Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guru Gyaan on Guru Poornima

Guru-tattva or the essence of a Guru in an individual's life is very beautifully explained in our culture. To understand the essence and importance of a Guru, we organized a program on the auspicious day of Guru Poornima. The programs were organized in Mumbai as well as in Pune.

Mumbai Program

The program in Mumbai was hosted by Abhishek Parab, while Chirag Rege introduced the speakers. Our first speaker of the day was Mumbai spokesperson of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Dr. Uday Dhuri.

Dr. Dhuri spoke on the importance of Guru and the need of Hindu nation. He explained that a Guru, or a teacher is there to selflessly lead his disciples. Prosperity of his disciples and overall progress of mankind, is his sole goal. Guru Poornima is the day when we express our gratitude to such a Guru. Further, he provided us with examples of great leaders and how their Gurus helped them. He concluded with the following quote:
संहता हि महाबलाः । म्हणजे संघटित रहाणारे लोक अत्यंत बलाढ्य होतात, असे महाभारतात सांगितले आहे. सङ्घे शक्तिः कलौयुगे । म्हणजे कलियुगात संघटितपणात शक्ती असते असेही शास्त्र सांगते.

Next session of the program was led by Prasanna Baokar and Mrs Asha Nadkarni. They read out Guru stotra and explained each verse in the stotra. Guru Stotra is a verse in praise of the Guru and explains how important a Guru is and why should a Guru be respected .

Together, we then recited Guru Mahima stuti:
स्वामीराया कृपा करा, आम्हा सकला उद्धारा || धृ ||
मीयाची मज जाणिव हो, दुर्वसनांचे निर्मुल हो ||||
राबतसे या संसारा, गुरुराया मज द्द्या थारा ||||
कृपासिंधु तुज नाम गुरु, भवसागरी या कल्पतरू ||||
पावन करी या दीनाला, जीव घाबरा अती झाला ||||
या नरदेही सांभाळा, भिणार नाही कालीकाळा ||||
कालीकाळाला धाक तुझा, कैवारी गुरु हो माझा ||||
रामकृष्ण पुजी गुरु घोर, दास चरणी मज ना थोर ||||

Our program concluded with 'Thank you' note by Namrata Wagle, followed by aarti of Shree Shantadurga.
Mumbai Guru Poornima at Sitladevi temple, Mahim

 Pune Progam

Pune program was organized by Nivedita Page-Mulki, Nehal Mulki, Anushree and Vaibhav Nadkarni.
ज्ञानमूलं गुरुमूर्ती, पूजामूलं गुरुपादं
मंत्रमूलं गुरुव्याख्या, मोक्षमूलं गुरुकृपा |
This was the beginning of our meet on the 13th july in Pune. About 20 of friends met in person and 3 more joined virtually over Skype, with the common intent of knowing and understanding the importance of Guru and getting to know the age old Guru-shishya parampara which has formed the basis of our wealthy culture.

The guest speaker on this occasion was Miss Reshma Kulkarni, who is a volunteer of Dhyan Foundation and has an in depth knowledge of the said topic. She practices meditation regularly for the past 12 years and conducts various workshops, seminars and lectures on the practice of Yog as a way of life. She conducted an excellent session which included mythological stories stating the importance of a guru, the guru shishya parampara which is also the basis of yog, yog as a way of life, the spiritual aspect, followed by a short meditation session. It was in simple language with appropriate real life situations so that all of us could relate to this relatively heavy topic. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the event and the response was overwhelming.

The take home message that everyone received was that Guru is someone who will guide you and take you through safely in your journey. Also, in order to be on this path which may seem spiritual or philosophical, it is not necessary to let go of all your worldly desires and household duties. It is possible to be on this glorious path the way you are, with whatever background you have, wherever you are. A special focus was laid down on charity in whatever form possible.

The talk lasted for 1 hour 15 minutes, followed by a short session of meditation just to provide the audience a glimpse of this beautiful technique. After this, we had a short interactive session wherein our audience quizzed Reshma about the various doubts they had. Also a few of them shared their experiences and opinions.

Thus it was a wholesome event, both knowledgeable and enjoyable. Each of us went home with a new perspective about the guru, yog and life as a whole. 
Pune team after Guru Poornima function
This event would be published in Saraswat Mitra very soon.

Saraswat Mitra

Saraswat Mitra is a popular monthly magazine which publish in Marathi and English. It was started in year 2009 from Ratnagiri. It reaches more than 5000 readers in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Belgaum, Goa and Gujarat every month. 

