Friday, April 29, 2011

Isn't it Obvious? Bal/Balika Go To Move #3: Stories with Holes

This week in Balika/Bal 2 sabha, we look at bad guys. In the drama we saw in sabha when we were young, they all usually had long oily mustaches and they had one more thing in common: they did not get that Maharaj was Bhagwan, an obvious fact all of us know. We will also explore Bal/Balika Go To Move #3: Stories with Holes and use this as a case study with this presentation.

Simple Message: Due to ego, these “bad guys” all failed to realize Maharaj’s greatness. Prasang Pick one or two out of the three bad guys in the syllabus and practice your storytelling techniques to get the point across that ego caused these "bad guys" to not see Maharaj as Bhagwan, even though they had direct access to Him. The creativity tips have some ideas on grabbing attention. Unexpected / Go To Move: Stories with Holes Stories with Holes are short mystery stories which seem to not make sense because an obvious fact of the story has been withheld. The sabha audience can ask “yes” or “no” questions in order to piece together the clues to figure out the obvious fact. Here are some examples:

  • Balak was drawing on a piece of white paper, but nothing appeared. How? He was drawing with a white crayon
  • Jatin breaks into a house in the middle of the night, but the owners of the house are happy to see him. What happened? Steve’s a firefighter.
  • There was a fire in a house, the firemen did not come and the house did not burn down. Why not? The fire was in the fireplace.
  • A man's wife got all of the packages out of the car even though the windows and doors were closed and locked. It was a convertible
However here is our favorite. We told this story about seven months ago and our Bal Mandal kids still remember it - it is that sticky. A kaka is eating dinner (prasad) after sabha. He gets up and asks a balak who is handing out water for a glass. The balak looks at the kaka, then takes out a gun and points it at the kaka. The kaka says “Thank you,” and sits back down. Can you guess the answer? Keep reading the answer is somewhere below. Usage Hint: DO NOT START WITH THESE STORIES These stories are sticky, in fact they are too sticky. We found that when we started with these stories, the kids loved them. They wanted more. They enjoyed sabha, BUT the only thing they remembered was this story not the point of sabha. When we lead with a prasang and then went to this story and then tied it back to the original prasang, we got better retention of the simple idea. Relate to the Message: After playing just ONE game of stories with holes, tie it back to the prasang right away. This is critical. Example: At first, it’s hard to come up with an explanation for these stories. However, once we know the missing facts, it almost seems obvious. In the same way, Jagjivan had a hard time understanding that Maharaj was Bhagwan. His best friend and his wife knew this, but he could not get it. Just like when we started playing this game, nobody could understand why that balak pulled a gun on that kaka, we could not get it like Jagjivan could not get it. However after we figured out that he had the hiccups, it became obvious. Jagjivan's best friend and wife had faith and believed that Maharaj was Bhagwan, they got it, it was obvious to them. Now if the kids really want to play another game of story with holes, you can but as soon as that is over, tie it back to your simple message. This technique is powerful, maybe a bit too powerful - wield it wisely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Progress through Patience

This week, we explore the theme of dhiraj (patience) in kishore-kishori sabha. Let's put our patience to practice by preparing for this upcoming presentation.

Step 1: Synthesize the simple statement - the message we want the audience to retain.
  • Mastering patience will help us master life.
  • Patience is the mother of all virtues.
  • Patience is the path to earning raajipo. 

Step 2: Start with the shakeup. Break expectations with an example of patience
  • Zen Master - This example in the syllabus provides a strong segway into the topic itself.
  • College Reject - Max applied to two colleges - Stanford and University of California-Berkeley; he got rejected from the first (his dream school) and accepted by the latter for the spring, not the fall. Instead of crying foul or accepting the result, he wrote a blog post about how he was going to get into Stanford and ended up being accepted the following year. The juicy details about how he did it make this story all the more interesting to hear.
  • One Elephant vs. Pack of Lions - We can only imagine the odds of how this battle would pan out in the end, yet this elephant defied the odds through its patience. Watch (6:45-8:45) as how two wildlife photographers shot this amazing footage in Africa one cold and seemingly cruel night.  

