Category Archives: Saints and Sages

Neem Karoli Baba – Miracle of Love

Dear Friends,

Hari Om.

Recently I got a book called “Miracle of Love – Stories about Neem Karoli Baba” when I went to Madison Univeristy Library, and since then I am absorbed in reading it whenever I have time. It contains personal experiences and stories Maharajji’s (as Baba is called) by his disciples and devotees, compiled by the famous Ram Dass, his western disciple. The time setting is between 60-70’s since Maharajji passed away in 1971 (He was a contemporary of Swami Sivananda). It is a very engaging book, and each incident and narration is instructive and has a spiritual message to convey.

I have known the name and form of Neem Karoli Baba when I was studying in BITS, Pilani. But I did not know much details about him at that time as I know now. We have a very small and beautiful Hanuman Mandir in the campus grounds of BITS, Pilani (in Rajasthan). Hari and I owe a lot to this temple. For me, personally, it is the source of blessings and divine grace. (Pilani itself has bestowed blessings one me since I met my husband Hari there, but that is a different story :)). Everyday in the Hanuman mandir, after the Aarati and Prasad, there would be Tulasi Ramayan Path. That is where I have got my initial knowledge and interest in Tulasi Ramayan.

Continue reading Neem Karoli Baba – Miracle of Love

Sri Rama Navami Navaratri Special – Part 2

Dear All,

Hari Om. Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama ! Saints, Sages and Scriptures have proclaimed that the Divine Name is Sabda Brahma and superior to the Divine Form itself. All glories to the Divine Name ! Let us celebrate it during this auspicious Navaratri season with the fervor of Sri Hanuman ji.

1. Audio By Swami Chidananda ji Maharaj, Late President of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh)

Personally for me, Swamiji’s voice resonates with everything that is sublime and divine. His voice sounds with that brilliance that at once makes you alert and dive into sublime thoughts. Hear the introduction to the “Padhu Pothi Me Ram” song and you will know this for yourself. One of my greatest inspirers and healers is Swamiji’s voice. Though I have never seen Swami Chidananda ji, his voice is something that I cherish.

The below songs are the best and my most favourite songs.
Padhu Pothii mein Ram
Song of Immanence of Ram
Song of Salutations

2. Sampradaya Bhajans on Lord Rama: Vol-1 & Vol-2

I came across the very beautiful Sampradaya Kritis and Bhajans on Raaga 3-4 years back. Since then, this rendering of Sampradaya Kirtans on Lord Rama are one of my favorites.
Click below on the images of the albums to listen to the audio.

3. Bhajans by Sri PurushottamDas Jalota

Recently my friend Sripriya has sent me some links to melodious and devotional rendering of Bhajans by Sri Purushottamdas Jalota (Sri Anoop Jalota’s father). They are very soothing and devotional to hear.

Click below on the image of the album to listen to the audio. .

Hope you enjoy all the audio as I did !

In Service of the Lord,
Aparna & Hari.

Today is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Jayanthi !

Hari Om !

Today is Full Moon Day (Pournami) and also happens to be the Jayanthi (birth anniversary) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, one of the greatest saints of Bhakti path born in Bengal who has spread the Nama Sankirtan or devotional chanting of Lord’s glories and Divine Names. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has revived the fervor for chanting the Mahamantra:

“Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”

Sri Chaitnya is considered to be the incarnation of Radha-Krishna according to many. He has made freely available the path of Nama Chanting and Devotion to Divine form as the way to Supreme Peace. An account of his life and his Leelas is compiled in the volume “Sri Chaitanya Charitamritam” which is recommended for spiritual seekers on the path of devotion. Sri Chaitanya is the ideal for the seekers to cultivate and pursue the path of Devotion.

Hari and I have watched a very inspiring Black & White movie on the life of Sri Chaitnya Mahaprabhu in Bengali at Ramakrishna Mission’s Ganges Monastery in Michigan. We both really liked it and felt it to be very elevating. Since then, we have been very fond of the line “Jagannatha Swami.. Nayana Patha Gaami.. Nayana Patha Gaami Bhavatu Me..” and sing it often.

Fortunately, I found the movie in Youtube !! Below is the link for the youtube movie. I am sure you will like it and enjoy it immensely. (If you cannot find play button on this video in your email, please go to original post on saranaagathi blog to click it).

“Shishtashtak” by Sri Chaitanya is 6 verses of instructions and it became very famous. One of the verses, which Swami Chidananda ji often recites in his talks is the following:

तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरपि सहिष्णुना ।

अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः ।।

Oh, my mind,
Be humbler than a blade of grass,
Be patient and forbearing like a tree,
Take no honor to thyself,
Give honor to all,
Chant unceasingly the name of the Lord.

