Lord Krishna's 16000 wives

Lord Krishna was very intelligent in every way. Now there is a question asked, as to how Lord 
Krishna ended up having 16,000 wives. Do you know how the modern city of Baghdad (Iraq’s capital city) got its name? How many of you here know the story behind Baghdad’s name? In ancient times, there was a wicked king by the name of Narakasura. He had a son called Baghadutta. From his name Baghadutta came ‘Baghdad’.
The king Narakasura ruled over that region which is now Iraq. He had 16000 wives or consorts. He would marry any woman he liked. He caused a lot of pain and trouble to the people of the kingdom.
When I had gone on a visit to Iraq recently, people there told me, “Gurudev, there are about 100 villages here where there is not even a single male person. Saddam Husain had every man in these 100 villages killed at his command, so that there are only women present now. Narakasura had done a similar thing in the past, some 5000 years ago. It is surprising to see how history has somewhat repeated, and what kind of impressions are carried by that place even till today. So Lord Krishna went there and killed Narakasura. Now after the king’s death, the 16000 ladies decided that they will commit suicide (as they had lost their husband), because they will not be accepted back into their father’s home as they were married.
The land had been freed from Narakasura’s wicked rule and was called as Pragjyotishpur. Do you know what Ahiganasthana means? It means a place which has many different species of snakes. The root ‘Ahi’ has two meanings here. One meaning is a snake, and the other refers to naturally occurring minerals.
After Narakasura’s slaying, Lord Krishna installed Baghadutta on the throne of Pragjyotishpur and since then the name of the place got changed to Baghdad. There is a place called Tikri where Lord Krishna stopped to rest for a while, using a Tikaav (a bedrest or seat support). All these 16000 wives came to meet Lord Krishna there and expressed their desire to commit suicide, since their own families would not accept them back as they were Narakasura’s wives, and would insult or admonish them for being consorts of such a wicked king. They did not wish to live the rest of their lives with such a stain or blemish on their character and modesty. Then Lord Krishna stopped them, and said that, “I will pass on my surname to you. You can then say that you are my wives”.
In order to uplift the sense of dignity and self-respect of those women and save them from committing suicide, Lord Krishna in this way married all the 16000 women in one day. In a way, Lord Krishna gave those women Jeevan-daana or the gift of a new life. Otherwise no man was ready to accept and marry any of the women. So when these ladies returned as the lawful wives of Lord Krishna, they were received with great respect and honour in the society.

Many Faces of God

Every state and province in our country has a unique and different cuisine, dance styles, dressing styles and they celebrate festivals in their own unique way too. Today you can see so many dishes from Gujarat laid out before you. Nowhere else in the world will you find so much diversity. I still remember that a few years back when we had an event called Annabrahma in Gujarat, an amazing 5800 dishes were prepared for the celebration. Food from every corner of the country was prepared and presented there – ranging from the Kattha Baingan and Dum Aloo. Dishes from Kashmir to a multitude of dishes from the state of Tripura, and the many varieties of Payasam from Kerala. You can find such an amazing diversity only in India. Just see! From one side we have all the savouries and towards the other end we have all the sweet preparations.
I remember an incident from the time I was visiting Lahore in Pakistan. There was a huge meeting arranged in the Lahore University at that time and many young students had attended the meeting.
The Vice Chancellor of the University told me, “Gurudev, we have never had such a huge crowd for one event in the history of this institution. There is huge excitement to listen to you”.
People had gathered and seated in two or three halls together, such was the crowd. One young student asked me, “Gurudev, in Pakistan we believe in only one God that is Allah. But in India, people believe in so many gods and goddesses. How is this possible?” I replied, “See, from the same wheat flour you make Karachi Halwa (a sweet preparation), a Samosa (savoury snack), Naan (baked flatbread), and Parantha (stuffed flatbread) and even noodles. But ultimately it is the one same flour, isn’t it? Then why do you make so many varieties of dishes from it? In the same way in India we also believe that God is one, just that He arrives or presents Himself in a variety of forms and dresses. That’s all. God does not always dress up like a grand warrior all the time. Every time He dresses in a different attire. But still, God is one”.
Hearing this, the boy replied, “Gurudev, I have never heard such a simple and profound explanation”.
I said “See, you adore and address Allah by 99 sacred names, isn’t it? In India we have 108 names for the Divine, just a little more, that’s it”.
Religion exists to unite people and bring them together, not to divide them and keep them apart. We all are one. The youth really liked this understanding.
Just see, God has created so many different kinds of vegetables. He did not just make only one kind of vegetable isn’t it? God did not only create the eggplant and have everyone only eat eggplant. God created potatoes, tomatoes, okra (ladyfinger), eggplant, etc., and a huge variety of vegetables. In the same way, He also created people of different kinds. So we should bring everyone together and celebrate. This is the essence of Lord Krishna’s message when He said “Dear one! See Me in everyone, and see everyone as Me”.

