by Padmashree Rao
HOUSTON. Powerful presentations, effective examples, thought-provoking highlights, and practical pointers – all wrapped in simplicity and soul-warming light-heartedness marked the memorable Jnana Yajna conducted by Swami Ramakrishnananda (SRKji) in Chinmaya Prabha, Houston, in the week of Aug.18-23, 2019.
That week just before Janmashtami will be treasured by everyone who attended; the thought progression outlined in the morning discourses captured the mind and intellect of Vedantic seekers and then steered them toward a glimpse of the unveiled beyond. Swami Ramakrishnananda expertly unfolded the essence of Vedanta in a simple and crisp style as he presented 15 key thoughts of the Brahmasutra Adhyasa Bhasya written by Sri Adi Sankaracarya, an important introduction to Bhagavan Veda Vyasa’s 555 Brahma Sutras.
Swamiji’s succinct style of gently guiding the audience to reflect on the theory of superimposition was in keeping with the aphoristic sutras. The images of a cold iron ball borrowing the molten heat of fire, a segment of rope appearing as a slithering snake, and the shimmer of cool mirage waters thrown forth by the blazing sun – soon, the classic examples used in Vedanta became easier to grasp. By the end of the week, everyone could marvel how life is just a play of mistaken projections when Truth gets covered by ignorance. And, such deep contemplation was delicious because of the sweet examples that Swamiji threw in the mix!
Swamiji provided a different flavor of the timeless scriptures during his evening pravachans titled Krishna – The CEO. Selecting episodes from the itihasa of Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatha Mahapurana, Swamiji turned into a delightful story-teller who captured hearts of young and old. The contemporary takeaways from those ancient episodes were truly invaluable. Even as he began showcasing the unforgettable ‘leelas’ of Sri Krishna, Swamiji importantly clarified how Bhagavan Krishna could be meditated upon as Brahman, worshiped as Ishvara, and adored as a Purnaavatar. However, the takeaways were focused on a fourth dimension of Bhagavan Krishna’s accomplishments as a glorious man who exemplified Dharma and executed it as the most charming CEO!
Every evening became a happy case study as SRKji narrated an episode in the life of Sri Krishna and beautifully brought out the lessons to be learned from Krishna’s deft handling of challenging situations that are as much a part of daily life. The audience shook with laughter as Swamiji pointed out the clever efficiency of Krishna in using Jarasandha as his unsuspecting helper in the 18-attack series which wiped out a majority of asuras and accomplished Krishna’s purpose as an avatar! Equally amusing was the way Krishna navigated family issues using his charming communication skills with Balarama. Swamiji highlighted Sri Krishna’s presence of mind in the episode of Kalayavana and Muchukunda – when SRKji dramatized the episode using nicknames such as “Mucchu” and “Kicchu,” the audience almost rolled off their seats in uncontrolled glee. The way Lord Krishna chose the right people as his messengers in two different contexts; the balance of mind and sharpness of intellect he displayed when he was blamed and defamed; the ways he assigned tasks during the Rajasuya Yajna; involved even the enemies like Duryodhana and Karna; waited for the right time in Rukmini vivaha, comforted the Pandavas, and encouraged all to follow Dharma – the lessons shared were practical and empowering while also being most enjoyable.
As the yajna concluded on Janmashtami evening, the joy of spiritual immersion in Vedanta as well as in Bhagavan’s smarana left all hearts inspired and full. Hari Om!
For more information about Chinmaya Mission Houston, Sri Saumyakasi Sivalaya and its activities visit www.chinmayahouston.org, www.saumyakasi.org or call temple 281 568 1690 or Jay Deshmukh 832 541 0059 or Bharati Sutaria 281-933-0233.