Click on the image below to download the Shishtashtakam:

Best wishes to all of you on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Jayanthi.

In Service of the Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari.

Insights and Inspiration by Swami Venkatesananda

Dear All,

Hari Om.

I came across a Daily reading from the works of Swami Venkatesananda and liked it. I thought I will share that article with all of you:

“Any motivation in the practice of yoga becomes almost immediately counter-productive. Indeed, it is obvious that it is some sort of a motivation that brings the student to yoga in the first place. But a wise teacher would do well to point out immediately that yoga is the antidote to the ills caused by motivation and a goal-oriented life, and therefore seeking a goal for the practice of yoga defeats its

People are ill, physically and mentally, because instead of living they are constantly struggling for something. Living does not involve struggle, contrary to popular misconception. The simplest form of living is joyous and blissful, and life is intelligent, wise and alert enough to avoid pain and unhappiness instantly. It is some sort of twisted motivation that causes pain and suffering, and then rationalises such pain and suffering even to the point of exalting them.

Right from the very beginning of the practice of yoga the student discovers that the intelligence in the body is capable of meeting every situation that arises in life from moment to moment. This is the purpose of the yoga asanas (postures). During pranayama the yogi again discovers the great power and vigilance of the life-force which is beyond the ego-sense and which alone enables us to live. In meditation the yogi discovers (uncovers) self-ignorance. Then, self-knowledge (knowledge as the self or self as pure knowing) alone is. This is kaivalya, freedom, liberation – which ever is and should, therefore, be treated neither as the goal nor as an idea.

There is not even a rejection of pain, but the realisation that such rejection makes pain painful! It is not pursuit of pleasure, but the realisation that it is the pursuit that makes pleasure pleasurable (and as its inevitable reaction, painful). When there is neither rejection nor pursuit, life is liberated from the haunting shadows of ignorant notions. There is enlightenment. All life becomes divine life.”

In Service of Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

Bhagavad-Gita Recitation by Swami Venkatesananda

Dear All,


Swami Venkatesananda ji, disciple of Swami Sivananda ji is an amazing personality. Ofourse, I did not get to meet him at all, as I was barely 1 year old by the time he passed away. In my later years, I got to read his books like Yoga Vasishtha and also his compilations of day-to-day wisdom with Swami Sivananda ji. He has made remarkable contributions to the wealth of spiritual knowledge and carried Swami Sivananda ji’s message far and wide to places like South Africa, New Zealand, Mauritius. I have great admiration for him and simply feel spell-bound looking at his photo for his appearance radiates knowledge and peace.

I came across his recitation of all the 18 chapters of Bhagavd Gita including the Gita Dhyanam (meditative prayers on Gita) and Gita Mahatmyam (the significance of chanting Gita). I listened to these slokas sung by him many times and I feel very elevated.

For a person who is familiar with sanskrit and Gita and want to have a rendition to listen and ponder, this is very appropriate. For someone who may not be faimiliar with sanskrit and want to learn Gita chanting along with the audio line by line, then you may think this to be a little quick-paced.

You can download all 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita here.

I enjoyed it and hope you enjoy it too !

Yours, In Service of the Lord,
Aparna & Hari

Sri Avadhutendra Swamiji – His Divine Influence on me

Dear All,
Hari Om.
Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram !

I had heard about Sri Avadhutendra Swamiji (did not even know his name at that time) through my mother when I was young. At that time, I did not have enough knowledge or wisdom to enquire further. My mother is the grand-daughter of BrahmaSri Gunturi Peri Sastry, who is a disciple of this Saint and who was an ardent devotee of the Lord. He had composed many Stutis and Stotras in praise of Lord Bhimeswara, Mother Minakshi, and other deities. Recently, my mother and father have published all his compositions in a book form. My great grandfather Sri Peri Sastri was an ardent disciple of Sri Avadhutendra Swamiji. Recently on my trip to India I asked my ammamma (my grand-mother) more about him and she said that many a time, Avadhutendra Swamiji would come and stay in their house. My great grandfather also composed poems in praise of his Guru.
Swami Avadhutendra Saraswati ji
I was googling about Swamiji some months back, because I felt having such a great Guru in our family is an honor and I should know more about him. Then, I came across a website in his honor developed by a devotee, in which my great-grandfather’s poems of praise on Swamiji were included. Truly, my happiness knew no bounds. I was overjoyed. They had uploaded Swamiji’s lectures, his bhajans & kirtans, his photos on their website. This is the first time I saw him. Seeing him reminded me of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Sri Avadhutendra Swamiji is a great Sankirtan Bhakta. He moved with Rama Nama on his lips and widely propagated the chanting of Hare Rama Mantra kirtan throughout Andhra Pradesh. He always recited Hanuman Chalisa in his spare time (this I came to know through my great-grandfather’s writings). Seeing Swamiji in his photo and hearing him through his kirtans has been a wonderful experience for me. I made a CD of his Kirtanas and keep listening to them.