Step 3: Support the simple statement with stories filled with detail and credibility. This step requires that we choose a simple statement to serve as the cornerstone of our presentation; if we skip this part, then our presentation will be in shambles. For the examples below, we chose to link to the first simple statement, "Mastering patience will help us master life."
  • The Addict - Pramukh Swami Maharaj sought to help Atul conquer his addiction which morphed from heroin to opium to alcohol. We have to wonder why Swamishri would waste his time and energy counseling someone who drifted from one drug to another when he could easily spent that time and energy showering his compassion on what we would consider more deserving haribhakto. Still, Swamishri did not give up because he knew that in conquering his addiction, Atul would develop the patience that would sustain him through any other difficulty in life. Drugs alter our brain chemistry, and to rewire our brains to overcome these issues would indeed require developing a strong sense of patience - one that would inevitably come in handy again for Atul as he came across future difficulties.
  • Patience = Opportunity - In the January 2011 issue of Swaminarayan Bliss (p.5-6), we see a counter-example; Shriji Maharaj did not lose his patience with Dada Khachar even when he failed to understand Maharaj's warning that he was in danger. We all know the story of Chicken Little and how frustrated he may have felt with trying to communicate to others the coming of the end - the same feeling we would predict to be running through Maharaj who was God Himself trying to protect one of His most beloved devotees. However, the fact that He does not lose his patience reveals to us one way patience helps us master life - by giving us the opportunity to appreciate others. Muktanand Swami expresses this sentiment in comparing Dada Khachar's apparent apathy with that of Arjun's state of serenity; both lost their desires and sense of being in the presence of God. While we may be tempted to lose our patience with others, we fail to see their virtues and in doing so feel our life to be disheartening as we let our impatience fester. Moreover, Shriji Maharaj does lose his patience with Jiva Khachar, an individual who fails to appreciate Dada Khachar's true nature. He goes so far as to devalue all that Jiva Khachar performed in the way of seva - the cost of scheming against a fellow devotee. 
  • Mango Trees - In the January 2011 issue of Swaminarayan Bliss (p.18), P. Mahant Swami noted that Yogiji Maharaj blessed two mango trees for doing penance for 10,000 years at one devotee's farm. To perform a focused puja every morning proves to be a difficult task in and of itself, yet to perform penance for so long is truly remarkable. In performing this penance, those jivas not only mastered patience but also the punya needed to attain the Satpurush. Again, we see how patience helps us master life, for we need the Satpurush's blessings to make this our final one.
In short, patience plays a powerful role in what we do at mandir. Nurturing and mentoring our fellow haribhakto requires that we continue chipping away at complacency and creating an environment for growth. All that falls on how well we communicate, which is why patience is integral to our ability to present and execute an excellent sabha.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bal/Balika Mandal Go To Move #2: Call and Response Jay Naad

Continuing on our go to methods for Bal / Balika Mandal, today's method is a favorite of sanchalaks and kids everywhere - but one that the sabha in the next room does not like so much. It involves screaming loudly which really wakes up the kids and frustrates the sabha next door.

Essentially have the kids scream the Jay Naad as loud as possible. Anytime you feel the focus of sabha slipping just say "Swaminarayan Bhagwan ni!" and listen for the loud Jai. Spend time making it louder in the beginning and it will be a great go to move during sabha.  This does several things:

  • Gets blood flowing
  • Gets all anxious energy out, a release
  • Drowns out all outside noise and sound that may distract
  • Stops the kids who are talking from talking since nobody can here them (and they want to scream as well).
  • Let's kid be loud, something they are good at.
Introduce this right in the beginning of sabha during Jay Naad. Test it out several times during the beginning when everyone is paying attention by randomly saying "Swaminarayan Bhagwan ni!" mid sentence. Like Mock the Clap it will take a few iterations to get everyone on board.

