IVY Swadhyay - May 2019

“God could not be present everywhere, so he made mothers.” 

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Brahmnisht Minalben and Brahmnisht Vikrambhai paid homage to Lord Mahavir on his birthday during Aymbil Oli, and combined that with Mother’s Day.  During the IVY class, they narrated 2 stories depicting Bhagwan Mahavir’s and Krupalu Dev’s love for their respective mothers.

Starting with an article written by Kumarpal Desai, Minalben quoted: 

‘The world today is full of struggles, we are lost,

He found the true path for us to walk;

We are constantly burning in the fire of desire,

He gave us a new light.’

Minalben added that Pujya Bhaishree’s sharan keeps us worry-free; we are blessed to have the option to go to him with any problem. He will inevitably give us the strength to deal with them all. 

When Lord Mahavir was only six and a half months old in mother Trishala’s womb, He felt the pain she was going through when he moved. So He decided to remain still as he did not wish to hurt any soul, especially his mother.

So while mother Trishala’s pain immediately stopped, she however started getting apprehensive, wondering whether her yet unborn child was harmed in any way? When there was no further movement, she feared for the life of her child and started crying due to extreme anxiety. When Bhagwan Mahavir, through Avadhigyaan, realized that he had inadvertently caused apprehension, he started moving again inside the womb, bringing immense relief to his mother. Our shastras describe, how Bhagwan Mahavir as a baby resolved then and there that he would not take diksha, until his parents were alive.  Even the thought of any harm to her child, brought His mother immense pain, then how much more would she suffer if Bhagwan Mahavir proceeded to accept a life full of austerities?

Bhagwan Mahavir sent out 4 important messages: 

-        Matrubhakti

In his first discourse, Lord Mahavir preached the importance of loving your mother. He said a mother is the first birth.

-        Respect

He propagated love and respect for all living beings, if you cannot give life, then you should not take anyone’s life. One’s happiness must not disturb that of another.

-        Live and let live

The real enemies we face are within us, our desires and expectations. We must learn to live peacefully and let others live happily as well.

-        Universal brotherhood

Bravery is not killing an elephant; it is saving an ant. All life forms have the same soul and experience the same pain as human beings.

As always, a page from ‘Pinnacle of Spirituality’ was read out. The lesson during this class was from an incident about Hemrajbhai and Malsibhai, who had come from Kutch to test young Shrimad’s skills, since they had heard so much about him.

At magistrate Dharsibhai’s house, Hemrajbhai and Malsibhai read out jumbled letters from a verse from Sanpatak.  Shrimad attentively listened, rearranged the letters in his mind and recited them in proper order. The brothers were amazed at his intelligence, and realized that sending him to Kashi would not really benefit young Shrimad, as he was already wise and learned far beyond his years. Their offer to sponsor Shrimadji’s education in Kashi, including his family’s expenses was politely declined.  Rather Shrimadji ensured that Dharsibhai facilitated their way back home to Kutch.

In the latter part of the swadhyay,  Vikrambhai recounted an incident about a woman. She was trying to renew her driving license when she was asked of her profession. She replied saying she was a mother. The officer on the other side said there was no option reading ‘mother’, so he would classify her as a house wife. A few years later when she had to renew it again, the officer (a different one this time), again asked for her occupation?  The answer this time was, “I am a researcher in the fields of child development, nutrition and interpersonal relationships.”

Impressed the officer asked her what was her actual profession?  The woman replied, “My research projects are ongoing for a number of years, they are conducted in labs and on the field. I have two bosses, one is God and the other is my family. This topic is believed to be the most difficult part of sociology. My shift lasts for more than 14 hours daily, sometimes even 24 hours. It is tougher and more demanding than most professions. My remuneration is in terms of satisfaction and not money.” That day she had earned a small victory.  No longer was she merely a mother, she was now a highly placed functionary for a service vital to mankind.

This is motherhood.

