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Create and savor mouth-watering delicacies of the East! Chanchala Birla invites you to her dining table to enjoy sumptuous feasts and friendly conversations. With over 100 classic Indian vegetarian recipes and stories about family tradition, you will long cherish the pleasures of Eastern hospitality.
The book includes a chart of Nutritional Analysis. Each recipe presents calories per serving, as well as protein, carbohydrate and fat counts per gram. In addition, the heart symbol indicates a recipe considered low in dietary fat – that is less than 10 gr. per serving – the standard for prevention of cardiovascular disease.
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Diwali, or Dipawali, is a traditional Indian celebration also called the Festival of lights. This festival falls between mid-October and mid-November on the night of the new moon. During this dark night, people decorate their home with colorful lights, hence its name. Diwali, which translates as “a string of well-lit lamps or row of well-lit lamps,” also refers to knowledge and the light of Divine attunement, the ever-existing light of divinity.
Diwali is considered one of the most auspicious festivals in Indian culture; it is celebrated throughout the world in many Indian communities. This yearly event – timed precisely through astrological calculations – opens a “cosmic window” enabling participants to more easily attune themselves to higher spiritual energy. Diwali is filled with spiritualism and religious activities, such as worshiping Lakshmi, the goddess of joy, prosperity and success, or Lord Ganesha, the god of wisdom and remover of obstacles. This year, the Birla Center will be holding its monthly meditation on Diwali Tuesday, November 13th at its wellness center in Chénéville. We would be delighted to have you join in on this traditional, festive Hindu celebration.
Diwali is an extremely auspicious time to meditate, pray, and focus on the goals you have set for yourself. This can be attained, in part, through the instrumentality of mantra, the science of vibratory sound, and its effect on the human nervous system. As a consequence of mantra recitation, we have the potential to arouse the powerful latent energy in our chakras, or spinal centers. The powerful synergy resulting from mantra recitation during the period of Diwali increases tenfold the beneficial effects — significantly more than at other times of the year. In the east, this practice results in the attainment of siddhis – powers which are byproducts in the process of perfecting our consciousness. They are evidence of an awakening consciousness and the ever-increasing connection with our divine nature, the light within – a light that, incidentally, manifests through the planetary radiations reflected in the chart and hand.
Depending on your individual needs, a specific mantra can be chosen for you that you can recite aloud or silently. For example, the Gayatri mantra is recited for peace of heart; the Maha Mritunjaya for health; and the Saraswati Devi mantra is recited for creativity. Consider that, according to ancient scriptures, each of these time-honored, potent mantras have been used successfully for centuries. A phonetic transliteration will be given to help you pronounce your mantra correctly.
If you cannot come in person to our center in Chénéville, you can still join us in meditation from the comfort of your home in order to spread the healing vibration around you through the power of group meditation to promote world peace and betterment of life for everyone. This time can be devoted exclusively to mantra recitation and meditation to achieve the maximum benefits this auspicious day has to offer. It is recommended that you fast for the most part on Tuesday; then, having a light, vegetarian meal later in the day. You can then continue alternating your meditation and mantra recitation, preferably until midnight on the 13th.
How to ProceedChoose a quiet, tidy room well lit by as many candles as possible. Christmas lights can also be used to make your “Festival of Lights” event an even more cheerful and festive celebration. It is a fact, that intention and visualization are powerful tools towards realizing our goals. Items, pictures and symbols, therefore, that represent our cherished dreams – also a part of the Diwali celebration – can be placed on a meditation altar or table alongside statues and images of saints, deities, and gurus that are close to your heart. For example, a writer focusing on successfully finishing a book could place pages from a manuscript in progress.
Whatever the desire, and as it has been said, “Nothing is too great for a child of God”; your wish can be affirmed visually on the Diwali altar. In addition, photos of loved ones should also be placed here, to vibrate peace, joy and prosperity to them.
Individuals who would like to experience Diwali with us are welcome to join our 39th annual Diwali night celebration. Please note that this activity is free, although it is recommended that participants bring a flower and a fruit to place on the alter. The celebrations of Diwali at the Birla Center are limited to the first 30 persons. Please call now at our toll free number 866.428.3799 to reserve your place and/or your room.
Who doesn’t have concerns about their self-image, the way they look and how others perceive them? Who hasn’t tried a dozen different diets in the hope of quickly losing weight? When I first met Claudine, she had tried many different diets over the years and still, to her dismay, was carrying an extra 115 pounds. No magic formula had worked. When she lost weight, she would gain it right back. She also realized that when she was going through emotionally trying times, she would seek comfort in food. This understanding made her aware of the connection between body and mind and how both were intricately interwoven together.