Brahma Sri Gunturi Peri Sastri garu
Sri Gunturi Peri Sastri gari's Stotras

It is also a matter of utmost joy for me when I read in some books of Late Pujya Swami Chidananda ji (Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, who is a great source of inspiration for me) that he has met Swami Avadhutendra ji many times in his travels to Andhra Pradesh, and he extolled Swamiji as a highly exalted Sankirtan Bhakta. Swami Avadhutendra ji has stayed in Brindavan and has been conducting satsangs throughout many holy places. Also, I was overjoyed to know that Swamiji is strongly associated with Sri Rama Nama Kshetram in Guntur (a place which I want to visit very much, owing to the uninterrupted Rama Nama japa and Kirtan that is being held there).

I am convinced that Pujya Swami Avadhutendra Saraswati’s Divine Influence on our family is a blessing. With the affiliation of my great-grandfather to this great saint, I feel I am truly blessed and my devotion to him and Rama Nama is increased manifold. How true are the words of Lord Siva in Sri RamaCharitaManas that one devotee in a family (like my great-grandfather) is such a spiritual asset to 21 generations before and after ! Through my great-grandfather’s affiliations, we are truly reaping the benefits.

I am greatly influenced by Swamiji. I sincerely pray that he bestows on me devotion to Rama Nama and also chanting of Hanuman chalisa like he did. I will post some of his videos and songs. In the mean-time, please browse this website: Sri Avadhutendra Swamiji

In Service of the Lord & Gurudev,

Spiritual Enrichment Program at Milwaukee – December 2009

Dear Friends,

Hari Om!

H.H. Swami Prakashanandaji of Chinmaya Mission is visiting Milwaukee from 15th to 18th December 2009. During this time, a series of discourses are arranged at Jain Temple Lecture Hall in the HTW premises. The topics are “Sadhana Panchakam”, a composition by Sri Adi Sankaracharya and “Vision of God according to Bhagavad Gita”.

Tuesday, December 15
Topic: Sadhana Panchakam, by Adi Sankara
6:45 PM – 7:00 PM – Introduction
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Lecture I
8:15 PM – 9:15 PM – Lecture II

Wednesday, December 16
Topic: Sadhana Panchakam, by Adi Sankara
6:45 PM – 7:00 PM – Introduction
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Lecture I
8:15 PM – 9:15 PM – Lecture II

Thursday, December 17
Topic: Sadhana Panchakam, by Adi Sankara
6:45 PM – 7:00 PM – Introduction
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Lecture I
8:15 PM – 9:15 PM – Lecture II

Friday, December 18
Topic: Vision of God according to Bhagavad Gita
6:45 PM – 7:00 PM – Introduction
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Lecture I
8:15 PM – 9:15 PM – Lecture II

Jain Temple Lecture Hall,
Hindu Temple of Wisconsin,
N4063 W243, Pewaukee Rd,
Pewaukee, WI 53072

For more details, contact:
Raju Ramamurthi & Jayanthi Raju: 262-957-7299
Anil & Jayshree Aggarwal: 262-796-8255
Hari & Aparna: 262-227-0991

Please click here for a downloadable flyer of the program.

With regards,
Hari and Aparna

Remembrance of God is the greatest fortune

Hari Om!
Om Namo Narayanaya!

After a long gap during which we also enjoyed a month long stay at Sivananda Ashram in India (more on this will be posted soon), here is a post to share a very inspiring talk given by Guru Maharaj Pujya Sri Swami Chidanandaji:-

What is good fortune and what is misfortune? Who is our friend and who is our enemy?

Man is the only living being endowed with discrimination and who has inherited vast knowledge through scriptures – the Vedas, Puranas, Srimad Bhagavatam, Panchadasi, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Narada Bhakti Sutras, Sandilya Bhakti Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, BrahmaSutras, etc – which are filled with so much wisdom. Add to it the wisdom teachings of many, many sages down the centuries. In our own times, there are the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna Dev, Swami Ramdas, our own Gurudev, Ma Anandamyi, etc.

How much guidance we have got! If we don’t use this for our good, then who is to blame for it? Having all this and not utilizing it – it is our fault, not somebody else’s fault.

Vipado Naiva Vipadah, Sampado Naiva Sampadah !
Vipada Narayana Vismrutih, Sampat Smaranam Narayanasya !!

Misfortune is forgetting God – that is the real misfortune. Constantly remembering God and not to forget Him – what is greater fortune than this? This is indeed the greatest fortune. Other things are neither good fortune nor misfortune. These alone are the greatest good fortune and the greatest misfortune – Remembrance of God and forgetfulness of God.

