भगवान कुबेर के पूर्व जन्म की कहानी

भगवान शिव से वरदान पाकर देवताओं के कोषाध्यक्ष बनने वाले भगवान कुबेर के पूर्व जन्म की कहानी जानकर आप हैरान हुए बिना नहीं रहेंगे। शिव पुराण में बताया गया है कि कुबेर महाराज पूर्व जन्म में गुणनिधि नामक ब्राह्मण थे। बचपन में कुछ दिनों तक इन्होंने धर्मशास्त्रों का अध्ययन किया लेकिन बाद में कुसंगति में पड़कर जुआ खेलने लगे। धीरे-धीरे चोरी और दूसरे गलत काम भी करने लगे।

एक दिन दुःखी होकर गुणनिधि के पिता यज्ञदत्त ने इन्हें घर से निकाल दिया। भटकते हुए गणनिधि एक वन में पहुंचा। भूख प्यास से बुरा हाल हो रहा था। तभी इसने देखा कि कुछ लोग भोग समाग्री लेकर जा रहे हैं। भोजन को देखकर गुणनिधि की भूख और बढ़ गई। वह लोगों के पीछे-पीछे चल पड़ा। इसने देखा कि लोग शिवालय में जाकर भगवान शिव की पूजा कर रहे हैं। सभी भोग सामग्री शिव जी को अर्पित करके लोग भजन कीर्तन करने लगे।

गुणनिधि मौके की तलाश में था कि कब वह भगवान पर चढ़ाए गए भोग पदार्थों को चुरा ले। रात में जब सभी लोग सो गए तो गुणनिधि दबे पांव मंदिर में जाकर भोग सामग्री चुराकर वापस चल पड़ा। लेकिन एक व्यक्ति को गुणनिधि का पांव लग गया और वह चोर-चोर चिल्लाने लगा। गुणनिधि जान बचाकर भागा लेकिन नगर रक्षक के तीर का निशान बन गया। गुणनिधि की मृत्यु हो गई।

लेकिन भगवान शिव की कृपा से उसे अनजाने में ही शिवरात्रि व्रत करने का फल प्राप्त हो गया। इसके प्रभाव से अगले जन्म में गुणनिधि कलिंग देश का राजा हुआ। इस जन्म में गुणनिधि शिव का परम भक्त था। इसके पुण्य से भगवान शिव ने कुबेर को यक्षों का स्वामी और देवताओं का कोषाध्यक्ष बना दिया।

Om Namah Shivay

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The Story of Mark Eklund (A True Story)

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary’s School in Morris, Minnesota. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, he had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.

Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving. “Thank you for correcting me, Sister!” I didn’t know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice teacher’s mistake. I looked at Mark and said, “If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!” It wasn’t ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, “Mark is talking again.” I hadn’t asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark’s desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark’s desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, “Thank you for correcting me, Sister.”

At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it, Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the “new math,” he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third. One Friday, things just didn’t feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, “Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend.” That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday, I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. “Really?” I heard a whisper “I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!” “I didn’t know others liked me so much.” No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it did matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip, the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, “Dad?” My father cleared his throat as he usually did before saying something important.

“The Eklunds called last night,” he began. “Really?” I said. “I haven’t heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is.” Dad responded quietly. “Mark was killed in Vietnam,” he said. “The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend.” To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, “Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.” The church was packed with Mark’s friends. Chuck’s sister sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me. “Were you Mark’s math teacher?” he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. “Mark talked about you a lot,” he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates headed to Chuck’s farmhouse for lunch. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. “We want to show you something,” his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. “They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.” Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him. “Thank you so much for doing that,” Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.” Mark’s classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, “I still have my list. I keep it in the top drawer of my desk at home.” Chuck’s wife said, “Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.” “I have mine too,” Marilyn said. “It’s in my diary.” Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. “I carry this with me at all times,” Vicki said without batting an eyelash. “I think we all saved our lists.” That’s when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

Om Namah Shivay

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Six Signs of a Seeker

Acknowledging that one knows very little.Many people think they know, without knowing or they get stuck in their limited knowledge. So they never learn. So the first thing is to acknowledge that one knows very little.

Willingness to know.Many people acknowledge that they do not know, but they are not ready to learn.

Being non-judgemental and open-minded.Some people would like to learn but their judgemental attitude and close-mindedness does not allow them to learn.

Total commitment and one-pointedness to the path one has chosen.Some people are open-minded but lack commitment and one-pointedness. They keep shopping here and there and never progress.

