Thursday, March 30, 2017

Visiting Greece and Turkey: Amazing Turkish Hospitality! Can anyone match it?

OM Namah Shivay OM!   
Flying Visit to Greece & Turkey in 2011:

March 9, 2011 we left Bharat for Zurich.    Arrived around late morning to Zurich and we left our 4 big Baggages  at IBIS Zurich Messe Airport for free as we were returning to it after our 12 days tour of Greece and Turkey.   

The Same afternoon, we went to Athens by Swiss Air.   We took their subway system and it was extremely cheap to travel being seniors.    We learn the system very quickly.  Changed the train @ Syntagma to Omania Square Station.   (The Parliament Building is right opposite the Syntagma Square.)   Also it is the main Exchange Subway Station.  When we came, we decided to walk to Best Western.  Supposedly it was 15 – 20 minutes walking distance.    We enjoyed lugging our Baggage on the cobbled stoned side walks.   We did not have good direction, so we had to keep asking passerby …. May be a block and a half away, Niru suggested that she will wait by the Pharmacy at the corner of one intersection with all the baggages and I should finOMd out exactly where is this Hotel.  She had our two carry on bags, my computer bag and her Backpack, loaded with all the important papers like Passports, TCs, Cash etc. etc….

When I return after about half an hour, she was all worked up and asked me that do you know what happened?   NOoooo …

One young man came to her and started asking her in Greek Language … so out of courtesy, she stood up to talk with him …. He left as they could not communicate … she turned to her left and found that her Backpack was missing.   She ran to the intersection and saw one young man, walking away briskly with her Backpack … She screamed and she started running after him … Brave Zaveri Girl !!!!    That guy must be trainee, so he dropped the backpack and ran away …. She picked up the backpack and ran after him …. Then she realized that what about the other bags and my computer bag ?  What if the other guy came back and ran away with ?????  She returned running back found everything in order.  Thank GOD!!!

Next day morning we found that our Camera was missing  … That could have been in the computer Bags front pocket.   We had it on the plane … so we do not know whether we lost it on the Plane (I did use it on the plane.), Train or that robber at the Street Corner …

Hotel was very nice!    Free Internet and continental breakfast and so on ….  Nice view of the city from our Balcony.   The second shift manager, John remembered me from my inquiries a month or so ago.  So he gave me a very nice room on the top floor.    He also gave me information on where to pick up the Hop ON & Off Bus to take City tour the next day.  We felt that rather than running last minute to find out the Bus Station, let’s go that night and check it out!   To our scare, we found out that that area is infested with Druggies and Drunkards.  Some 100 people had gathered on the way to bus stand including some brave ladies!!   Without any show, we just walked through them …..

Next day morning, as we were going to that Bus Stand, about half of those specials were still there!    That Hop On – Off tour gave us a really good idea of the City and we saw Acropolis.   What a grand view of the City from all the way around as this Temple sight was located on the top of the Hill, in the center of the City.   What we had seen in the books during childhood, now was in front of our eyes.  Worth visiting!  Sanju-Trina had given us the List of the interesting places to visit… so that was extremely helpful … We liked the Monastiraki Square Area very much … Typical European City Center where free shows take place and people from all walks of life get together …  We also walked through that area….. where Sanju and Trina stayed.   Many narrow streets loaded with Greek Charms …small varieties shops …   At night we came back to Monastiraki Suare. 
 area to get a great view of Acropolis at night with lights …  We also inquired with Hotels in that area to get some idea …
 Third day we went to SanTorini Island… A Must visit … We stayed in Margarita Hotel (Hotels. com 1-800-997-9138.) in Firostefani 30-22-86024377.  It is well worth staying in Firostefani or Fira (Pronounced Thira), where there is some life.  It’s Capital City … Many Bargain places for auto rental right in Fira.   And there is no real need to rent a car as there is excellent Bus Service and Hotel pick up and drop off to Airport.    We visited all the major points in two days.    Oia Sunset point is must and also you get another grand Sunset from a place hardly five minutes` walk from Margarita Hotel.    Red Beach is great, Black is lousy and we missed the white Beach.

Due to Winter time, there were very little activities and very few tourists.   Thanx to Trina that she said there is no real need for Car Rental there.   Margarita came to receive us and then to the center of the town and Bus Terminal was 15 – 20 minutes walking Distance.    You buy a kind of a day pass and whole day you can hop on and off.   Over two days, we saw everything worthwhile.   
 Two days later we return to Athens.  We spent one day in Delphi, nice ruins to see.   Went by Public Bus.   We moved to Monastiraki Suare area, for better price, location and night view of Acropolis from the top of our Hotel.   We became very well familiar with major places in the City.      Our Six days visit to Greece was memorable one …..

Off to Turkey:

I read one article by Gunavant Shah on Turkish Invaders and I was deeply concerned visiting Muslim country!!!  I sent out e-mail to my YOGA and personal contacts and I heard from Dr. Nagendraji that there is connection with Istanbul YOGA Markezee (Center).   He introduced me to Ayca the main Person of that Center.  We exchanged e-mails and also discussed on Skype …. She wrote to me that "Do NOT WORRY" about anything and we will take care of EVERYTHING.  So I called RaghuRamji in Bangalore … he said that if Ayca wrote that, then she means exactly the same.  He added that after visiting Turkey, “you” will have different perception or view of Turkey.    

We flew from Athens to Kayseri via Istanbul.  We hardly had 1 hour to change the plane … going from international to Domestic Terminal.    Our flight got delayed by half an hour from Athens.  We bought Turkish Airline Tickets hoping that they would be more helpful in case of any missing flights …. When we came off the plane, there must be a few hundred people waiting in line  to go through Immigration … There is NO way we can make the other flight in half an hour.  We met the security guy and mentioned to him about our situation and he was extremely helpful in getting us through Priority line in Immigration.  We made the flight as that was also delayed by half an hour.  Meanwhile we ran through one Terminal to another one holding our Heart in our hands, huffing and puffing ….  