A mother plays the most important role; they build the character of nations. They are individuals who implant virtues and thus have an enormous responsibility.

It is very easy for us to be perceptive of hate and dislike, but when someone loves us for years, we fail to identify or recognize it in time.

 Vikrambhai then sang a beautiful song written by Damodar Kushaldas Botadkar 

“મીઠા મધુ ને મીઠા મેહુલા રે લોલ,

અતિ મીઠી એ મોરી માત રે 

જનની ની જોડી સખી નહિ રે લોલ,

પ્રભુ ના એ પ્રેમની પુટડી  રે લોલ,

જગ થી જુદરી એની જાત રે લોલ ,

અમિની ભરેલ એની આંખ રે લોલ

A mother is sweeter than honey, sweeter than the relief that the first showers of rain brings us. She represents God on Earth. He created her, because He cannot reach everyone at the same time.

Mothers personify true and pure love. 

Shrimadji’s love for his mother can be perceived from the following two incidents:

Shrimadji had decided, at a very young age that he wanted to take diksha, and so, one day asked permission from his mother to renounce the world. She simply started crying inconsolably. She couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving her and leading an ascetic’s hard life. He realized how much his mother loved him and immediately told her, “Don’t cry, I will do as you say.”

When Shrimadji was on his death bed, he advised his brother, “Mansukh, do not be sad and take care of mother.”  

We should learn the mukhya sutra, “I will do as you say” for everything our mothers tell us.

At the same time, a thousand mothers cannot equal a Guru.  And thus, the faith we have for our Guru’s agna must also be multi-fold.

Vikrambhai then narrated some incidents from his own childhood.

“Everyone from our family went to New Era School, which had Gujarati as the medium of instruction, until grade 7. My mother wanted to put me in an English speaking school. St. Xavier’s was one such English school at that time, which required the student to pass a written entrance test. But we were late in taking the decision, and the academic year had already started 4 months ago, and there was no vacancy. In spite of being informed by the principal, my mother did not give up and would visit the school regularly.  On the fifth visit, the Principal relented saying, ‘you have pursued and moved a mountain’.  In this way, I was allowed to write the entrance exam for St. Xavier’s.  Even as my way of entering the school was cleared, my mother noticed that there were large stuffed lions and elephant toys in the school, which might scare me.  So she took me to the school twice before the exam, to ensure that I get accustomed and would not be afraid of the stuffed toys. After admitting me to an English-medium school, she ensured that I was fluent in spoken and written Gujarati.  I was made to read the Mumbai Samachar everyday, teaching me all the Gujarati alphabetical letters.”

If we let them, mothers can be our best friends.

IVY Swadhyay - March 2019

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Only the purity of our souls is permanent, everything else is temporary. Material things can never become ours forever, they belong to us today, will belong to another tomorrow. But the qualities accumulated by our Atma remain with us in this birth as well as future births.  This corrupt mind lulls us into a false sense of ownership of all things external. Only when an Enlightened Master holds our hand and removes the delusion from within, does a disciple actually awaken and start correcting his misconceptions!! It is the harmony of Guru’s words and actions that instils the faith in HIS sermon.

Learning is the Raising of Character by the broadening of Vision and the deepening of feeling. Our actions and conduct is a reflection of our thoughts

So, how do we listen to his swadhyay to gain the most and the best? Brahmnisht Minalben shared some meaningful ways to help us absorb the Guru’s words and connect with him better; and encourage grasping true knowledge from any source or setting.

  • Be attentive to the Guru’s guidance and teachings – his words have divine wisdom filled in them

  • Feel the flow of his consciousness and not just the words – the guru speaks from his experience and awareness of inner self

  • Know that Guru wants you to succeed – When you reach a karmic block don’t be embarrassed to ask for his guidance

  • Follow his lead and inner guidance to move past the test of Karma

  • Persevere until you feel assured that you have attuned to His consciousness.