Always putting truth and service before pleasure. Sometimes even committed and one-pointed people stay away from the path in pursuit of momentary pleasures.

Patience and perseverance.
Some people are not swayed by pleasures and are committed and one-pointed, but if they lack patience and perseverance, they become restless and dejected.

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Open your ears wide and listen. You are a devotee and a true devotee. Don’t ever raise a doubt on this. The badness is imposed from outside. Inside you are one with the Truth. Your devotion is also true devotion. This is the way to think.

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With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.

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Courage is grace under pressure.

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Q: You say that youth should be in politics, but most of the youth don’t have the funds to participate in elections.

Guruji : I will appeal to the Prime Minister that something should be done so that poor people can participate in politics without having to spend so much money. In fact, there are already laws that prevent use of money in elections. But it is not just the rules and regulations, it is the awareness that we need to create among the people. We have to go door to door to tell people, do not take money when you are being asked to vote for someone.

There is competition, if one gives a Rs.1000 then the other party will also give Rs.1500. Those who go the other way say, “I don’t want to go and vote”. That’s a really pathetic state. On one side law, on another side, mass awareness needs to be created. We need to create mass awareness in villages, and awaken people in every village not to take money and sell your vote.

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Q: What would be your best memory of happiness?

Guruji : Happiness is when you want nothing, and you want to give. Where the wanting and desires end, and the sharing begin, happiness is exactly there.

Om Namah Shivay

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The Antidote to Fear-2

The farmer, although intrigued by his answer, hired him anyway for he was desperate for help.

The little man proved to be an efficient and committed worker. He worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer was satisfied with his work. One night the wind bellowed loudly and a massive storm began building up. The power went out immediately and it was pitch dark everywhere. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a flashlight and rushed next door to the hired hand’s quarters.

Deafening thunders roared through the sky. Battery of lightening and mighty winds turned the quiet seashore into a horror scene.

“Wake up!” he shouted and shook the little man. “A storm is coming!”

The man squinted at the light in his face and closed his eyes again indicating he was in no mood to get up. In utter disbelief, the farmer threw a quick glance around his room to ascertain if the worker was actually drunk. But no, the room was clean.

He shook him even more severely this time and yelled at the top of his lungs, “What the hell! Get up and tie things down before they blow away!”

“No sir,” the little man said rolling over in his bed. “I told you, I sleep peacefully in the middle of a storm.”

Enraged by his indifference, the farmer hurled a few slurs and rushed out to prepare for the storm. Outside, however, the haystacks were already covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, hens in the coop, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away.

Pleasantly surprised, the farmer apologized to the worker and went back to his bed too. To sleep while the storm raged.

The word is preparedness.

When your fear is genuine, arising out of a reasonable anticipation or a certain action (or lack of it), preparedness is the only way to help you face the fear. For example, if you fear failing an exam tomorrow because you haven’t prepared for it, it’s a genuine fear. Positive talk or self-affirmation won’t really help you. Only preparedness will.

Om Namah Shivay

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The Antidote to Fear-1

We all have fears. Fear of what may happen in the future, of skeletons in the closet, of failing others and ourselves. We fear what if our worst fears come true. Most of our anxiety stems from such fears. We read self-help books that tell us to “not worry” or “be positive”. But, it doesn’t work most of the time, certainly not every time. Someone asked me the other day, “Is there a way to rise above your fears?”

Well, it depends on the nature of your fears. If you have paranoia, phobias and worries resulting from excessive thinking then surely a calm mind is of immense help. My focus today is not on unfounded fears arising out of the chattering of a restless mind though. I’ve written and spoken a fair bit on that in the past. Instead, in this post, I talk about genuine fears. Those where a calm mind doesn’t appease your anxiety, fears where all forms of affirmation fails. Only one thing works in the face of such fears. What is that, you ask?

Let me share with you a little story first.

Many years ago a farmer owned a large farm along a certain seacoast. That region was particularly prone to violent storms making it rather difficult for him to prevent the damage. He was always looking for strong and strapping men who could safeguard his barn, pen and hay. But, no matter how well the farmer paid, everyone would leave after facing a storm or two.

One day, a petite and short man approached him for employment. Looking at the thin build, the farmer was quite skeptical about his fitness for the job. He explained to the applicant that it was a physically demanding job and he couldn’t see how his small body would handle it. The man, however, assured him that he was more than capable.