Now, as we are coming out of Kayseri terminal, one Gentlemen approached me saying you must be YOGA Teacher ….. Yes!   I am Mehmood, brother-in-law of Serife, our host, who does NOT speak English, is waiting for us in his car.  We arrive at the Karuna YOGA Center!   Big sign on the top of the entrance.   When we get inside we saw pictures of OM, Shiva and YOGA Postures.  Well it is real YOGA Center …. Burcu, English Speaking Turkish YOGA Teacher was our interpreter in the beginning.   She said that Serife is asking whether we wanted to stay in Hotel ….. and my mind picked up the storm wondering what happened to “Don’t Worry” and "We will take care of everything … ???"  How am I going to find out whether their choice is reasonable as I dropped all the inquiries as where to stay, anywhere in Turkey …. I said can we stay with you?  Burcu said, “NO!”  as “ she has lots of animals to take care off in the evening ….!  So I said, then what's two more Animals!  She chuckled and said .... but after our return from Cappadocia, we will be staying with her family.  

Meanwhile Ayca called .. So I asked, can I talk to her?   “Ayca, you said that do not worry, everything will be taken care off .. and now they are asking whether we want to stay in Hotel?   She said, “let me talk to them …..”

Burcu:   What we mean is that sometimes people prefer to stay in Hotel … but there is Shower facility in the Center too .. we have a choice to stay in Center or we can stay with Serife …. Well then, we will stay with Serife that nite.   Staying with Turkish people will be real treat and chance for cultural exchange …  

My YOGA Class started at 5 PM for a couple of hours.  As we began our class, I was wondering whether Burcu will be interpreting.  One extremely beautiful young girl walked in and sat down and started interpreting as I was talking … extremely well, fluently, and gracefully …   with lively atmosphere ….  To me class went really well … I wish they would give me the CD of that Program as they did record it …..

Serife’s family took us for a dinner to a Grand Place.  We were joined by more family members like some 15 members in the group.   We enjoyed our Vegeterian meal and they did their Turkish delicacies.  We went to Serife's Home after the Dinner.  I showed how to do Mandukasan to her Brother-in-law, Mohammod who came to receive us at the airport.  Hopefully, it would help him control his Diabetes.  Of course, he would have to do it 11 rounds before Meal, 2 to 3 times a day.  It takes hardly 3 minutes each time, so it would be great investment of 6 to 9 minutes a day to help diabetes.   Just FYI:  My fasting Sugar level over 120 dropped to 86 in 2011 and 81 in 2012 after practicing for two months.   During a year, I was doing only once a day of 11 rounds is evidently NOT enough.   

Now, Niru asked Serife that whether she had Washer Dryer as we had some six days clothes to wash.  Our host graciously took care of washing, drying and even folding ... stayed up till 12:30 Mid-nite and asked us to go take rest.  Next day, morning, they served us nice Turkish Vegetarian Breakfast.   Around 8 AM, her Husband, Mohamood along with his nephew, who can converse with us in English, took us to Cappadocia region, some 100 KM.  Along the way, it was nice drive loaded with the natural beauty including some ice capped mountains.   They dropped us off to an Excellent hotel, on the edge of the Cappadocia Valley, next to King's Cave Palace.   I asked the Hostess as to next day morning, we wanted to go to valley to see the Balloons ... Just to see as ride is very expensive.  She why do you want to go there?  Those balloons would be flying over our hotel in the morning and you would get great close ups of the Balloon and see all the Balloons that gather in Valley from your room balcony.  Words cannot just describe the beauty of this Valley!!!

Our tour bus came to pick us up at around 10:30 in the Morning.   Took us in the Valley.  Visited many caves.    These caves and the underground cities were the hide outs for Early Greek Christians.   As we were told that Romans did not like that, so they were after Greeks who accepted Christianity earlier.  So to save their lives, Greeks were hiding out here.   The number was a few thousands.  A few caves had Church and may be Sunday School set up.   In one of the caves, as we were leaving, I saw a Credit Card on the ground, I picked up and called a Gentleman, who had just entered.... Sir, your Card ... He said that he did not drop it ... So I looked at the Card, which had my name on it??????

They also took us to some amazing Rock Formations, which looked like Animals, Birds etc.  We walked and walked ... all day long ... going up and down the hills from one Cave to next.... It is well worth it.  Came back to the gorgeous Hotel  ... The Best ever we stayed in ...  Next day morning another Bus tour was arranged by Burcu and Serife.   To-day we went underground City.  This one had, as I recall eight levels or layers of Residential facility.  They had unique air exchange ventilation system.   Another picturesque - colorful Valley, also some 3 miles walk by the river etc.  If you love nature and have money, its a 'The Must' visit.  In 2010, after Sanju-Trina wedding, in July, we visited Northen Ireland and we saw those Rock Formation of Giant Causeway.  How nature works wonders ...... How did Nature make perfect Geometrical shapes of Rocks and so many without Human hand touching .... Very Unique Rock formations ....

Upon return to our Hotel, nice Limousine was waiting for us to take us to Burcu and Arife's Home.  Again another 100 KM ride back to Kayseri ... When we came into Burcu's Home, we were awed to see.... my God, it looked like very affluent place  ... like a palace .....  She also invited Serife and Mehmood to join for Dinner.   Everything on the dining table was home made ... many kinds of bread, Cheese, even Honey ..... Arife is a businessman setting up Hydraulic Power Plants.    That night, Burcu took us for a walk around the property and we learned that they had some 6000 Acers of land around, with some 20 race horse training ground, some couple of hundred Goats and Sheep, X number of cattle's herd, they have a few hundred Bee-hives and they bottled and sell Honey, they also have Vinery ... so on and so forth.  It was night so, we could NOT see much but she took us to those places during daytime, the next day.  Now, I understand, what she meant the other day, that she had too many animals to take care of and two more could be a problem!!!!!

Brought back to Karuna YOGA Center and gave us ride through Kayseri Town.   Then to Airport for Istanbul.  Vow, that was the Royal Treatment.... Thanx to Dr. Nagendraji of VYASA, Ayca and YOGA connections.  

Let's see what is in-store for us in Istanbul?  Visiting the Main Host of Turkey ....

