Summer 2014 Trip to the NY Arunachala Ashram for Guru Purnima – Part 2

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Guru Purnima was celebrated in friendship and joy among Bhagavan Ramana devotees on Sunday, July 13 at the NY Arunachala Ashram. A large gathering of devotees attended the puja. By late afternoon, when the main Pooja was ending, many devotees had arrived for the dinner/prasad.

Here are some pictures of devotees on the day of Guru Purnima conversing joyfully and eating. The times given on the pictures are approximately one hour ahead. The ordering of the pictures is from later in the day with everyone eating prasad at the end of puja to earlier in the day with people having breakfast at the start of Guru Purnima.

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The Guru pooja was supported by the hard work and efforts of Bhagavan devotees who live in the NY area and the many devotees who had arrived from other places in the U.S. and Canada. I even met one devotee who was visiting from Poland.

OM Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya

Namaste and love to all

Summer 2014 Trip to the NY Arunachala Ashram for Guru Purnima – Part 1

Seeking Satsang with other Bhagavan Ramana devotees, on July 12, my daughter and I arrived at the Arunachala Ashram in Jamaica, NY, for Guru Purnima scheduled for Sunday, July 13.

Bhagavan Shrine at the NY Arunachala Ashram

We had visited the Arunachala Ashram in Nova Scotia, Canada, in the summer of 2013 and had very fond memories of that. We soon met and were greeted by some of the residents of the Ashram including Margo-ji, Ran-ji, Bhandu-ji, and Dennis-ji.

SRI DENNIS-JI

DENNIS-JI STANDING WITH MIRA-JI

VIRAT-JI (AKA BHANDU-JI) PREPARING AN EXCELLENT DINNER

VIRAT-JI (AKA BHANDU-JI) PREPARING AN EXCELLENT DINNER

After our arrival, we were introduced to Komal-ji who is around 92 years old. Komal-ji is a Bhagavan Ramana devotee and used to visit Bhagavan between 1940 and 1950.

KOMAL-JI

KOMAL-JI SITTING IN THE ASHRAM LIBRARY

Komal-ji was kind to speak with us and showed us Bhagavan Ramana’s shrine and demonstrated Pradakhina by going around Bhagavan’s statute. Komal-ji is a warm and beautiful soul and it was quite a privilege to spend time with him.

KOMAL-JI

KOMAL-JI IN BHAGAVAN’S SHRINE DOING PRADAKSHINA

Soon after our arrival, Dr. Ram-ji, whom I knew and had met, also arrived. Janet-ji, another Bhagavan devotee whom I had met before, had already arrived a few days earlier. Here are some of the pictures of the devotees who had come from all over the U.S. and Canada for the Guru Purnima at the NY Arunachala Ashram. These photos were taken on July 12.

KRISHNAN-JI AND VIRAT-JI

KRISHNAN-JI AND VIRAT-JI

DR. RAM-JI

DR. RAM-JI

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While conversations were ongoing, some devotees started setting up the tables for dinner that Virat-ji was cooking.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, KOMAL-JI, ARTHUR-JI, RAM-JI, AND MARGO-JI

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, KOMAL-JI, ARTHUR-JI, RAM-JI, AND MARGO-JI

JANET-JI, ARTHUR-JI, AND RAM-JI

JANET-JI, ARTHUR-JI, AND RAM-JI

MARGO-JI, ARTHUR-JI, RAM-JI, AND JANET-JI

MARGO-JI, ARTHUR-JI, RAM-JI, AND JANET-JI

ARTHUR-JI AND RAM-JI

ARTHUR-JI AND RAM-JI

 Soon, Virat-ji (AKA Bhandu-ji) and other devotees had prepared a dinner for all of us. I was quite hungry after a long day of travel.

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 The Devotees enjoying their dinner at the Ashram.

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Virat-ji sitting down after cooking and enjoying the dinner.

VIRAT-JI EATING DINNER

VIRAT-JI EATING DINNER

Many people went back for second helpings. I went back to the dinner table three times, possibly more. Eating this divine food was most blissful.

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Here, I am posing with my daughter during the dinner.

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Dinner was followed by puja, meditation, and reading. Thus ended July 12, our first day at the Ashram. July 13, the next day was Guru Purnima. I charged my camera at night. Look for more pictures during Guru Purnima in the next part.

 

The Enlightenment Business: Wisdom For Sale

Originally posted on Luthar.com:

By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Dr. Luthar listening to a presentation

Religion and spirituality today are a big business. Generally the spiritual teachers, preachers, and the so called enlightened masters of the day are really motivational speakers and self styled self-help expert who are engaged in entrepreneurial ventures aimed at financial and commercial success.  Every year people spend billions of dollars buying the books, CDs, and self-help programs offered by such teachers.