“Everyone leaves after facing just one storm,” the farmer said.

“Actually, I sleep peacefully in the middle of a storm.”

And, at the root of readiness is a simple affirmation. Putting your hand on your heart, if you can say I did the best I could then you’ve done your bit. The rest must be left to the Nature, Fate, Karma, God, whatever you want to call that element. We can only do what we can and ultimately, we can only do so much. If you’ve prepared as well as you could, that’s all that matters. We don’t control everything that happens to or around us. There’s little sense in fretting over things beyond your control.

If you’ve put your seat belts on and you are obeying the traffic laws while driving carefully, worrying about an accident is a pointless fear. You’ve no control over it. Worrying about a plane crash while taking a flight is another example. Excessive thinking is the mother of such fears. Any specific fear you can’t get out of your head is a phobia. Either way, good meditation, counselling or other similar methods can help you overcome them. For all genuine fears, though, readiness is the only way as far as I know.

Om Namah Shivay

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गीता के अनुसार मनुष्य अपना कल्याण करने में स्वतन्त्र है -१०-

ऊपर बतायी हुई बातों में और उनके अतिरिक्त भी एक और सद्गुण-सदाचार है और एक और दुर्गुण-दुराचार । इन दोनों में से कौन उत्तम और ग्राह है- इस पर विवेकपूर्वक बुद्धि से भलीभाँती विचार करने पर यही निर्णय होता है की क्षमा, दया, शान्ति, समता, संतोष, सरलता, ज्ञान, वैरा, शूरता, वीरता, धीरता, निर्भयता, लज्जा, निरभिमानता, त्याग, पवित्रता, चित की प्रसन्नता, मन-बुद्धि-इन्द्रियों का संयम, उपरति, तितिक्षा, सुहृदयता, निष्कामभाव इत्यादि सद्गुण एवं यज्ञ, दान, तप तथा माता-पितादी गुरुजन और दुखी, अनाथ एवं बाढ़, अकाल आदि प्रकोपों से पीड़ित मनुष्यों तथा गौ आदि प्राणियों की सेवा, विनय-प्रेमपूर्वक व्यवहार, शौचाचार, स्वाध्याय, ईश्वर, देवता और महात्माओं की श्रद्धा-भक्तिपूर्वक सेवा-पूजा इत्यादि सदाचार ही अपना उत्थान करने वाले है; अत: ये ही उत्तम एवं ग्राह है ।

इसके विपरीत काम, क्रोध, लोभ, मोह, मद, मत्सरता, राग-द्वेष, वैर, अहंकार, ममता, दर्प, अभिमान, अज्ञान, नास्तिकता, मान-बड़ाई की इच्छा, चिंता, भय, शोक, वासना, तृष्णा आदि दुर्गुण एवं झूठ, कपट, चोरी, व्यभिचार, मादक वस्तुओं का सेवन, चौपड़-ताश, और खेल-तमाशे की बुरी आदत, अन्यायपूर्वक धन का उपार्जन, न करने योग्य कार्य को करना और करने योग्य कार्य को न करना, अधिक मात्रा में सोना, आलस्य, व्यर्थ चिन्तन, व्यर्थ कर्म, व्यर्थ बकवाद, कठोर भाषण, कटु व्यवहार, परनिन्दा, दूसरों का अपमान करना, दसरों के दोषों का दर्शन, श्रवण, कथन, इत्यादि दुराचार अपना अध:पतन करने वाले होते है-अत: ये सभी त्याज्य है । अपनी विवेकयुक्त बुद्धि के अनुसार सद्गुण-सदाचार को दाहिनी पंक्ति में और दुर्गुण-दुराचार को बायीं पंक्ति में रखना चाहिये ।

इस प्रकार और भी जो भाव और आचरण सामने आये, उनपर अपनी बुद्धि से विवेकपूर्वक भलीभांति विचार करके निर्णय कर लेना चाहिये । निर्णय करने पर जो एक ग्राह् और एक त्याज्य पंक्ति बन जाय, उसमे से त्याज्य बायीं पंक्ति में आई हुई बातों का सेवन न करना और ग्राह् दाहिनी पंक्ति में आई हुई बातों का सेवन करने से अपने द्वारा अपना उद्धार करना है । इसके विपरीत, ग्राह् दाहिनी पंक्ति में आयी हुई बातों को सेवन न करना और त्याज्य बायीं पंक्ति में आई हुई बातों का सेवन करना ही अपने द्वारा अपना पतन करना है । एवं उपर्युक्त विवेचन के अनुसार विवेक-वैराग्यपूर्वक शम-दम आदि उत्तम भाव तथा सेवा, भक्ति, परोपकार आदि उत्तम आचरणरूप साधनों के द्वारा जिसने इन्द्रियों सहित अपने मन को वश में कर लिया है, वाही मनुष्य अपने आप का मित्र है । इसके विपरीत राग-द्वेष आदि अवगुणऔर झूठ, कपट, चोरी, हिंसा आदि दुराचार के वशीभूत होने के कारण जो इन्द्रियों सहित अपने मन को वश में नही कर, वही अपने आप का शत्रु है ।