  • Use this awareness to build your confidence and strength for the spiritual journey

Pujya Bhaishree’s recent Holi swadhyay shed light on the immense value of gratitude so closely related to kindness, and so did the next chapter from ‘Pinnacle of Spirituality’ narrating one incident between Shrimad and judge Dharshibhai. Chapter 14 illustrates an incident when as a young boy, Shrimad overhears that his uncles plotting to kill Dharshibhai. His compassionate heart would not rest until he found a solution for this impending heinous crime, which would immerse his uncles’ in a sea of bad karmas. He alerted the judge and saved the situation. Gratitude is very closely related to Kindness.

Daya dharmnu mul chhe’ – Shrimad Rajchandra

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thoughts creates profoundness/depth and Kindness in giving creates love. Try injecting little bit of kindness everyday with the intent of making it not just a habit but an effortless part of our nature and conduct.

Kindness and mindfulness are like two wheels to reach the heights of everlasting joy. Minalben and Vikrambhai shared different ways in which all of us can do our act of kindness everyday.

  • Say hello to everyone you meet

  • Give directions to someone who is lost

  • Provide water to stray people

  • Don’t interrupt when someone is explaining themselves

  • Simply say sorry when you have done wrong

  • Let someone in the queue go ahead in the line

  • Hold the door open for someone else

  • Compliment the first three people you meet in the day

  • Everyone is important – Learn their names

  • When everyone in a group are gossiping – remain silent

  • Feed a meal to someone

  • Forgive someone and never bring up that issue again

  • Help an elderly person

  • Try to ease the worry of your household help or someone who helps us daily

  • Feed/Save animals

  • Be kind to your family members

  • Refrain from focusing on to the weakness and shortcomings of your family members. Constantly referring to them leads to dissatisfaction and bitterness

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Vikrambhai says kindness also means making an effort to achieve greater good and spreading joy. He shared two inspiring incidents:

  1. Trustee of Gadge Baba Mission, Gunvantbhai, a simple and modest man, would clean the floor wherever he would go. He would himself bend, pick up and arrange shoes and footwear of other people even when nobody was looking.

  2. Prabhashankarbhai would go house to house, collecting old newspapers, then carry large bundles of discarded newspapers to sell. The money that he collected from this back breaking work would be used to help poor farmers in villages.

It is human nature to be kind and soul’s nature to love and be happy. And there is joy in giving. So, shall we begin being Kind from Today?

IVY Swadhyay - Feb 2019

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For students, the month of February and March is about exams; so is every day of our life – about pressure, performance and results. In this morale boosting swadhyay, Brahmnisht Minalben shares 10 key tips that one must remember if they wish to do well in their tests – written paper or practicals, with a cool head

She says, while facing any situation -

  1. Be confident – Because you are not alone. Through your faith, Pujya Bhaishree is always with you.

  2. Never compare – Give your best and leave the rest to God.

  3. Be consistent – If you really want something, two things that will guarantee achievement, is perseverance and consistency.

  4. Understand what you study – To retain something for a longer time and to be able to use it practically, understanding is fundamental.

  5. Marks are not the only criteria – The journey is more important than the destination. LEARN – PUT in your BEST and ENJOY what you do.

  6. Picture what you study – Do not study hard, study SMART. Doing one task at a time, studying methodically, giving a picturesque form to what one studies will help to effectively remember things.

  7. Resist the urge to copy – Learn to rely on yourself. Trust yourself.

  8. Keep your goals BIG – Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star. Even for a spiritual being  –  ‘A soul without High Aim is like a ship without a rudder’ – Eileen Caddy

  9. Never despair – Failure is a part of life. Your sadguru is always with you. Every cloud has a silver lining.

  10. Plan your future in such a manner so you can serve others –The best living example in our life is Pujya Bhaishree. Make a habit of being useful to others.

