Posted in Celebrate Today, Celebrating Existence, Life

Celebrating Truths!

In this post I am Celebrating Truths! The question many may ask is why? The response is that there are things we may avoid saying or listening to but at times we need to in order to prevent others from having to deal with such harsh truths and realities! 


Being private does not mean being ‘social’ or ‘rude’ or being ‘stush’ or ‘unsociable’. It is called keeping your personal matters to minimal people which can occur for several reasons:

1. You cannot deal with a lot of people. 

2. You don’t want to have to answer unnecessary questions.

3. You don’t have too much time or energy. 

4. You don’t have time for the ‘faker-shaker deal’- a term I use for those who pretend, act pretentiously and generally use a façade because they feel they need to for the sake of appearances. 


Many may choose to question why people keep to themselves and these are some of the many reasons that they may not understand. Instead they may choose to judge and condemn you. Leave them to deal with the karma they create and remember the important practice in life is treating people the way you want to be treated. Once you do that you will be at peace and you will have peace of mind. Just be sure that you do not let anyone take advantage of you or your kindness. 

Something to always remember!


It is also important to note that with all things given respect goes a long way. Putting up appearances does the most harm to the person putting up the appearances. 


Imagine my horror when weeks ago I placed a post and it I got a Ha-Ha-Ha comment to a photo I used which read, “When I look at my students I see unlimited possibilities.”
It wasn’t so much that it was Ha-Ha-Ha as it was from someone who has a child of her own. It was nothing short of distasteful but it was valuable insight of the mindset of many who choose to give up on our students and how they can positively contribute to their lives.

You better believe it! It’s another Rachael Ann Thomas-Jeremiah original!

 
The thought that came to mind was, ‘Imagine how horrific it would have been if this is how I viewed my students or my role as a teacher.’ Thankfully it never was and my students could all attest to this. Their progress and achievements is also proof of their determination and their beliefs.


‘Faker-shaker’ may sound neat and maybe even poetic but it is a harsh reality. Being true to oneself is what counts! Life is filled with opposites but those opposites help to create the balance and equilibrium that are so desperately needed. Those opposites help us to find ourselves and help us to appreciate this journey we call life. 

A SWS Designs original- another personal quote


Don’t be the person who paints an image on social media of caring but otherwise turns a blind eye and a deaf ear. Don’t be the person who is dismissive who cannot comprehend the  negative messages their actions are creating.


Lots of food for thought right? Maybe! All in all it is a reminder to keep your focus, it is a reminder to be true to oneself and it is a reminder that you need to be as real as possible so that the world doesn’t get to you! 

Quote courtesy Jennifer Pastiloff & Pinterest
Posted in Blessings from Appaji, Lotuses at His Holy Feet, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji

Announcing Lotuses at His Holy Feet (Kindle Ed)

Jaya Guru Datta!

Yes, you have read the title correctly! This post is dedicated to announcing the Kindle publication of ‘Lotuses at His Holy Feet’. For those who are familiar with this book, it is a book of poetry that tells a story and it was written by Sheetal K Prasad, a Trinidadian by birth, who is an ardent devotee of His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji. In this book Uncle Sheetal refers to His Holiness as, “my MASTER, my Lord, my sole reason for being.”

Lotuses at His Holy Feet is non-fiction and it is a testimony of Uncle Sheetal’s experiences as well as his love for His Holiness, his love for JayaLakshmi Maa and his love for Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji who we affectionately call Sri Bala Swamiji. More so it is a testimony and celebration of the greatness of the divinity each represents meaning a celebration of the greatness of our Sadguru who is the epitome of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss, as Lord Dattatreya, as Nada Brahma, as our Saviour, as the Crowning Glory of the Universe as I often times refer to His Holiness, and it is a celebration of His Mother-the Divine Mother-, His Guru as well as a celebration of Sri Bala Swamiji- Junior Pontiff at Avadhoota Datta Peetham who exudes humility, compassion and divinity.

Book Cover of Uncle Sheetal’s book!

Those who know Uncle Sheetal would know of his sincerity, his humility and his immense talent as a singer and musician. His life and messages provide us with a lot to learn. He is well-known and well-loved!

When you click on the link please take the time to read the book’s description aptly reads:

As William Wordsworth once said, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”

The book description goes on to say, “The verses penned here are from Sheetal K Prasad, who is widely known for his love of music, more so his love of the bhajans of His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda. It is a compilation of poetry and represents an emotional outburst that shows the great joy experienced by the author. Here he acknowledges the omnipresence of his Master, His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji.

This is an invitation to join the poet on this journey he narrates and immerse yourself in the peace, tranquility and rush of emotions he experiences.”

This is an invitation I extend to you with more good news! Uncle Sheetal’s book is available in Kindle Edition on all Amazon Marketplaces and these are the links below:

Amazon SiteDirect Link
Amazon USAhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Indiahttps://www.amazon.in/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Canadahttps://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Denmarkhttps://www.amazon.de/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Francehttps://www.amazon.fr/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Spainhttps://www.amazon.es/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Italyhttps://www.amazon.it/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Japanhttps://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Netherlandshttps://www.amazon.nl/dp/B08NXG1HMKc
Amazon Brazilhttps://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Mexicohttps://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B08NXG1HMK
Amazon Australiahttps://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08NXG1HMK

Even better, the awesome news doesn’t end here! You don’t need to have a Kindle to purchase the book! As I have mentioned time and time again you don’t need a Kindle device but you can click on the link that says, “Read with our Free App” that allows you to download the Free App and it can be read on your phone, laptop, tablet or desktop!