Purpose of Saraswat Mitra magazine is to connect Saraswat community people across the country. This magazine provides variety of content like articles on health, traditions, parenting, women health, career, great personalities in community, saraswat deities, news related to saraswats, stories for childrens etc. It also publish information related to saraswat brides and grooms free of cost. 

Saraswat Mitra is run by group of young people. There is a need to support this magazine. You can support this magazine in various ways like, you can become subscriber, you can ask people to subscribe this magazine, you can write for it, you can send the news related to community activity etc. 

Call 02352-226111.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pumbai - Finally!!!

The much awaited Maha GSB event of the year was finally here. This event was announced a month back and within two weeks, we were looking forward to the event as though we have been waiting for this event since ages. It wasn't that we knew each other since ages, much rather, most of us were meeting each other for the first time. We were connected over whatsapp in the recent few days and all that we knew about each other were our phone numbers and to some extent our display pics. 
Being connected on whatsapp had built-up the enthusiasm to an extent that the topic of conversation on the group over the last few days before the meet was majorly on how early can we meet and the acitivities that we do. We had 3 cars from Mumbai and 3 from Pune converging at Vadkhal naka, on way to Alibag. It was a nice specatacle of 6 cars following each other thru the lanes of Alibag and Varsoli. Most of us were not known to each other till we reached the resort and it did not matter, cause the moment all cars were parked, we were helping each other with unloading the cars and settling in the resort.
The resort was just a namesake...we made it our second home as we settled in. After freshening up, it was time to hit the beach. And the beach we truly enjoyed to the core, from playing cricket to volleyball to water sports. Amidst all these, the kiddos (Ira, Shivam and Aditya) were busy splashing in the water, thoroughly enjoying their heart out. Even with a varied age group, there was not a soul who was idle or left out.
Fun and food are two words that are a inherent part of all our get-togethers. From chai and wada pav on the beach to an awesome chicken dum biryani for dinner at the resort, jawla-pav and omlette for breafast and then a full-spread lunch at Fulora (Alibag), we relished food all thru the meet. Fun factor was always on...from the moment we started our journey to Varsoli till we left the resort, then some more at Alibag while having lunch and the lingering moments at Pen when we had say good-bye, much against our wishes. We spent an hour clicking photos, not because we were photo-crazy, but we wanted those moments to last as long as possible. They will, in our memories, till we meet again.
This event was significant in many ways. Firstly, this event introduced the Pune team to the Mumbai team and was the grandest ever with close to 30 friends meeting. Most meeting first time, and yet within 24 hours being so close as though the friendship was ages old. Secondly, in a diverse age group, no one felt left out. Even the toddlers Ira and Shivam enjoyed to the fullest. Thirdly, whatsapp was relived that weekend. We were so busy enjoying and connecting offline, that except for sharing a few pics with those who missed the meet, there wasn't much happening online. A group that boasts of nearly 1000 messages a day was dry at less than 20 messages. Lastly and most importantly, there was no one at the helm. We did have an organizing team - Sanket (resort booking), Vaibhav (co-ordinating the Pune team and finalizing resort), Sanyukta (getting all information needed) and the rest contributed in their own way. It was a team event and everyone contributed in their own way to ensure that it was successful.

If you enjoyed reading the blog, do comment your thoughts. Do you wish to just read the blog, or be a part of the events as well? If you are interested and want to know more, do get in touch with us. You can email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (+91-9820992403).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Maha Panchami with Maha GSB

Continuing from our last meet at Ambernath, we move to another heritage location this meet. Ambernath is towards the outskirts of Mumbai, now we come to the tip of South Mumbai into a GSB territory. Very few know that the heritage location of Banganga belongs to the GSB Temple trust. At this location, we have brances of two GSB maths. One of them is of Shree Saunsthan Goudapadacharya Kavle Math. This math houses temple of Shree Shantadurga. Many festivals are celebrated here. These include all Maha Panchamis.
May 4 was Vaishakh Shudh Panchami, considered to be one of the 5 Maha Panchamis. On this day, Navachandi Anushthan is performed in the morning. We had been there to be a part of the celebrations. Visiting maths and temples, has traditionally been a strictly religious matter so far. But with the whole gang meeting up, it has added a level of enjoyment. It has built-up the motivation to not just visit math, but to collectively participate and volunteer in the activites around.
The last time we had participated similarly was on Tripuri Poornima (Nov 2013), when we had lit up the whole math with panatees (diyas). While this time, we did not have the chance to do so much of a seva, but we enjoyed helping out the little bit that we could in laying out the seating for lunch and serving food. We also spent some time going around Banganga and applying the knowledge learnt from the last meet. Even in the heat and humidity, we had a great time chilling out together.
We have a "chilling out" plan coming soon where we are going on an outing. The dates are June 7-8. Teams from Pune and Mumbai are coming together after a long time (last time we met was in 2009 at Khandala). Those who were there know what a blast it was. Those who weren't can join now. The rest can keep reading. If you  are not the one who just keeps reading, then hop on. Email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (9820992403). You can also join us on facebook to get regular updates of our events.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Visiting the past and planning the future

