The ultimate goal of human life is to love the Supreme Lord wholeheartedly. The entire life of a spiritual seeker is actually a pursuit of divine desire – to live a life centered on God, love him, and strive for him. When one succeeds, God’s love shines through such a devotee. Whereas those who chase worldly passions remain restless and loveless. “God is equally disposed toward all living beings, and yet, those who do not love him are bereft of the benefits of his grace because their hearts are unsuitable vessels for receiving it,” expounds Swami Mukundananda.
This Diwali, let us learn how to kindle the lamp of love in our hearts. This akhand diya or the eternal lamp of love never extinguishes, once lit!
The natural propensity of every soul is to love. However, we love everyone around us for our happiness, says Saint Tulsidas:
सुर नर मुनि सब कै यह रीती। स्वारथ लागि करहिं सब प्रीती।।
sura nara muni saba kai yah riiti , swaarth laagi karahi saba preeti
“Everyone follows the tradition of showing affection for selfish gains.”
Even when we embark on the spiritual path, we love God and Guru for our happiness. What, then, is true love? Where there is no cause, that is true love. True love is independent of selfish desires and is always content with God's happiness, never needing a reason to love. Love is compassionate, benevolent, considerate, patient, tolerant, gentle, etc. In short, true love is unconditional. It is the means to attain the bliss of divine love. To kindle that selfless love, we need:
To fall in love with God requires faith, and faith comes with knowledge. We need to hear of the Supreme Lord’s names, attributes, descensions, pastimes, teachings, abodes, saints, and devotees invariably. This divine knowledge helps us embark on the odyssey of love, an eternal adventure!
By cultivating faith through this knowledge, myriad devotees have set themselves free from self-seeking desires and attained a state of pure, unending, and blissful consciousness. Being cognizant that the benevolent and captivating Supreme Lord is the sustaining energy of the entire cosmic creation, devotees nurture devotion to God and dispassion towards this world.
So, it’s imperative to ignite the lamp of love, with knowledge as the wick and faith as the oil. “Spiritual Knowledge has the power to purify, elevate, liberate, and unite a person with God. It is thus supremely sublime and pure,” elucidates Swami Mukundananda. Hence, when one does sadhana (i.e., spiritual practice) in accordance with the scriptural injunctions and the Guru’s instructions, it results in the purification of the mind.
All living souls of this world are the manifestation of God’s spiritual energy, the jīva śhakti. We are not mere bodies; we are the eternal souls and fragmental parts of Shree Krishna. When we see ourselves as the children of that one eternal father, we begin to operate selflessly for the common good with minds anchored to the Supreme Lord. This alone helps the mind transcend the three modes of material nature - sattva, rajas, and tamas (i.e., goodness, passion, and ignorance). When we absorb ourselves in God steadily with devotion, it purifies the mind, states Ramayan:
प्रेम भगति जल बिनु रघुराई। अभिअन्तर मल कबहुँन जाई ।।
prema bhagati jala binu raghurāī, abhiantara mala kabahuñ na jāī
“Without loving devotion to God, the dirt of the mind will not be cleansed.”
When the mind is pure and tranquil, one quickly rids oneself of worldly desires, gravitating toward selflessness. The more selfless one becomes, the higher one rises and the closer one gets to divine love. Such devotees are able to discern God everywhere and in everything, as they have premaanjana chuurita bhakti vilochanena – “eyes anointed with the ointment of love.” They perceive everything in relation to the Supreme Lord and understand that everything is eternally situated within the Lord. This universal love is possible when we actually fall in love with God.
Thus, knowledge and loving devotion go hand in hand. The deeper we dive into the knowledge, the stronger will be our faith. It will then nurture and enhance our love for God. When we further delve into devotion, the Supreme Lord seated in our hearts will bestow upon us new and deep spiritual experiences. This is how devotion leads to realized knowledge. Hence Kripalu ji Maharaj said, “Practice devotion to God. Divine knowledge and detachment from the world will be automatically obtained accordingly.”
A single gem of wisdom can transform your life. This was the experience of the famous poet-saint, Goswami Tulsidas, who started on a non-saintly journey in his youth. One day, his wife had gone to her parents’ house when he was at the temple. Upon learning this, he yearned to be with her because he was very attached to her and could not stay without her. He started his journey amid a stormy night. He could not find a boat to get him across the river so he grabbed a log and swam across holding the log.
Upon reaching his wife’s parents’ house he grabbed a rope hanging from the wall and climbed up to enter through the window of his wife’s room. He was caught by surprise when his wife received him with shock instead of happiness. She chided him for failing to realize that the log was a dead body and the rope was a snake. She told him that if only he had put in the effort to develop a fraction of love from the amount of love he had for her, he would have realized God by now. This scolding was enough to move him. At that moment, he decided that he would not let his mind remain in a state of infatuation. He acted upon this decision immediately. He renounced his life as a householder and commenced his journey as a renunciant engaging in spiritual practice and devotion. When his devotion reached the peak of selflessness, he was graced with the darshan (i.e., divine vision) of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shree Ram.
In the whirlwind of youth, where ambitions and desires often take precedence, engaging in spiritual practices can often fall by the wayside. However, there exists an inherent longing in many young hearts to ignite the flame of love for God. This spiritual journey is not only a quest for meaning and purpose but also a search for inner peace and fulfillment.
For the youth, loving God is about forging a personal and profound connection with the divine. It is about recognizing that God a source of solace, guidance, and unconditional love. This love stems from an understanding that there is a higher power that unites us all and offers a sense of purpose in life.