  • Response on another phrase. I say Swami / you say Bapa. Tie the phrase with the topic of the week. For example if the topic of the week is honesty. Try Never/Lie. Randomly yell out Never, everyone else yells out Lie.
  • Instead of a response by voice, try a response by action. Every time you say Swaminarayan Bhagwan ni Jay - everyone has to fold their hands. Make it game. First one that folds hands get a point.. Keep a running total. Get a prize. This works well if you do not want to disturb the sabha next door by being loud.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

House or Home

Where is your house? Where is your home? What is the difference?
These are simple questions. Simple enough for a Balak or Balika to understand. However the implication are deep. We once asked this question in Bal sabha and Rohan, age 10, whose dad was a financial consult proceeded to remind the sabha that a home is any structure that you can live in while a house is when a home starts "generating income." When we inquired what "generating income" meant he said, "I don't know. You have to ask my dad." Fair enough.
This weeks Balika/Bal 2 syllabus topic looks at this distinction to show why Maharaj chose Gujarat and Saurashtra as his "home." Let's look at breaking this down using our three step guide.
Step 1: Synthesize the simple statement
  • Maharaj chose Gujarat and Saurashtra as his home because of the devotion and love he was surrounded by.
  • Maharaj chose Gujarat as a place where he would carry out His divine mission of spreading Ekantik Dharma.
Step 2: Start off with a shakeup
  • Ask the balaks/balikas to draw their home (Most likely they will be similar)
  • Then, have them list what makes their “home” their home. (i.e. is it their bed, their toys, their family?)
  • Talk about the difference between a house and a home.While the physical drawings of our home may seem similar, our real homes are much different. I’m sure you’d agree that a home isn’t just the cozy bed that you could sleep on every night. It isn’t the chair you sit in everyday where you can eat your breakfast.
Step 3: Support with examples/prasangs to backup the simple statement
  • Start off with the prasang of Ghanshyam climbing up a tree, looking in the West Direction, saying, “I can see that there are many devotees in the West. They have been waiting for me to come. One day, I will surely go there and fulfill their dreams. 
  • Talk about Shriji Maharaj’s greatest devotees, one of them: Dada Khachar. Despite Maharaj’s many “tests”, Dada Khachar was determined in his devotion to Shriji Maharaj. 
  • The actions of devotees like Dada Khachar won over the heart of Shriji Maharaj. In essence, Shriji Maharaj also believed that home is where the heart is. In fact, it was in Gujarat that he had founded the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It was in Gujarat where he built 6 magnificent mandirs, and it was in Gujarat where his heart laid. And as the saying goes, “home is where the heart is”. For Shriji Maharaj, Gujarat was where he would find the devotees that loved him and were willing to do anything for him.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Three easy steps this week in Kishore/Kishori Mandal, since our topic is very straight forward AND very interesting.

Simple message
Explain the four parts of antahkaran.

  • Use an analogy to a camera:
    • Man - Shutter - controls what lights comes in
    • Budhhi - IC Chip (or film for old school cameras) - consolidates light
    • Chit - Lens - focus incoming light
    • Ahamkar - the picture - forms a copy (sense of being) of the what we see
When we were discussing this talk we really felt that stories would be the key to making a stick presentation. Since the concept is abstract it is important that we understand the topic. So it is great that there are dictionary-like definitions in the presentation to help us understand terms. However, if we were to say the definition or put it on the screen we would lose many people. [Tip: Do Not use the definitions in your talk, use them to understand the topic] Instead it is important to say a story. P. Santo may times explain this concept by starting out with this story: 

Let's say you have a can of Coke in your hand. Your eyes see the Coke, your hand feels the cold can all these enter through our indriya to our man.

So they say the same definitions but they pose them in the form of a story. There are many creative tips and points in the presentation - all of them great - that can be used to make our own story.