Who is your friend? Who is your enemy?

He is your greatest friend, well-wisher, relative, companion, helper – who creates in you a taste for repetition of God’s name, even from your childhood. Srimad Bhagavata Maha Puran says that He is your father, mother, companion, best friend, helper, well wisher – who creates within you, a taste for the name of God even from your childhood. There cannot be a well-wisher greater than such a person, because in this Kaliyuga, repetition of God’s name is the greatest way.

Jaake Hruday na Ram Vaidehi !
Tyajiye Koti Vair sam Yadyapi Param Sanehi !!

That person, in whose heart God is not seated – here he mentions Lord Rama and Sita, the daughter of King Janaka Maharaj or Videha. That person who has not kept God and awareness of inner presence of God -even if he is your best friend, cast him away, leave him, renounce him, as though he is a million devils or enemies – who is intent upon doing you harm; who will destroy you, hurt you, harm you. Such a person, even if he happens to be your best friend, if he diverts your mind to miscellaneous enjoyments saying – lets go to the club or the cinemas, lets go and have a nice evening snack in the restaurant, etc. Any person who diverts you towards earthly activities, whose fruit is not attainment of God – discard, renounce, give up such a person as though he were a million enemies put together. Even if he happens to be your most intimate friend, because slowly he will color you in his own color. He will make you like himself.

This is a miniscule wisdom teaching out of many that we have received from various saintly sources. I think this one is from Sant Tulsidas.

Having provided you with these nuggets of spiritual teachings, gems of wisdom, I shall end the service of this morning, but Spiritual teachings are only useful when they are remembered; when they are kept in the heart and so remember them and benefit from them by applying them in your own life – subjective inner life as well as objective outer life in this world. Even if you have many lakhs of rupees in the bank and you do not make use of it, then you are as good as a poor person or a miser. A miser has money but he will not spend; a poor person has no money so he cannot spend. To either of them money is not of use in life. In the same way for spiritual teachings. Therefore, spiritual truths and guidance must be actively and constructively utilized. It is for living; you must apply it in your daily life by thought, word and deed.

Hari Om! Om… Om… Om!”

Yours in service of God and Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

MahaSamadhi of Guru Maharaj H.H. Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj


Guru Maharaj Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj
Guru Maharaj Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj

Most Worshipful and Revered Guru Maharaj, Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj has attained Mahasamadhi and merged into the Bliss Absolute at the age of 93 years on Thursday, 28th August 2008 at 8:12 PM.

Disciple and Successor of H H Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj and President of the world renowned Divine Life Society for the last four decades, Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj was working and serving the Divine Cause of Sri Gurudev’s Mission tirelessly and spreading His Divine Life Message all over the world. He was an embodiment of humility, purity and kindness. He lived the ideal life of a true renunciate. Service to lepers became His ideal and worship to Lord Narayana. He served them with tender love and compassion. He was inspirer of CHIPKO movement. His work for the protection of Himalaya and Ganges will be cherished for ages to come.

Revered Saint, Mother Teresa considered Him a Living Saint Francis of Assisi. For His own Guru, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, He was  an incarnation of Buddha. Whereas the entire Europe regarded Him an Uncrowned King. Sri Sri Maa Anandamayi saw in Him Lord Narayana Himself. Most Worshipful and Revered Sri Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj of BAPS, has seen in Him His own Guru Pujya Yogiji Maharaj’s Holy Presence.

Linguist, perfectionist, full of serenity, divinity, absence of vanity, simplicity, equanimity, non-irritability, humility, integrity and nobility were His laudable virtues that earned Him reverence from the people of all four corners of the world. His service and sympathy to sick and downtrodden, poor and needy, birds and beasts were incomparable. He was oozing love from head to toe to the known and unknown.

Though Beloved & Worshipful Holy Master H H Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj may not be with us physically, but through His Virat Swaroop, He will be inspiring, guiding and protecting His countless devotees and disciples who are busy serving the Mankind and struggling to achieve the realization of the absolute. OM Shanti !

For more details, please see

Yours in service of God and Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

6 Most inspiring verses in the voice of Gurudev Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj

We came across the introduction given by Gurudev Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj to the cassette “Hari Bol” and instantly fell in love with it. On the holy occasion of Swamiji Maharaj’s birthday, we are uploading a portion of this introductory talk comprising of 6 verses of invocation. 

These 6 verses are by themselves so sublime, powerful and inspiring. Originating from the lips of Worshipful Swamiji Maharaj they acquire an even more inspiring and compelling stature. The urgency, importance and the best means of spiritual sadhana in the present age is conveyed by Swamiji Maharaj in a most melodious and impactful manner in this 1 min 30 seconds clip.

Listen to the audio clip here