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There are times when you think you know but then you realize that you don’t. You think you need it but then you realize you really want it.
This being said in this post I am celebrating the journey! Where are you on yours? Have you taken the time to celebrate it? Have you stopped to think about it? If not, please know it’s time to!
This is in every sense the myriad of life! This is something we all go through at one point or another. However through it all it is imperative that we understand this is what life is- experience, highs, lows, ups, downs, and so many other forms of contrast other than what has been mentioned before.
Think about it- you are where you are because of where you have come from! You are where you are because you made a decision to start somewhere! You are where you are because you saw something and you put one foot in front the other and started a walk that led you to where you are today!
So it’s not the road you wanted- not the straight path you envisioned. It’s not the road you imagined it would be. Instead there are bumps (unexpected surprises that are not so good), maybe some potholes (disappointments that cause you pain) and winding bends (things that show you the need for added caution).
Stop and think or at least try to think! What is the last thing that made you smile? When was the last time you laughed? Where were you? What were you doing? What prompted it? Who was there? What made you so happy?
Hopefully this begins to get you thinking but don’t just think- feel and experience! Replace pain and sadness with something that is the opposite. Don’t ignore it and don’t forget it but don’t let it get the better of you.
Find some positives that can replace the negatives! Remind yourself of why you started and remind yourself of why you need to finish! Think of what you are sure about and focus on that to help you clear the path of uncertainty.
It may sound tough to do but once you get started it will become easier. Remember too that procrastination may just be a hindrance. It always helps to be your best friend rather than your worst enemy. Similarly it always pays to be true to yourself!
This is your journey and it needs to be celebrated. If you don’t celebrate it then it is highly unlikely that anyone will do it for you! Don’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow we can agree is promised to no one!
It’s yours for the taking. The moment is yours for the making. Make the most of it! Live with no regrets because simply put, they are not worth it! Regrets are like weights that hold you back and weigh you down! What’s important is to live without regrets! Learn from mistakes. Try to right the wrongs! Treat people as you would like to be treated! Live each day like if it is your last.
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.
In this post I am Celebrating Life’s Lessons! Regardless of how many times your brain may feel saturated, at some point something happens that shows you it isn’t but you have time to take in more.
Every day is a new one and every day brings a new dawn. Let that be your hope that you are not alone! Your Master, whatever name He is called by, is always with you, guiding and protecting you.
Every now and again it may happen and you might be flooded with something unexpected! Every now and again someone may show you something you lost sight of or something to snap you out of the illusion you have been living in. Many may think they have the right to judge but in truth and in fact they don’t. That is a fact that remains whether people want to hear it or not.
Friendship and love should never be mixed with envy. Friendship and love should never be synonymous with being selfish. Friendship and love should never be negative. Friendship and love should never be toxic.
Always give yourself the best chance possible! Always learn not to expect anything from anyone but always focus on being you and focus on being the best you that there is! I made a decision a long time ago that giving up or quitting is not an option at least not for me. Those who know me would know why! Those who don’t can question it but they may never understand why.
Like you I have had my fair share of experiences and I continue to have them day after day. Don’t let life break you and don’t let it trick you into living an illusion or getting entangled in one! Don’t let circumstances get the better of you!
Being in pain doesn’t mean you are justified in causing someone else pain. Nothing justifies being jealous of someone so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for what you have or what you deserve.
Think of every cold shoulder you got, every harsh word you have received, every tear you shed and every ounce of pain you experienced! Thank God you did not let it define you! Thank God you are where you are and Thank God you are existing!
After you do this I urge you to take the time to do the following: 1. Celebrate every challenge you have overcome!
2. Celebrate every time you have turned a frown upside down.
3. Celebrate every negative you have walked away from.
4. Celebrate every negative you have turned into a positive.
5. Celebrate every toxic situation you have walked away from.
6. Celebrate the fact that you have removed every toxic person who is no longer in your life or you are in the process of doing exactly that.