One English speaking Lady came to receive us at the airport.  Her name escapes my memory ....  We were already late for Niru's Program on Vegetarian Cooking for this YOGA group.  Istanbul YOGA Markeze (Center).  Ayca is the owner, Director, Yoga Teacher .. all in One!  We were asked how should we go there, by Taxi all the way (there is a normal evening huge traffic jam on the Bridge) or by Taxi, Boat, Taxi, Tramway and walk but if we shuffle, it could be quicker ... So let's shuffle !!!!!!!

There was a group of Enthusiastic Yoga Students awaiting our arrival.  Sri Raghuramji was there too.  It was Nice to see him there.  He is the one who introduced VYASA YOGA in July of 1998 to us.   Let's take a little diversion..... I was kind of scared to go to Turkey, Muslim Country ... as I had just read a Article in the Gujarat Samchar describing the Muslim Invasion on Bharat and they had committed atrocities on our people ... The early invaders were from Turkey and how they invaded our SomNath Shiva Temple 17 times and every time they came, the doors were studded with Diamonds, Gems and Precious Stone ... This is how prosperous India was then.   Then when I sent out a note to my contacts that if they had any contacts in Greece, Turkey and Zurich for those March dates, 10th through 23rd.  Nagendraji responded that VYASA has an affiliate Istanbul YOGA Center and he wrote to Ayca ... We exchanged a few e-mails then we talked on the phone and extensively on Skype.  When she kept saying that she will take care of our Turkey visit and DO NOT Worry!  Like Krishna says in Geeta ... Maa Shuch ... Just come to my surrender and I will exonerate you of all your sins and liberate you, Maa Such - Don't worry!  So I called RaghRamji and asked him what does this mean.   He said, she means exactly what she says.   Does that mean that I do not look for staying accommodations, travelling arrangements ... YES!  He added that after I visit Turkey, I will have different perspective  of the People ... So I did stop looking for any arrangements except for flying  ....   Whatever comes, we will welcome it .... Now let's go back to Istanbul  ...

Let's get back to that waiting Enthusiastic Group ... I was told that there are some two hundreds YOGA enthusiastic ... they have become Vegetarians and most of them have NOW Spiritual Sanskrit  names ... Like Anupama, Karuna, Bhavani ,,, and so on ... They are trailblazers .... charting a new course in Turkey ... A couple of years ago. some 3000 people attended YOGA Conference in Turkey.   I firmly believe that YOGA will bring people of all walks of life to Unity.  While YOGA stems from Vedic Culture, like our Guruji always emphasized that it takes us beyond, Egoism, so any and all 'ism, and that will bring Humanity together and be united.  Should we call that Humanism ... Love will become the law of life... Peace and Harmony will ensue .....

They had Vegetables, Rice and Lentils and they insisted to use their spices ... It took beyond  two hours to make    They jotted Instructions on the Black Board and also many taking Video ... So at around 10 PM, we had our Turkish Vegetarian Meal.   

We came to Ayca's apartment with two Bedroom.  She had one for her Guru Sri RaghuRamji and another one for us and she would sleep on either sofa or reclining chair.  As we entered place, the first most impressive thing that drew our attention is some five feet Picture of Lord Nataraja on the cloth!  There was a small alter on the floor that had Ram Parivar and I think.  Ganesh Moorti.   In her living room, on the coffee table I noticed the Book Vivek-Chudamani by Adi Shankaracharya .  So I aksed her, "Do you know the meaning of this Title?"  She retorted, "Crest Jewel of Wisdom!"   Many Indian may not even know the existence of this book, never mind the meaning!!!!!!    I said, I know only one Shloak from this Book:  Prasanna Chitte, Pramatma Darshanam!   She said that there are many more shloaks like that and I aught to read this book.  So that night, I read first 22 pages from that book ....  Now if and when I visit her again I will finish the rest of it !!!!! If I haven't read it by that time!  Now, look at her bookself!  Loaded with  hundreds of Shiva Books, like, Shiv Sutra (By a few different Authors), Shiv Puran, and so on.   Also many Shiva Chants CD's and DVD's.   By this time, Ayca had translated Geeta and Patanjali YOGA Sutra - Darshan into Turkish language and that is part of the requirements of her YIC (YOGA Instructors Course) Program.  In 2011, she also translated Karma YOGA (Secret of Actions) and Bhakti YOGA by Swami Vivekananda.   Ayca – Plz include all the work you have done so far!)

Next day, I had my YOGA Class @ 10 AM for 2 hours.  So we were wondering how we going to manage to see the Highlights of the City.  I had sent Ayca, our son, Sanjiv's list as to what we must see and eat etc.    After my class, Ayca personally was taking us to take City sightseeing places.  She said Maa Shuchah.- Do NOT worry.. She will personally manage.  As we were passing by a Bank, I mentioned to her, that can we stop by so that we can get Turkish Lira ... In many words, she said enjoy our Turkish Hospitality and don't reach for money in your pocket!!!!

That evening I asked Ayca, that if we have my Yoga Class from 10 -12 noon, how are we going to see Istanbul and how do we do that?   Wouldn't that be too late start the tour?  he said that she is going to take us.

Next day morning, as were walking to her YOGA Center, we were passing by Bank, so I asked her to stop by for money exchange.  She said no money ... Experience Turkish Hospitality!   We had our YOGA class along with the interpreter.   then she took us to Hagia Sophia and thru Blue Mosque.  Literally amazing display of art and sculptures.  Then she asked for going Indian Restaurant for Lunch.  We said that we wanted to try Turkish vegetarian dish.  After we went for Grand Bazzar.   Lots of people and beautiful displays of anything u need / want .... 

By the way, we had bought Baklava from Syntagma Square in Athens for our Turkish Hosts, only to find out that Baklava is Turkish Dish NOT Greek.  

That evening, after our visit, Ayca took us for Baklava Dinner.  She ordered plate full of many different varieties of Baklavas and we relished them among three of us.  