Bonus Fourth Step - Think
Lastly a topic like this is great because it broadens our satsang knowledge. The only way we can really present this in a sticky fashion is if we understand the topic to some extent. Something that is implied in all presentations is that thinking through the topic and concepts is what takes the longest time. Especially when faced with a new topic or concept. So this week take the time to really think through the material. The syllabus is there so that we the presenter understand the topic really well. Then it is up to us to pick and choose points to relay that idea to our fellow sabha attendees. This week we think it maybe a good idea to tap all the resources we have available. Our parents maybe a good source of information, give them a call and have a conversation about Antahkaran. Get as many points of view as possible. We can ask other people in our mandal, we can talk to other people in the mandir, what about emailing some friends you made during the last Convention or Shibir. Text/Twitter/SMS some friends you met at the last summer shibir and see what their understanding is about antahkaran. 

Once you have all this information, think about it and put it in your own words. Then the three steps above will become a snap. As always let us know what you come up with.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vachanamrut Sarangpur-7

Step 1: Synthesize the simple statement. Below are a few ideas taken from the syllabus.
  • Naimisharanya Ksheta exists wherever the Satpurush resides.
  • Our greatest enemy is our own mind. 
  • Understanding the mahima of God & His Sant naturally reduces our desires.
Step 2: Start the presentation with a shakeup. 
  • Identity Theft - Alright, so it's not the kind that happens with stolen credit cards, but start off by describing a challenging situation. The point is to choose a challenge in which we were then inspired by another individual or entity. If that's too hard to decide upon, just use the example provided by the author. When we refocus our identity and realize that we prisoners of our mind, we too can overcome any challenge.
  • Help! - This entire episode is filled with examples of people who overcame their weaknesses. In the first segment of this episode of Radiolab, a woman describes her shortcomings with quitting smoking until her friend threatened to donate money to the KKK every time she picked up a cigarette. The frightening thought of the KKK shook this woman out of her addiction. In the second segment, scientist Oliver Sacks experienced difficulty with finishing his book and ended up setting a deadline for himself - one that would result in his death if he failed to meet it. In the third segment, Dr. Vyacheslav Davidov, helps alcoholics overcome their addiction by giving them a pill called "the torpedo" that induces disturbing symptoms if they ever chose to imbibe again.
  • Clocky - Getting out of bed can be a drag, but what if there was an alarm clock that forced us out of bed? Clocky does just that and is available for purchase on the market today. To fight the bad habit of not getting out of bed, we force ourselves to fight our sleep, and to fight our other bad habits, we need to force ourselves to fight our mind. 
Step 3: Support the simple statement with stories filled with detail (concrete) and validity (credible). For example, we chose the second simple statement, "Our greatest enemy is our own mind."
  • The Force of 99 - Before the money, look at what the neighbors had: little money, time to sleep, eat, or pray. After money, look at the neighbors had: Rs. 99; no time to sleep, eat, or pray. What was the cause of the breakdown of their easygoing lifestyle - money? Not quite. Warren Buffet is the wealthiest man on the planet as of 2011, yet drives his own car without driver or staff and enjoys coming home from work to eat popcorn and watch television. It's not money, but it's our mind's reaction to it. He says, "The happiest people do not necessarily have the 'best' things. They simply appreciate the things they have." If we can defeat our mind, we too can become the man that Warren Buffet is. 
  • Without a Blanket - If we've shared a blanket with someone else, we know what kind of tussle erupts in claiming ownership. On that basis, we would figure Pramukh Swami Maharaj to have lost by simply handing the blanket over. However, there is another tussle that happens within our us - the tussle for tolerance. Swamishri tolerated the cold and shows us through this example that we too can withstand our mental limits if we choose to do so.
  • The Pumpkin Boy - In Shriji Maharaj's time, there was a Koli boy who wanted to donate a pumpkin to Shriji Maharaj Himself. Shriji Maharaj was happy with this act of bhakti and rewarded the boy with five kilograms of sugar crystals; a nearby Bania saw this exchange and brought a cartload of pumpkins the next day. However, he did not receive the sugar crystals - why? While the boy used devotion to fight his craving, the Bania used devotion as a means to satisfy his craving. Our mind is an enemy that not only deceives but can shift the very nature of our thoughts, so defeating it is vital to our success.
While it may not be easy to fight our mind, we can certainly captivate it with a memorable presentation. Let's take some time to prepare and present accordingly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bal/Balika Mandal Go To Move #1: Mock the Clap