7. Celebrate every opportunity you have grabbed and made the most out of.
8. Celebrate every genuine person who has become a part of your life.
9. Celebrate every time you have done something for you.
10. Celebrate your growth.
11. Celebrate your strength!
12. As you focus on your healing celebrate how far you have come on your journey.
13. Celebrate the success and happiness of others.
14. Celebrate every day you survived.
15. Celebrate every today and every tomorrow you are yet to see.
Life presents us with so much and it can be a mix of so much- overwhelming, heart wrenching, confusing and complicated. But it can also bring reason and clarity!
Clarity can be as bright as daylight! Clarity can be as harsh as the coldness that hits your face in winter! Clarity can hit you like a ton of bricks! Clarity can knock you off your feet but you it is important that you stay grounded!
Sometimes you need to have a good laugh and sometimes you just need to get rid of the bottled up pain. Whichever it is do what is necessary!
Like many people I have had my fair share of experiences and I have learnt many valuable lessons:
People will always think what they want. They may even call you names because they don’t know you or like you.
You cannot force anyone to do anything. You can try to help others but only people who want your help will accept it.
Be careful who you talk to! Talk to God knowing He always hears and He always answers.
Never let yourself be disappointed! People will always do as they wish.
Always focus on what you are sure about. Those are the things that will keep guiding you.
Reality presents us with so many harsh truths that sometimes they may feel hard to swallow but here are some useful things which should be of help:
Always keep your focus. It’s easy to get distracted but keep your goal in sight and always work towards it.
Never resort to treating people the way they treat you! Nothing good can come from that! Focus on being you and always being a better you! Let people deal with the karma they create.
When you get clarity embrace it! Celebrate the things that didn’t work out and celebrate the toxic people that get removed from your life!
Never give up on prayer. Let God be your comfort and your solace!
Always look to each new day as a new dawn! Remember every moment matters!
Always accept reality for what it is! Some circumstances cannot be changed and people need to want to change in order to effect change.
Don’t allow yourself to be a pawn in anyone’s game. Let them keep playing their games and reap the rewards of their actions.
If you ever feel alone don’t. Close your eyes and allow yourself to feel all that is good and also allow yourself space to remember that you are beautifully made and designed by the Master.
Be clear! Be firm! Be resolute! Be you and love yourself! Repeat!
This post is dedicated to celebrating our loved ones and in particular those who have passed on.
In life you may see it as winning some and losing some but don’t see it as a race or a contest. See it as a journey with lessons that is meant to be lived to the fullest. Things may come unexpectedly and we can all agree that none of us is sure what tomorrow will bring.
Let us look at it like this: Life is a journey and on that journey there are many experiences. Just as people come into our lives so too we enter other people’s lives. Just as we make our entrances and exits so do they and the exits we make or they make are in preparation for a new chapter of the journey. Not all exits are the same and some are understandably harder than others.
The time we spend with each other gives us time to experience and to learn. In essence it gives us time to do good and to be good. It gives us time to learn, time to love, time to make the most of. It gives us time to celebrate the time we share, the opportunities we are given to learn from each other and to create memories while celebrating the opportunity those in our lives have given us to become better and do better.
This being said it is important to live each day as your last, make the most of each moment, do the things you need to do and give it the absolute best that you can. Life is uncertain and unpredictable if you want to call it such so get in the habit of making each moment matter.
Photo Credit: Mandy Hale
If you cannot for one reason or another (such as health or immobility) be thankful for all that you have and all that you have done and keep praying. Celebrate all that you are and all that you have accomplished. Take the time too to celebrate all your loved ones and all they have accomplished and all they stood for.
Photo Credit: loveliveson.com
Though we are taught to accept that when there is birth, death is inevitable, life’s journey may shake us in some unexpected ways. God, regardless of how we refer to Him, is caring, loving and forgiving. He nurtures, He protects and He guides so being angry with Him is not an option. Instead ask Him for courage and strength to deal with your loss. I know it is easier said than done but I maintain that I am no expert and I hold firmly to my belief that you cannot tell someone how to feel if you are not in their shoes.
