As part of the Houston Thanksgiving week program, Sri Ramanujamji delivered a series of brilliant lectures in Sri Meenakshi Temple and Shri Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir in the evenings for eight days. The theme of the lecture series was Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, and they dealt with how the wisdom of our ancient Sanatana Dharma can be applied to our daily life so that we can enjoy happiness and peace in today’s fast-paced, demanding lifestyle.
The first 4 days of the two-part series was held at Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland. Here the focus was on how each of us can get onto the Path to Inner Transformation, which is the most vital step in the goal, not only towards the state of eternal happiness but also towards global harmony. Ramanujamji started out by emphasizing the importance of listening (as opposed to hearing) with an open mind. He exhorted everyone to be passionate in the work they do as only that will translate into passion in the spiritual quest, which is a fundamental necessity to achieve the goal of eternal happiness.
The central concept of the lectures, to which Ramanujamji returned again and again throughout the eight days, was that of “acceptance”-the ability of a person to mentally accept a particular situation or circumstance, which is the first step towards finding a solution for the problem. Acceptance does not mean agreement; it simply means refraining from asking the futile question “why did this happen to me”, but instead focusing on “what next”. Ramanujamji said that this one principle, if internalized and adhered to at every moment in our lives, will help us lead completely stress-free lives and what more, it can even ultimately lead us to everlasting peace as acceptance is nothing but surrendering to the Divine will.
The second 4-day series held at Shri Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir in Sugar Land focused on Practical Spirituality for Everyday Life where he spoke about the greatness of a Guru on the first day, and about spirituality, true love and freedom on the other days. An interesting point that he made while speaking about Guru mahima was that only something that is very valuable has counterfeits. No one bothers to make imitations of a useless object. So the very fact that there are many fake Gurus in this world proves that a true Guru is extremely valuable. Our Sanatana Dharma has seen a great lineage of true Gurus, or Self-Realized souls, right from the rishis of ancient Bharatavarsha, through saints like Sri Adi Shankara, Sri Ramanujacharya, Sri Madhvacharya, and more contemporary saints like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, Sri Ramana Maharshi and many more as the lineage continues unbroken till this day. The final days of the lectures at Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir dwelt on the state of true love and true freedom.
Ramanujamji said that true love was possible only when we had complete love for one which could then be expanded to encompass all. He concluded by saying that true freedom from the impulses that govern the mind can be attained easily through Divine grace, and that grace can be obtained easily by chanting the Divine Names.
At the end of every session in Shirdi Sai Jalaram Mandir, Sri Swamiji’s Tamil song, “Keerthanam paadeere”, was sung as all the attendees joined in the refrain
“Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare”
to seek the grace of the Lord.