂપા કે જિયો ઔર ના સર ઝુકે કે જિયો
ગમોં કા દૌર ભી આયે તો મુસ્કુરા કે જિયો
ના મૂંહ છૂપા કે જિયો ઔર ના સર ઝુકે કે જિયો

Click here to her a poem

IVY Swadhyay - June 2017

IVY Swadhyay - June 2017

“Knowledge is our destination and love is our path to it.”
To celebrate Father’s Day in June, Minalben asked the young mumukshus to remember to their father and the spiritual father.

As we are walking on the path of spirituality Bhagwan Mahavir is also our father, as he is the one who showed the moksh marg. Param Krupalu Dev translated the holy scriptures into Gujarati and made the Lord’s teachings understandable, thus even he is our father. Then Param Pujya Bhaishree, our sadguru, further simplified the teachings and guided us on the path making him our father too. So as we celebrate Fathers day, we thank not just our biological fathers but also Lord Mahavir, Param Krupalu Dev and Pujya Bhaishree.

Who is a Father?

When God was making fathers he added the following ingredients - the strength of a mountain, the majesty of the trees, the warmth of the summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea, the generosity of nature, the comfort of the night, the wisdom of the ages, the power of the eagle’s flight, the joy of a lovely spring morning and the patience of eternity. After all this, when there was nothing left to add God knew his masterpiece was complete.

Narrating a short story, Minalben said there was once a young boy who was keen to own a car.  His father said that if his son got 93% in his exams, he would gift the young man a car.  Motivated by this the boy poured his heart and soul into studying, waking up early in the mornings and staying awake late in the nights. However, on the day of his results, when the boy did not arrivehome; his concerned father looking for him, saw him sitting forlorn in the garden.  He was sad that he was able to get 90% in his exams, short of the target.  Hearing this his father immediately drew out of his pocket, the keys of a brand new car – his son’s gift.
 
He said, “Your teacher gave you 90% but I will give you the additional 3% for your hard work and diligence.” This is how fathers are, they may be tough from the outside but they are soft and warm on the inside.

Mother’s are said to be the bank where you deposit all your sorrows and worries; but the father is the credit card that keeps giving without any balance. Our fathers struggle and work hard throughout their lives so that we, his children, can get what they haven't got in their lives.

Minalben went on to narrate 2 stories.

The king of Bhuj, Bhimdev, had a secretary called Vimal who was a good archer. Vimal lived happily with his wife but they had no children. One day the couple was strolling in the garden when his wife said, “Please pray to Goddess Ambika to give us a child.”

The temple of Ambika was on Mount Abu. Vimal worshipped the Goddess.  Pleased with his sincerity, the Goddess offered Vimal two options: either he could have a son or he could build a temple on the mountain. He said he would decide after discussing his wife.

Goddess Ambika accompanied Vimal as he climbed down the mountain on his way home.  Midway he felt thirsty, and on seeing a lake they stopped for a drink. Here they met a young boy who asked for money before they could have any water. They asked him why was he collecting money? The boy replied that his father had spent all his wealth building the pond and now they had nothing left. So whoever comes to drink water at this lake must pay him first. Hearing this, Vimal decided to build a temple so that his child would  not end up like the boy they met. Thus, the Dilwara temples in Abu were made by a boon granted by Goddess Ambika.
The other story was of Seth Moti Shah who would travel by a horse-cart, driven by four horses. Once while going to Fort from Pydhoonie (in Mumbai), he happened to see a butcher going towards the slaughter house with a cow.

Moti Shah sent his assistant to have the cow released but the butcher refused. In the ensuing fight, the butcher was injured and died of his injuries. The case was taken to court and Moti Shah’s attendant was given the death penalty. Moti Shah told the judge that it was actually his fault, and the death penalty was given to Moti Shah and he was taken to mumbadevi for a public execution.