Next day morning, Ayca had assigned her friend, Billure to take us to the city and show us more places.  Billure showed us the list and the note Ayca had written to her as to where to cross the road and how to take care of us in details.  She said, I know all these things but Ayca wanted to make sure of it.  She also left money for her in that envelop!!!
Billure took us thru other interesting places Palace such as Harem Quarter.
In the evning upon our return to Auca's apartment, I asked Raghuramji as to how to pay Ayca!  He said she would NOT take it but you can offer to her Yoga Center.  That's what happened.  We offered $200/- Cash.    Ayca had arranged for Limo service to airport.   How much to pay him.  She said that it's already  taken care.

Now this is Turkish Hospitality!  Can anyone match it?

We highly appreciate Nagendraji, Raghuramji of VYASA, Ayca, Serife, Burchu,  for the Great, Memorable Experience  of Turkish Hospitality!  

NOTE:   I wrote this originally on Sept 11, 2014 and Modified it on March 2015 and again on March 30, 2017 – the auspicious day to finally Complete and publish it.

I hope you enjoyed reading patiently these six pages.  One of these days, when I learn how to upload beautiful pictures of different events of our life on Picasa, U will have to wait for this tour pictures.

Sudhir Parikh 603-661-7101 

Monday, August 15, 2016

PEARLS of WISDOM revised on Aug 15, 2016

PEARLS OF WISDOM!     For Art of Living!

HARI OM!              LISTEN TO ME!            HURRY HOME!

Revised August 15th 2016!

I write every so often about the interesting experiences I have.  So while they are fresh on my mind, I can save them as close to actual experience, the feelings and emotions prevailing at that time.  As we think that we can recollect them in future, usually I find the most important aspect of the incident, the sentimental value diminishes if not disappear.  I have a CALLING that I should WRITE my Autobiography.  An Autobiography of an Ordinary Person!  Everyone gets inspired by some philosophy or incidences in their life that drives them to take actions, which moulds their life and affects the life of people around them.  

This philosophy, we either have embraced or believe and strive to implement!   
They have deeply impressed our psyche.

Do not live beyond our means!  Reduce if not eliminate our wants.  Minimize our needs!
Save 16% of our income for better future.   Invest aggressively but not rashly.  
We all believe in enjoying life.  However, Satya Sai reveals the secret meaning of word, ENJOY!  He promotes The End of the Petty Joys.   Our scriptures say that because we are Bliss embodiment, unconsciously we are driven to seek pleasures out of everything.  

Dedicate 10% of our income or expenditure, for the betterment of Humanity.  Charity begins at home.  First help immediate family, then friends, community, one's faith, nationally and internationally.  Our Community also includes Hindus back home in Bharat. Why Hindus only? 
(For last 70 years, the Govt. has been Anti-Hindus?)

25% of Food expenses - donate to needy people.  

Devote minimum one hour a day, for Personal, Spiritual Growth.   I devote Mini 3 hours a day.

Health is Wealth:  Body is our Temple, mind is the inner sanctum where resides our Atma, a part and parcel of higher Divinity (GOD).  The nature of Atma is Sat -Truth, Chit - Knowledge and Anand - Bliss.  Truth is that we are not the Body and Mind but we are the very life Force - the Spirit – Soul.  That alone is Knowledge that leads us to experience of our self which is part & parcel of God, Param-Atma.  That experience is living in Bliss, effortlessly.  Paramhansa Yogananda says that any time not seeking the TRUTH is really wasted.  Like Satya Sai says that any time & energy not devoted to NamSamkirtan (chanting Lord's name and his qualities) tantamount to waste!  Morari Bapu emphasizes that this is the age of Nam Samkirtan for our Salvation.  Salvation is freedom from wants, desires leading to misery and unhappiness, 
eventually from the cycle of birth & death.  

Community Service:  Physically, we should devote 3 to 5 hours a week in the betterment of Humanity.  Work on leaving better world behind than you found it!   It is our Duty to learn & understand of all aspects of YOGA.  YOGA is NOT merely a practice of Asana, Pranayam and Meditation.  YOGA is the way of Living.  
What is Raj YOGA, Bhakti YOGA, Karma YOGA and Gyaan YOGA and 
how they can be integrated in every moment of our life.  
(Some call it an Art of Living!  In reality, it could be Art & Science of Living!)  
How the philosophy can be turned into practice every moment of life.  

Be the MASTER, not a SLAVE of our EMOTIONS!  

Live every Moment in Bliss!  Or Live in Blissful Awareness!

Friday, March 20, 2015

20 Spiritual Instructions by Swami Shivananda - May be 22

Sri Swami Chidananda has wonderfully explained these instruction in detail in his book 

20 Important Spiritual Instructions   By   Sri Swami Sivananda

These twenty instructions contain the very essence of all Yoga Sadhana, Karma (Action), Bhakti (Devotion), Jnana (Knowledge) and Yoga (Raj – Dhyaan) will all come to one who follows them whole-heartedly. They are the unfailing keys to quick and effective development and culture of the physical, mental, moral and spiritual self of man. 

1. BRAHMAMUHURTA Brahma – Divine, Godly; Muhurta – Auspicious time!                      Absorb in Divinity!!!  
Get up at 4 a.m. daily. This is Brahmamuhurta which is extremely favourable for Sadhana (Spiritual Practice!). Do all your morning spiritual Sadhana during this period from 4 a.m. to 6:30 or 7 a.m. Such Sadhana gives quick and maximum progress. 

2. ASANA - Posture (Sthiram – Steady, Sukham – Comfortable – pleasure giving, Chiram – stay in for long time like 3 hours is called Asana Siddhi – Perfection in that Posture!)
Sit on Padmasana (lotus pose), Siddhasana (adept's pose) or Sukhasana (any pose you like) for your Japa and meditation for half an hour, facing East or North. Increase the period gradually to three hours. Practice Sirshasana (headstand) and Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) for maintenance of health and Brahmacharya. Take light physical exercises as walking, etc., regularly. Do twenty (22) rounds of easy, comfortable Pranayama (breathing exercises). Do not strain yourself while doing Pranayama. 

