Swami Paramarthananda: September 17, 2015 @ 6pm
Narayanan took an appointment to meet Swamiji at his residence in Abhiramapuram. It was about 20 minutes visit. Being Ganesh/Pilayar Chaturthi day took some fruits, modak/kozakatai made in the morning and some from abhisekam done at Ganapathi agraharam on August 27.
After offering our namaskaramas, we had few minutes of casual talk introducing ourselves as his students from Chicago. Thanked him for his lectures. He took interest hearing about our classes and students, he said that he met few of us and blessed us to continue with spiritual studies in whatever format. We mentioned about 15-20 of us attending now, started by Dr. Janakiraman in June 2007. Some of us are continuing and many have joined and some had to leave due to changing situations. Swamiji showed interest knowing about our class format. We told him about our classes on Sundays in the morning at the time the temple opens. His comment was that it is good as other activities take over during the day. He liked the 10 min or so discussion part of our class and notes of lecture summary being prepared and shared among us.
We asked him how his classes are exactly 1-hour duration, how he prepares for it. He said he has been doing it for 30 years now and in the beginning it was not so, when he went longer, he could see that people lose interest and want to get away due to their commitments. So over the years this 1-hour class has come to stay. The first 15 min recap is mainly because the 1 week gap between the classes puts people back into worldly daily chores and it is needed to bring all back to the topic/theme for continuity.
Then we asked what advice he has for us as we continue with the studies and with our personal life phase change. Very quickly within few seconds, his expression was like it is sincere purposeful forward-looking thoughts for us, he started his response: You all are in this spiritual path due to purva punyam, to continue with it follow/practice this: Swamiji referred to Gita Chapter 13, the 20 virtues. Review these constantly and try to practice it in daily activities. Then he referred to Gita Chapter 16 the asuri and daivika sampatti. Asuri does not mean demonic that we think of. These two are materialistic and spiritual paths that bring out these natures in us. Practice slowly getting away from the materialistic things of life. It may not be possible to be 100% non-materialistic, but getting away from it moves us more to the spiritual side. Then Swamiji mentioned about Gita Chapter 17 (he halted for a second to ask us how far we have read Gita and once we said we went through it at the start of these classes in June 2007, he continued) the 3 gunas discussed Sattvik, Rajas and Tamas for each aspect – worship, tapas, dAnam and food intake. Swamiji asked us to review these consistently and practice the qualities on a daily basis; it helps us to become more spiritual and move away from the materialistic. Swamji said that this is a kavacham that protects us. Swamiji then said to share with the class; the message/advice is for all of us in our class.