On being asked for his last wish, Moti Shah requested to go to Byculla derasar (temple) for pooja. When he was got back after doing pooja; the platform from where his public execution would have taken place broke in three places.  This matter was then taken to Queen Victoria, who ordered the judge to release him thinking that he could not have been an ordinary person. The Queen offered him one more wish. Moti Shah took this opportunity and said that since he was a Jain and believed in non-violence, he wished that whenever he was passing that road, anyone being given the death penalty be released. As per his request, once Moti Shah saved the life of a 24-year old boy and many times such a sentence was cancelled and as a result the place of strangulation had to be changed by the English.
 
In the course of his discourse, Brahmnisht Vikrambhai sang the below poem and explained its meaning.
 
વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ, વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ
એક હી સાથ જીયેંગે હમ,
વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ, વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ
પ્યારા પ્યાર કા માર્ગ હમારા, જ્ઞાન હમારા લક્ષ્ય હૈ,
ચાલો એક સાથ ચલેંગે હમ,
વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ, વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ
ઇસ દુનિયા મેં પાર જતાયેંગે, ખુશીયો કે ઉત્સવ મનાયેંગે
એક હી ઈશ્વર, એક હી જ્ઞાન,
વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ, વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ
ઇસ પલ મેં હમેં જીના હૈ, હસ્ના ઔર મુસ્કુરાના હૈ,
સબકો ગાલે લાગના હૈ,
વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ, વસુધૈવ કુટુંભકામ.

Vasudhaiva refers to this entire universe. Vasudhaiva kutumbhakam means that every living being, whether humans, animals, birds, insects - everyone is part of my family. Our destination should be knowledge and love is the path to it. We must all embark on this journey together with Pujya Bhaishree with immense joy in our hearts. When we are with our family or friends, we must always spread happiness. There is one Earth and similarly there is one Truth and only one God. It is the human mind that has created divides. Every religion professes love. We must live in this moment of now.

Concluding, he shared three basic principles that have exemplary spiritual values. If we imbibe them into our daily lives, it will change us drastically. They are:
    •    I have come into the world empty handed and that is how I will leave
    •    Glad acceptance of everything: whatever happens, happens for the best
    •    When there is no way out, enhance your tolerance

IVY Swadhyay - Mothers Day Special

If the only Prayer you said in your life was “Thank you” that would suffice!

The one person in everybody’s life, who deserves a special ‘Thank You’, more than anybody else, is our mother. Mother is special and precious, not just because she goes through pain and gives us life, but also because she knows how to give selflessly and ask for nothing in return.  She practices and teaches compassion and kindness; she is the first one to rejoice in our happiness and feel our pain, and she comforts us when we are scared or fearful.  She spreads sweet fragrance in our lives.

For a spiritually inclined person, there is twice the cause of celebration on Mother’s Day – since he celebrates the presence of his mother and the Guru in his life.

A guru like Pujya Bhaishree plays a dual role – that of a caring mother and a motivating father. He is a friend as well, who lends his ear without judging, happy in our happiness and supportive during the lean phases of our life.

Brahmnisht Minalben shared a beautiful poem describing the sacrifices made by a mother and the efforts taken by her to mould her children.

માં  કેવી  તું
કયા  શબ્દો  માં   કહું  કે  માં , કેવી  તું
પીડા  ની  પુકાર  માં , મારી  પેહલી  છીઝ  તું
મારો  પેહલો  પ્રગાઢ  વિશ્વાસ  તું
મારા  હૃદય  ના  દરેક  ધબકાર  માં  તું
કયા  શબ્દો  માં  કહું , માં  કેવી  તું
મારા  જીવન  ના  સુખનો  બાગ  તું
ક્યારેક  ગુસ્સા  માં  સૂર્ય  ની  આગ  તું

માં , કયા  શબ્દો  માં  કહું  કે  કેવી  તું
અંધકાર  ને  દૂર   કરનારો  પ્રકાશ  તું
મારી    અપેક્ષાઓ  ની  ધરતી  તું
મારી  આકાંશા  નું  આકાશ  તું
માં , કાયા  શબ્દો  માં  કહું  કે  કેવી  તું
ધાકધકતા  જીવન  પ્રવાસ  માં  શીતળતા  તું
જીવન  ને  છેલ્લી   શ્વાસ  નો  વિસામો  તું …

Br. Minalben also shared another beautiful poem by Kathleen J. Shields:

‘There are Angels God puts on this Earth
Who care for us and guide us.
You can feel their love and gentleness
as they walk through life beside us.