3. JAPA Chanting (Ajapa Japa, Chanting as a second Nature!)
You can repeat any Mantra (sacred syllable), such as pure Om or Om Namo Narayanaya, Sri Ram, Sita Ram, Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram, Om Namah Sivaya OM, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya OM, Om Saravanabhavaya Namah OM, Hari Om, or Gayatri (a sacred Vedic Mantra), according to your taste or inclination, from 108 times to 21,600 times daily. (Meaning with every breath!) Devotees of Christ may repeat the name Jesus or Hail Mary, Mother of Jesus. Parsis, Sikhs and Muslims may select a name or Mantra from the Zend Avesta, Granth Sahib or Koran respectively.

4. DIETETIC DISCIPLINE  Yukta – Moderation, Aahaar (Food); Mita - (Suitable to your system healthwise, not for Taste) Aahaar! 
Take Sattvic food. Give up chillies, tamarind, garlic, onion, sour articles, oil, mustard, asafoetida. Observe moderation in diet (Mitahara). Do not overload the stomach. Give up those things which the mind likes best for a fortnight once or twice in a year. Eat simple simple food. Milk and fruits help concentration. Take food as medicine to keep the life going. Eating for enjoyment is a sin. Give up salt and sugar for a week or a fortnight or for ever!. You must be able to live on rice, dhal and bread without any pickle. Do not ask for extra salt for dhal, and sugar for tea, coffee and milk. People taking non - vegetarian diet should try their best to gradually give up flesh-eating as completely as possible. They will be immensely benefited. 

5. MEDITATION  (Dhyaan!)
Have a separate meditation room under lock and key. If this is not possible then a corner of the room should be set apart with a small cloth screen or curtain drawn across. Keep the room spotlessly clean. (Recommended by Swamiji 3 hours – twice a day!!!)

6. SVADHYAYA  (Adhyan - Study of Sva - Self!)
Study systematically the Gita, Ramayana, Bhagavatam, Vishnu-Sahasranama, Lalita-Sahasranama, Adityahridaya, Upanishads, Yoga Vasishta, Bible, Imitation of Christ, Zend Avesta, Quran, the Tripitakas, the Granth Sahib and other religious books from half an hour to one hour daily, and have Shuddha (pure) Vichara (thoughts). 

Get by heart some prayer - Slokas (prayer verses), Stotras (hymns) and repeat them as soon as you sit in the Asana before starting Japa or meditation. This will elevate the mind quickly. 

8. BRAHMACHARYA (Brahma – God, Charya – Behaviour / practice!)
Preserve the vital force (Veerya (seminal energy)) very, very carefully. Veerya is God in motion or manifestation (Vibhuti). Veerya is all power. Veerya is all money. Veerya is the essence of life, thought and intelligence. This instruction is not for bachelors only. Householders also must follow it as far as possible. They must be extremely moderate in their marital connections with their spouse. This is very important. 

Do charity regularly, every month, or even daily according to your means. Never fail in this item. If necessary forego some personal wants but keep up this charity regularly. 

Give up bad company, smoking, meat and alcoholic liquors entirely. Have constant Satsang (association with holy People, Scriptures, Thoughts, Actions). Do not develop any evil habits. Deliberately exert to develop positive virtuous qualities.   Avoid asuri - demonic tendencies.

11. FAST 
Fast on Ekadasi (11th day of the Hindu lunar fortnight) or live on milk and fruits only. Christians must fast on alternate Sundays, Muslims on alternate Fridays, and Parsis on a suitable day every fortnight. 

12. JAPA MALA Rosary
Have a Japa Mala (rosary) around your neck or in your pocket or underneath your pillow at night. This will remind you of God. Twirl the beads during your leisure. You should repeat the Name at all times, whatever task you may be engaged in. 

Observe Mouna (vow of silence) for a couple of hours daily. Do not make gestures and inarticulate noises during the period of silence. 

14. DISCIPLINE OF SPEECH (Satyam –Truth, Vadah – Speak, Priyam – Sweet, Vadah – Speak)
Speak the truth at all cost. Speak a little. Speak sweetly. Always utter encouraging words. Never condemn, criticize or discourage. Do not raise your voice and shout at little children or subordinates. 

Reduce your wants. If you have four shirts, reduce the number to three or two. Lead a happy, contented life. Avoid unnecessary worry. (Any worry is unneccesary and unhealthy – disastrus to Health!) Be mentally detached. Have Simple Living and High Thinking. Think of those who do not possess even one-tenth of what you have. Share with others. 

16. PRACTICE LOVE  Love is the LAW of Life!
Never hurt anybody. Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah (Non-injury is the highest virtue). Control anger by love, Kshama (forgiveness) and Daya (compassion). Serve the sick and the poor with love and affection. This is service of God. 

Do not depend upon servants. Self-reliance is the highest of all virtues. 

Think of the mistakes you have committed during the course of the day, just before retiring to bed (self-analysis). Keep a daily spiritual diary and self-correction register as Benjamin Franklin did. Maintain a daily routine and resolve-form. Do not brood over past mistakes. 

19. DO YOUR DUTY  (Dharmam – your Duty, Char – do it!)
Remember that death is awaiting you at every moment. Never fail to fulfil your duties. Have pure conduct (Sadachara). 

20. REMEMBER GOD (Chanting incessantly – Nirantara Smaran)
Think of God as soon as you wake up and just before you go to sleep, and at all other times whether engaged in any work or not. Repeat His Name always. Surrender yourself completely to God (Saranagati). Prappannata!
This is the essence of all spiritual Sadhana. It will lead you to liberation. All these spiritual canons must be rigidly observed. You must not give any leniency to the mind. No Tamas – Lazziness!

21.   Recite Hanuman Chalisha 11 times a day, 108 times once a month on Shivaratri nite (nite before no moon nite).  

22.  Tougue connected to Pallet (Khechari Mudra) (Asan), Deeper Slower Breathing (Pranayam), Mind focused in Agya Center in Blissful Awareness, mentally chanting incessantly OM-kar (in synch with Breathing! - Meditation).   (I have obsession with number 22, it signifies Perfection!  We ought to Strive for PERFECTION!))

May God Bless us.  

