Archive for November, 2010

Karma Yoga and DSN

by Mark Meng
I happened to be taking the knowledge course on The Bhagavad Gita*, a serial of talks by Guruji that are a commentary on the ancient scripture, when the DSN course started. In the beginning, I didn’t think of much of this coincidence as something meaningful. But as I went through the processes and challenges in the DSN course, I gradually started to see a connection between the two. They are both about “action,” and what the “right action” is. The messages and activities in the DSN course are uncannily interconnected with what Guruji’s talks about in the Bhagavad Gita talks.

What is the “right action?” Right in the middle of a battlefield, Arjuna halted his actions, confused and tormented by the idea of killing other human beings. Yet, Krishna, the embodiment of wisdom, urged him to go ahead and fight. How could “killing other human beings” be a right action? In this seeming contradiction lies the great “secret” and “skills of action,” or “Karma Yoga.” That is it is to do an “action with a silent mind,” or to see the “inaction in action,” or to “act with detachment to result,” as Guruji repeatedly expounds on these points from different angles in his talks.

Obviously, Arjuna’s mind was not silent in the battlefield. He brought in personal emotions and an acquired social value standard into an action. Thus he had set a limitation and bondage for himself and greatly endangered his ability to perform the task. In a similar manner, our minds were not silent. All kinds of emotions surged up while being given a seemingly absurd task in the DSN course. We all lost our “equanimity,” our peaceful poise. Everyone was in an agitated state, manifesting either “feverishness,” or “foolishness,” or “fear.”

Those three “fs” are usually what we bring into every action. Those three “fs” are also, said Guruji, the great hindrances to the “freedom to act.” Thus Arjuna’s confusion is our confusion; his conflict is our conflict, though not at the same magnitude. Yes, to “kill other people” can hardly be justified in any sense as the “right action.” But often only through the most extreme and nonsensical situation can truth be revealed. In this sense, DSN is also the “battlefield” that everyone who wants to get a glimpse of the state of the “total freedom in action” has to get on to face his/her fight.

Most of us take action and we are not even aware of it. And those who are sensitive and aware of it, on the other hand, tend to be confused and troubled by it, like Arjuna, Achilles, or Hamlet etc. As the result, we become weak and inept. Our energy was drained by the constant conflicts and considerations within. The inability to carry out an action properly or even perform an action is the greatest inertia deeply rooted in our very existence, even though we are feverishly, foolishly, and fearfully engaged in all kinds of motions, movements, and activities everyday. It is all about action and the right action. That is DSN, the Karma Yoga!

*The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian spiritual text which is part of the great epic “Mahabharatha” about a war that took place many centuries ago. It is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna which took place in the midst of the battlefield. Arjuna does not want to fight and Krishna convinces him to fight and in the process reveals to him the highest knowledge.

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by Revathi Raghavan

Carrot, Sprout, Pomegranate salad

Some of us celebrated Diwali (the Indian festival of lights) this past weekend. It is usually a time when family and friends greet each other and get together over delicious traditional meals, sweets and savories (forming a big part of it) and juicy conversations. It is the festive season overall with Thanksgiving and Christmas also just around the corner. Hope you have a great year and may your life be filled with happiness, peace, and good health!

Speaking of good health, it is said that “We are what we eat” or in Hindi “Jaise ann vaise mann”. That is, the state of our mind depends on the food we eat. Food is one of the four sources of energy and we are well aware of that. The quantity, quality and type of food can affect our mind and therefore outlook. If we eat too much we tend to feel heavy and sleepy or if we eat very little or at improper meal times we become cranky campers. So, the right amount and type of food is important to our health and well-being. Foods that are light, fresh, healthy, and energy-giving include fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk and fresh yogurt (also known as “Sattvic” foods). Foods that are spicy, deep fried and oily are known as “Rajasic” foods and said to increase desires and restlessness. Stale, frozen foods, alcohol, and heavy meats form “Tamasic” foods that cause dullness and inertia. We will save that discussion for another day, especially since some of us have indulged in delicious goodies during the festivities and I do not want to be caught guilty of making you feel guilty!

After all the gorging, or even otherwise if you are simply longing for something light, this salad is for you – a refreshing and appetizing salad combining sweet carrots, crunchy sprouts and beautiful ruby red arils of pomegranates. The carrots are rich in Vitamin A (eat your carrots and your eyes will be good, did mom ever say that to you?) sprouts in protein and pomegranates are excellent for blood circulation and skin (ears perked up, ladies?) amongst other benefits.
Without further ado, here it is:

Ingredients for the salad

Ingredients:
Carrots – 2-3, grated
Whole moong sprouts – half a cup
Pomegranate arils – 3 Tbsp
Black pepper crushed – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – to drizzle
Lemon/Lime juice – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Cilantro leaves, chopped – 1 Tbsp
Method:
Wash, trim ends of carrots, peel, and grate into a bowl. Toss in the sprouts (see note below on how to make sprouts) along with the pomegranate arils into the bowl with carrots.
Crush black pepper and squeeze lime/lemon over this and add salt to taste.Drizzle some Olive oil on top. (alternatively you could make a dressing of olive oil, lime juice, salt and crushed pepper) Mix lightly and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Variations
*To Indianize a bit, do a seasoning of spluttered mustard seeds and asafoetida in olive oil and add to the salad.
*You could also make a salad of just split yellow moong lentils (half a cup soaked for an hour) and carrots. Garnish with some coconut and cilantro.
*Substitute dates or raisins for pomegranate.
*Grate some ginger in for a slightly different yet delicious taste.

Enjoy this salad by itself or as an accompaniment to soup, rice/rotis or pasta.

Sprouts: They are ready and available packaged in regular grocery stores and Indian grocery stores. If you would like to make your own, follow this easy method. Place whole green moong beans or lentils in a bowl and cover with enough water and leave overnight. The next morning drain the water and place the soaked moong beans in a colander and leave in a warm spot. The next day you will see cute tiny little tails popping from the moong beans. Your sprouts are ready!

Try this salad and your stomach with thank you with all its heart for going light and easy on it. 🙂

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Sharing

by Raisa Rudina
It’s nice to have something to share with others. To share without any limitations based on the gender, age, religious belief, country of origin or sense of humor. I feel very lucky that one day, when I had back pain, my chiropractor advised me to take the Art of Living Course. I had nothing to lose, so I attended a few evenings and the weekend morning course. My life has not been the same after that. I could clearly see that life is a combination of white and black but it doesn’t mean that life shouldn’t be a celebration of being a part of the beautiful existence that doesn’t depend on my mood, my neighbor’s mood, challenging job, or daily routines of any kind. The interesting thing is that I can bring myself to the present moment, that is just a moment, so nothing can complicate it, just by breathing in certain rhythms. Side effect from taking the Art of Living course: no need for high blood pressure medication. Regret after taking the Art of Living course:” Why didn’t I know about it 20 years ago?!” Lesson learned: I don’t need to speak perfect English to connect with people. All people smile in the same language!

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