Meditation is a powerful tool for the youth to ignite the flame of love for God. Taking the time to sit in quiet contemplation, to breathe and to still the mind, allows for a deeper connection with the spiritual realm. In these moments of serenity, one can reflect on gratitude, seek guidance, and nurture a loving bond with God.
Another avenue to connect with God is through spiritual retreats. These retreats offer a unique opportunity to withdraw from the daily hustle and immerse oneself in a spiritually charged environment. It is a time for self-reflection, guided practices, and shared experiences that deepen the connection with the divine and foster a profound sense of love and understanding.
Reading spiritual books is an enlightening way for youth to connect with God. These books often contain timeless wisdom, insights, and teachings that can guide one's spiritual journey. They provide a window into different perspectives, encouraging contemplation and inspiring a deeper understanding of the divine, ultimately nurturing a heartfelt love for God.
To cultivate divine love from a youth’s perspective: practice meditation, seek nourishment from retreats, and gain wisdom and guidance from reading spiritual books. You will awaken to a deeper purpose, a profound love, and a realization that we are all interconnected in this beautiful journey.
When we love something or someone, we give our best service and care. We may sacrifice our own well-being to do so. However, our divine purpose as caretakers of this world does not mean we should forego the care of our own physical, mental, and spiritual health. Each aspect is connected to the other. If one suffers, they all suffer. The motivation from love comes from within. If we love God and Guru, then we have to remember that self-care is a requirement in their service. The Bhagavad Gita (verse 6.5) tells us, “Elevate yourself through the power of your mind, and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self.”
Love seems like an emotion that passively exists within us. It can also be an action word that inspires us to change and grow. To support our physical and mental health as we embark on the spiritual path, let us remember these things:
1. Seek understanding and guidance. Swamiji has given us numerous lectures and books describing how we can sustain a healthy lifestyle. He has dedicated section two of his book, Golden Rules for Living Your Best Life, to it. Also, Prem Yoga has daily online and in-person yoga classes, as well as Yoga Teachers Training to teach us yoga, meditation, pranayam, and Ayurvedic principles. We can practice regularly with the support and encouragement of other devotees.
2. Practice gratitude. Every time you eat a healthy meal, spend time exercising, or meditate, offer gratitude to God and Guru for receiving this knowledge to enhance your seva and devotion. Every effort counts!
3. Make Physical Health an Act of Service. Sometimes, if we motivate others, it helps us motivate ourselves. You do not have to be an expert to start a walking group or recruit new yogis to join a class. You can create a motivational group on social media to encourage your friends and family to prioritize their health and share the knowledge you have received. Fellowship helps form bonds and commitments toward a common goal.
4. Surrender and Trust. Many people feel unsure about starting or maintaining a health regimen. We may think we are too old, too weak, too stiff, too busy, or too inexperienced, etc. This is a fixed mindset. If we surrender and trust that this is important to God and can be part of our spiritual practice, then we will find a way to implement it with a growth mindset.
5. Connect with Nature and Beauty. Mindful walking is another practice that allows us to appreciate the beautiful and loving environment God has given us. (You may recall this was discussed in the last newsletter.) Let nature ignite your love for God so you can admire His glorious creation.
6. Continue Learning. One excuse often used to avoid a healthy lifestyle is boredom. There are many exercises, recipes, and mental health practices for any age, interest, and schedule.
JK Yog Cooking Channel is a great resource for healthy recipes, and you can consult your favorite news source for suggestions on various exercises. Always consult your physician if you have any pre-existing conditions before starting new exercises.
The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) brings you two much-awaited events of the year! Mark your calendar not to miss a single celebration that will fill your heart with joy! Join us to experience fun and devotion on two separate and special Diwali celebrations by igniting the lamp of love.
The Diwali Mela is one Combined Event of the Year for the Greater DFW Community. The entire community of partners from local Hindu organizations has come forward to support the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) and DFW-ICS in ensuring the success of this grand event. The festival offers an excellent opportunity to participate in a variety of activities for lots of fun, entertainment, immense pride in our cultural heritage, a little devotion, and tons of gratitude.
Make sure to get your tickets ahead of time to avoid a long wait time. The general admission tickets are for $12.00 only. There are a variety of options based on your seating preference, going up all the way to Diwali Pariwar for $500.00. The tickets can be purchased online or directly from Radha Krishna Temple or any of the numerous Indian stores and restaurants (https://radhakrishnatemple.net/diwalimela).
There will be a special and very highly inspirational message by Swami Mukundananda.
Other events and activities include:
Date/Time: November 4, 2023, from 5:00 PM to midnight
Location: Cotton Bowl Stadium, 3809 Grand Avenue / Dallas, TX 75210
We invite you to participate in the grand Diwali celebration at Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) in the Divine presence of Swami Mukundananda from November 9 to 13, 2023.
There are so many devotional and exciting activities for the 5-day program including various poojas, Satsang, kirtans, and food festival! Mark your calendar to not miss these special events:
Venue: Radha Krishna Temple, 1450 N Watters Rd, Allen, TX 75013
Here are some memorable moments from last year’s Diwali Mahotsav:
RKT Ready for Diwali
We look forward to seeing you on this auspicious occasion.
This magnificent Hindu temple is the serene abode of Shree Radha Krishna where you imbibe the nectar of love for God, celebrate festivals with the Indian community in Dallas, practice meditation and yoga, enrich your children’s lives with Vedic culture, or simply relax and enjoy the spiritual environment with your family.
Non Profit 501(c)(3)organization.
Federal tax ID:26-3490578.
1450 N. Watters Road, Allen, TX 75013 (Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex)
Phone: (469) 795-9130
Subscribe to our newsletter