The Underlying Unity Of The Creation

Who is God? God is Satchitananda. ‘Sat’ means the Truth, the ultimate reality without a second.‘Chit’ means the blissful Consciousness that is alive and complete with intelligence. It is not dead, inert or passive in any way. Consciousness is that which is constant, eternal and ever present. Consciousness is alive, it has intelligence and it alone has the ability to know and comprehend. ‘Ananda’ means that it is blissful.
We say, ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’. It means that like Lord Shiva, the Consciousness is benevolent and blissful, it is the Ultimate Truth, and the pinnacle of all beauty. It is peaceful and without a second, it alone is. That is Shiva.
It is only in India that beauty has been associated with God. In no other culture or tradition in the World has God been addressed as beautiful, or the source of all beauty. But in India, the Lord of all beauty and majesty is Lord Shiva, who is also titled as Sundaresa. Beauty is a quality, a sign of Lord Shiva. This is why this whole World is so beautiful. Wherever you see or find something beautiful, there is a deep and subtle energy that rises within you from your very core – and that is the Shiva Tattva. That is the Truth. There was a saint from Kashmir called Lakshman Ju Ji. I came to hear a story about his Guru. Once it so happened that a little girl dressed beautifully with ornaments and flowers came and sat before him. Lakshman Ju’s Guru, who was quite old and elderly, saw the girl and kept looking at the girl for two or three minutes. After that, he rose from his seat and went inside his room. There he went into deep meditation. After some time when he came out, he said “That little girl exuded so much beauty that I went into deep Samadhi upon seeing such beauty”.
Why do people adorn and decorate the idols of Devi Radha and Lord Krishna so beautifully? It is done so that by beholding such unequalled beauty, deep Truth and the Shiva Tattva gets kindled from within us. That is why temples are decorated so beautifully. If you visit the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, you will see that they decorate the temple so beautifully. Even the idol of the Goddess is decorated so beautifully, that just by looking at the beauty of the Mother Divine one cannot help but adore the beauty and also feel so meditative. By seeing such images deep waves of beauty arise from within us, and they kindle and awaken the Truth, and the Shiva Tattva within us. That is why Adi Shankaracharya Ji composed the Soundarya Lahiri along with the Shivananda Lahiri. We have never concealed beauty. We have always nurtured, adored and celebrated beauty. If you take any Stotra from our scriptures, you will see that God’s qualities and His beauty are sung about together. There is a hymn in Sanskrit –
Shuklam Brahmavichara Sara Parmamadyam Jagadvyapineem
Veena Pustaka Dharineem-abhayadam Jadyandhakaraapaham.
Haste Sphatikamalikam Vidadhateem Padmasane Samsthitam
Vande Tam Parmeshvareem Bhagwateem Buddhipradam Sharadam.
(Hymn of Adoration to Goddess Saraswati)
Dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the hymn says, “She is seated with a majestic Veena in Her hands; Your thoughts are the thoughts of purity of the Brahman, yet O Divine mother! You are seated adorned with beautiful flowers of all colours”.
While composing these verses and hymns, one would contemplate and imagine all kinds of beauty associated with the Divine. If someone saw the fully blossomed lotus, they would exclaim “Oh, how beautiful is this lotus!” But nowadays if someone were to make that same statement about a lotus flower, people would misinterpret it, thinking of the person’s political associations (here referring to the Lotus being the electoral symbol of a political party in India). So there is a slight danger of such harmless statements too being seen in a political light.
The blossoming of a lotus is compared to the full blossoming of one’s Consciousness. The Mother Divine is called as Kamalatmika meaning that the Mother Divine is fully blossomed like a lotus flower in bloom. She is also the secret and the cause behind the full bloom of the lotus flower. She is also called as Kamaladharini – meaning that the Mother Divine holds a fully blossomed lotus flower in one of her hands. In this way we connect every aspect of beauty with the Divine. This has always been the tradition in India. Why? It is because beauty is always understood as an aspect of Divinity.
God is addressed as Satchidananda.
A scientist may say, “I do not believe in beauty, etc.”, that is alright. But would one not accept the fact that God is Satchitananda? The poet says that using these six colours or qualities: Satya, Shiva, Sundara, Sat, Chitda, Ananda – God has created these uncountable creatures and coloured this Creation. And you are the very reflection of these divine qualities. God Himself is the canvas or the backdrop, and He also encompasses all the colours from which has come this Creation of countless sceneries and wonders.
The deeper meaning here is that you should do away with an intellect that discriminates or divides on the basis of this multitude and diversity; and instead understand that everything in Creation is actually made of One thing only. Whether it appears red or blue, or of any colour and attributes, the entire Creation is made up of One all-powerful Consciousness. When you embed this profound truth in your heart, then you become established in Yoga and see the underlying unity of everything.
The poet also says that usually we get stuck in people’s opinions and what they think of us, or our mind gets entangled in petty politics happening before us. Our mind gets trapped with the conflicts and problems around us. But it is not real, actually.
How can you think or know what someone is thinking of you? But you think “This person thinks so-and-so about me; that person thinks like this about me”, etc.
We create such false impressions in our mind, and we keep nurturing our cravings and aversions. What will happen if we drop all the cravings and aversions and think of beauty and divine qualities in our mind? All these distortions drop off and dissolve by themselves and we get established in Yoga.
Maharishi Patanjali said, “Yoga chitta-vritti nirodhah”, meaning that Yoga is to silence the distortions of the Mind. One moves from the scenery to the Seer when we see that this entire Creation is a play of Consciousness and everything is made up of that One Consciousness only. The diversity of colours and scenery is only because of this One Consciousness.