They do great things for us every day
they whisper in our ears,
they even hold us in their hearts
when we are filled with all our fears.

They are always there to give a hug
and try to make us smile.
They treat us with respect and love;
they treat us like their child.

God blessed me with an Angel,
I’m proud to call my own.
She’s been with me throughout my
life, been with me as I’ve grown.

She guided me the best she can,
she taught me like no other,
and I’m thankful I’m the lucky one
who gets to call her... MOTHER’

To show our appreciation and gratitude to our Mother, we must help them as much as possible and support them when they feel low.  Likewise, we must also be grateful to our Guru for leading us to eternal happiness.  There is no way we can repay our Guru for lifting us from the cycle of births and deaths.  The Guru’s efforts as well as virtues should be applauded wholeheartedly.

Voltaire said, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing, it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well’.

Minalben also shared a powerful analogy of a monkey, who mistakenly thinks the rosemary seeds to be the fire-stone, and tries to ignite a fire but naturally fails in his endeavours.  Likewise, an ignorant person seeks happiness in places where there is none.

As much as appreciation is important, being ethical is equally important and it’s the very first goal of inner transformation. Stressing on some really important questions, Brahmnisht Vikrambhai asked the young mumukshus to reflect on:

  • How ethical am I?
  • How long does it take me to admit to something unethical that I have done?
  • How do I feel when I compromise on my values? Justified? Guilty? or Sad?
  • What are the things for which I compromise my values? Does my want for something cloud my understanding of the ethics of that situation or can I remain clear minded and objective?
     

Without being ethical, there is no uplifting.

It is the power of discrimination (vivek-vichar) that guides our actions. The pure mind will filter and safeguard our soul from many negative influences. Along with the pure mind, it's our inner conscience, the voice of the soul that will lead us to act appropriately.

When a person is able to applaud goodness, be kind and humble, honest and uncompromising where integrity is concerned, only then can the Guru’s teaching bear fruit.

We must take example from the life of Pujya Bhaishree.  His every action is the epitome of virtue, patience and mindfulness.  Let us cultivate these qualities and walk on the path shown by the Master.

IVY Swadhyay - Ayambil Oli

The auspicious ‘Ayambil Oli’ also called ‘Navpad oli’ had just ended on 11th April; so, in this IVY swadhaya, Pujya Minalben shed light on the history and importance of this festival and its value in a true seeker’s life.

Observed twice a year, Aymbil Oli involves special fasting in which a person eats one meal a day consisting of boiled grains with no spices, seasoning, oil or greens.  Eating fruits, vegetables, milk or yogurt is also forbidden for 9 days.  Special prayers are offered to the 9 auspicious pillars of Jainism - Arihant, Siddh, Acharya, Upadhya and Sadhu along with Gnaan, Darshan, Charitra, Tap.

Minalben highlighted the importance of Ayambil Oli through the inspiring story of King Shripal and his wife Mayna Sundri.

During the time of 20th Tirthankara Munisuvarat Swami, who lived approximately 1.1 million years ago, King Singhrath ruled over Champa-nagar.  A son was borne to him by queen, Kamalprabha.  The young prince was named Shripal.

King Singhrath’s brother Ajitsen was an ambitious man who was waiting for an opportunity to usurp the throne. On the death of King Singhrath,  Ajitsen conspired to get rid of the 5-year old crown prince, Shripal.  Anticipating his evil intent, Queen Kamalprabha fled into the jungle with her infant son.  Fearing for their lives, the queen hid her son among a group of 700 lepers and escaped from that place to save her life.

Unaware about his true identity and growing up with the lepers, the young prince (now named Umar Rana) contracted leprosy, but since he grew up to be an intelligent young man with exceptional leadership qualities, he was named leader of this group.  Under his leadership the troupe travelled place to place and one day arrived in Ujjayini city, which was the capital of Malwa region.

The king of Ujjayini was Prajapal and his queen Roopsundri. They had two beautiful, intelligent and skillful daughters – Sur Sundri and Mayna Sundri, whom they loved equally.

