December 11, 2014 marks the birth anniversary of SWAHA’s Shankaracharya, the late Pt. Hari Prasad. In remembering this icon of Sanaatan Dharma, we recall one whose vision extended far beyond our contemporary sphere of spirituality and recollect some words of his, immortal advice for all of humanity: “We are all travellers in this journey of life. To prepare for this journey, we must ensure that the attitude of ‘Karlay Kaam Bhajalay Raam’ permeates the entire atmosphere.”
“Although the challenges will always exist and hindrances will always be placed in our path, our scriptures urge us not to give up.”
“Have total faith in God and don’t shun your duty. Develop stability of mind and believe in our scriptures. We must continue to maintain our dharma and live a simple life at His feet. Once we perform self sacrifice, never compromising our principles and having compassion for those around us, His name will be held high.”
A message eternal! Indeed it is the ghee that sustains the flame of SWAHA and which will continue to shed light upon all, bringing us nearer to the state of true enlightenment.
From the festivals of the Kumbh Mela, Ganga Dussehra, Kartik Nahaan to the after-death ceremonies performed by Hindus, on these special occasions, the preceptors of Hinduism continue to place heavy emphasis on visiting the waterways or worshipping Ganga Maa by immersing themselves. Why? Do we really believe that one’s sins are washed away? If so, how much? Are we then free of our karma? The answer is no; for far too long such illogical, brain-washing explanations have formed part of the emerging tides of philosophy and spirituality.
If Kartik Nahaan were seen as such, then the numbers at the seaside would stop dwindling every year that passes, regardless of whether the occasion falls on a weekend or holiday. Again, this is a case of Hinduism being marketed! As a result, the product becomes seasonal and one of convenience. Why is it that Divali is given a public holiday and not the other, just as important, Hindu religious festivals such as Kartik Nahaan? Perhaps this is because it would be impractical and unproductive to do so but the point remains, whether we accept it or not, that being a Hindu is every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year! It comes naturally. It’s a belief system that permeates every cell and atom in the universe and, sooner or later, you become attuned to it.
This leads to the concept of immersion. We all have two births, our biological and spiritual. The second, spiritual birth, which other religions have also incorporated into their belief systems, is the immersion or use of water to channel one’s life to a higher purpose. This divine act allows the soul to rejoice in the awakening that one has now accepted, to rigorously and ritualistically satiate the soul’s desire to attain ‘moksha’.
Many different types of people, along many different paths, undertake this spiritual journey. Some are as swift as a horse and some as slow as a snail. Some may take the path through densely populated forests while some journey through unobstructed terrains. We must, however, appreciate the need to begin moving in this direction. By ritualistically immersing ourselves in the oceans, we renew the vow to remain committed to this spiritual journey.
If one were to ask any pilgrim what is the best part of visiting India, they might attest to the experience of bathing in the cool Ganges water. Where else can one literally bathe in the divine’s presence? Which other spiritual experiences can surpass this? It is a step forward in the soul’s unending quest to merge into the ocean of non-duality and attain oneness with the divine. This is why the largest confluence of people on the planet converges on the banks of the Ganga to gain such an experience in their lifetime. Awake and arise! Let not another opportunity pass us by! The festivals that allow people to visit the ocean are among the most important for awakening in this age of Kalyug. Have you had your bath of spirituality?
Kartik Nahaan will be celebrated on November 6 this year.
SWAHA Incorporated invites each and everyone to Kaartik Nahaan celebrations 2014
Date: Thursday 06 November, 2014
Venue: Cocal Estate, Manzanilla (approximately 10 minutes from the TIDCO Resort). SWAHA banner will indicate spot.
Time: 9AM – 12Noon
Come join in this spiritually charged morning of devotions which would include inspiring discourses, kirtan and bhajan led by the Spiritual Leader of SWAHA, His Holiness Paramacharya Pt. Hardeo Persad and assisted by other dynamic Pundits of SWAHA.
Devotees can make offerings to Vishnu Bhagavan and Ganga Mata.
Divali will be celebrated on Thursday 23rd October 2014 with the reverence and festivities that we have grown accustomed to over the decades. As a religious occasion, this day now forms part of the national, cultural psyche of our country as persons from many different creeds participate in the deferential lighting of deeyas and related activities. Divali is celebrated at the personal level, the family level, the community level and the national level as well as within the various ministries, offices and institutions of the country. Indeed, the festival is recognised and celebrated globally.
What is the appeal of Divali and what is the message that renders this occasion so relevant to all regardless of their beliefs? Divali carries the message of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Such a universal message and theme is undeniably relevant to all persons and societies as the innate good nature of humans continues to fight its way to the surface. The world must come to realise that good in the form of proper ethics, principles, self governance and positive behaviour is critical to the wellbeing of economies and societies. This issue came to the forefront globally several years ago when the world economy was brought to its knees because of a lack of ethics, principles and self governance.
Darkness, ignorance and evil are the root causes of the mayhem we are seeing in our society today and are at the foundation of the negativity we see manifested in the behaviour of humans. There is need to address these atrocities by bringing about transformation through illumination.
Divali is one such occasion where this positive message can be shared with all humanity. The blessings of Lakshmi Mata build our inner sources of power and we are able to project this inner light onto the external reality and change it. We all have different sources of inner power but that of principle-consciousness stands as one of the most fundamental sources. If we are devoid of a sense of right and wrong, good and bad and so forth, then we are doomed to inflict pain upon others through our actions. When we are principle-conscious, all our actions are aligned with that which is good and positive and this is reflected in our actions and behaviours.
This auspicious occasion should serve as an opportunity to reaffirm a positive life filled with goodness. In the world we live in, it is very easy to become cynical and lose hope in humankind and even in our own selves. However we should take courage from the saints of old and the ancestors who ploughed through, regardless of the challenges. The enemies may change form on the surface but the commitment required remains the same. As the old adage goes, the darkest hour is the one just before dawn.
SWAHA calls upon the national community to embody this message of Divali and connect to our inner goodness and light. Let us all develop our principle-consciousness and let our inner light and goodness reflect on the outer reality. Let us bring about transformation and give hope to all who may have lost their way. Jai SWAHA Mata.
The preparation period for Secondary Entrance Assessment examination is an intense one that pushes our children beyond all boundaries, awakening in them the great heights of their potential and testing their persevering mettle and resilience. Many of them rise to the challenge and shine brilliantly in the sky of success. Meet some of our SWAHA SEA successes as they recall their Standard Five experiences:
SWAHA Sanatan Brahma – Raveena Priyanka Mohan – St. Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando
SWAHA Sanatan Brahma – Joel Armoogam – Presentation College, San Fernando