The Vastness Of The Unknown

One of the more recent and contemporary poets from Karnataka has composed a beautiful poem about Surrender, and whom should one seek refuge in. The verse says “Become Sharanagat and take refuge in the fact that life is a great and deep secret”.
The more we come to know about life, we find that we do not know so much more about life. What increases is our realization that there is still so much we do not know at all. The more we know, the more we come to realize the vastness of the Unknown. We then realize we have not learnt much about life.
For example, for an infant, his world is small and limited. He does not know anything about the outside world. He just recognizes his toys, his parents and his few friends. That is all that his world is limited to. As he grows, he comes to understand more and more about the vast world outside, and then he realizes that there is so much more to be known and understood. So life is a great mystery; it is a secret. No one has been able to comprehend life completely, nor can anyone actually do so. Yet we should surrender ourselves to this very fact (about the vastness and mystery of life).
What should you surrender to? Take refuge in the intellect. You do not know anything about your intellect. The intellect is deep and profound. Since time immemorial, we in India have given prime importance to the intellect which is the seat of logic and rationality. That is why in the Gayatri Mantra we pray that - may the Divine inspire and illumine everyone’s intellect.
See, one way of surrender is to surrender after being defeated. But when one gets amazed by seeing a mystery, an unfathomable secret; then the surrender that dawns out of that sense of wonder and amazement is a different kind of surrender. That surrender happens by surrender to the intellect. When you see or meet any great scientist, you will see that they always have an underlying sense of surrender and humility. They say, “This world is an amazing mystery”.
A great scientist had come to the Ashram and he told me, “Gurudev, I know that none of the objects has any actual existence as such. For example, I know that this chair does not really exist!”
Why did he say this? See, he is a Quantum Physicist. So when seen from the perspective of Quantum Physics, the object does not really exist. The scientist said that matter actually does not exist.
He said “Gurudev, when I say all this, people misunderstand me and think I am talking about the principles of Buddhism (referring to one of the core beliefs that everything is nothing). But I am only speaking from the experience of my life and what I have come to understand through Science”.
This is the surrender of the intellect. This is a different kind. The surrender that comes from acknowledging one’s weakness and defeat is different; while the surrender that dawns from within because of wonder and amazement is very different.
When can you feel that your life is like a fully blossomed fragrant flower? That can happen when there are no more cravings and aversions within, and there is no sense of separateness. When you feel a sense of total belongingness, and you exude love and compassion towards everyone and everything in Creation, when you become so natural and simple, then you feel life has blossomed. When you have cravings and aversions towards someone or something, your mind feels hardened like a stone. Life almost feels like a living hell. Life feels hard and miserable. It does not feel like a soft beautiful flower spreading its fragrance everywhere. So when you make efforts to transform your life into a fully blossomed flower, then take surrender in that noble effort as well, whether those efforts succeed or not.
You must have seen that people become very grim and serious when they are sad or miserable. They become so quiet and are not able to express their sorrow to someone else. So when they cannot express their feelings they grow very quiet and serious.
But this kind of silence is not born of deep peace and contentment from within. The silence that dawns when we become totally peaceful and serene from the inside is deep, beautiful and very comforting. So much joy springs from within with that silence, and instead of grim seriousness, a sense of dignified peace blossoms from oneself.
