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HINDU TEMPLE OF FLORIDA: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 962-6890.

SHIV MANDIR: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday; officiating priests are Pandit Balraj Maharaj and Ram Maharaj; 2001 N. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33607; (813) 907-6311.

DADA BHAGWAN�S GROUP OF TAMPA BAY: Satsang every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.; everyone is invited; call Ramesh Patel at (813) 926-1143 or Mukesh Patel at (813) 969-1740.

JAIN SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY: Monthly bhavna from 3 to 5 p.m. every fourth Sunday; also, non-Jains can take Dev Darshan of statues made of marbles by sculpture-artist from Rajasthan; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.; both events at Days Inn hotel at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75; call Kini Shah at (813) 503-0715 or Pradeep Bavishi at (727) 525-5400.

VISHNU MANDIR: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday only, discourse by Pandit Vishnu Sharma; 5303 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 654-2551.

SANATAN MANDIR: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday; 311 East Palm Ave., Tampa, FL 33602; (813) 221-4482.

SHRI SARASWATI DEVI MANDIR: 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday only; officiating priest is Pandit Purnanan Sharma; 16220 Livingston Avenue, Lutz, FL 33559; (813) 264-1539.

SHRI RADHA-KRISHNA MANDIR: daily morning arotik at 7 followed by Srimad-Bhavatavam class; 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday Bhagavad-Gita class followed by prasadam; 14610 N. 17th St., Tampa; (813) 971-6474 or click on

BAPS SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; darshan is closed between noon and 4 p.m. but reopens at 4 p.m.; 9226 E. Fowler Ave. (between Interstate 75 and U.S. 301); (813) 986-5473.

MANAV DHARMA ASHRAM: sumiran is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. first Thursday of every month; satsang is 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, followed by dinner; yoga classes begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday; bhajans are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every third Sunday; 7520 Caron Road, Tampa, FL 33615; call the ashram at (813) 889-7155, Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or Ashok Modh at (813) 935-3439.

SHREE YAMUNA PREETI SEVA SAMAJ: Pushtimargiya Satsang Mandal invites Vaishnavs of Tampa Bay area to weekend Satsang sabhas and kirtans; 1340 Robin Road S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707; call Smitabein Patel at (813) 961-3816 or Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661.

ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY AREA MOSQUE: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; 7326 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa, FL 33601; Tel: (813) 628-0007.

GURDWARA: 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. daily; 15302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592; (813) 986-6205.


HINDU SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: 8:30 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707; (407) 699-5277.

GURDWARA, SIKH SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: 11:30 A.M. to 1 p.m. Sunday; 2527 W. Aloma Ave. (west State Road 426), Oviedo; (407) 805-0404.

MASJID AL-RAHIM, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, WEST ORLANDO: five times daily prayers and pray on Friday; 4962 Old Winter Garden Road, Orlando, FL 32811; (407) 523-7882.

SARASWATI DEVI MANDIR/INDO CARIBBEAN CENTER: Sunday service is from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; all special days observed with worship; 1453 N. Pine Hills Road, Orlando, FL 32808; for information, call (407) 522-1988 or click on

SHRI SHIVDHAM HINDU TEMPLE AND BRAHMRISHI YOGASHRAM: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 460 O�Berry Hoover Road, Orlando, FL 32825; (407) 380-2661 or e-mail [email protected]

SANTOSHI MA TEMPLE: bhajan and aarti first Friday of every month; 10900 Park Ridge Gotha Road, Windermere, FL 34786; (407) 996-2830.

SHRI LAXMINARAYAN MANDIR: 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday; 269 N. Klondike Ave., Pine Hills, FL 32811; (407) 877-7916.

SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR (BAPS): 1325 W. Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, FL 32809; (407) 857-0091.


ISKCON OF ALACHUA (International Society for Krishna Consciousness): founder is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, P.O. Box 819, Alachua, FL 32616; (386) 462-2017.


SHIRDI SAI CENTER: 4707 Pleasant Grove Road, Inverness, FL 34452; for timings of the center and any other information, call (352) 860-2181 or e-mail [email protected]


SOUTH FLORIDA HINDU TEMPLE: 13010 W. Griffin Road, Southwest Ranches, FL 33330; for timings and classes at the temple, call (954) 438-3675 or e-mail [email protected]

Send information on upcoming events to Nitish S. Rele, Khaas Baat, 18313 Cypress Stand Circle, Tampa, FL 33647
or e-mail [email protected]
Deadline for submissions is the 18th of each month to be included in the next issue.


Swami Suryadevananda

We left of last time discussing the four Gatekeepers to liberation� and have almost reached the end of the second section of the Yoga Vasistha. Rishi Vasistha goes on to convey to Rama that only those with clarity of mind � having their mind filled with high thinking and careful about the company they keep � are capable of fair reasoning. He tells Rama that he sees him saturated in this state and the discourse to follow will eradicate errors that may exist.