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The kind of test does not matter, but efforts and intentions matter. Sometimes the result may be good or bad, sometimes better or worse, but your attitude and confidence will make the difference.

Lord Mahavir in His last sermon mentioned 4 things which are rare in this era:

  1. Manushyatva – Getting a Human life and being humane

  2. Finding shelter in Satsang and Sadguru

  3. Having faith in Sadguru

  4. Having found faith, living a life abiding his aagnas

Nectar of Humanity: Merely being born a human being is not enough; one must also cultivate the virtue of humanity

The desired results will be seen by making the most of each day.  We have been graced with three rare jewels. To make our human life better and help reach our soul to its rightful pinnacle, will depend on our understanding what we have been blessed with and walk on the path shown by our sadguru.

Who enjoys the nectar of humanity?

  • He who broadens his heart and mind – Two principles that we must imbibe are ‘Vasudev kuttumbhakam’ (the whole world is like my family) and the  principle to inculcate the right values, regardless from where we receive them. Rather than stubbornly clinging on to our own beliefs as the only right beliefs, we must expand our vision to imbibe right values from wherever we can.

  • He is who is a slave of his desires is a demon -Rise above your desires

  • He who sympathizes with the grieving – We are not selfish, Pujya Bhaishree teaches us to be caring, selfless, loving towards others

  • He who takes not the advice of well -wishers is not a human – Learn the art of giving as well as receiving

  • Increased duration of sleep impairs intellect – Set your sleep regime

  • Respect other people – Respect has to be earned. Gentle nature begets respect

  • Recognize the joys & sorrows and needs of your family members – Love is knowing and understanding

  • Spiritual matter is spiritual awakening – This body is not the soul. What you can see with these eyes is ephemeral. Remember, soul is immortal and cannot be seen with these eyes

  • To be enamoured by luxury is slavishness - The soul has two functions – the knower and the observer. Practice mindfulness. Practice being in the present without being involved.

A good human is known by his character. These refined thought processes and daily practices build both our character and morale.

Revitalizing message!

All of us read page 13 from ‘The Pinnacle of Spirituality’ and some young mumukshus shared their experiences with the others.

IVY Swadhyay - January 2019

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This swadhyay was conducted in the form of a conversation between a student and his Guru, representative of the IVY kids and Pujya Bhaishree. 

The students says: “Education is important” to which the Guru replies, “I believe education is important but meditation is more important.”

The student continues: “My education was transformational; it has made me civilised.” 

The Guru answers: “Mediation transformed me deeply; it made me realised.”

Student: “Education won me many gold medals.” 

Guru: “Meditation gave me golden moments.”

Student: “Education gave me job eligibility.”

Guru: “Meditation gave me life flexibility.”

The Guru continues giving his perspective on why meditation triumphs over all other activities in life by modestly pointing out its benefits while replying to the student. 

Student: “Education fostered appreciation.”

Guru: “Meditation fosters introspection.”

Student: “Education sharpened my intelligence.”

Guru: “Meditation deepened my awareness.”

While appreciation may be superficial and momentary, introspection will always lead to true happiness. The student says that education made him a good tax payer to which the Guru replied that mediation answered all his prayers. No matter how intelligent we are, with age the sharpness of our senses starts to fade. However, the awareness of the awakened soul always remains and deepens with passing time.

Student: “Education stimulated my passion.”

Guru: “Meditation motivated my compassion.”

Student: “Education made my job fruitful.”

Guru: “Meditation made my life grateful.”

Mediation makes one conscious of the importance of a human life.

Student: “Education made me a go-getter.”

Guru: “Meditation invoked inclusiveness.”

Student: “Education added colours to my mind.”

Guru: “Meditation cleanses our minds.”

Student: “Education pushed me outward.”

Guru: “Meditation pulled me inwards.”

Student: “Education made me who I am.”

Guru: “Meditation showed me who am I.” 