In that state, there is no more fear. There is no sense of separateness with anyone; instead total belongingness arises. In such a state one does not need any false pretence, one becomes so natural. The dignified calm and quietness that one acquires in such a state is of a different quality altogetherWhen you realize that the Creator of the Creation resides within oneself, then a great peace and sense of contentment dawns inside. So the verse says – take refuge in that deep sense of peacefulness.
Just as there is an Atma (soul) residing within every living being, so also all souls collectively become the Vishwatma (the Universal Soul or Universal Spirit). The verse says, "Take surrender and refuge in that vast infinite Vishwatma which pervades all of Creation". The end the verse says, “O my sweet foolish one! Why then do you not seek refuge and surrender to this?”
There is a poem in which the poet says “Everyone asks this question – ‘Who is God?’ The atheists have become tired of asking this question since the ages. So they tend to say that God does not exist”.
But our people have given a beautiful answer to this question by giving the definition of God. Who is God? God is Satchidananda. Now, an atheist will argue saying that there is no such thing as the truth. Well, then what he is saying is also not the truth! (Laughter) If someone claims that there is no such thing as the truth, then can what he is saying be true?
Sri Adi Shankaracharya Ji expounded upon a very simple fact and made India what it is today. It is a great secret. In those days, following the principles of Lord Buddha, the Buddhist monks used to think “I searched for the soul everywhere and yet I could not find it. Hence the soul does not exist”. This is called Anatmavaad (meaning refuting the existence of the Soul). So, because they searched a lot for the soul everywhere and could not find it, they concluded that the soul does not really exist.
But just see how intelligent and profound Adi Shankaracharya Ji was. When he heard this, he said, “Oh! So you did not find the soul, is it? Tell me, who was it that went searching?” One of the monks replied, “I searched for the soul”.
To this Adi Shankaracharya Ji said, “That is the Soul, none other!” The ‘one’ who went about in search, the ‘one’ (who claimed) he could not find the Soul – that is the Soul itself! By resolving this question, and expounding the simple yet most profound truth, Adi Shankaracharya Ji heralded the revival of Vedic knowledge and Advaita and took India back to the roots, back to the Vedic tradition of pure knowledge.
Until Adi Shankaracharya Ji came, many people believed in Lord Buddha and His principles. Lord Buddha was called as Tathagata (one who has realized the ultimate principle, the ultimate reality). When Adi Shankaracharya Ji came, he said, “Yes, it is true indeed that everything is empty, everything is nothing. But this life is bliss and joy. Life is not misery”.
See, Lord Buddha said that life is misery and difficulty. Adi Shankaracharya Ji said, “Life is Joy”. Lord Buddha said “Everything is emptiness; it is nothing”. Adi Shankaracharya Ji said “Everything is fullness (of Consciousness)”.
Lord Buddha spoke of emptiness; Adi Shankaracharya Ji spoke about fullness. Lord Buddha spoke of Shuunyata (nothingness or not real), but Adi Shankaracharya Ji spoke about Purnata (fullness or totality of Consciousness everywhere). Knowledge is the beautiful confluence and combination of emptiness and fullness. This is the glory of India’s spiritual knowledge and India’s tradition.
Adi Shankaracharya Ji said, “Yes, it is correct that everything is nothing, it is all emptiness. It is because the totality of Fullness cannot be if it does not contain or encompass Nothingness as well”.
In emptiness or nothingness you cannot say there is fullness. But fullness becomes total and complete only when it includes and encompasses emptiness as well. So Adi Shankaracharya Ji very skilfully convinced every one of his philosophy (of Fullness) along with accepting the principle of Emptiness (rather than rejecting it). So here you see the greatest Truth expressed in the most wise and clever way.