[Over the next few weeks we will be giving out some tried and true methods for Bal/Balika mandal "Go To" moves to keep sabha focused and fun. Here is the scenario we envision:

You are giving a talk in Bal/Balika Mandal and things are about to take a turn for worse. Kids are getting antsy, the boisterous ones are about to start talking. You only have a few moments to keep the momentum going - what do you do?]

If you have never used the Mock the Clap technique you and your kids are in for treat. Everyone loves Mock the Clap. It is incredibly easy to do and it makes waiting for everyone to calm down fun. The set up is pretty easy. At the beginning of sabha after Jay Naad, have the kids copy your clap. It is as simple as that. Then through out sabha, whenever the "situation" starts to happen, just clap. The kids that are paying attention will respond automatically. This will give incentive for the antsy kids to follow suit, it also drowns out the kids who are talking, finally it gets people attention and garners excitement.

  • Do not relegate yourself to clapping, you can snap, touch the floor, pat your belly.
  • Introduce the routine and idea of copy your clap without using any words, this will reinforce the idea that nobody should be talking during sabha.
  • Vary the rhythm and length of clapping to suit your age group. Bigger kids can remember more so a very long series of claps makes it more challenging for them to remember. Much like the old Simon game.
  • Tie this into your story. Last week we mentioned changing the Point of View. If you are making up a character, make up a back story. For example we could say Tweety had several flaps of his feathers that he would use to talk his fellow birds.
  • This variation is really funny and may result in a bout of laughter - have everyone mock the clap by not using their hands but smacking their lips.
  • Jump for Joy. Stand up clap and sit down. This will work to get everyone moving as well if the sabha is long and the room is too warm, this will wake everyone up. Make sure to follow this up with another clap or else you will degenerate back to the "situation."
  • Tarzan Clap. Beat your chest
  • Horse applause: Three claps done several times. First clap then slap your knee then slap your other knee. Do this quickly a few times and it sounds like a horses gallop. This would be a good way to introduce a prasang in involving Manki Godi, or Maharaj riding a horse. For example last week's Joban Pagi prasang would have been perfect.
Do you have Mock the Clap variations? How well did this work for you? Let us know.

Mock the Clap Example from Monster Stomp, just to see how it can work. Use this to inspire your own routine.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another Point of View

When we were balaks there was one story we dreaded - the chibro (ચીબ્રો) story. The first one or thirty times we heard it we were okay with it. People would add more details as time went by (the whole denouement with Maharaj throwing the pumpkins in the ocean was interesting). Then at about the umpteeth time we heard it, we checked out. We knew what was going to happen - nothing unexpected - nothing sticky. The chibro story was also grating to us since it was so repetitive - so it was like living the same story over and over in just one sitting. 

What do we do if we are going to say a prasang that maybe our entire Bal/Balika mandal has heard before? Our idea is below, it is an easy yet clever game changer, a go to idea. Let us know what your ideas our as well.

Tell the story from another point of view.