Guru concludes the conversation by saying “One must educate themselves to meditate.” The student agreeably replies with “I think meditation will make me complete.”

Continuing with the reading of “Pinnacle of Spirituality”, that narrates Shrimad’s life, Pujya Minalben read the chapter on “Detachment”. The chapter recounts Shrimad’s early detachment from the material world, spurred by the death of his grandfather, Panchanbhai. While leading his grandfather’s funeral procession, carrying the coal to burn the body, Shrimad was lost in his thoughts. He started questioning the fundamental truths about life and death and the mysteries of the soul. So immersed was he in profound thoughts, that he inadvertently stepped on a thorn and his foot started to bleed. But he did not feel a thing and continued to walk. Only when he got home and his mother asked him why he was limping? did he realise that a thorn had pierced his foot. 

During the second segment of the IVY swadhyay, Pujya Vikrambhai started with a melodious song that highlighted the significance of living in the moment while advancing through life. This is the very essence of meditation: focus in every moment, be present in what we are doing.

What is meditation?

  • It is simply to concentrate, not be carried away or overpowered by our minds. Our mind has become the jockey riding our soul like a horse into thoughts that are irrelevant. Our goal is to control the mind and make the soul our driving force, our jockey.

  • Meditation is being aware of who I truly am, while I go about my daily activities in life. I am my soul. The knower behind the senses and the mind. Our senses allow us to perceive things but our soul is the all-powerful knower and gives the senses the strength to function. 

  • It is a peaceful response to any and every ting we encounter. Pujya Bhaishree embodies peace, he is never hurried, impatient or intolerant. He is always happy, steady, quiet, measured and peaceful. 

  • Meditation is being content with what we have, because contentment leads to peace, which in turn allows for meditation. Discontent leaves us with a wandering and wavering mind which does not allow us to concentrate. 

  • It is to understand and distinguish between right and wrong and knowingly opt for the right choice. 

  • It is living in the soul, while residing in the body.

An old, loud and grumpy lady climbed on to a bus and sat next to a young lady. The old lady was carrying many bags, she bumped some of them in to her and took up a lot of space, squeezing the already-seated young woman. The person seated opposite got upset and asked the young lady why didn’t she say anything?  The person opposite was so intolerant that he could not see her in pain and was concerned about her being harassed. The young lady smiled and said “It is not necessary to be rude or argue over something so insignificant. The journey together is so short; I get off at the next stop.”

Similarly, our time together is so short and yet we darken it with quarrels, futile arguments, not forgiving others and being discontent. We waste our time and energy. We should remember and live life by this principle: “The journey together is so short.” We must strive to always be happy and cheerful and not let anyone affect our peace. We should cherish our friends, family and work, be respectful, kind and forgiving and full of gratitude and gladness - for our journey together is so short!!

IVY Swadhyay - Nov 2018

Mind your Mind

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The November IVY swadhyay started with a thought provoking story of the Buddha and his 83 disciples.  All of them came up to him for a solution for a problem that each one had – therefore 83 problems.  The wise Buddha answered their question with a counter-question.  “Find me one person in the world who does not have any problem!!”  This short yet impactful tale, had a deep impact. Brahmnisht Minalben said that our problems should not overwhelm us, rather we must look for solutions. There is no problem that cannot be solved, that does not have a solution and as spiritual seekers we should march ahead and face our problems (whether mental, physical or emotional) head on.

The problems that we are required to grapple with are 3-fold. AADHI, VYADHI and UPADHI 

1.         AADHI or mental problems: Anything that happens to us or our close family or friends angers or worries our mind This constant over-thinking of our mind for petty reasons is known as AADHI

2.         VYADHI or physical problems: There is no one who is exempt from physical ailments at some point or another. Even the smallest of headache is the cause of Vyadhi. But this problem is of our body and not our soul.