Deciding to test his daughters, the King asked them: “By whose favor, do you enjoy all these amenities, skills and luxuries?”

The elder daughter, Sur Sundari replied, “Father, it is because of your generosity and care, that I have acquired all these amenities, skills and luxuries.” Extremely pleased by her answer, King rewarded her appropriately.

Expecting a similar response from his younger daughter Mayna Sundari, King eagerly waited for her to answer. Mayna replied: “With all due respect and gratitude to you father, everything that I have acquired today, is the merit of my own past karma”.

While Sur Sundri’s reply was not a lie, but Mayna Sundri’s perspective was indeed the Truth; a truth that germinated from her spiritual inclinations and reflected her philosophical beliefs.

Exasperated by this unexpected reply, King decided to teach Mayna Sundri a lesson. He ordered his men to find the ugliest man in the city so he could get his daughter married to him. The soldiers spotted Umar Rana (infected by leprosy), who was in the city at that time and presented him to the king.

To spite the supposed insolence of his younger daughter, the King instantly got Mayna married to leper Umar Rana, and immediately sent them away. On the other hand, the king looked for a suitable match for Sur Sundari and got her married to Prince Aridaman of Shankhapuri.

Mayna was a deeply religious and elevated soul. She accepted her fate and the leper as her husband and took good care of him. Being a devout lady, she would visit temples and participate in sermons and discourses given by monks.

One day Mayna Sundari and her husband went to see Jain Acharya Munichandra who was a well-known scholar.  On learning about his leprosy, the monk advised both of them to do penance through fasting and worshipping of the sacred Siddhchakra for four and half years.

At the end of four and half years, Umar Rana (Shripal) was miraculously cured of his disease and now resembled his real, handsome self. Feeling happy and blessed both Mayna Sundari and Umar Rana continued fasting during Ayambil (twice every year).

Shripal now embarked on a mission to reclaim what rightfully belonged to him, which was the throne of Champa Nagar.  On achieving hisgoals, Shripal happily passed the rest of his life as King of Champa-nagar.

Siddhchakra, Navpad is a popular yantra or mandala (mystical diagram) used for worship in Jainism. Navapad, includes 5 supreme beings, having 108 virtues in all, and 4 right virtues/Gunas.

Panch Parmesthi:

Arihant: Ari means Enemy and Hant means destroyer. Thus, prayingto the Arihants means praying to the one who has conquered his inner enemies such as anger, greed, ego, and deceit and lives in perfect equilibrium. Out of 108 virtues, Arihant pad has 12 attributes.

Siddh, the liberated soul, without a physical form, also called the Vitraga, has 8 attributes.

Acharya, the spiritual master, first among all the saints, teaches the Holy Scripture through self-practice and has 36 attributes.

Upadhya, spiritual teacher, second among the Guru Tatva, is one with knowledge and teaches in absence of Acharya. Upadhya pad has 25 attributes.

Sadhu, the monk, is third among the Guru Tatva, who has left their worldly belongings and observes 5 Mahavrat and has 27 attributes.

Pillars of Jainism:

Gnaan – Darshan – Charitra – Tap: Right Knowledge – Right Faith - Right Conduct – Right Penance

Right Faith: It is to cultivate right and utmost faith in the Trinity -SatDev, SatDharma and SatGuru.  Our goal is to be happy in all given circumstances. The right approach is to have faith in the Trinity and adopt one of the following ways to be happy – Be content, Become a witness, Rise above the situation, Make amends in the thinking – Adjust oneself instead of trying to change the situation.
Right Knowledge: I am not the body; but the soul inside the body is my true self.
Right Conduct: Being truthful, adopting non-violence, no stealing and being content
Right Penance: There are different types of penance. One done for the right reason to gain right knowledge, get rid of Karmas is the right penance. Observing chauvihar, doing ekashna, upvaas etc are modes of penance. The ultimate penance is ‘iccha nirodh’ – getting rid of all desires.

Thus, we bow down to 5 supreme spiritual souls and resolve to win over our inner enemies and scale spiritual heights.

