Inspiration - RKT Newsletter

January 2024

Welcome to the January 2024 issue!

Welcome to the January 2024 issue!



पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति |
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मन: ||26||

patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayachchhati |
tadaham bhaktyupahritam ashnami prayatatmanah ||

If one offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, I delightfully partake of that item offered with love by My devotee in pure consciousness.”

(Bhagavad Gita 9.26)


From the Editor's Desk


Bhakti or devotion is the means for connecting and reaching God. True bhakti is simple to understand but very difficult to practice because it demands 100% selflessness. All material souls are inclined to think of themselves alone. Whatever we do is for our happiness alone. This nature persists even in devotion to God where we go for the fulfillment of our material desires. However, there is no end to worldly desires. Thus, the basis of our faith should be the desire for selfless service for God’s pleasure. When we engage in selfless service of God, He bestows us with the highest treasure – bhakti – under which God Himself resides. The supremely independent Lord is enslaved by the selfless love of his devotees. Therefore, pursuing the eternal treasure should be our goal instead of hankering for temporary worldly pleasures.

Bhakti Ras
Knowing the Eternal Treasure

When Alexander the Great invaded India, one day during his travel, he met a sadhu (i.e., an ascetic). He approached the sadhu who was watching the sunset, stood in front of him, and declared, “I am Alexander the Great.”

With a tranquil gaze, the sadhu said, “Since you have conquered all those kingdoms if you give me half a share of all the land, I will give you a half pot of water. If you hand me off all the kingdoms you conquered, you can have the whole pot of water.” Listening to the sadhu’s words, Alexander stood perplexed.

The sadhu continued placidly, “You wasted your life for a pot of water. Don’t you see, you threw away your whole life conquering all those kingdoms while all you need is six feet?”

Contemplating these wise words of the sadhu, Alexander began marching back home. Later, when he fell ill and knew that death was fast approaching, Alexander asked his generals to carry out his three instructions after his demise – his physicians to carry his coffin, to strew the path leading to the graveyard with all the wealth from his treasury, and to leave both of his hands dangling out of his coffin.

Do you wonder why Alexander gave these instructions? To let everyone know that no doctor could save anyone from the clutches of death, chasing earthly pleasures and accumulating materialistic goods was a waste of time, and that we came empty-handed and shall leave empty-handed. A poet has put this point across very well:

दुनिया मे खूब् कमाय क्या हिरे क्या मोति ।
लेखिन् क्या करें यारों, कफ़न् में जेब् नहीं होति।।

duniyaa me khuub kamaaya kyaa hire kyaa moti ।
lekhin kyaa kare yaaro, kafan me jeb nahii hoti ।।

I earned a lot of fortune and wealth in this world, but alas, my friends, there is no pocket in the shroud!

The truth is that even our own gross body will be left behind when we die. Yet, in our ignorance, we chase the mirage of Maya, seeking short-lived pleasures and happiness in its animate and inanimate objects. When our five senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing – meet their objects of perception, it leads to either happiness or anguish. Neither of these sensations is permanent, therefore, it is of vital importance to remember always that the worldly pleasures and happiness neither gratify us nor follow us when we depart from this world.

Pursuing the Eternal Treasure

There is one transformational treasure chest – bhakti. This treasure accompanies us through time and eternity, and the bliss derived from bhakti is everlasting. This is because our Eternal Father, from whom we inherit this treasure, is an ocean of bliss. The Taittiriya Upanishad states:

आनंदो ब्रह्मेति व्याजानात

ānando brahmeti vyajānāt (3.6)

“Know God to be bliss.”

Our scriptures and saints have repeatedly proclaimed that the bliss of God is everlasting, ever-fresh, and ever-increasing. However, to receive His sublime jewels of bliss, we need to cleanse our hearts, and bhakti alone can do this dirty job. By attaching the mind to God and detaching it from the world, will the mind start to cleanse. After the mind is clean, the Guru will grace the soul with divine knowledge and divine love of God.

Bal-Mukund: Playground for Vedic Wisdom
Seeking God With Intensity

Experience is one of the most effective approaches to learning. Ramakrishna Paramhansa, a spiritual Guru (teacher), utilized this approach with his disciple, Swami Vivekananda. One day when Swami Vivekananda asked to know of the nature or intensity of the desire that would help to find God, Ramakrishna Paramhansa chose not to answer.

The next day when both of them went to bathe in the Ganges, Ramakrishna Paramhansa asked Swami Vivekananda to take a dip in the river. When Swamiji dunked his head in the water, Ramakrishna Paramhansa held his head under the water from above. Thinking that he must act as a surrendered disciple, Swamiji chose to accept his situation as his Guru’s wish, however, his thought changed when he started running out of breath in 20 seconds. Instead, he chose to save his life. He attempted to extract his head from the water but Ramakrishna Paramhansa continued to hold down his head tightly. Swami Vivekananda was convinced after 40 seconds that death would be his fate. When a minute passed by, Ramakrishna Paramhansa released him. Swamiji came out and took a deep breath. When asked what happened, Swamiji mentioned that if his head had been held for even one more second, then his life airs would have left the body. Ramakrishna Paramhansa told Swami Vivekananda that his experience in the water was the answer to the question he was seeking the previous day.

One will find God and receive his divine love when the longing is so intense that if a moment passes without remembrance of the soul beloved, then his/her life airs would leave the body.