3.         UPADHI: The problems related to people or things around us.

Since we are constantly facing problems – mental or physical, we need to equip ourselves with ways to face, handle and overcome our problems. Our faith in God and our Guru, Pujya Bhaishree will strengthen our ability to overcome problems. When under the Guru’s refuge, we would be able to to remain emotionally balanced in good times and bad.

So what can we do when we face these problems:

·             Remain a witness during times of stress or anxiety - AADHI

·             Take steps to overcome physical problems – VYADHI

·             Take refuge in the Guru in emotional situations - UPADHI

The mind is connected to thoughts. Thoughts are powerful, they have to power to create or destroy things. Minalben urges: “Learn to keep your thoughts to the present. If they wander, tame them, bring them back from the past and don’t let loose them to the future.”

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Brahmnisht Vikrambhai recounted a tale about the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Confuscius would say that hold on to a good thought, meditate on it. Good thoughts are those that create a positive affirmations on our mind. Reflection of good thoughts is required. Therefore contemplation of good thoughts is equal to meditation.

Narrating another story about Confucious and one seeker wanted to increase his self control, Vikrambhai said  that the message given by Confucious was: “There are 5 sense organs and then the Mind. If you want to maintain self-control, never mix the function of these sense organs with the mind. The minute you allow the mind to intervene, the knots will begin to form. No matter what we do, where we go, we live the most within the confines of our mind. Keep the mind separated from the activities of the sense organs.”

So in this swadhyay, not only did we gain an understanding of how to handle the problems in our lives, but also about the huge role our ‘MIND’ plays. If the mind is not  pure and divine, neither will our current life or future births be pure and divine. Quality of our thoughts, determine the quality of our life.

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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 - June 2018

Your mind must arrive at your destination before your life does!

Mumukshus revisit their destination everyday in the form of 3 malas – which highlight the path and destination, specifically focusing on the spiritual Master, who can help us maneuver the difficult bend.

Mala is meditation in itself. It strengthens our ray of concentration. It connects us to the enlightened ones, strengthening our faith and purity. Delving within, the mumukshu questions - Who am I? What do I want to achieve? Where do I want to reach? Which road shall I take? Who will show me the path? What is the path?

In this swadhyaay, Brahmnisht Minalben simplified the answers to these questions by explaining the profound meaning of the 3 malas that we are asked to mindfully recite every day and Brahmnsiht Vikrambhai narrated a dharma katha and underscored the importance of the 3 malas.

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·        Sahajatma swaroop param guru

Meaning:  The Guru, or an enlightened Master resides within, in the stillness of his being.

Practice: Practice stillness. It is possible to fulfill all the worldly responsibilities and yet be aware & be still in your true nature which is peaceful and full of happiness.

Importance: This particular mala holds the strength of Navkar Mantra as it addresses the Panch Parmesthi and the purity of their soul. Thus, when I practice the stillness and harmony of my mind, body and words, I can be my own guru. Surrendering at our Guru’s feet is the beginning of our path which is given to us in the form of these malas. The guidance of an enlightened Guru who has walked the path himself and will show us how to walk it, that is going to help us reach the destination of our soul - complete, pure and blissful self-realization. This mala is the antidote for all pain; it plays the role of an anchor in turbulent situations and that of refuge in loneliness - just as it did for Muni Lalluji when he suffered the agony of being away from KrupaluDev.

·        Aatam bhav na bhaavta jiv lahe kevalgnaan re

Meaning: One who contemplates the foundational virtues of the soul, eventually experiences and attains omniscience.

Practice: Contemplate deeply on the absolute truth, which is ‘the transient nature of this body and the purity and permanent nature of the soul’. This body is the hotel we have booked for this lifetime and are going to check-out of one day. This body cannot be mine forever; and I am not this body.

Importance: Contemplating on the mala helps us reach the spiritual state that our Guru has achieved. It will shift our focus from the outside world to our inner world. The suffering of birth-death cycle reduces. This mala is a form of Nirgun Bhakti that helps us gain infinite knowledge, wisdom and vision.