Since she was a teenager, Claudine battled with issues of self-image. She remembered the boys in school, laughing and making fun of her, especially as her body seemed to be maturing faster than any of the other girls, which made her a focus of attention. Consequently, she felt shy and ashamed of herself, always trying to downplay her appearance.
Now, at 42 years old, she feels she has had enough and is crying out for a change. During her session with me, I searched to see her strengths and weaknesses and where her lack of self-worth was coming from. I explained to Claudine the necessity for her to change her way of thinking confirmed by the double pattern of lines in her hand. This conflicting pattern of lines showed me that she had been greatly affected by the duality of life – both the kindness and mean-spiritedness of others, keeping her on an emotional roller-coaster. From an astrological perspective, Claudine was also experiencing a powerful transit of the passage of Saturn on her Moon, referred to as Sadi Sati, denoting an extremely emotional time in her life.
It felt like this was the perfect time and opportunity to propose a challenge to Claudine. She had to change her way of thinking and living. I encouraged her that with understanding, discipline and motivation, she would be able to take charge of her life. She wanted to benefit from all the positive lines I had seen in her hands instead of remaining entangled in the dual pattern of lines that had caused her a lot of emotional anguish and confusion.
From the analysis, I pointed out the need for her to focus on finding a direction in life as, up until the present, her mind had been totally preoccupied with her appearance and her weight. She confirmed that she had not yet found her passion in life. She mentioned that her husband owned his own company and that he really loved his work. He had hoped for a long time that she could be happy too.
Over a series of coaching sessions, Claudine started the process of resolving her past hurt. She realized how much her pain was based on her efforts to please others, longing for their approval. Focused outwardly, she lost contact with her inner richness. Depending on the love of others, she felt empty. After a few sessions, she began to look at herself differently. Slowly she regained her self-worth and began a regimen of diet and exercise every day. After one year, Claudine had lost 50 pounds. She maintained her positive attitude and returned to school to study her favorite subject: fine cuisine. Claudine looks beautiful and radiates joy and satisfaction.
I feel privileged, through the disciplines of palmistry and astrology, to be able to serve as a guide to help you and people like Claudine realize aspects of themself that they might not otherwise be aware of. Your hand and your chart are my templates to identify your strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. Together, we can determine what behaviors need change and what actions can be taken to achieve your goals. For more information about our palmistry programs or to arrange an appointment with me in person or through our Remote Consultation Service, check our website at www.birlacenter.com or call us at 866.428.3799.
Today, we will continue our exploration of the steps that comprise Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, that form the structural framework for yoga practice.In last month’s article, we explored the sixth step – Dharana – the practice of concentration that prepares us for the seventh step, meditation. Today, we will take a look at the last two steps, Dhyana, meditation, and Samadhi, enlightenment.
Dhyana and Samadhi
By learning to concentrate, we are able to still the mental dialogue going on in our head. With our attention freed from both internal and external distractions, we are able to now meditate in order to connect with the Spirit within us. According to Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, ‘when our soul took residence in our physical form, we became identified with our body and its mortal limitations. Through meditation, we become more and more attuned to our soul. We connect with the vastness of Spirit with increasing feelings of inner peace and joy. In the most exalted states, soul and spirit become reunited in ecstatic blissful communion or Samadhi.
The goal of meditation is not unconsciousness or nothingness. It is heightened awareness and a feeling of oneness with the universe. The calm achieved in meditation spills over into all aspects of our life — during a hectic day at work, shopping for groceries, planning the summer vacation.
Meditation should not be confused with ordinary concentration. Concentration consists in freeing the attention from distractions and in focussing it on any thought in which we may be interested.
According to Kriyananda, a disciple of Paramahansa, ‘by prolonged concentration on any stage of consciousness, we begin to take on its qualities. For example, by concentrating on sense pleasures, we come to identify our happiness with the gratification of those pleasures. By concentrating on our personal faults, we only give strength to those faults. By concentrating on specific virtues, we become more virtuous.’ As Paramahansa explains, ‘meditation is that special form of concentration in which the attention has been liberated from restlessness and is focused on God. Meditation is concentration used to know God or our self as Spirit.’ In meditation, our separate sense of self begins to merge in the great ocean of consciousness of which it is a part.
As Paramahansa says, in meditation, you realize that all along there was something tremendous within you, and you did not know it. Consequently, Samadhi, the ultimate step on the eightfold path of yoga, is attained when in the midst of exacting worldly duties or in the peaceful quiet of our home we experience an undercurrent of happiness that flows regardless of the fluctuating circumstances and environment around us. Samadhi, a state of intense concentration, is the highest stage in meditation, in which we experience oneness with the universe.