Practical Wisdom:
  • Swami Vivekananda was seeking God and went to Ramakrishna Paramhansa for guidance. Engaging in various devotional forms of practice including chanting God’s name, singing his glories through devotional songs, meditating, and hearing discourses about God, are all ways to attract divine grace.
  • Swami Vivekananda felt that his life airs would leave his body if his head remained underwater for one more second. Being hungry for God itself is not enough. One must intensify this hunger to the point when one feels that life is worse than death if divine love is not received. This feeling will attract divine grace and God will shower such a devotee with divine love.
Youth Insights
A Teen’s Guide to Pursuing the Eternal Treasure

As the New Year unfolds, I embark on a journey to discover the Eternal Treasure—an intimate connection with the divine. For teens like me, this exploration can be a transformative experience, filled with practices like mindfulness, service, and devotion.


Mindful Moments

I start by incorporating brief moments of mindfulness into my day. Here is the simple practice: Pause, take a few deep breaths, and appreciate the present. Simple practices like conscious breathing during stressful situations or before exams can be a gateway to the eternal treasure.

Service with a Smile

I engage in acts of kindness and selfless service as well. For example, helping a classmate with their studies, volunteering at a local charity, or initiating a community cleanup. Acts of service not only benefit others but also bring me closer to the divine by fostering a sense of unity and compassion within.

Gratitude Journaling

Starting a gratitude journal is another tool I’ve used. Each day, I jot down three things for which I’m thankful. For example, acknowledging a supportive friend, a beautiful sunrise, or even a tasty meal. Cultivating gratitude opens my heart to the divine and sets the tone for a more spiritually connected life.


As I step into 2024, I remember that the pursuit of the Eternal Treasure is not about complex practices. Embracing simple practices that resonate within is very effective for me. Mindfulness, service, spiritual friendship, tech-free moments, and gratitude journaling are pathways for me to intensify my connection with the divine.

May this year be a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth for teens, guided by the pursuit of the Eternal Treasure.

Holistic Health Titbits
New Year, New Opportunity

Every new year millions of people make New Year’s resolutions to do a variety of things, especially related to their health. Almost half of the top ten resolutions are health-related (e.g. eat right, exercise, quit smoking, etc.). Unfortunately, these resolutions usually fall by the wayside within the first three months. Why? Lack of maintenance!

Every new year millions of people make New Year’s resolutions to do a variety of things, especially related to their health. Almost half of the top ten resolutions are health-related (e.g. eat right, exercise, quit smoking, etc.). Unfortunately, these resolutions usually fall by the wayside within the first three months. Why? Lack of maintenance!

How Do We Pursue God Through Better Health?

Some underlying aspects need to be present for us to be able to pursue God. They are spiritual growth, living a virtuous life, having an eternal perspective, and service to others – to name a few.

  1. For spiritual growth, we have to have a purified mind. To achieve and sustain a purified mind, we also have to achieve and sustain a purified body. A negative impact on one will affect the other. Swami Mukundananda says, “For success in Yog, the dharma of the body has to be maintained.” This means doing the right things for the body in the right amount. Otherwise, spiritual attainment will not be achieved.
  2. Living a virtuous life for better health means having self-discipline (e.g., eating sattvic foods, exercising, stress management, etc.), moderation (i.e., balance), compassion and empathy for the self (i.e., positive self-talk and overcoming setbacks), gratitude (for good health by God’s grace), mindfulness (i.e., living in the present), and community engagement (i.e., service and association with likeminded others).
  3. Cultivating an eternal perspective is the most important aspect. We know the body to be temporary, but it is still the vehicle for the soul and therefore it is our responsibility to maintain it. Without it, we cannot do bhakti and attain God. This requires an elevated mindset. If we think of ourselves as divine, we will behave accordingly. Realize that our bodies are temples for the Lord so that each day we may choose what God and Guru have prescribed for us.
  4. Service to others requires a mindset based on divinity, kindness, and selflessness. It also requires physical and psychological fitness and endurance. To give to others, we must maintain our bodies as described above. If we let ourselves get run down, our seva will suffer too.

If we can implement these aspects into our daily lives, alongside Satsang and Sadhana, the eternal treasure of connection to God and Guru can certainly be attained.

Reflection Questions for Discussion
Bhakti Ras / Inspiration
  • What does Alexander’s story teach us about the goal of our life?
  • Bal-Mukund: Playground for Vedic Wisdom
  • What is the nature or intensity of the desire which will help us to find God?
  • Youth Insights
  • How can incorporating practices like mindfulness, service, and gratitude journaling into our daily lives contribute to our spiritual journey?
  • Holistic Health Titbits
  • How can we transform our New Year’s health resolutions towards God as part of our spiritual journey?


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    Upcoming Events


    Saint Tyagaraja Aradhana  – February 2024

    The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) brings you an exciting event this February!

    Saint Tyagaraja Aradhana is observed every year by artists, gurus, students, and connoisseurs of Carnatic music around the world. On this day, we pay homage to the great saint composer Saint Tyagaraja (1747-1847). He composed thousands of kritis mostly in Telugu but also in Sanskrit, in invocation and praise of Lord Shree Ram.

    Pushya Bahula Panchami, the Samadhi day for Saint Tyagaraja, is commemorated every year by group singing five of his Pancharatna compositions (five gems) in his honor. Typically, this group singing is preceded by individual renditions of Tyagaraja kritis by students of Carnatic music.

    A grand Vocal Concert will be presented by Vidushi Dr. Pantula Rama. Please purchase your tickets in advance if interested in attending the concert.

    Participants who are interested in solo singing of Tyagaraja Kritis or group singing of the Pancharatna Kritis, or playing an instrument (violin, veena, flute, etc.), can register to participate.

    When: February 17 & 18, 2024 – 3:00 PM CST onward

    WhereRadha Krishna Temple of Dallas, 1450 N. Watters Rd, Allen, TX 75013