Grief should not be bottled so don’t bottle it.
Just as you celebrate you, take the time to celebrate the loved ones who have passed on.
Remember their smiles, their words, the love they showered you with and the lessons they taught you. Remember the moments you shared and the impact they have had on your life. Thank God for the time you had together. Ask for peace of mind for yourself and courage to face the realities of what is.
Datta devotees the world over can all agree that when His Holiness says to do, you do and you do not question or protest.
It is because His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji does nothing that goes against nature but He does everything with deep love and sincerity. The depth of His love and compassion extends to all of humanity and it is this understanding that has led Datta devotees from India and around the world to heed His call.
Celebrating Varanasi 2019 is the celebration of a true blessing that has brought thousands of Datta devotees together because the Divine Master has willed it to be so. Varanasi which is also called Kashi or Benares is of deep religious significance. November 2019 marks the inauguration of the Varanasi branch of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashrama, Avadhoota Datta Peetham and it also marks the Ati Rudra Yaga being held at Chet Singh Maidan where over 121 pundits are present chanting mantras and doing Homa that has brought together thousands of devotees in one venue for 11 days of worship.
This is because this visit is one which gives all devotees an opportunity to search within and engage in true self discovery. It is not the dusty streets of Varanasi or the narrow alleys that might be called filthy and filled with hundreds of scooters.
It is the entire opposite- the purity of mind and action that begins with self and allows the individual to experience self and develop spiritual growth through yoga and pranayama, chanting of mantra, participation in Puja, reading holy books like Sri Datta Darshanam, doing seva, meditation and availing oneself of opportunities like taking bath in the Ganges- Holy Mother Ganga and visits to Holy Sites that are known for being sacred and also for their deep spirituality. More so it is a time to remember duty and responsibility and it is not a time to deviate from either.
Whether it feels surreal or it doesn’t, an opportunity like this doesn’t come by chance and we can all agree that it must be a blessing for anyone who can be here.
To see the sun set, anyone can tell you that it is a blessing and it is a rich orange shade of the vastrams Datta devotees wear. To see the sun rise over Mother Ganga is priceless. This river which flows from the Himalayas (the home of Lord Shiva) is a confluence of the Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and Gangotri. To be in the presence of Lord Datta Himself who is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is a blessing and in addition to Lord Shiva, Lord Surya and Mother Ganga who are also in the same place in one of the oldest cities in India that is the home of one of the 12 jyotirlingas (the jyotirlingam at the Kashi Vishwanath temple), Ganapati Temple (Chintamani Ganapati Temple), Khedareshwarnath Temple and Vishalakshmi Temple.
Varanasi is steeped in religious significance for Hindus and being here clearly means you are at the centre of the Universe with the Crowning Glory of the Universe. It is the place where Lord Narayan is present on every street, a place known for several Surya Narayan Temples, Kal Bhairav Temples (as Lord Kal Bhairav is the kotwal- gatekeeper of Varanasi). The vast presence of monkeys are an indication of Lord Hanuman’s presence which together with Mother Gowri’s presence (evident from the hundreds of cows that can be seen on the streets).
As His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, our beloved Appaji has shared with us in the morning speech on November 14, 2019 for Ati Rudra Yaga Mother Goddess is present and so too are Lord Subramanya and 333 crores of deities who come to witness the Yaga.
This is beauty beyond description. This is meaning beyond description. This means keep doing, keep chanting, keep embracing and keep growing. More so this means keep praying and keep giving thanks.
Deepavali 2019 is nothing short of a blessing. It is a first for us as this is our first trip to India and thus our first Deepavali in India as well as our first with our dear baby girl who is also celebrating her first Deepavali. In every sense it is a true celebration of life and understanding self, it is filled with priceless moments and being showered by an abundance of blessings. More so it is in every sense a day of being thankful for all blessings and a day filled with great humility and gratitude.