Our get-togethers have always been similar in nature and unique in content. We have gradually been developing the content of the meet from planning events, to trekking. Going further, we are looking at adding knowledge sharing in our get-togethers. Our latest Mumbai get-together at Ambernath Shivalay was a start to this series of infotainment get-togethers. Ambernath Shivalay is a Shiva temple with intricate stone carvings and attracts not just locals, but art historians across the globe.
The temple is considered is an 11th century marvel and considered as the oldest existing temple of the Bhumija style of architecture. Most of us did not even know temple architecture had styles and that there was much deeper thought that just the wonderful carvings. Sensing this, our guide for the day, Chirag Rege, started with the very basic question of when and how the temple building started. He further went on to explain the broad classification of temple architecture styles.
Bhumija Shikhar is a northern style of architecture, prominently seen in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In this architecture, the Shikhar has four spines decorated with meshes. Quadrants between these spines are filled with miniature shrine model. He further explained on the components of a temple and we started realizing how thoughtfully the temples were created from those times. Along with the explanation, we explored more basics of a temple and knowing how to identify sculptures. Fitting all that information in a blog would be quite difficult and moreover would not justify the actual experience that we had of exploring the historical monument.
One of the inherent inclusions of our meets is "food". This meet too, started off with pet-pooja but quite surprisingly, we missed lunch and did not even realize it till we were on our way back. This fact can help you gauge how interesting the session would have been. Moreover the learning is something that we would carry further when visiting other temples as well. Some of you reading this blog would already be regretting missing this opportunity. We do not know when we can present this same opportunity again, but ensure that you do not miss any further action.

Whilst the Mumbai team was visiting the past, the Pune team was building plans for the future. We need energy for planning; hence the venue had to be a restaurant. We met at Good Luck restaurant, Deccan at 10:00 am on the same day. Being a Sunday, the place was over-crowded as usual. After spending some time in the waiting, we finally had a seat. What we ate is not quite important in the current context, but what we have planned is. We have planned for a "Maha meet" where team from Mumbai and Pune would come together to have a grand get-together. We have nearly closed on the venue and are working on the finer aspects of the plans. We are sure that you are quite eager to know more details on this. So here are some clues: The date would be a weekend of June and the venue would be between Mumbai and Pune but not Lonavala or Khandala. Any guesses?

Mumbai or Pune, at either place, we had a great time this Sunday. Unless, you are just happy reading blogs, we have a venue for you to have an amazing experience. So join in and have something to share. To know more and to participate, email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (9820992403). You can also join us on facebook to get regular updates of our events.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

MH-12 Once again

There have been quite some questions in the recent about Maha GSB having meets only in Mumbai. Considering that most of these questions were from Pune, we decided to have our 6th Pune meet on Sunday, March 23. Most of the hotels in Pune are over-crowded on Sunday mornings and hence it is unadvisable for a group like us to have a leisurely meet. With the chaos that we create (irrespective of the number), it is preferred that we meet at a not-so-crowded location. Jangli Maharaj mandir on JM road, is the type that suits us. Within the city, very accessible and easily known landmark, it still is uncrowded and leisurely. 
In the same premises, is another isolated place, known as the Pataleshwar caves. Patal (underground) eshwar (Shiva) caves are now under the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and are relatively well maintained (more importantly clean). The caves have been dug-out of a single rock. There is a huge Nandi Mandap at the entrance and a Shiva temple inside. The caves are incomplete due to some technical flaw identified during construction. Staying in Pune, very few people know of the existence of these caves.
Our meets are incomplete without food and it anyways was around lunch time. After some discussions wandering around the better eating houses in Pune, we finalized on the nearest restaurant, Bamboo house. Few of us had met before, but for most of us the group was new, most friends were new. That did not matter though, for in no time, we were bonded as childhood friends meeting after a long time. Somewhere in our chats and gupshups, we had bridged all gaps between meeting strangers to being close friends.
Our Pune meet was end post lunch, but we were in no mood to curtail the meet here. So we continue to Atulya's residence and made ourselves at home. Had all of us been from Pune, the meet could have continued onto the India-West Indies match and beyond. All good things come to an end. Well, this was just the beginning. This is the first meet of the series, the next being on Apr 20 and the series continues.

