Emerson – Worship

The concept of duty is explored exhaustively in the Gita as Svadharma and Svakarma. Bhagavan Krishna exhorts Arjuna and tells him that it is better to die doing your dharma than to commit a life to somebodyelse’s dharma. In our parlance these days, I see this as living a life that is true to oneself, reflected in service, compassio, love and finally good humor.

Emerson reflected deeply on life and its purpose. This is a quotation from his essay on ‘Worship’. We see the connection to Svadharma.

“I look on that man as happy, who, when there is question of success, looks into his work for a reply, not into the market, not into opinion, not into patronage. In every variety of human employment, in the mechanical and in the fine arts, in navigation, in farming, in legislating, there are, among the numbers who do their task perfunctorily, as we say, or just to pass, and as badly as they dare,- there are the working men, on whom the burden of the business falls; those who love work, and love to see it rightly done; who finish their task for its own sake;  and the state and the world is happy that has the most of such finishers. The world will always do justice at last to such finishers; it cannot be otherwisw. …. Work is victory. Wherever work is done, victory is obtained. There is no chance and no blanks. “


Life is Like a…. Reflections by Indian Senior Citizens
February 5, 2009, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, Arsha Vedanta Center

Life is like a ………………………. 

Reflections by participants at the Senior Citizen Center of Hindu Temple, Bowne Street, Queens – Facilitated by Rathi Raja   Feb 4, 2009




Meena Mani


Life is like a Pencil

Your parents and teachers try to sharpen your brains while you are young.

You have falls and hardships and you become blunt.

Sometimes you think you are sharp and hurt other people’s feelings.

Other times you are blunt and ruffle feathers anyway.

Each experience sharpens you constantly and hopefully matures you.

But in the process your life expectancy is shortening and

Finally when you leave this world

Nothing is left of you but the shavings or your contacts with people.



Damini Mehta


Life is like Gujarati Pickle

Sweet and hot at the same time.

Sukha and Dukha go hand in hand.


Hira M. Modi


Life is like a Coconut

Outside it is a hard shell.

Inside it is a sweet fruit

All you have to do is break the hard shell.


Mira Vaswani


Life is like a Banana

Outer side is green and hard

Inner portion is soft

So we are like that.

When we are angry we are hard like the outer skin

And after sometime we become soft like the banana’s inner portion.

So life is hard and soft.

We must always think positive, not negative.

If you want your life to be soft, make others’ life soft.


Linda Izzo


Life is like a Plant

If you over water it, it will die.

If you under water it, it will die.

Therefore do not overdo anything.


Life is like a Cake

If you prepare it with love

It will taste delicious and look beautiful.




Life is like a Rose.

It look so beautiful in the beginning.

But when it continues to bloom

It goes through the hard and harsh waves of nature.

Helpless after some time it dies.

Its crushed leaves have the greatest fragrance

For the entire world.

So lets all live like a rose and leave fragrance all around

After our journey on the earth.


Nirmala Ramasubramanian


Life is like a Rosebush

The rose flower is attractive to look at.

When you go near the bush, the thorns hurt you.

Approach it carefully, avoid the thorns, then a bee stings you.

You still manage to pluck the rose.

You enjoy the beauty and offer it to your Lord.


Life is like Rasam

Drink the top part and enjoy the flavor, very soothing.

Get it from the bottom, the dhal portion is filling

You need a good stomach to digest the spices.

Mix it before using, it is both soothing and filling.

So life is a mixture of good and bad.

 Mix it and enjoy it.


Radha Sankar


Life is like a Car

We drive it.

First we get comfortable within.

And the best part is we are in control to steer.

In which ever way we want to go.

It can be in a safe path or the wrong path.

Which may lead up to a crash.

So we are in control of our life.


Urmila Gathoria


Life is like a Fruit

Which tastes sweet and times sour.

Life is a challenge which has to be taken.

Life is mystery.

You will never know what.

All you have to come through your life

Is to prepare yourself to solve it.


Nikhil Trivedi


Life is like a Sunflower

It starts blooming in the presence of  the sunrise of love.

And dies in the sunset of hatred.


Life is like Coffee Beans

It is hard of course.


When we put it in the boiling water of living honestly

It not only becomes soft

But also

Delicious and aromatic.


Kanchana Boyapati


Life is a Journey

Enjoy the ride as you go along.

We are living through history.

Making it happen as we go.


Mohini Gulhati


Life is like a Classroom

Every day a learning experience.

It is how you look at it.





The Raisin Meditation
February 3, 2009, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, Arsha Vedanta Center, Vedic-Senior, YICG

The simplest of things can provide a deep insight into how powerful we can be in the present moment. The other day I tried to conduct a ‘Raisin meditation’ with my students. Each one was given 2 raisins. To start with, the first raisin was eaten the way one would do – automatically.