The eight limbs work together: The first five steps — yama, niyama asana, pranayama, and pratyahara — are the preliminaries of yoga and build the foundation for spiritual life. They are concerned with the body and the brain. The last three, which would not be possible without the previous steps, are concerned with reconditioning the mind. They help the yogi to attain the final and ultimate step, Samadhi or enlightenment – the full realization of oneness with Spirit.
I highly recommend to all my clients and students that in order to progress in life, it is essential to have a spiritual discipline. There are many great teachings that can bring us to Samadhi. My personal recommendation is the Self-Realization Fellowship Home Study Series that offers step-by-step instruction in the ancient Yoga techniques of concentration, meditation, and energizing the body with life force.
As a reminder, every Monday evening, I give a yoga class. For anyone who is unable to attend, you can book a session at our toll-free number 866.428.3799 or online at www.birlacenter.com. During our time together, I will be happy to develop a routine for you. Also I am available for massage, palmistry consultations and classes. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Fall Foliage Package
Between October12th and November 4th, the Birla Wellness Center is offering a special Fall Foliage package starting at $299 per person.
This package includes:
Take advantage of your stay and go for an incredible sightseeing walk in nature to enjoy the beautiful colors of fall..
Single occupancy starting at $299 (reg.: $360) Double occupancy starting at $549 (reg.: $660)
Information and reservation: 1-877-428-3799
The Birla Center will be holding its next monthly meditation on Monday, October 29th at its wellness center in Chénéville. Come and celebrate the full Moon in Aries. It is a very auspicious time to embark upon cultivating healing powers, intuition, and, above all, integration of body, mind and soul.
The practice of meditating on the full Moon helps bringing fulfillment in all respects of our life. This is a time of high energy. It is a good time to reflect, as often we might be out of touch with our emotions. This is a very potent time in our meditation to seek integration and achieve fulfillment. Mark this date in your calendar. These monthly meditations can become, a special, and memorable occasions to share some time with like-minded individuals, and to recharge your spiritual batteries, helping you instill greater peace of mind in the midst of a hectic life. You can return home, better equipped to face daily challenges in a more serene manner.
If you cannot take part in person at our center in Chénéville, you can still join us in meditation from the comfort of your home. Though not ideal, in terms of the benefits gained from participating in a group meditation, synchronizing your home meditation with that of ours here at the center provides a fellowship whereby we are all together on a similar spiritual quest.
Please note that our group meditations are free. To reserve your place and/or your room, call us toll free 866.428.3799.
Next Meditations at the Birla Center
Tuesday, November 13 - Diwali, the Festival of LightsFriday, December 21 - Winter solstice and Christmas meditation
Eastern texts consider the girdle of Venus auspicious. Shaped like the crescent moon, it symbolizes the beginning of a lunar cycle with its promise of becoming full. The girdle of Venus is said to reflect a permanent smile that we have in our hearts, showing that we can serve as an inspiration to others through the beauty we exemplify in our lives. It shows that we have the sensitivity to be attuned to the needs of others.
Sister Madeleine – Loving the EnemySister Madeleine witnessed and endured atrocities in a prisoner-of-war camp. When she was released, she chose not to return home but to stay and help with the war recovery effort in the area, without any feelings of bitterness, hatred or revenge. On the contrary, well into her seventies, she continued to help establish greater cooperation and harmonious international relations between the warring zones. Note the well-formed girdle of Venus, which reveals her extraordinary gift of compassion.
Finding an outlet for our emotions can sometimes be difficult and, for that reason, an imbalance in the girdle of Venus is often found. This includes breaks, islands, overlaps or multiple straight lines. An improperly formed girdle of Venus indicates that, although we have great sensitivity and profound feelings, we are having difficulty expressing them. We may be passionate and intense, yet unable to find a creative outlet for our feelings. This may result in escapist or unpredictable behavior.
Alexander – An EmpathAlexander is a talented artist working for a major film studio. One day, on the bus coming home from work, a lady sitting beside him got her hand caught in the window. Alexander felt the intensity of her pain and jumped up to help her. A short time later, he discovered that he had been carried off the bus as he had fainted. The presence of numerous girdles of Venus shows that he has tremendous empathy; however, the breaks indicate that Alexander is prone to be overwhelmed by his emotions.
Our director, Ghanshyam, assured me that we can all grow a girdle of Venus or be able to repair an imbalanced one. I can show you how. If you are interested in experiencing a joy that is contagious to everyone you meet, please book a five-session coaching program and we can work together on developing this important line. You can book on our website www.birlacenter.com or call us toll-free at 866.428.3799.