How to Deepen Your Meditation

Yesterday, someone was telling me about a unique quality of the Gir cow (an indigenous native breed of cows) we have in India. People in Gujarat who breed the Gir cow in their farms have even done an experiment to confirm this. They say that the cow is so sensitive and aware, that when it comes in contact with a family member of the house, it is able to understand the Nadis (subtle channels of energy or life-force in the body) and can grasp how healthy the person is. The cow then goes to the forest or grazing grounds and feeds on specifically those kind of plants and herbs that can help cure the condition the person may be suffering from. When the person drinks the milk from this cow then they get cured from whichever disease or medical condition they may be suffering from.
It is said that when you go near a cow and pet it, the cow is able to determine what kind of Doshas your body may be afflicted with – whether it is Vata, Pitta or Kapha Dosha. The cow then grazes on only those herbs and plants which can effectively remedy the disorder or problem you are suffering from. If you drink the milk from this cow then you will be cured of your problem within two to three days. This is really an amazing thing. Nature has this unique quality of being able to access the subtle space very easily. This is why in India we have always given the cow the pedestal of a nurturing Mother, and call her as “Go Mata”. We have always known that the cow is a very sensitive and caring animal, so much so that the cow’s milk is seen as equal to a mother’s milk.
These days the Vegan concept in food has become quite popular in foreign countries – according to which, they do not consume any protein or protein-like food that comes from animals. The research that has been done on the basis of which the Vegan concept in food has come in foreign countries has happened only because of the drawbacks of A1 protein. Many doctors practising Naturopathy in India tend to copy these aspects of the Vegan lifestyle. Supporters and proponents of the Vegan movement say that, since no animal consumes the milk or milk products derived from milk of another animal, hence humans too should not drink milk. Instead they favour consuming more of fruit juices. Many of the Naturopaths I have seen in our country who follow and practice this philosophy seem to have less glow on their faces. They appear to be weak somehow. I have also been told that many people who follow this start having deficiency of Vitamin B-12 and D3 and they have to go to the hospital for treatments to cure this.
What I am saying is that milk is definitely important in our diet, but one must not consume it in excess as that can harm the body. Many people drink one to two litres of milk without thinking of the effect it has on their health. This causes obesity and other disorders also. It becomes very easy for us to do something in excess rather than in moderation. I would suggest that you consume milk in the right quantity as much as is needed by the body.
That is why it is said, “Ati sarvatra varjayet” (Excess of anything should be refrained from). Twice or thrice in a week, one should consume some milk and curd. I have even advised the Naturopaths about this. I tell them that it is good to promote Naturopathy, but they should not advise people to do away with curd in the diet. A little bit of curd is good for the body. In a vegetarian lifestyle, one needs to supplement the diet with few other vitamins and minerals as well – which can only come from milk and curd.
Now, I just told you about how our Indian cow can amazingly sense a person’s Nadi when it comes in contact with him. This shows that there is only One Consciousness that is present everywhere in Nature and all of creation. This (consciousness) is without a second and all-encompassing. The same Consciousness cares for you in the form of a cow; as your mother and father, your children and so on. So this Divine Consciousness is present in every form and substance of Creation. This is why this entire existence is alive and full of awareness.
The same Consciousness is also present in your enemy. Knowing this, you should relax and rest in deep meditation from time to time. But do not confuse this in practical and worldly matters. In the practical world you will obviously see differences in form and qualities of people and substances, and you will have to act intelligently as per the situation. But the moment you sit for meditation, then you should drop the differences otherwise you will not be able to meditate. When you sit for meditation, you should sit with Abheda-buddhi (a mature intellect that sees the essential unity and oneness in all of Creation) and drop all differences. Having Abheda-buddhi brings enormous strength and steadiness to the mind, intellect and memory.
When you have deep restful sleep, then you find that your sense organs, your body and mind are refreshed and also renewed in strength. When you go to sleep, you drop everything, all differences, cravings and aversions. So in a way, during sleep, you are in a state of Abheda-buddhi. Otherwise you get stuck in inertia and negativity and that does not allow you to rest. When you sit with a restful awareness in meditation, when you drop all differences and repose in a state of Abheda-buddhi, then you acquire many Siddhis (extraordinary abilities). This is a deep secret – and that is what meditation is.