Note:  In Black and Blue is by Swamiji and in Red are my thoughts – reactions to that instruction.   Sudhir March 20, 2015    Happy Gudi Padwa,, 603-623-1930 / 603-661-7101

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Close Encounter with God! Power of Prayer! Relation of God, Guru - Disciple!

or Power of Prayer!  Relation of God, Guru-Disciple!
It was a beautiful morning of June 24, 1992; Linda Dessaint, one of my favorite Yoga students walked in my office.  As we were chatting about her plan to visit Ananda Ashram (Yoga Center in upstate New York) for July 4th weekend, I started leaning over to the left side. In order to prevent myself from falling down, I moved my left hand to rest on the table I was standing next to, but my hand started sliding as if it had no strength to support my body weight. I felt like my left side was just melting. Fortunately, my chair was just waiting to receive me and I just slumped into it. I knew then and there that something was happening beyond my control. I knew I had a blank look as if staring into nowhere. Linda had quizzical concerned look on and wondered whether I was okay! I remembered replying to her that I didn't know, but it was possible that it could be a reaction to overworking late nights for last couple of weeks, as I was trying to finish the book by my 'self - imposed' deadline. (Book was the English translation of Pujya Morari Bapu's Katha on 'Patanjali YOGA Sutra' from Gujarati.)  After a few moments Linda asked me again, "Sudhir, are sure that you are Okay? Should I call for help? I had realized at that point that my condition is beyond my control. I have definitely suffered a stroke. My left side was paralyzed. I nodded in agreement feeling helpless. She rushed outside the office to get hold off Sol Asmar (my peer) who had just passed by my office. He rushed to my office a kind of bewildered! "My God! He is having an heart attack!! I said mentally, "No no no! It's a stroke, not an heart attack! I know the difference." May be I was choked to say anything as I was thinking of my Guruji who had suffered a stroke and is still paralyzed with his right side for some seven years. "My Guruji is paralyzed on right side and me on left side. Boy! God really knows how to balance! The rescue squad responded practically in a flash (And I am very thankful to Bruce Randall and Greg Gillette for the timely and prompt response.)  (Working for OSARAM Sylvania, Hillsboro NH)
They lowered me to the floor on the stretcher. Greg asked me to squeeze his fingers, raise my leg and bend my knee; but there was no response on my left side. That confirmed my suspicion that my left side was paralyzed. I was speechless emotionally at first then physically in the Ambulance. I knew that I was fully conscious throughout the whole ordeal. I gestured to give me something to write so that I can give answer to their inquiries and I did. "I thought off and asked to have someone get in touch with my wife." I was told that she had been contacted and someone will bring her to the hospital. "I wanted to see Rajiv, my first son, right away and I asked them to inform him." (Even today (10/26/92) I get choked thinking about that.) Next thing I knew that I was being taken to hospital. I was having severe pain in my right side of neck as if it was like a tight rope in spasm. I was massaging. Greg asked, "does it hurt you there?' I nodded. "Well, I am not a good masseur but I can try." I did feel better! "Sudhir, just relax! Everything will be fine. (I felt as if it was my own echo, as I considered myself an apostle of "RELAX"! This is the central theme of my message to all my Yoga students.) "Sudhir, we are taking the back road as the main highway has traffic jam...We will be there in no time..... Here we are approaching the emergency entrance ..... They will take good care of you!          "
The doctor checked for my responses on my left side but to no avail. Then I was taken for CT SCAN test. I wear rosary made up of RUDRAKSH beads and I had been chanting along the way. My mind is trained to begin chanting especially under adverse circumstances. I was told that I looked a kind of scared as I was taken through the emergency entrance. I started chanting my favorite Hanumaan Chalishaa (Forty stanza prayer to Lord Hanumaan. It started coming in a kind of scattered instead of in proper sequence. I jumped to one of my favorite stanza, "Sadhu Sant ke Turn Rakhavare, Asur Nikandan Ram Duare (you are the protector of Saints & monks and with your blessings all the evil forces are destroyed.). I thought of Pujya Shri Moran Bapu (Contemporary Saint from India). Once someone suggested to him to entertain a possibility of having a police protection, as he makes political remark at times. He responded that it would mean he does not have faith in God. If Lord Hanuman is there to protect saints and good people why should he be concerned about his protection. Ashth Siddhi Nav Nidhi ke data. (You are the bestow-er of eight kinds of power and nine kinds of wealth .....) 

Then the one way conversation with GOD followed:
"God, what's happening! I am neither a saint nor a monk I know that. You are supposed to protect them. But you know that I am doing a lot of good work in your service. Won't you take care of me, now that I am down! I am not looking for any powers though you are known to bestow them. I see my dreams shattering in front of my eyes if I don't get better. Who is going to carry on the work I am doing. If you think I am not doing your work the way you want me to then why didn't you steer me in the right direction? Why didn't you correct my wisdom? If you think my work is finished and it is someone Else's turn, it is acceptable to me. Well, if I don't get better, then it is your LOSS. I know I have been serving you in the manner I think is best. If you didn't like it then you ought to have corrected my wisdom. Lord, at least do not take my speech away as I do not want to stop singing your glory. That is my life. I just put you on the top of the mountain last night (Front cover of my book.) and I am laying on the ground today helplessly. Won't you pick me up?"                                         
Next thing I knew, there was a tremendous surge of energy, starting with intense white glow of light in the head. In a flash of a moment, it gushed down the spinal cord like a bolt of lightning and went to the left side of the body. I felt the life coming back to left side. I picked up my left forearm, and clasped my fingers, in utter amazement, cracking my knuckles to make sure that I wasn't dreaming. I lifted my left leg. I slid my knee up but could not control lowering it.. It just dropped. Well, it had not been restored completely!                                                                                                                  I was brought out in the waiting area where I would meet my folks. First person I saw walking was my wife and next one along with her was my x-secretary and friend Ginny. Then Laura Alves, my secretary, Cheryl & Don.  The first person I had expected to meet from my workplace was Ginny! My speech was also restored. When I saw Don Meuse, my Foreman, I jokingly said, "what are you doing here? I am all right! Go back to work and make some money for me!!"  Doctor walked in and asked me to make a decision whether I wanted to stay in that hospital or move to Manchester hospital, which was near my house. I asked whether I can go home. He said that he would have to run some tests to see whether I have recovered enough. He asked me to stand up and close my eyes after bringing my feet together. I started leaning and falling leftward and took support of my stretcher-bed. Then doctor said, "Sorry, not yet." As I insisted to go home, he said he would come back to check on me in half an hour. My thinking was if anything would happen to me, let it happen in my Home temple, but not in the hospital.  I prayed God, whatever you did before, do it again!  As we were chatting, the surge of energy started coming again. So I asked everyone standing around to pay attention to the heart monitor - Oscilloscope and notice any changes taking place. The surge would not last more than probably ten seconds. The energy began in the head, like explosion of light, as if thousands of Suns shining together.... going down through spine zapping the left side and ended in quivering the left leg. Ginny reported that the Heart Beat Rate (HBR) rose from 50 to 71 and abruptly drop to 50 again, every time I said that it was over. This phenomena repeated four to five times. I mentioned to Cheryl that this may be the experience of Kundalini awakening, (Cheryl has been my regular Yoga student and has had discussions on this subject matter.)  I realized then that the surge in energy was really fixing my left side, especially the uncontrolled lowering of the knee. I verified that before the arrival of the doctor. When I mentioned that if I did not recover, the book I had been working so hard to complete would be my gift to the world. I saw Laura (my secretary) emotionally choking and welling up with tears. The doctor arrived again for a retest "And this time," He said, "You convinced me to allow you to send home!" Well, I was released!