IVY Swadhyay - Feb 2017

19 February, 2017

During the second IVY swadhay of the year 2017, Pujya Minalben emphasized on our goals of inner transformation, and how the real change has to take place inside and not merely outside.

She explained the importance of practically implementing the goals of ethics and discipline in our life.  We must make a daily schedule and meticulously follow it, starting with eating lunch and dinner at a particular time and move to doing agnabhakti and atmasiddhi at specific hours. This will help discipline the body and keep it healthy and help ensure that we do our bhakti everyday.

The third goal has the 12 bhavanas and for the month of February, Asharan Bhavana has been adopted by Raj Saubhag Ashram mumukshus. When we get fever or fall ill, our mother takes care of us, takes us to the doctor but neither she nor anyone can take our pain away. We have to bear it ourselves. There is no true refuge in this world except the holy trinity - Satdev, Satguru and Satdharma. Whenever we are in trouble or need any help, we have to take shelter of these three. They will always be with us to guide us through life.

The final goal of 'maitri moves' teaches us that loneliness is poverty. We must go around helping everyone we can. At the end of the day sitting with your grandparents even for 5 minutes and talking to them can make their day. Small deeds like this help us make other people feel loved.

Narrating an inspiring story, Minalben said:  “A small boy decides he wants to meet God. He packs a small bag with breakfast, lunch and water and sets out. After a while, he sits in a garden to have a drink. As he opens the bottle to drink water, he notices an old lady staring at him. He offers her the water. She gladly accepts and drinks it. He then sees a dog running around and starts playing with him. Later as he opens his breakfast to eat, the dog starts wagging his tail and looking at the food. The boy gives his meal to the dog. After playing for some more time, when he finally decides to eat lunch, the old lady comes and sits next to him. He kindly shares his food with her and returns home happily. When he comes home, he tells his mother that he had spent his day with God.

Even the old lady returns home and tells her family that she had met God. These two souls found God in each other. This is maitri moves.

These random acts of kindness, gives one a sense of satisfaction and brings gladness to your heart.  

There are ten amazing things that require no talent and can be done everyday.

They are:
1. Punctuality
2. Following work ethics
3. Concentrate
4. Efforts
5. Energy
6. Attitude
7. Passion
8. Being accomodative
9. Doing extra
10. Being prepared

Asharan bhavana tells us that whenever we are in trouble we must take refuge of our Sadguru and pray. What is a prayer? It is an amazing exchange between God and us. When we pray, we hand over our worries to God and God hands over His blessings to us in return. Prayer is when God listens to us and meditation is when we listen to God. Many times in our lives, we feel broken. But we must remember that God uses broken things beautifully. Broken clouds pour rain, broken soil sets as fields, broken crops give seeds and broken seeds give life to new plants. When you feel you are broken, rest assured that God is planning to utilize you for a special cause, for something great.

To ensure that we have a great day every morning, we must wish ourselves good morning.
Get up
Open your heart
Open your mind
Dedicate your day to God

Meditate
Optimize your resources
Remove all negativity
Never underestimate your potential
Inspire someone
Never lose faith
Go out with joy and confidence

Next Minalben narrated the life of Shrimadji -

Shrimadji was born in Vavania, Gujarat on 9th November, 1867 at 2 am. His parents were Devba and Ravjibhai. At this time the freedom struggle in India was progressing. Rituals like sati were being banned. Times were changing. In times when religious rituals were just carried out due to social pressures, Shrimadji was born and showed the world the true path to moksha. He explained the fundamental path of Jainism in simple everyday language

Gandhiji, the father of our nation, was a follower of Shrimadji. He once asked Shrimadji many questions, among them should I kill a snake if it tries to bite me? Shrimadji replied that every living thing values his life dearly, the snake has no mind and cannot think, but we as humans are blessed with knowledge and therefore we must not kill the snake, as killing a 5-sensed being would bring in an enormous amount of bad karmas.

When people asked Krupalu Dev whether he was sthanakvasi or deravasi, he would say that ‘I am an aatmavasi’. He only knew one truth that the soul was different from the body and it was eternal and the aatma is my true nature. We are all aatmavasis.