Realizing The Subtle Truths of Life

There are two perspectives of life:
1. To see everything alive, like a person.
2. To see everything as an object.
When we were children, we used to see everything as a person, as a living entity. As a child, we would see the Sun smiling at us, and even the Moon at night had a wonderful smile on its face. As children, even plants and animals were full of life. This is how the world appeared to us when we were children.
In cartoons, you must have seen that everything has life and can talk. Even a tree talks in a cartoon. The entire world for a child is full of life, everything is so lively. From a child’s eyes, every particle of the world is brimming and bursting with life, it is full of liveliness. A child’s mind is fresh and clean, his heart is blossomed, and that is why he sees life everywhere. As we grow older in life, what we also call as becoming mature, somehow makes us very stiff and hard from inside. Our 'No' (refusal) becomes very hard and rigid, and our 'Yes' (agreement or acceptance) also becomes equally hard. We lose that lightness or naturalness. For children, their 'Yes' and 'No' has a certain lightness, or easiness to it. But the 'Yes' and 'No' of an adult has a certain rigidity to it. So in this way our perspective also changes in life. The more we perceive everything in the world as an (inanimate or lifeless) object instead of a living being (filled with life or exhibiting liveliness), that much easier and more inclined we become towards killing or destroying things. It is because we see things as mere objects without any life or sentiment, we find it easier to kill and destroy.
I have heard that in military training across the world, the soldiers are trained to see an enemy as an object and not as a living being. They are told to think of the enemy as some wild animal approaching to kill them. They are repeatedly trained to see even a man as an animal or as an inanimate object in the military. Why is this so? It is because if someone looks into the eyes of the enemy and sees a living human being instead of some lifeless object, then they will not be able to fire and kill that person.
In the same way, when someone keeps a pet dog at their house, they start loving and treating the dog as a member of the family. Then no one tries to beat or kill the dog. When one keeps cows at home, then the cow also becomes an equal member of the family. The cow also behaves and acts like any other (human) member of the family, and we also develop the same feelings and love towards the cow.
So if you have to kill an animal, you have to see it as an object, not as a living creature or a being with life. Otherwise you will simply not be able to kill the animal.
When you cut wood, why are you able to do it so easily? It is because you see it as a dead lifeless object. But people who love plants and trees become attached to them and they can feel immense pain when they see someone uprooting or cutting trees.
In our country, since time immemorial, we have had a tradition of worshipping and honouring the rivers, the mountains and Nature. Why? It is because we saw God in everything and everywhere – in the grass, the plants, trees, and even birds and animals. In our country no one hits or kills even a crow. We give respect to even a crow. We revere it as a messenger or a form of our departed ancestors.
If we are able to see and honour life even in a small bird, then the tendency of violence disappears from our life. 
The root cause of any violence or violent tendencies is that we have strayed away from our core belief of seeing life in everything. We have forgotten the perspective of life. Just see how much violence and distress is happening in Kashmir, in Iraq and in Syria. The ones who are committing such wicked acts of violence do not see life in another person. This is because their perspective has changed, and they think that they or their family and relatives alone are supreme and rightful in every way. For them others do not matter anymore. Spiritual knowledge is the ability to establish and communicate this very connection of belongingness and oneness with everyone. 
This is what Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita.
Yo mam pashyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyati. Tasyaham na pranashyami sa cha me na pranashyati. (6.30) Lord Krishna says, “One who see Me everywhere and in everything, and sees everyone and everything as Me and Me alone; such a noble soul is truly intelligent and wise”.
We usually think that being cunning or deceiving someone else is a sign of wisdom. No, it is not so at all. True intelligence or wisdom lies in having that fine awareness, that subtle perception that Nature and everything in this creation is so alive and full of consciousness. We should become sukshmagrahi (being able to sense and see the subtler and deeper truth of life). That alone is the true sign of wisdom. In English it is called as having ‘subtlety’. Wisdom lies in being able to grasp or realize the most intricate and subtle truths.