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In Memoriam: Dr. Suryanarayana Raju

Dr. Suryanarayan Raju

Our friend and Bhagavan Ramana devotee Dr. Suryanarayana Raju left the body a few days ago. I never met Dr. Raju face to face, although we had talked about such a meeting happening at Arunachala in India. Our friendship was based on our common spiritual interests and the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

I had interacted and corresponded with Dr. Raju over a number of years. I also edited and published several of Dr. Raju’s articles on luthar.com. I found Dr. Raju to be extremely bright, highly cultured, courteous, and respectful of everyone.  Dr. Raju exuded warmth, love, and was always generous and kind in his words towards me personally. He was most considerate and I felt much love, respect, and affection for Dr. Raju as well.

Dr. Raju had such an excellent command of Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings that editing his articles was a labor of love. Whenever I finished editing any one of his articles and published it, Dr. Raju would invariably write me and be very complementary saying that I had truly added value to his article. He was a most thoughtful and caring person even in small things.

It was on January 3, 2012 in the evening when Dr. Raju communicated to me in confidence that he was in very grave health facing serious medical conditions. After further exchanges, it became clear that his condition was likely terminal. One time Dr. Raju wrote to me that love from his friends like myself kept him going. After that, Dr. Raju did not discuss his health much. At the beginning of this year (2014), Dr. Raju wrote me and wished me a happy new year. I told Dr. Raju that he was in my thoughts.

Dr. Raju was a prolific writer and is well known to the devotees of Bhagavan Ramana. He was the author of the book ‘The Art of Self Enquiry’ and had written a commentary on Bhagavan Ramana’s Upadesa Saram (Essence of Instruction). Dr. Raju was very active on Yahoo Groups and also later became active on Facebook in explaining Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings. Any Bhagavan devotee would be impressed with the depth and subtlety of Dr. Raju’s insights on the Eastern traditions.

Dr. Raju served as a moderator on the Ramana Maharshi Page on Facebook and offered many beautiful verses from Bhagavan’s teachings along with eloquent explanations. His primary focus in recent years was to translate works of Bhagavan Ramana in Telugu as there are so many Telugu speakers in India. He also translated and commented on many of Bhagavan Ramana’s original works in English. At the time of his passing, Dr. Raju was still a moderator of the RM page but had become less active due to his health.

I am grateful for Dr. Raju’s friendship. I was glad to have the opportunity to complete editing many of Dr. Raju’s articles and publish them on luthar.com. Although English was not Dr. Raju’s native language, his command of the subject was so masterful that he was able to use English effectively to express himself well to those who understood the teachings of Sri Ramana.

Dr. Raju was a man of substance. Such spiritual friends as Dr. Raju are truly to be treasured. I will miss my friend and always think of him with much love and many smiles.

My condolences to Dr. Raju’s family and friends
Namaste and Love to all
Harsh K. Luthar

Self-Inquiry or Atma Vichara: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Originally posted on Luthar.com:

Self-Inquiry, also known as Atma Vichara in Sanskrit, is based on a philosophy that has its origins in the ancient teachings of Advaita Vedanta. Advaita is based on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and is found in a number of other scriptures that are considered sacred by the Hindus. Advaita means nonduality, the ultimate Oneness that pervades or underlies everything.

Essentially Advaita implies that even though there is a diversity of phenomena, it has its origins in God and that ultimately everything not only exists in God but also resolves itself into God. According to Advaitic sages, the nature of God is Sat-Chit-Ananda. Sat means Existence. It is the nature of God to Exist. Chit means Knowledge. It is the nature of God to Know. Ananda means spontaneous Joy. The nature of God is Bliss or Joy.

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What Is Witness Consciousness? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Originally posted on Luthar.com:

Anandmayi Ma with Swami Yoganand

Witness consciousness as a concept and a spiritual practice has become better known now in the West. In the psychology of Advaita and Yoga of thousands of years ago, it has always been a fundamental tool for self development and self understanding on the path to Self-Realization.

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Wisdom Eye: The True Guru: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Originally posted on Luthar.com:

“Who is a master? He is the Self after all.” Ramana Maharshi

The company of peaceful Sages (Satsangha) and living in Ahimsa (harmlessness) is considered the primary influence that leads to Self-Realization. The forced attempts to discard various habits and conditioning and practicing different techniques to calm the mind have built in limitations. However, such methods can be pursued with benefit if one is already inclined towards these practices.

When strong inner motivation is present, one is automatically propelled towards Self-Awareness and Meditation. The fog of confusion then quickly evaporates and leads to Self-Seeing, Self-Being, Self-Realization, and Silence of the Heart.

Meditation and mind calming methods, can be effective at many different levels if practiced in the context of a clear understanding. Such practices, however, cannot by themselves end the fundamental agitation of the mind which continues at more and more subtle levels and causes suffering.

The nature of the…

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