If you were there with us on Sunday, you have experienced more than what this blog says. If you weren't and you are just happy reading the blog, try joining in next time. It would be an experience you would love to have over and over again. If you are in a region where we are not active, let us know and we will building up a group with you.So do let us know your thoughts. Please email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (9820992403).

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ajjis ajoobas and a wonderful weekend

Today, the name Shantikunj, itself now leads to wonderful memories. It was not so on Saturday morning. This visit was the first time for most of the team and before we reached, there were jitters about spending a day with seniors who are more than two generations elder. The big question of the moment then was "How do you connect to someone so senior, especially where there is hardly thing in common?" And yet we were there to spend the day with them.

To break the initial apprehensions, we had planned to have a bhajan session. It did not take too long to overcome the initial hesitations. As we invited them to the mandir for bhajans, we accompanied them on the way and in no time (even before starting with the bhajans), we were well mixed with the them. Shailaja Pai and her daughter took on the lead for the bhajans and the rest joined in. Everyone was so involved that by the time we realized, it was already lunch time and we were reluctant to stop. We had to hard stop as lunch was to be served at 1:00 PM.
The start was so positive that from then on, we never felt like visitors nor were the residents feeling that we were any outsiders. It was just one extended family with everyone enjoying with each other. While some played carrom, some worked on the candy stick stands (we had planned to gift them) the rest picked up their regular nap. We were all waiting for the evening and the entertainment show that was planned for. It included a skit that was written just 2 days prior and being rehearsed in that afternoon. The residents were excited and we were nervous.

The evening proved to be much better than our dreams. Dr. Dilip Nadkarni had come down for a 20-minute performance and in those 20 mins, he sang, danced and set-up the tone for the evening. Starting with "Kehna hai...", Dr. Dilip raked up melodious tracks from the Golden Era...their younger days. He built up the energy with jokes and boosted the already positive environment. It was wonderful to see one of the ajji's shake a leg. Eventually, even we could not resist and joined in to dance. He was accompanied by deititian Darshana Lathigra, who provided easy tips to maintain health. This continued with a magic show by Jadugar Sunil Kamat. He built-up on the stage that was now set for a rocking evening and ensure that fun element kept going. To pep the mood, we served chatpata sev puris. They were just the snacks needed to to keep up the energy for the evening. Our satisfaction was in the fact that all our ajjis and ajoobas enjoyed the sev-puris. The satisfaction was doubled when Dr Dilip and dietitian Darshana gave us a 5-star rating.
The mood was now that the evening should not end. We added to the evening with a short skit (praticised in the afternoon) and a last minute dance. Our energy bomb, Sowmya was the spirit booster. She is 11 years old but more energetic than most of us. While she only performed a mono act, she was all over the show, be it dancing or motivating the audience or just being super excited.

If you are wondering where did all of us get so much energy, it was thanks to the food that we have had. A visit to Shantikunj cannot be complete without the mention of food served and Hegde maam who prepares the delicacies with his family. He is the caretaker and has been serving there tirelessly. The food is so delicious that even with a full stomach, we are tempted to have yet another morsel. For Hegde maam, it was our satisfaction that mattered. Seeing a content face, his face sparkles joy.

Next day morning, as we were arranging the candy stands (which we had managed to prepare over night), one of the ajji's appreciated the art and checked with us on when those were made, and what would you do with them...much like my own grandmother would ask me. When told that these were for all of them and we would be meeting each of them in their room to give these, there was a gleam in her eyes. She did not say much then, but for a moment, my eyes went moist. Without a word being uttered, there was a lot communicated. She mentioned that another group had come a few years back and gifted them mementos which she has preserved till date. My heart was filled...she did not remember the group, but she still carries the memories. Later in the day, as we gifted them the mementos in their rooms, they were truly overjoyed. The mementos were a gift of memories that they had given us and would stay with them for a long time. When we were to leave, it really was a tough task saying good-bye. As Sanket puts it "We came with lots of questions, started with a smile and ended up with tears".

So how many are needed to organize such an event? How much does it cost? We were 14 and we funded the whole event including mementos and sev puri. All that was needed ws to join the gang, the group of some crazy GSBs known as the Maha GSB. Then every GSB becomes a friend and every event is a memory to live with.

Waiting to meet your friends? Join us now. For details on how, please email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (+91-9820992403). You can also join us on facebook ( as well.