Significance of Devi Kavacham (Navratri Special Chant)

The Devi Kavacham is the different names of the Devi taken to different parts of the body. It’s almost like Yoga Nidra but with names because every name has got some quality and some energy, and name and form are very closely related.
Kavach’ means armour, It creates an armour around us. The Devi kavacham consists of  the Mother Divine’s names that makes an armour around us, around our body. Especially during Navratris, this is done on all the nine days. It is very important. Sit and listen to it. The protection is anyway there, but the listening somewhere does something – it elevates one’s spirit.
That is why it is called mantra kavach; a mantra creates the sense of an armor around your body.
Sometimes you meet some people and you feel like talking to them. You get good vibes from them. Sometimes you meet people and you want to avoid them. Do you know why? The negative vibes around a person make them repulsive. Mantras turn around these negative, repulsive vibrations, into more positive and attractive vibrations. This is the advantage of mantra chanting.

Your origin (and your death) is a Secret

In the whole creation, the origin is never seen. A seed sprouts, but what is happening inside the seed is not known. Similarly a baby is getting formed in the womb, but it is not visible outside. A river is born somewhere, but you can never really go to the source of the river. So the origin remains a secret.
Similarly, death is also a secret. Your origin is a secret and what happens after death is also a secret. From the subtle to the gross and to the subtle again. And from the subtle how again it comes to the gross is again another secret.
So when you look at the secret, there is amazement and amusement in the mind. A 'wow'! This amusement is the basis for yoga. When you are amused by the creation, that means the preface of yoga has started.
Children are amazed by everything. They look at their fingers with amazement. They look at flowers and butterflies with amazement. They look at the stars in amusement. So, when amazement or amusement dawns in life, then yoga (synonymous of union) has also started.

Significance of the Navratri Homas

Navratri represents how the negativity can be conquered by the inherent positive qualities in an individual so that one emerges as a Divine being.

‘Nava’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ is made up of ‘ra’ which also means ‘night’ and ‘tri’ meaning the three aspects of our life – body, mind and soul. There are three types of botherations or problems that may affect a person – physical, mental and spiritual. That which gives you relief from all these difficulties is ‘ratri’. ‘Ratri’ or night relieves you of misery and brings comfort. The night relaxes everybody; whether happy, unhappy or miserable, everybody goes to sleep. The nine-day period of Navratri is marked by a series of Yagna and Homas.

Significance of Homas

The celebrations Navratri celebrations are marked by a series of yagnas and homas to nullify all the misery, sorrow and pain, provide solace and bring in peace throughout the world. They are also meant to protect the environment, by instilling honor and reverence for Mother Earth.