The next day, we decided for me to fly to Maryland to be under the care of my concerned Drs. Bhasker and Rita Jhaveri (my brother-in-law & his wife). They work for Shanti Medical Center in Leonardstown, Md., which has been fully equipped with modern facilities. They took all the necessary tests, including another CT SCAN of my brain as well as of my neck, sonograms of carotid arteries which supplies blood to the face and brain, also for the heart and kidney, put me on 24-hour heart monitor, and number of blood tests, and EEG (Electroencephalogram) test for brain. These tests revealed that there is a spur on the sixth vertebra, which would explain the tingling I have been experiencing for quite sometimes, a slightly higher red blood cell count, which would be a cause for a concern for me being a vegetarian and higher cholesterol level of 225.  Most important of all, the news was that there was no damage caused to the brain, and all the major organs of the body were in good healthy condition.

A few calls were received in Maryland from concerned friends. Vipinbhai and Nirmalben really touched my heart when they said, "Sudhirbhai, please take care of your health... we need you... if something happens to you who is going to take care of SATSANG (The Indian community organization)... we love the activities of SATSANG... you have to get better for us..."These raised two major concerns, one about my well-being that it was not just for me or my family anymore but also for friends and community at large, and second was that I have yet to inspire enough community friends to be selfless for the cause of SATSANG.
In order to respond to the first need, I must reduce my weight at least by 17 pounds, which I half halfheartedly had been struggling for a few years mainly through increased level of exercises. I am determined to pursue an all out efforts especially of dieting along with specific neck and abdominal exercises. The big incentive came from Rita, my challenging doctor, to have a bet to reduce four pounds in one month. When I went back to Maryland again after one month for further follow up tests, I was exhilarated to find losing seven pounds! Boy that made me feel good. Who wouldn't by beating your doctor! My plan has been attached herewith for your benefit. Dear ones, I must tell you one thing: please get rid of that excess weight. It cannot help you. It can only hurt you silently. While waiting in the doctor's office I came across one article in Readers' Digest on THIN THIGHS. Eighty percent of the weight reduction comes from proper diet and other twenty from exercise. To me I proved it.
New blood test found the red blood cell count within limits. I passed the Treadmill Stress test with flying colors!
More on weight reduction: I was so excited with my program that I decided to continue and I earned the gift of shedding another eight pounds. I have decided to go for another 6 to 10 pounds. When I went to Germany I gained 4 pounds back in only 4 days. Another point of interest is that I have gone up to practically 80 to 100% of my normal amount of food I used to take. I came up with two conclusions, one that amount of water plays very important role. It took me two weeks .to get rid of those four pounds and I seem to maintain the weight even though I have increased the food intake. In Germany I did not take enough water that may be the cause of the gain.   Two month later I went to Japan for a week. I ate a lot more than normal but kept up with plenty of water. As a result, in my opinion, I did not gain any weight. Isn't this very interesting?
The trauma continued for at least another month: After one week of initial testing I returned home and decided to resume normal life against the will and orders of my concerned doctors. The only restriction I honored was to avoid driving and to some dietary restrictions. A week later I had planned to go on vacation including going to listen to Bapu (Saint from India) for four days and then travel to Chicago and then fly back & forth to Detroit on the same day. I stuck to my original plan. My family is also very courageous to honor my wishes. The thinking I had was that if I stayed home I would have plenty of time to think negatively about the possibility of another attack and it was possible to be victim of self-fulfilling prophecy. At times I had lot of apprehensions. "Am I too naive, stupid or really courageous!" For first 10 days or so, I would get tremendous quivering and a kind of jolts in my left leg especially in the morning. A few times I felt very weak with strange painful sensations all over the body. Almost every time I got strange feeling as if I was going to fall over, my left side would turn very cold. One thought I kept entertaining was that nothing was going to happen to me. God has taken over my health and I have surrendered to his wishes. I had set an alarm to sound off every eleven minutes to remind me to check my thoughts. I had to maintain positive thoughts and make sure that my mind was on the right thinking track and also engage in chanting.
I had finished the book and had just enough copies printed for the kathaa.
I talked to Guruji about this incident. He advised me to keep my mind very strong whenever I do not feel right, He advised me to lay down at that time and enjoy, but do not be afraid. "You have been blessed. God has been pleased with you." He confirmed that since I was conscious during the whole ordeal, it was the awakening of the serpent power, Kundalini.