Krupalu Dev brought light to the world in times of darkness and uplifted humanity. Compassion is inherent in every gyani. Along with upliftment of our souls, humanitarian projects should also be given utmost importance.

IVY Swadhyay - January 2017

IVY – joins the Real New Year Celebration!

'We vow to become Divine from within'

The year 2016-2017 marks the 150th birth anniversary of Param Krupalu Dev.  In this year, the vibrant youth joined the ‘inner transformation’ journey. Compassionate Sadguru has unconditionally loved us. How do we repay his incessant love? – By ‘being the change we want to see’.

First swadhyay of New Year started with a narrative about the compassionate Abraham Lincoln whose unconventional reply gave a new perspective to ‘being grateful’. Once, he was going for a conference and en route he saw a pig stuck in mud and struggling to save himself.  Full of pity for the poor animal Abraham Lincoln saved the pig. When asked how does it feel to save a life? He replied, ‘’Grateful! The painful sight of a life struggling was burning my heart. The opportunity to save that life has helped me placate my own plight. So in this, have I done that pig a favor or I have been selfish to take care of my own heart?”

The purpose of Ivy swadhyay is ‘to learn to be happy in all times’ and in order to fulfill our purpose, we are going to be optimistic, humble, grateful, disciplined, ethical, follow fundamental truths and be friendly to all.

And TODAY is that invigorating start!

T- Today is an

O- Opportunity to

D- Do better

Than

Y- yesterday/last year;

It takes 21 days to form habit and 90 days to build lifestyle. So, from the month of January to March, we pledged observe these goals and follow the teachings of our Sadguru.

  • Being Ethical: No matter what the consequences, I am not going to cheat, lie, manipulate, overdo, unreasonably imitate others, or bend my morals for anybody, in any situation or for any material gain irrespective of anybody watching or not watching me. As my guru has taught, I am going monitor on my ‘negative emotions’ and learn to control them. I am going to evaluate my needs and wants, and be rational and rightful in my conduct. I am going to reason before I act.
  • Follow Daily discipline: Be it any day of the week, I am going to be disciplined. I am going to punctually wake up and sleep at the determined time. I am going to have meals as decided. I am going to fix time to do my aagnas and sincerely and consistently follow the rituals. I am going to read good books, exercise daily and meditate for healthy mind, body and soul. And I am going to do this because I want to and not because I am told to.
  • Observe Fundamental truths: The happiness of eating our favorite meal, watching our favorite cartoon/movie, vacation to a beautiful place, outing with friends has given us happiness. Has that happiness continued in the absence of these situations/people or object? “No”.  However, by observing the ‘Anitya Bhavna’ we remind ourselves that we are not the body; we are the soul that resides in this body. Whatever we see with our eyes is temporary and therefore incapable of giving us permanent happiness. Our inner transformation is capable of making us realize what real happiness is and how it is independent of outer circumstances.
  • Be friendly: I am going to be friendly to one and all. I am going to develop the virtue of ‘ahimsa, selflessness and compassion’. In everything I do, speak, walk, sit, stand, eat or drink, I am not going to cause any harm to any soul. I am going to conserve water and electricity. I am going to protect as many lives as I can in my daily routine.

How am I going to make sure that I follow these goals meticulously and am going in the right direction? I am going to do that by observing and learning about the life of Param Krupalu Dev, Pujya Bapuji, Pujya Gurumaa and Pujya Bhaishree.

Pujya Bhaishree is the epitome of being organized, being punctual, being ethical, being compassionate and many more virtues. Insights to Param Krupalu Dev’s life will be provided to us through the book ‘Pinnacle of spirituality’. Learning from these enlightened souls, I am going to bring inner transformations and celebrate true happiness.

Nutshell:

  1. I am going to be the change I want to see.
  2. I am not born to be sad. I am created to be happy. I am going to be happy and spread happiness.
  3. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep my balance, I need to keep pedaling which means keep moving.
  4. When I am helping someone else, I am going to say thank you for the opportunity they have provided me to serve them. I am helping myself by helping others.
  5. Contemplate to realize - I am not the body, I am the soul within the body – this one thought must remain with us all the time.
  6. I am going to build a healthy lifestyle – by practicing daily discipline, by being ethical, contented and selfless.