Quickly pop it in your mouth, maybe bite it once and a speedy swallow. And then look for the next one.Fpr the second raisin it will be different!!

Hold the  second raisin by the thumb and index finger. Look at it carefully. Note the creases. Rotate it and continue to look at it. Press it a little and feel the texture and transfer it to the other hand. Repeat the process. Now slowly bring to the mouth and place it on the tongue. Roll it around in the mouth and keep your self in the sensation. Move the raisin to the left, right and under the tongue. Repeat this process. All in slow motion. Now slowly take a bite – very very slowly. Feel the juice slowly coming out and relish it. Now a second bite – in slow motion. Continue this until it has been completely chewed and almost dissolved. Now slowly swallow it. Feel the emptiness in your mouth. Just close your eyes and savor this experience.

One student writes ‘This will help you get through a nervous breakdown’!!!! Om shanti shanti shanti.

Emerson and Chapter 10 of Gita – Vibhuti Yoga
January 23, 2009, 4:36 pm
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, Arsha Vedanta Center | Tags: , , ,

As I slowly pierce through Emerson’s seminal piece called ‘Nature’, a pattern emerges. A grand scheme of Dharma and Isvara as non separate from each other – interpenetrating and inseparable. The vision of Chapter 10 of the Gita, which outlines the Vibhutis (Glories ) of the Lord, is equally charged with the grandeur of nature as presented to us. Wherever you see Nature in her resplendent form,  the patient, glorious  Ganga, the soaring peaks of the Himalayas, the sounds of saints chanting, the ever guiding Polestar, Dhruva, you can capture that Unity, that Brahman as the substratum of all.

Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 10 -Verse 8:

ahaḿ sarvasya prabhavo;  mattaḥ sarvaḿ pravartate;   iti matvā bhajante māḿ; budhā bhāvasamanvitāḥ

TRANSLATION: I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.

In Emerson’s words:

“All things are moral; and in their boundless changes have an unceasing reference to spiritual nature. …This ethical character so penetrates the bone and marrow of nature, as to seem the end for which it was made. Nothing in Nature is exhausted in its first use….. In God every end is converted into a new means. … Every natural process is a version of a moral sentence.”

“All the endless variety of things make an identical impression…..A leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time, is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole. Each particle is a microcosm, and faithfully renders the likeness of the world……. Thus architecture is ‘frozen music’….A church ‘petrified religion’…..The law of harmonic sounds reappears in the harmonic colors… So intimate is this Unity, that, it is easily seen, it lies under the undermost garment of Nature, and betrays its source in Universal Spirit.

“The central Unity is still more conspicuous in actions….A right action seems to fill the eye, and to be related to all nature. The wise man, in doing one thing he does rightly, he sees the likeness of all which is done rightly.”



Emerson for Now – 1
January 21, 2009, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, Arsha Vedanta Center
  • Emerson – A revolutionary mind. I see parallels between the Vedic seers who explored consciousness and the nature of Reality with such vigor, letting seemingly foundational pillars fall by the wayside, fearless yet compassionate. These seers helped us understand that not only is Reality not what we think it is, but also not a cause for fear. This they pursued with so much love that we can melt in that understanding, liberating our minds from the prison bars of stale thinking.
  • Some of Emerson’s thoughts on Nature:

1. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and   philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?

2. I have confidence in the laws of morals as of botany. I have planted maize in my field every June for seventeen years and I never knew it come up strychnine. My parsley, beet, turnip, carrot, buck-thorn, chestnut, acron, are as sure. I believe that justice produces justice, and injustice injustice.

3. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.



January 21, 2009, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, Arsha Vedanta Center, Uncategorized

Dedicated to all my friends who have suffered deep losses this year.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004)

Benjamin Button and the nature of change
January 15, 2009, 3:32 am
Filed under: Adult Scripture Class, Arsha Vedanta Center | Tags: , ,

Benjamin Button did strike me as an extraordinarily Wise Person, with no fear of death. He could make the ultimate sacrifice by walking away from someone he loved, for all the right reasons. Clearly his sense of dharma was very strong. Of course it is a fantasy, played out over 90 years. The movie has the sweep of a saga, yet catches you with so many human details, the ones that fill the minutae of our lives.  I got the feeling he was always the observer, who did not carry grudges, who empathized with the ‘other’ person of the moment and did not get swayed by the emotions hurtling towards him. Yet he lived intensely.

The movie ‘ The curious case of Benjamin Button’  provided a lot of food for thought.