When Arunbhai Desai, an astrologer friend heard about my condition, he asked me for my birth chart. I am always eager for an astrological analysis of important event such as this mishap. He came up with, amazingly analysis enough for skeptics, practically same physiological causes as discovered by my doctors, including some of the symptoms, I have been suffering for some times. He asserted that according to my astrological aspects, I should be crippled or incapacitated at this time.
Only God's or Guru's grace can save me!  He warned me to really take care of my health and not to ignore any symptoms. He saw danger. If I get another attack, I would be permanently retired!! And there is the strong possibility till May 1993. I resolved to continue my strong sense of TOTAL SURRENDER to God. If God spared me this time, he will take care of my well-being but I must not deter from my work and must not allow myself for any kind of sympathy or self-pity. That does not mean to disregard any precautions I have been taking to reduce my weight and practice of Yoga, Meditation and Aerobic conditioning. Symptoms such as left hand fingers tingling and twisting, left leg falling to sleep or an occasional quivering in my left leg still persist till today, 11/17/92, but the frequency has diminished greatly. I went on to my business trips to Germany and to Japan just to keep life normal. I am keeping up with my very hectic social/community activities for the same reasons. Astrologers are usually very good and accurate for the past events. So I decided to check the significant event of early 70's. "Arunbhai asked me whether I had any heart attack? I said, 'NO'. Did your Guru had one? 'Yes, he did!!!' Well that was my heart attack not his! ! ! !" My Guru suffered from heart attack on March 6th, his birthday, year may be 1974. And I was informed from two separate sources the possibility of that interpretation at that time. Vilma Devine (We called her Grandma) called me after the attack, that she met Guruji and asked him that how come he suffered an Heart Attack as he is YOGI?   Guruji replied that He took away someone's heart Attack as he has lots of work to do in future. Then I asked Babubhai Gandhi, great Astrologer friend, the same evening, whether he was available to go to see Guruji the next day.  Babubhai said that Guruji took away my heart attack!  
I mustered my courage to ask Guruji on Jan 18, 1993, some 19 years later, whether that was true. I could not face to see the expression on his face.  His eyes were filled with tears.  I put my head in his lap and I cried like a baby! He patted my back. I turned my face up and asked him, "Why do you have to do that and suffer on account of me!"  He got Raman Maharshi's book and opened the page for me to read. (He found that page in no time!) That page talked about the oneness of Guru and God and the reason for blessing the devotee in time of crisis. 
To the best of my recollection, that chapter emphasized:  
 1.  Before one accepts someone as Guru, make sure to check out. 
2.  But once you accept someone as your Guru, regardless of the Character or behavior of Guru, you stick with him.  
 3.  It is God, NOT Guru, who decides to descend his grace or mercy to save one and he acts through Guru.   (This reminds me off this incident. One time after the Morning Meditation, he asked if anybody had any question. He looked at me in anticipation. After I asked the question, he picked the book on "Silent Explosion" by Acharya Rajneesh. He opened the page and handed that book to an American follower, George Bailan, to read. To my utter amazement the chapter on that page started with exactly the same question verbatim.)
I interpret this experience as a blessing of God, as the lightening originated in the head first and then traveled to the left side. If the surge of energy had started from the Muladhar, the first psychic center, and traveled upward then I would say that it would be awakening of Kundalini as a result of Yoga practice. This is not the field of my expertise, and probably God wants me to get some experience! Whatever the case may be "It is thine not mine, WILL that shall prevail and I shall willingly and happily welcome it." One of my YOGA students revealed the similar experience he had but had kept in secrecy as he did not know how it would be received by others. Within a week after my experience, I heard on TV CNN Headline News that there some 8000 reported cases in United States had the similar experience of WHITE GLOW in their head but no available explanation. People hesitate to discuss these kinds of experiences in open as it seems strange. Accomplished Yogi or Guru can explain and guide them. The very purpose of writing this article is to bring it out in open. I would like to hear from you, if you have had similar experiences.
Some important dates:  
 1.  I met Guruji in summer of 1972 in New York City Studio.    Vilma Devine took me there and introduce me to Guruji.  Guruji asked me to come to Ananda Ashram on next Sat.  He said that he would have something interesting to show me, I being an engineer.  I went there and he demonstrated a Japanese Toy car powered by Solar panel on the roof.  Then he talked about how YOGIs in India used their palms to gather the solar energy and energize their systems such that they did not need to eat.   I was attracted by Guruji.   
 2.  He took away my Heart Attack on March 6th 1974.    
3.  I asked for Initiation by him as my Guru and accept me as his disciple on July 7th, 1977.    
4.   June 24th, 1992:  Hanumaanji blessed me with White Light and averted my crisis.   
5.  Jan 18th, 1993, Guruji confirmed that his Heart attack of 1974 was my attack, he took away.  So he knew that I am destined to do something of importance and also he was My Guru before I requested him to initiate me.         
I waited 22 years to publicize this as it coincides with our Anand Ashram's 50th Anniversary.  Hopefully this would inspire the readers that there is a Divine Force, we call it God!   There is a purpose (Mission) in our life and the importance or roll of Guru in our life!                                     
 May GOD BLESS US!    Revised June 24, 2014   
SUDHIR PARIKH, 169 Daniel Plummer, GOFFSTOWN, NH 03045 603-623-1930.,,

Guruji:  Dr. Ramamurti S. Mishra, later known as Brahmananda Sarsvati- Baba Bhagvandas
Founder and Guru of  Yoga Society of NY.
I have come across many Guru like Personalities in my life and I believe that whenever my Guruji wants me to learn something different or more, they come in my life and Guruji works through them.  I consider Swami Vivekananda - Shree Ramkirshna Paramhansa as my first Spiritual Guru.  Then Parmahansa Yogananda-Yukteswarji, Lahiri Mahashaya, Babaji.  Mahatma Gandhi.  Swami Shivananda.  Living Gurus I met in this life: Besides Guruji, Pujya Shree Morari Bapu, Bhagvan Sri Satya Saibaba, Swami Chinmayananda, Grand Master Choa Kok Sui - MahaGuruji Mailingji, Dr. Nagendraji & RaghuRamji of, Last but NOT least Baba Ramdev.