क्योकि उपर्युक्त प्रकार से विवेकयुक्त बुद्धि के द्वारा जिसको हमने इस रूप में जान लिया है की यह हमारे परम लाभ की बात है, उसे धारण न करना और जिसे विवेकबुद्धि पूर्वक इस रूप में समझलिया की यह बुरी बात है, अध:पतन करने वाली है, उसे जानबूझ कर करते रहना-यह अपनी समझ से, अपने सिद्धान्त से गिरना है और यह महामुर्खता है । इससे बढ़कर और पतन क्या होगा ।

अतएव हम लोगों को उचित है की अपने विवेकयुक्त बुद्धि के द्वारा भलीभाँती विचार कर जिनको अच्छा (ग्राह्) समझ लिया है, उसको कटीबद्ध होकर काम में लावे और जिसको बुरा (हेय) समझ लिया है, उसका सर्वथा त्याग कर दे । यही कल्याण का मार्ग है ।

Om Namah Shivay

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The Avadhoota Gita-1

The Avadhoota Gita is writen by Sage Dattatreya. Dattatreya is regarded by many as the foremost incarnation. He was the combined incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. His narration was recorded by his two disciples Swami and Kartika. It is undoubtedly one of the most ancient  Hindu Scriptures. Dattatreya belonged to the ancient Vedic period as there is a Dattatreya Upanishad in the Atharvaveda. He is definitely before the Ramayana period as it is mentioned that Dattatreya taught the Shodanyasa of Srividya to Lord Parashurama, who was before Lord Rama. He also taught the Asthanga Yoga to Patanjali, who then wrote the famous Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The Avadhoota Gita is regarded by almost all sages as the greatest treatise on Advaita Vedanta. Some are of the opinion that Dattatreya was the originator of Tantra.

Legends about his birth are many and varied, and the place he died is unknown. It is stated that he was born on Wednesday, the 14th day of the Full Moon in the month of Margashirsha, but of year and place there is no reliable information. Scholars speculate it must have been not less than 5000 B.C, or even earlier.

Swami Vivekananda once said of the Avadhoota Gita, ‘Men like the one who wrote this song keep religion alive. They have actually self-realized; they care for nothing, feel nothing done to the body, care not for heat, cold, danger, or anything. They sit still enjoying the bliss of Brahman.’

The story of Dattatreya is told in many Puranas. The story from Markandeya purana, chapter 15, is as follows:

A brahmin named Kaushika was enchanted by a courtesan and lost his wealth, health etc. However, his wife, Shandili was faithful to him. She even carried him on her shoulders to the courtesan’s place. Once, by mistake, she stepped on Sage Mandavya and the sage cursed both of them to die by sunrise. Shandili prayed and appealed that the sun may never rise so that her husband would live. Her prayer was answered and the devas were in an uproar seeing the world order of time destroyed. They asked for the help of Anusuya, the wife of sage Atri, to convince Shandili. Anusuya was able to convince Shandili on the condition that Kaushika would live on sunrise. In appreciation of Anusuya’s intervention, the gods granted her three boons.

She asked for her liberation, her husband’s liberation and that the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva be born as sons to her. The wishes being granted, from Sage Atri’s eyes issued a light and served as the seed for the divine sons – Soma, Durvasa, and Datta – partial incarnations of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, respectively.

Other puranas give different narratives but all involve the attribution of the name Dattatreya to mean ‘Son of sage Atri.’ For example, there is a story that the gods decided to test the chastity of Anasuya, the wife of the rishi Atri. So, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva went to her posing as handsome men. However, Atri was not fooled and transformed all three of them into a single child with three heads. This child is known as Dattatreya and is considered to be an incarnation of all the three gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha.

Om Namah Shivay

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