The beauty of having the book online is that all things considered having the book in Kindle format presents you with several benefits. Three (3) of the main reasons are as follows:

It is easily available by clicking on the link and making an online purchase, it doesn’t require physical storage space and considering the current situation we are faced with (the Covid-19 pandemic) having books in Kindle Edition means not having to travel physical distances to access books like this which will offer us peace of mind, tranquility and insight into the greatness of His Holiness, Jayalakshmi Maa and Sri BalaSwamiji.

As always I remind you that this is yours for the taking! Welcome the experience and enjoy the Kindle journey! Sri Guru Datta!

Posted in Being Prayerful, Blessings from Appaji, Celebrating Existence, Deepavali 2019, India, Life, Love and Blessings, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji

Celebrating our India Pilgrimage 2019!

Today I celebrate our India Pilgrimage 2019! A little over a year ago we were blessed to be in Mysore! One year ago we were blessed to be in Varanasi! One year ago we were blessed to take bath in the Ganges!  As I have said time and time again our pilgrimage to India was the blessing of a lifetime. 


Had anyone told us what 2020 would be like except our Sadguru we would have questioned it because a first visit to Mysore Ashrama is a visit that will be followed by other such visits! 

No one I believe would have thought that Covid-19 would bring the world to its feet. No one would have thought the travel industry would be brought to a standstill. No one would have thought life as we knew it would be replaced by the ‘new normal’. 


Our visit to India was a trip that will never be forgotten! We left Trinidad on September 23 and arrived in India on September 25. We arrived at the Ashrama in the evening after a 3 hour drive. It was scenic and provided a first hand view of India as it really is- a mixture of hustle, bustle, honking horns of taxis and rickshaws, well maintained roads and businesses of all types lining the highway. 


The next morning we were invited to join our Datta family from Trinidad (they had arrived a few days before) on a trip to Mekadatu where His Holiness was born.
Along the way we saw so many beautiful sights- fields of flowers in full bloom, rice paddies well cultivated and maintained by hard working farmers, a buzz of activity in the marketplace, school children going to school and people in general going about their daily activities with pride and a sense of duty. 


Our arrival at the temple where Jayalakshmi Maa stayed was peaceful and tranquil. The humility and the love of the people there is something which will always be with us. One thing that stood out was the peacefulness of the monkey who freely moved from tree to tree. 


Had anyone told us that we would be crossing the river in a basket we might have doubted. With the water higher than it usually was, it was certainly an experience and an experience that was guided by SadGuru. There was no time to think of being afraid of anything and the peace and serenity that was with us was incomparable. The sound of the water as it moved, the monkey that moved freely,  the small Hanuman temple where we were able to pay our respects and receive Darshan- all memories we will cherish! 


We were fortunate to spend the night in Jayalakshmi Puram which is very sacred grounds and has a lot of spiritual significance for all Datta devotees. This journey allowed us to get a valuable understanding of the life of His Holiness and His parents, Sri Jayalakshmi Maa and Sri Narahari Teerthan Swamiji. The next morning we got the opportunity to walk through the village where His Holiness lived in His childhood days and in the afternoon we were able to visit Sri Jayalakshmi Nilayam. Our last stop before returning to Ashrama was Sogala- very sacred grounds surrounded by lush green grass and beautiful well maintained surroundings. 


Our return to Ashrama occurred with us finding the Ashrama with a buzz of activity with Navatri preparations well underway. Experiencing Navatri in the Ashrama is beyond description. 


It meant seeing the ladies busy sweeping from early morning, doing beautiful rangolis, looking at the ladies who led the procession each day dressed in the colour for the day with the kalasas on their heads, the dancers and singers moving in unison and then those strategically positioned at the front of the chariot carrying His Holiness and Sri BalaSwamiji. It was in every sense truly festive, celebratory and filled with energy. 


It also meant seeing His Holiness beautifully dressed every morning on the chariot to Nada Mantapa where the devis would be aartied and gifted, Puja would be conducted and discourse would be given. It also meant bhajans from visiting groups who would have the privilege of performing while His Holiness conducted Puja. 


Following the morning programme it meant being able to go upstairs to take the Darshan of the Divine Mother. Each day was a blessing! Following Navratri we were able to visit different parts of the Ashrama and nearby places like the Market, the temples at Chamundi Hills and the shopping area just to name a few. Added to this Divali was a memorable occasion that will always be with us. 


Our journey from Mysore took us to Bangalore where the peacefulness, the divinity and the overall atmosphere reminded us of the Ashrama we had earlier left in Mysore. Undoubtedly the divinity, the positivity, the energy- everything provided insight on the spirituality and divinity of these spiritual grounds. 


The next day we travelled to Varanasi, a city steeped in history and religion. Different yes, but the walk to the Shivala Ghat the next morning where we  took bath in the Ganges was an experience we would never forget. The beauty of the sun over the Ganges is something we also will never forget.  The steps that made it easier to step into the water were quite helpful too. It was not just about being in Varanasi but it was about being in Varanasi with His Holiness our Sadguru and with His Holiness Sri Bala Swamiji for the consecration of the Varanasi temple and for the Maha Ati Rudra Yagna. With guidance from both we were able to see holy sites and maximize the extent of our travels! Every day brought something new that was reflected in various ways! Every day provided something to treasure!  The experience will always stay with us! It meant time in the presence of divinity, visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Vishalakshi Devi temple, visiting the Kedarnath temple and several other sacred places throughout the nearby areas. 


If you would like to read more about our 2019 India Pilgrimage please click on the links below. Please also click on the links to the videos above and do also take the time to view the photos that have been included. 

Celebrating our India pilgrimage- Appaji’s Grace! (dattamalatt.com)

https://rachaelathomasj.com/2019/11/19/celebrating-varanasi-2019/

https://rachaelathomasj.com/2019/10/07/celebrating-our-arrival-in-india-mysuru-ashrama/