This week our syllabus has the interesting prasang of Joban Pagi and his transformation. Here is a good example of a prasang that balaks and balikas may have heard way too many times before. We often say the prasang as a narrator -- try telling the prasang as one of the characters in the prasangs or invent a new character/insect/object (without compromising the prasang’s genuineness) as if you were a ‘fly on the wall’ and say the prasang. Think about it, we can say the entire prasang with all the details from the point of view of Manki Godi, the object that Joban was trying to steal. We can make up a character - maybe a bird that sees the entire prasang happen. Let's look at an example.
Once, in India, Gujarat to be exact, there was a bird named Tweeter. Tweeter was one of the smartest and wisest bird of its kind. It knew what was going on all over Gujarat. It would fly all the way from Jamnagor, to Rajkot, to Bhavnagar, and even sometimes to The Gir National Park to visit its cousins. 
Tweeter could see everything that was going on in Gujarat from the teenage children playing cricket over in  Gondal, to the students studying for their final exam in Babra. When he saw these kind of things going on, he established faith in humans. So, he would fly around to kids, and they would play with Tweeter. Sometimes, people would take some food out of their own meal, and feed Tweeter with it. Sadly, the bird saw bad things also, For example, the bird saw a robber stealing money from a merchant over in Bhavnagar. Tweeter felt really sad that people do these kind of things. However, sadly, he couldn’t do anything to stop it, because he was after all, just a bird. 
Every time he saw something bad, he would lose some faith in humans. Thus, he would slowly stop playing with the humans. One time things got so bad that Tweeter completely stopped visiting humans. The reason for this was because of a man named Joban Pagi. He would loot people, kill people even. The bird actually saw Joban two or three times in action. He really wanted to help to stop Joban Pagi, and put an end to him so that everything could return back to normal. However, Tweeter didn’t have the power because he was so small after all.  
Sometimes, Tweeter would go and spy on Joban, just to see what he was up to next. Once when Tweeter went near Joban Pagi’s window, he saw 3 other people. “He is a man of miracles. He is so brilliant that he certainly stands out as God.” said one brother. Tweeter saw Joban Pagi shake his head, and get pound his fist on the table. Scared, Tweeter flew out of sight of the window because he was scared that one of the brothers would spot him. 
As Tweeter was leaving, he saw a tree nearby. He went to the nest and he saw his friend Woodchuck! There, he decided to spend the night because his home was too far away. Then, when he was about to fall asleep he saw Joban Pagi crawl out into the night. Curious, Tweeter quietly followed him until Joban came to a stop. Tweeter then saw Joban go into the place were Manki was being kept. He was going to steal Maharaj’s horse! However, Tweeter knew that Lord Swaminarayan was someone above human. He would teach Joban Pagi a lesson for sure. 
[Thus, narrate the story like this, in Tweeter’s perspective] 
Tweeter was amazed, instead of coming out with a sword, he saw Joban holding a rosary in his hand! Then in the end, Tweeter regained his faith in humanity and started flying to humans again, because he knew that Maharaj would transform these “bad” people into “good” people.

Will this require a bit of thought on our part. Absolutely! But think about the how unexpected this will be, how much excitement this will generate with our kids. This is also a "go to" skill. If our sabha is getting dry and the kids are getting antsy, simply change the point of view of the story you are about to say and see the attention come back. This also lets to modify the prasang to the age and level of your sabha.Trust us, we have used this before (even with the chibro prasang - we told it from the point of view of the pumpkin!) and it works. Try it next week and let us know how you fared.

The three question process
Here we outline the three question process in preparing for this talk.
Step 1: What is the simple statement?

  • Maharaj is willing to forgive us and help transform if we are willing to follow his wishes.
  • The idea of transformation is all about sacrifice.
Step 2: Start off with a Shakeup
Explain the process of a caterpillar “transforming” into a butterfly and how it applies to transformation. Point out to the balaks that the butterflies don’t change, they transform; they become a whole new creature. Explain that this can happen to people as well. You can even tell the story from the point of view of a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly at the same time Joban becomes a bhakta. 

If your kids are older then you might want to try and add this as a shake up. It still has caterpillars but the idea is that to transform we have to be focused on Maharaj (pine straw) or else we walk around in circles and perish.

Step 3: Back up the shakeup with the example of Joban Pagi.
Relate the shake up in the following way. Currently, most of us are caterpillars, slowly crawling around observing the world. A caterpillar can only begin to transform into a butterfly once its ready. By attaching our self to Maharaj & Swami, we can “transform” just like a caterpillar. However, we also have to be “ready” to sacrifice everything for them. By sacrificing our faults (just like Joban Pagi sacrificed his sword), we can get the raajipo of Maharaj and Swami. Once we are willing to sacrifice and improve our self, then Maharaj will give us the ability to become a majestic butterfly.