October 27, the most celebrated day of Deepavali, began in prayer, first with humble prostrations to our Sadguru, His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and it continued with prayerful supplication throughout the day. We were able to join with hundreds of others to witness His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji perform Puja on the auspicious day of Deepavali 2019 and to participate in Puja. A great blessing this most certainly was!
As the day unfolded it presented so much that needed to be experienced with the heart and soul and not captured by phone or camera. It just needed to be experienced in its purest form, with energy at its purest and fullest- another step in understanding the self and the path being travelled. Energy, we can all agree comes in various forms. Energy, at its purest, is peaceful and calming. More so it is soothing and incomparable to anything else. There is no pressure, no stress, no pain, no negativity- just positivity!
Then came an opportunity to see the pieces of a puzzle (if one can call it such) come together as the Divine Master provided answers that for years I have not fought to find but accepted that faith would bring answers to if indeed they exist. It was like the unravelling of a story that for years has gotten the better of so many and has also denied them their true existence.
On the auspicious occasion of Deepavali 2019 He did exactly this! He provided answers and direction. Western Doctors who have resigned one’s fate to medication and dependency on medication they prescribe are no match for His greatness and knowledge, His compassion and His commitment to humanity. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing but being exactly where the Master wants you to be is another. It is absolutely the best part of the story ever! A way forward is what is received and it is better than being stuck which has been past reality.
Then to add to an already perfectly blessed day where your day begins with you seeing the Crowning Glory of the Universe, Nada Brahma, the epitome of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss, where it continues with you understanding how blessed you are by seeing more of what makes Him great, the epitome of perfection and the Master of the Universe you get your first real taste of Kriya Yoga which echoes the need to take care of oneself. Blessing after blessing most certainly! This is how I choose to see it and it is also how I choose to describe it.
It requires no searching, no stress, no fighting! That is not my life! No energy for it!
Then to bring Oct 27, 2019 to a close we had the beautiful opportunity of having a parent who lives downstairs where we stay do a rangoli design for our baby girl. Baby Sumanasa loved it and seeing how happy the daughters of these parents were made the occasion even more special.
Mere days earlier, on Dhanteras, Oct 25, 2019 this year, the first day of 5 days of Deepavali celebrations, we were fortunate to witness His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda perform Abhishekam for Lord Venkateshara. It was a sight to behold and truly an experience to be experienced through one’s own eyes and one’s own heart.
Then today, October 28, 2019 being able to witness Appaji’s return to Ashrama was certainly a most memorable occasion.
Can anyone walk in your shoes or feel your pain? Truth be told and in all honesty, they cannot! Life is full of experiences and you can agree, that more often than not, we walk forward, not the other way around. It may be baby steps but it is still a step forward. Look at a flame- which direction does it go in? Upward, right?
Being real and being practical is always important! Do not let anyone make you think otherwise.
Do not expect that what we want is what we will get. We get what we deserve and sometimes what we do not. Every time someone says something harsh to you, they are ignorant of the pain you feel or the hurt it causes. Clearly they know nothing about treating others as they want to be treated and it is not your loss. Instead it’s theirs!
I am not lecturing but always be proud of your achievements and your sacrifice. Be proud of the time you put in and the obstacles you overcame. Be proud of the fact that you had the courage to face it!
Photo Credit: Pinterest
If you need help please use what I call the scissors of life. According to this method it means cut out negative people and cut out negatives in all form and fashions.
Say for example people throw negatives your way- it does not mean you return it. It means keep your faith and don’t give up. Trust that God is always with you and will help you through every situation.
Remember it is not tit for tat. That doesn’t work. Hold firm to your beliefs and be unwavering in your stance.
No matter how small your success may be to you, celebrate it. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Celebrate all the effort and energy you put in to accomplish what you have and know it will in essence make you stronger and it will make you a better person.
As I always urge, it is yours for the taking! Be your best friend and do not be your worst enemy. Do what is right though it may not always be easy! Make today count and celebrate every moment!