IVY Swadhyay - December 2016

Year 2016 marks as the 150th birth anniversary of Param Krupalu Dev. As all the followers of Shrimadji across the globe unite in celebrating his birth, IVY mumukshus too would be joining the celebrations.

The December swadhyay gave insights on devotion, faith, the joy of giving and overcoming the obstacles of the spiritual path in 5 simple ways.

Brahmnisht Minalben began her discourse with recitation and then reflection upon the meaning of the powerful stuti ‘Mahadevya kukshi ratnam, મહાદેવ્યા કુક્ષિ રત્નમ’ and the verse ‘Hey Param Krupalu Dev, janma jara maran aadi, હે પરમ કૃપાળુ દેવ, જન્મ જરા મરણ આદિ’.  The verses encourage disciples to give up bad qualities like anger, ego, greed and deceit, and remain under the shelter of an enlightened Master.  The benevolent soul does not expect anything in return for his endless love and leads the disciple on the path of complete destruction of sorrows and sufferings and therefore, we are forever in his debt.

Faith and Principles are two pillars that keep mumukshus strong during hardships. The results may not be immediate but not giving up on them pays handsomely. A story of a shopkeeper gave inspiration. Posted in the Himalayas for 3 months, a troop of tired army men where on the lookout for something to keep them warm. En route to the peak, they came across a shop. The army men keenly desired a hot cup of tea. However, the shop was locked. The officers looked at their leader silently pleading to allow them to break the lock. Against his own better judgment and caving in to the need of the hour, officer permitted his men to break the lock. With the materials available, army men made themselves a good hot cup of tea and ate some biscuits. The leader, not happy with his decision, slid a 1000/- rupee note under the box of sugar to assure the shopkeeper that no theft has been done. Three months later, their posting was revoked and while coming down from their post the officer saw that the same shop was now open. The officer still reliving his guilt interacted with the shopkeeper and curiously asks him about his opinion on the existence of God in such a mountainous terrain. Answering his question, shopkeeper narrated his reasons for having faith in God. His son had suffered several injuries and had to be operated, which required huge amount of money that he didn’t have. Feeling low and powerless, he came to his shop and prayed. He had his head resting on the table but when he looked up from there, he found a 1000-rupee note under the box of sugar. That was more than he required and knew that was God taking care of him. After seeing how the events turned unexpectedly, how could he doubt His presence and God’s love for him?

God walks in our life when we need Him to. Till then, He teaches us the art of walking: exercise that keeps our body and soul both in good health. Whenever we face an undesirable or distressing situation, walk away.

Walking now possible in 4 simple ways:

  1. Walk away from arguments that lead nowhere but towards anger.
  2. Walk away from people who deliberately put you down. Never feel you are anything less.  We have our Guru to take care of us.
  3. Walk away from failures and fears that stifle your dream. Often we allow our minds to underestimate ourselves; Dream big, be passionate about it, trust yourself and have patience.
  4. Walk away from people who do not care.

Walking away from the unnecessary is the walk towards Happiness!!

Things, people and situations that cause stress and pain can be avoided. If cannot be avoided, ignore them. When even that’s not possible, rise above the situation, become a witness. Keep calm and let the karma pass.

That is how Krupalu Dev sailed the worldly boat, other elevated souls are sailing and we have to do the same. If nothing else, SMILE! It’s the curve that makes everything straight.

So, as a tribute to Param Krupalu Dev, Ivy mumukshus have pledged to -

  1. Sing stuti - Mahadevya kukshi ratnam – everyday.
  2. Begin reading ‘Pinnacle of spirituality’ – from January swadhaya.
  3. Smile always –It costs nothing, but gives much radiance. It’s the antidote to our troubles. Pujya Bapuji would always remind everyone: ‘સાધના કરો છો આનંદ લેવા માટે, તો આનંદ લેતા સીખો!’
  4. Exercise- gift ourselves a walk towards happiness.
  5. Respect our parents; they are our best well- wishers.
  6. Dream high and be passionate about them.