Scientifically, the Homas have proven to purify the atmosphere, casting a healing effect on the mind and the body. Each day of this nine-day period has special implications and yagnas and homas are performed accordingly. 
Maha Ganapathi Homa
The rituals begin with an offering to Ganesha, the Lord of Auspiciousness. Ganapathi Homa is symbolic of removing the obstacles before initiating any new venture.

Navagraha Homa
Performed to propitiate Nine Planets, which influence various spheres of life. It nullifies the negative impact created by the Nav Grahas or Nine Planets.

Maha Rudra Homa
Rudra is the manifestation of Lord Shiva. It is one of the most ancient Homas from the text of Vedas. It is done for overall prosperity, health, happiness and removal of obstructions.

Maha Sudarshan Homa
Offered to Lord Sudarshana/Narayana, it signifies the removal of ignorance and illumination of a new life enriched with knowledge. Sudarshan signifies the discus of Lord Narayana. It is supposed to be the infallible weapon of Lord Narayana. It bestows clarity and helps remove blocks in the mind. 

Nava Chandi Homa
The day of Ashtami or the eighth day, marks the pinnacle of all homas of Navaratri. The Sri Nava Chandi Homa(Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapoorna devi, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika or Chandi)

Rishi Homa
Offered to all enlightened masters who have walked on this planet.

5 key Skills you need to Succeed, in Life and in your Business

Everyone wants to be successful in life, but not many are aware of what success really is. Success is an attitude, not just a phenomenon.

Tough situations arise in every business, every organization, and you need skills to handle them. These skills come from our inner space, which I call the Spiritual Space.

There are five ingredients for success:

1. Function as a Team
Peace and prosperity are interlinked. Prosperity cannot flourish in a disturbed atmosphere. While working with others, you need to function as a team. Have a sense of respect for your team members, and do not indulge in blame games. As a team leader, you need to create an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, a sense of belonging, and celebration. Nothing can last if the focus is only on productivity and net result.
2. Manage your Mind:
The whole essence of the Bhagavad Gita is to act without being attached to the fruit of the action. If you can manage your mind in a war-like scenario, then you can manage any situation. This skill in action is called yoga. It is this wisdom of yoga that transforms one’s attitude from arrogance to self-confidence; from meekness to humility; from the burden of dependence to the realization of interdependence; from a limited ownership to oneness with the whole. When performing action, if the attention is only on the end result, then you can’t perform. Just give yourself fully to the task with 100 percent sincerity and commitment.

3. Be courageous like a lion: 
There is a saying in Sanskrit that says, “Great wealth comes to one who has the courage of a lion and who puts in all his efforts.” Passion and dispassion are complementary like the in-breath and out-breath. You breathe in but you cannot hold the breath too long; you have to breathe out. Similarly, you need to have passion to make things work but also the dispassion to let go. When you don’t crave for abundance, it comes to you.
4. Develop your Intuition
If all that is needed for prosperity is one’s own effort, then why are so many people who put effort not prosperous? This unknown factor or luck is enhanced by spirituality. The whole material world is run by a world of vibrations which is subtler than all that we see. Spirituality enhances intelligence and intuition. Intuition comes to you when you balance your passion with dispassion; profit with service; aggressiveness to get things with compassion to give back to the society. Intuition is the right thought at the right time, and is an important component for success in business.
5. Meditate:
The greater responsibilities and ambitions you have, greater is the need for you to meditate. In ancient times, meditation was used as a way to find the Self, for enlightenment and to overcome misery and problems. Meditation is all the more essential in today's hectic lifestyle full of stress and tension.
Stress is too much to do, too little time, and no energy. It can be difficult to reduce your workload, or increase the time that you have, but you can increase your energy level.
Meditation not only relieves you of stress and strain, it also enhances your abilities, strengthens your nervous system and mind and releases toxins from the body. We are made up of both matter and spirit. The body has some material needs and our spirit is nourished by spirituality. Meditation also helps us get in touch with our inner space – the source of joy, peace, and love.
The sign of success is overwhelming joy, confidence, compassion, generosity, and a smile that none can snatch away. Whatever happens in life, if you can keep these, then you have really found success.