In Vedic astrology, the Sun plays an eminent role in that it represents our soul nature. Books on Vedic astrology, both traditional and contemporary, extol the virtues of the Sun. Personal magnetism, integrity, authenticity, compassion, brilliance, conscientiousness, and empathy are a few of the outstanding qualities that are attributed to it. To what extent we demonstrate these qualities, however, will be seen by the sign (Aries to Pisces) in which the Sun is placed, in what house (the 12 areas of human endeavor) it is placed in the natal chart, and of course, the potency of the Sun relative to the influence of the other planets in the chart. Doing the math, we can see that there are 144 combinations of Sun placement.
In regards to sign, the Sun is exalted in Aries, yet is debilitated in its polar, opposite sign of Libra. This is not to say that all people who have Sun in Aries exhibit all the above-mentioned qualities, whereas those with a Libran Sun, in contrast, are equally deficient. Rather, we need to define how the energy of the Sun will be filtered through the ruling planet of the sign in which the Sun is placed.
For example, the Sun is exalted in Aries, its best placement. Aries is ruled by Mars, a yang, energetic, and intense planet. As a result, Aries provides an ideal medium, one that synergistically works towards channeling the passionate, fiery energy of the Sun. This Sun placement, then, indicates an uninhibited, unbounded, and full throttle intensity and enthusiasm.
Moreover, Aries is a Cardinal Fire sign, (Cardinal being a mobilizing, initiating force), propelled by the element fire; we like to start things and get them moving, further confirmation of the positive blending of both Sun and Mars energies.
We need to keep in mind that the Sun in this Mars ruled sign generates plenty of heat, and that if its energy is not used wisely, one with this placement can be overly intense, perhaps even riding roughshod over others in their enthusiasm.
In contrast to Aries, Libra is ruled by Venus, the planet of love, finding balance (related to Libra’s icon - the scales) and harmony. Venus is a caring, gentle, peace-loving planet allergic to conflict and confrontation. In one of its extreme manifestations, however, Venus can have a seducing influence - in Hindi it is referred to as an Asura, or a demon. One then might ask how Venus, the planet of love, can be seen in this light. As Venus also corresponds to the physical body incorporating the five senses, we need to watch that we are not tempted into expending an unreasonable amount of time, effort and energy working to satisfy them.
As such, inappropriately channeled Venus energy shows a predominant quest to satisfy the senses, the physical desires of comfort and pleasure; we want to be comfortable, to take it easy, and to enjoy the pleasures of a hedonistic lifestyle. In addition, as the Sun equates to soul qualities, whereas Venus corresponds to the physical body and its senses, we can see how there might be a conflict in interest regarding the ultimate quest of soul realization.
In contrast, however, the ideal manifestation of Venus – the planet of love – is devotional; we can display the qualities of compassion exhibited by Mother Teresa whose life work was to take care of the poor, especially those afflicted with leprosy. As Venus filters and redirects the Sun’s inherent fiery nature, it is essential that we learn to express this Venusian energy in ways that best support our spiritual evolution.
In addition, we may have an ideal vision of how life should be, yet we also need to strike a balance between the real and the ideal to manifest our utopian dreams as we may not always have the energy at our disposal to make this quest for harmony and beauty in life a reality. For example, those with the Sun in Libra may present a different demeanor depending on the situation and with whom they are dealing. In the desire to avoid conflict, you may back off when faced with opposition. In contrast, however, and perhaps as a result of lacking poise at times, you may unintentionally overreact, dealing more severely with those when you are feeling more in control.
Ultimately, you need to find your voice and conviction, and face with equanimity both those who can be intimidating as well as those who may feel intimidated by you. Attaining this neutral yet loving way of being, you achieve finally what you have been seeking for so long – the harmony and equilibrium associated with Venus, the trademarks of Libra. As a result, the noble and essential quest to create peace and equilibrium in your life simply needs to go hand in hand with a passion, intensity and perseverance to create it. As we gain strength, we are also able to maintain a neutral equanimity when dealing with others.
Although emphasis has been placed on the expression of the Sun in the natal chart, it is essential to view the chart as a whole for an accurate interpretation, as each planetary placement in the chart will have an influence as to how Sun energy will manifest through the individual.
If you feel that you are getting ahead in some areas of your life, yet somehow less successful in others, it is time to explore how you can find full personal expression, and greater satisfaction. You can change your circumstances, and with guidance your goals and ambitions can be realized. If you would like to investigate further, an interpretation of your handprints in combination with your natal (birth) chart will enable you to navigate through life even more successfully.
Remember, “He who hesitates is lost.” As you are the architect of your life, let us work together with your own personal and unique “blueprints”- your chart and hands - and build from there. To book an analysis, check our website at www.birlacenter.com or call us toll-free at 866.428.3799. You can also opt for our Remote Consultation Service.