Joban Pagi experience a similar “transformation” where he traded his sword for a rosary. Furthermore, transformation is more about surrendering than achieving. Because he has turned someone who is aggressive and stubborn to a humble and sublime devotee, it can be said that “Swaminarayan has turned a donkey into a cow.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Original Smartphone

Each month has been featuring a new theme during the Year of the Karyakar. We too decided to take a closer look at how these themes apply to our lives with April's theme of antahkaran.


iPhone. That one word changed the phone industry, the computer industry, and left millions of people with a desire to have one. With its revolutionary design and sleek interface, the iPhone shocked & awed back in the summer of 2007, but as Satsangis, we had another reason to be in shock & awe. We can surely hark back to three national conventions and two mandir mahotsavs all held in the presence of our one beloved guru, Pramukh Swami Maharaj. His ability to captivate our minds reflects remarkably as a point worthy of exploration.

In fact, this month we look at the concept of antahkaran which encompasses what we would otherwise perceive to be our minds. Much of our mental resources these days are expended in technology now that smartphones provide us with the capability to organize and access data with great ease, yet we often do not realize that our mind is a smartphone in and of itself with four major apps called the antahkarans.
  • Man – used in generating thoughts and desires
  • Buddhi – used in consolidating thoughts or making a decision or judgement
  • Chitt – used in mental focusing or contemplation
  • Ahamkar – used in forming a sense of being
Four apps may pale in comparison to the plethora of programs now available for the iPhone, but one quick search in iTunes will reveal that quantity does not necessary mean quality. Moreover, these four applications enabled Michelangelo to paint the revered Sistine Chapel, Albert Einstein to develop the theory of relativity, and even Barack Obama to ascend to the Office of the President. These apps gave them the platform to prominence.

Still, we may ponder what enabled these same four apps for other individuals to secure nothing but a place in the dark chapter of history. After all, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Osama bin Laden will forever be remembered for annihilating the innocent.

The answer lies in the apps themselves, for they were designed with great intentions. Shriji Maharaj states in Vachanamrut Gadhada I-51, “If a person realizes this greatness of Purushottam Bhagwan by profound association with the Sant, then all of his indriyas and antahkarans become divine like Purushottam Bhagwan’s indriyas and antahkarans. Then, through those indriyas and antahkarans, he can develop the conviction of that God.”

These apps are tools for us to connect with the Satpurush, and if we continue to honor this link, our apps will remain forever updated to the higher purpose at hand.

Bhagubhai was a haribhakt who worked as an AC coach attendant on the Rajdani train which operates on the Mumbai-Delhi line. Once, after the train had arrived and he was cleaning the train car, he stumbled upon a jacket containing jewelry. Without hesitation, Bhagubhai returned the item to his supervisor, and when the owner called in to report his lost item, his joy knew no bounds. While he noted the jewelry was worth Rs. 100,000, the real treasure for him existed in Bhagubhai’s exclusive act of sincerity.

Sure, Einstein, Michelangelo, or Obama didn’t attune their apps to the Satpurush, but they aligned their apps with their passion, and our source of passion is Swamishri – if we want him to be that is. He will push us to new heights if we so honor his connection with our apps, our antahkarans.

While the summer of 2007 may have featured the introduction of a new line of smartphones, we met the sustainer of our own. Now that’s truly worth remembering.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sabha 911

It's Sunday. Few hours left before I present. What do I do next?

red alertTake a deep breath.
Don't panic.
And don't just wing it.

As we storm through sabha after sabha, we may realize that we are ill-equipped to deal with the problems that arise, but our field Sabhaologists have researched these issues and created this resource page just for you.

It's called Sabha 911 and can be found on the links bar above.