I gave a keynote presentation this afternoon to around 800 entrepreneurs from around the world that are members of the Entrepreneurs Organization. It was part of their EO Istanbul University taking place in Istanbul, Turkey. The talk was titled EO 360 degrees – A spiritual perspective. EO 360 degrees is their theme for this year which focuses of 4 aspects of an entrepreneurs life – “myself”, “my family”, “my business” and “my community”. I shared spiritual insights and tools on each of these areas in my 75 minute presentation.

eo-istanbul-2012-dandapani-keynote

eo-istanbul-2012-dandapani-keynote, turkey

 

This is part 3 of our series of posts on the Madurai Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu state in South India. Today’s images show Hindus worshiping in the temple. From statues carved into pillars to small shrines tucked away along the long corridors to the sanctum sanctorum, there is no shortage of devotion to be seen anywhere in this temple.

A Hindu couple applies oil on a carving of a deity on a pillar who is depicted to be pregnant.

One of the many statues carved into the pillars at the temple

A Hindu lady worships at one of the smaller shrines tucked away between two gigantic pillars

A Hindu girl places kumkum (red powder) on her friend's forehead.

A massive Ganesha graces a shrine at the Meenakshi temple. Here Ganesha is known as Mukkuruni Vinayagar and is one of the largest Ganesha statues in the south.

A young girl prays devoutly to Ganesha.

 

Morning at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Tamil Nadu, South India. (Part 2)

Within the walls of Madurai’s famed Meenakshi temple we explore the area in front of the Siva Sanctum. The pillars in this area are amazing in beauty and in size, and probably the best in the entire temple. Most of these I did not photograph but amongst all the gigantic pillars there was one that was quite simple but very popular among many of the pilgrims. The statue of the Mahadeva (great angel) Hanuman was carved on it. Hanuman is the popular monkey faced being who is worshiped by most Hindus.

Here he is covered in an orange-red paste. Countless pilgrims stop by him, touching his feet in search of blessing and lighting small clay oil lamps in offering. Hanuman is getting much attention amongst the devout pilgrims of this temple.

The morning light was just right to capture all of this and I quietly positioned myself next to a nearby pillar and took the following photos. I hope you enjoy them.

A statue of Hanuman portrudes out of a tall granite pillar at the Madurai Meenakshi temple.

An elder pilgrim touches Hanuman's feet in search of blessings.

A lamp is kept filled with oil throughout the day and burns brightly next to Hanuman.

 

8 year old Rohan from the Caribbean asked his mother if God Siva is male or female? She replied that she thought Siva was genderless. Rohan then asked his mother if Siva is genderless then why is he married? Mom at this point said to Rohan “let’s email Dandapani and ask him”.

I replied to Rohan’s mother and said “…

Tell Rohan he asked a very wise question that most adults don’t even ask. That means he is a mature and insightful soul in a young body.

Siva is genderless. There is no male or female energy in the higher inner worlds. Just pure energy. When manifested in this world it is divided into two….male and female.

Siva is not married. God, Mahadevas and Devas do not get married.

The core scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas and Agamas. Much later came the puranas which are folk narratives. Fable stories. It is in these puranas did the concept of God marrying come about. The puranas form the basis of most of Hindu beliefs in today’s world but a lot of it does not align with core Hindu scripture.

Hope this simplified answer helps clarify things Rohan.”

 

Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, South India built by King RajaRaja CholaAffects of meditation come not from prolong practices rather more from quality practices. Sitting for long periods in meditation not necessarily produce result if the meditator does not know what he or she is doing. There will be benefits from this but not significant.

When a quality meditation practice is observed consistently then progress starts to take place. One easy to recognize sign is that one becomes more observant. It is the first sign of the awakening of the superconscious mind. Your awareness is soaring within going past the subconscious and into the superconscious. Your perspective changes. You start to view things from the inside out. Your powers of observation becomes stronger.

With this new found perspective you also handle life differently. You start to adopt the attitude of intelligent action and dispassionate reaction as my guru says thus handling life’s circumstances wisely.

Here’s a link to previous FAQs on meditation.

If you’d like to ask a question please send it to me on email.  

 

Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Gurudeva, guru of DandapaniWhen did we forget that happiness is a choice? It’s a choice that each of us have been empowered with. It’s a choice that each of us need to make each day, each moment of our lives. And when we forget then we leave ourselves subject to the people and environment around us to dictate how we feel. You can be a slave to them or make the simple decision each moment of your life to be happy. The choice is yours. Choose wisely for what you choose becomes you.

After all, it was my beloved guru that boldly proclaimed, that life is meant to be lived joyously!

Here is a photograph of my guru, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, which was taken during our visit to Oslo, Norway in 2001.

 

A couple of days ago we gave a response to the question “What are one of the first things to do when one wants to begin a meditation practice?” and we ended the blog post with the question “How long should I sit for?”

Here’s our response to that question.

Well if you’ve never meditated before then I suggest just one minute. It’s a good place to start and it is an achievable goal for most people.

What should I do in this one minute?

When you are seated, firstly, tell yourself that you have no where to go and nothing to do for the next one minute. And that all you have to do is be aware of yourself sitting there having met your appointment. Congratulate yourself for doing this. You have now begun the process of training your body to be still by forcing it to be in one place for a period time. You are exercising your will over your senses, over your body and mind. In order to go within in meditation it is essential that our body and mind be still.

For the first week of doing this just be mindful of your breathing. Observe your every in and out breath during that one minute.

In our next pot we’ll look a little deeper into the breathing. For now, you know what to do.

Here’s a link to previous FAQs on meditation.