Learning is not possible when we are vehement in defending the present concepts in our minds. It has been said that when one is ready to learn, all that is known must be kept at the place of learning. One has to be clear and empty to be open to new thoughts and ways of looking at things. All too unfortunately, the older we grow, the more un-resilient we tend to be as if there is anything to be gained at all by defending concepts that are somehow affixed to one�s personality. If we can leave our learning outside the door and approach the learned � be it a live teacher, books or otherwise � much will be gained as then we are receptive.

The enormity and depth of the Yoga Vasistha is geared to bring about a transformation in our way of thinking and envisaging everything. For this, the grand scripture takes the point of view of the Absolute in regard to everything, akin to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The purpose of study of the Yoga Vasistha is for the annihilation of ignorance and attainment of liberation. This requires a mind without agendas and not one that is bent on defending its present contents; this is the �clarity of mind� that the sage is probably referring to in the earlier verse.

The six sections of the Yoga Vasistha commence with the state of the seeker and culminate in an astounding realization by intuition that the Absolute is the only reality; all that was believed earlier was a play of the mind with the cooperation of the intellect and the senses. This is not an intellectual realization as �to know� is �to be� and we have to become this realization, thinking only from this point of view, speaking only from this point of view and our each action resonating also from this point of view only. Knowledge is being and what we are is what we know. To be one thing and claim to know other things is a dichotomy and a smoke screen without any substance. A thief cannot give a sermon on honesty with any conviction as he has not personally known what he is talking about.

Rishi Vasistha, while emphasizing toward the end of the second section these points as essential for learning, says that he sees in Rama all these requisites. The wise sage goes on to tell Rama that there is a difference between appearance and reality. Several practical analogies are presented for ease in understanding this lofty declaration. In the case of a gold bracelet, the bracelet is a mere appearance, � a form that the real substance, which is gold, has been cast into. When we look at the waves in the water, we see them as real and probably distinct from the ocean but they are neither. Both the waves and ocean are water only. Similarly, we see the blue sky as something real and perhaps dome-like but there is no dome and the blueness is only an appearance caused by other factors.

We have given names to certain forms or formations and have vehemently come to believe that this now-inseparable marriage of name and form must be real � it is not so says Rishi Vasistha. This is probably why the word jagat or passing is appropriately used to designate the transitory world. The world or creation is not something static; everything is in movement, everything is vibrating tremendously and this is what science tells us today. There is nothing solid or unchanging; everything and everyone is in movement and nothing stays unchanged even for a moment. This also is the cause of much sorrow as we try in vain to preserve and recreate the ever changing while we are changing ourselves. The solidity is not the truth of things says the wise sage.

When the seasons change and fall appears, the trees seem to lose their leaves and are even called barren by casual lookers. This is an observation that is made based on the effects of changing climatic conditions on the tree, which sheds its leaves for a brief period only to change once again when conditions are again conducive to bearing leaves, flowers and fruit. This is not what we consider when we call the tree as �barren�, we infer that it is how things are; such is the vehemence of the reports of the senses which force us to exist on their diet of untrue reports. The five senses continually bombard the mind with individual reports and the untrained mind in cooperation with the intellect validates these without any inquiry as to the truth. This is a travesty that has resulted in errors being piled upon errors in our way of thinking, which has to be corrected if we are to experience things as they are.

When the truth is pursued with vigor, the frost of ignorance gives way to a change in inner season as the spring brings about a freshness and vibrancy to the same environment. The world does not change but our understanding of what we call the world changes; we change so to say. But, change is not an easily digestible idea; especially if we are called upon to change the way we perceive and thereby, interact with what we call our environment. We are used to a certain way of doing things and as they say, �If is not broken, don�t fix it.� However, it is broken as we are seeing solidity where there is only change and mistaking appearances for reality each moment. These are not just errors that can be set right by some reading or listening; we have to change and become more inclusive as the vision that is soon to be presented in the subsequent portions of the Yoga Vasistha will mandate a higher and more inclusive vision.

When a doctor is treating someone, he sees a patient only; even though that patient may happen to be related to him in some manner. He is a doctor and his mission is to provide a diagnosis and treatment for which he maintains his focus with the relationship of doctor and patient. All other relationships are not allowed before this primary relationship if the diagnosis or treatment is to be effective. Social and family relationships may be there but they are not allowed to interfere with the focus of effort that is needed. The doctor makes a shift in his paradigm once he commences the examination and then, he is a doctor before all other relationships.

If we are to be truly religious or take to the spiritual life sincerely, we should be fully prepared to look at things anew and function from a different angle of vision from what we may have been for all our life and perhaps many life times. This is not negotiable and every one of our previously rooted concepts may have to be subject to uprooting as wider and more inclusive modes of thinking appear to replace them. This inner expansion is to go on till there is nothing outside of our way of thinking, a great challenge about which we will talk in the future.

Swami Suryadevananda, presently residing in St. Petersburg, is with the Divine Life Society founded by Sri Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, India. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

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