Guru Purnima Celebrations in Louisville, KY (USA)
A beautiful, divine Guru Purnima celebration was organized at the Hindu Temple of Kentucky in Louisville, KY (USA) and was graced by HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji. Devotees gathered together to listen to the words of wisdom from Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji. The divine evening was filled with beautiful bhajans and sacred chanting, followed by spiritual discourse and satsang with Pujya Swamiji and Sadhviji.
Sadhvi Bhagawatiji talked about the experience she has seen around the world of people having everything, yet having an internal experience of lack. She explained how around the world she sees people who, as Pujya Swamiji says, have everything “set” – food on the table, kids in great schools, a roof (or sometimes multiple roofs!) over their heads – yet when you talk to them, they are “upset” and the tears just flow. Very rarely are these tears for the starving children around the world, very rarely are they tears for the rainforest that is being cut down, very rarely are they tears for the state of the world’s water today. They are the tears of what’s happening in our families, grudges, etc.
Sadhviji explained that rather than moving through the world with an experience of gratitude, we find ourselves afflicted by the workings of the mind. We need to change our thoughts to sincere gratitude, because the truth is we don’t deserve the food on our plates, the roofs over our heads, or our good health any more than the people who don’t have these things. It is only by the grace of God that we have been incredibly blessed.
She talked about what it is that keeps us from living in constant gratitude and constant joy. She shared one line from the Bhagavad Gita that sums it up: “The mind is the problem. The mind is the answer. The mind is the one that gives us either freedom or bondage.” She explained how we get cut off from our own joy because of our grudges, and that we have to let go of and forgive those who have wronged us in order to experience the divinity that is within us all.
Pujya Swamiji blessed the devotees gathered with divine mantras, kirtan, and discourse. As Sadhviji explained to the audience, when you are in Pujya Swamiji’s presence, it is always Guru Purnima, no matter what the actual moon is doing in the sky!
Pujya Swamiji shared how wherever you go in the world, people are stressed, even young children! He said that this is the time to enjoy life, be happy, and be peaceful, yet we are facing so much stress, anger, grudges, and a long list of things that get us stuck. He said the answer is not always to go to the caves or Rishikesh, as we have to live in the real world with its challenges. Yet, being in this world, facing the challenges, we can be the change. He shared, “Even the saints remind us again and again that three things in life are very difficult to attain and only are given to us through the grace of the Divine – 1) a human body which has free will to make choices in our lives, 2) the quest for learning and wisdom, and 3) association with the holy ones who can take us in the right direction from untruth to truth.” He then gave four S’s to help guide us through life: Satsang, Seva, Smaran (connection with the Divine), and Samarpan (surrendering to the Divine will).
Pujya Swamiji also spoke about the importance of protecting the environment and water not just for the earth but for peace itself, as when we run out of water there will be war and suffering. By 2030, India will have half of the water that it needs, and by 2040, the world will have half the water it needs. He explained, “We have worshipped the Creator for so long, but at the same time, we have to preserve, protect, serve, save, and respect the Creation.”