·        Param guru nirgranth sarvagna dev

Meaning: The foremost guru is completely unfettered and totally enlightened.

Practice: Be a witness, not a participant.

Importance: On becoming aware of our destination (omniscience), walking on the path shown by our Guru, we start to untie the knots because of our ignorance and ego. The more we become aware of the knots and what causes them, the faster would their power over us dissolve.

We have a Sadguru; he has reminded us of our true destination and showed us the path as well! He is our constant guiding light. Are we unwavering enough to focus on our destination and are we working on building on our capability to walk that directed road?

IVY Swadhyay - March 2018 - Simple Living: High thinking

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“Gratitude is the attitude that takes us to our altitude” said Brahmnisht Minalben. “This whole year is an auspicious celebration for all of us. Gratitude is one feeling that should constantly reside in our hearts.  Gratitude towards the enlightened souls, Param Krupalu Dev and Lord Mahavir. The more you contemplate on their virtues and imbibe them, the more evolved, tolerant and soft-spoken people we become. Negative thoughts can emerge easily and take the charge of situation. However, it becomes our responsibility to stall old habits and replace the negative with positive. Accept the real truth, instead of insisting only your own beliefs to be true. Be open to broader thinking, adapt and practice simple living.”

This is possible by practicing the 3 C’s of inner transformation:

  • Concentration: Do one thing at a time with complete attention even if it is as trivial as tying a shoe lace. Refrain from multi-tasking.

  • Commitment: Be purposeful, respectful and dutiful towards the task at hand. Practice mind-body harmony and stay committed to the task.

  • Courage: Courage is a decision, whereas fear is a reaction. Fears that aren’t faced, can become our limitations. Have faith in the Trinity. Pray to the Lord regularly. He is not going to solve all our problems but He surely strengthens us to face our issues bravely.

On the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti, Minalben asked the young mumukshus to observe and practice few guidelines from Lord Mahavir’s teachings:

  • Do not disrespect your parents – Show reverence

  • Don’t not be egoistic about your abilities – Be humble

  • Do not counter-react– Be tolerant

  • Don’t be dejected by failure – Be grateful

  • Refrain from favouritism. Never take sides – Be equanimous

Reading Page 8 from ‘The pinnacle of Spirituality’: about Shrimad’s early school days’ sheds light on his courage and intelligence.  It is impossible for a diamond not to shine.

While Minalben laid the foundation, set the pace and built the momentum that would lead us to ‘simple living and high thinking’, Brahmnisht Vikrambhai highlighted the more intricate layers of devotion, dedication and development that complemented the guidelines of how one can be more virtuous.

Starting with the Bhajan ‘Ek janamyo raaj dularo…duniya no taran haaro…’ as a tribute to not only Lord Mahavir but also on the festive year of Pujya Bhaishree’s 75th birth anniversary, Vikrambhai spoke about the magical spells which are created by Lord’s divinity. Faith in the Trinity has the power to transform ‘a nar into narayan’.

Singing ‘khwaja mere khwaja’ Vikrambhai drew attention to how praying to the Lord and applauding his virtues would bring peace, patience and goodness within. Once you have studied a virtue really well, it is splendid to watch it percolate in all walks of our life. It is then we shall be able to accept ourselves, appreciate the uniqueness of others and learn to live in harmony and freedom.

When we speak of Pujya Bhaishree’s virtues, say meticulousness, we also speak of what meticulousness is not. Pujya Bhaishree is meticulous but not rigid. He is perfect in his ways and yet amazingly adapts to the circumstances. He is disciplined and has his principals but not at the cost of being disrespectful or creating hassle for others. We must train our mind to see this refined definition of his virtues and contemplate on them to realize - ‘How can I imbibe these virtues in my life?’.

Thus, this swadhyay urges us to think higher, accept vastness and rejoice wholeness.