Musical therapist and teacher of Sahaja Yoga, Celeste Jones, is set to attend the 2008 World Youth Congress in Quebec, Canada. Kurrajong Heights’ Celeste Jones is one of a select group of youths meeting in Canada later this year, to search for ways to combat the many crises facing our modern world.
In August she will join 600 young leaders from throughout the globe, to participate in the fourth World Youth Congress, “ReGeneration 2008”, in Quebec.
The World Youth Congress is a project funded by Peace Child International, which aims to bring together young people from the age of 18 to 30 who have a passion for sustainable development.
A total of 15,000 youths applied to attend this year’s congress.
Delegates will join forces with young Canadians to undertake hands-on community action projects across Quebec.
They will help shape international policy by documenting and showing governments what young people are doing to achieve the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which include halving poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, promoting gender equality and reducing infant mortality.
Ms Jones, 25, will attend the congress along with a group of friends, as an advocate of Sahaja Yoga.
“A group of us applied as delegates so we put in our application as the Sahaja organisation,” she said.
The group travel internationally teaching Sahaja Yoga meditation techniques, which promotes attributes such as inner balance, peace and “self realisation”.
“It’s just a very simple meditation technique that takes a few minutes, and once you’ve learnt it you can teach anyone,” she said. “Whatever we do is always free — it’s just for other people’s benefit. We get a lot of joy out of it.”
As part of attending the World Youth Congress, Ms Jones and the Sahaja group were asked to submit a development project illustrating the ways her organisation is taking action.
They plan to spend time in Rome working with Gypsies, teaching Sahaja Yoga and musical therapy, and helping them re-establish their cultural roots by empowering the youth.
But the project is just one of many for Ms Jones and her friends, who have established meditation programs around the world.
“A lot of my other friends, they live in all different countries,” she said. “They organise various events and then we go and join them and do all sorts of things.”
The trip to Canada will be her second encounter with the World Youth Congress.
Ms Jones is a trained musician and musical therapist as well as an accomplished artist, and attended the last congress in Scotland three years ago as a cultural performer.
For the 2008 World Youth Congress Ms Jones has applied as a delegate, which will give her a greater role in the discussions and decisions made at the event.
For more information on the World Youth Congress, go to www.wyc2008.qc.ca
By Tegan Osborne, Hawkesbury Courier
This “Panchami” is also known as Saraswati Day, because it is believed that on this day the Goddess was born. As Diwali is to Shri Lakshmi and Navaratri is to Shri Durga, Vasant Panchami is to Shri Saraswati, the Goddess of art, creativity, knowledge and learning. She represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is the Mother of the Vedas, and chants to Her often begin and end Vedic lessons.
Saraswati literally means “the flowing one”. In the Rigveda it is said She represents a river and the deity presiding over it. In later mythology, Shri Saraswati was identified with Vach or Speech. The “flowing one” in an allegorical sense may mean speech also – perfect speech which denotes intelligence.
On this Vasant Panchami day, Lord Brahma is said to have created His consort Goddess Saraswati, infused speech into Her and bestowed the Veena in Her hands. She was thus named as Veena Vandini (veena player) and Vani Dayyani (recipient of speech). As the spouse of Brahma and the Goddess of wisdom and eloquence, She is known by various names such as Veenapani (holding the veena), Sharada (giver of essence), Vagisvari (mistress of speech), Brahmi (wife of Brahma) and Mahavidya (knowledge supreme).
The colour yellow is given special importance on Vasant Panchami. On this day, Shri Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped. Books, articles, instruments of music and arts are placed before Her. In the evening after the Puja is over, the idol is immersed in the sea with serenity.
In all educational institutions of music, arts and science in India, Saraswati Puja is observed with great reverence. Saraswati Puja is also performed during the Navaratri or Dusshera. In India, Hindus prefer to wear yellow clothes on this holy day. Sweets of yellowish hues are distributed among relatives and friends.
Children are taught their first words on this day, for it is considered an auspicious day to begin to learn how to read and write.
Vasant means “spring”, and Vasant Panchami heralds springtime in India, a time of renewal and creativity of life in nature.
Mankind, with all its creativity and discipline,
Cannot create a thing as beautiful as a flower.
How to fashion each perfect part?
The shape, the hue, the texture,
The symmetry, the angularity,
The flamboyance, the staid?
The abundance, the rarity,
The variety, the uniformity?
These are beyond the minds
And imaginations of humankind.
Our dabbled attempts at art
Are nothing compared with
The wondrous palette
Of a simple, domestic garden.
The creative genius of God
Is beyond our comprehension
And evades our clumsy attempts
At portraying the Divine Art.
The following is a beautiful talk by Baba Mama, Shri Mataji’s beloved brother who brought the creative arts, especially music, to the forefront in Sahaja Yoga. He encouraged and inspired Sahaja Yogis to greater and greater creative heights.
You believe that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and all-pervading. In fact, you believe that He is in every atom. As natural corollary of this belief, you must also know that God knows what you want or what your need is. If the first proposition is true, then second proposition has to be true. It would follow, therefore, that those who know that God is omnipotent and all-pervading are bound to accept that God is all-knowledgeable and therefore is aware of all your problems.
In spite of this fact, we always go to God with certain expectations. Expectations can be of various types, but are basically self-centred or are pertaining to people or relations you are attached to, and then you pray to God that He should grant you a particular relief, or a job promotion, or some benefit to you or your near ones, etc. When you go with this frame of mind, then most of the time you are disappointed. Hypothetically speaking, if your expectations are symbolised in A and what you get is, let us say, B; then A minus B is your disappointment. And then you have to attribute this disappointment to someone. The pessimists will attribute it to their bad luck and will always curse themselves for not being worthy of God’s favour.
The optimists will straight away blame God Himself, and they say that this God is not good and that we should shift to some other God. In this way you keep on shifting from God to God, but disappointment is always there. This may even make you anti-God and an atheist, ultimately. Now take a case where you do not go to God with any expectations. Therefore, the expectations are zero, and let us say that you get B as the reward. Therefore, B minus zero is B which is always surplus.
You should also distinguish between your expectations and desires, and pure desires. Pure desire is always for the benefit of the other, and therefore you are entitled to carry pure desires to the Divinity. I once remember, I was travelling with Shri Mataji from Sydney to Canberra, and it was very hot and the air-conditioning of the car was thoroughly inadequate. Shri Mataji was sweating and I was fanning Her with a newspaper, but I somehow felt that the heat was oppressive and that the weather should give some respite to Her. Reading my mind, She asked me a question as to what I was thinking, to which I told Her frankly that I was unable to see Her suffer because of heat. So She told me that I should make a pure desire and the weather would change. So I closed my eyes and made a pure desire that the weather should change.
Within five minutes, dark clouds gathered from nowhere and it started raining, and the intensity of heat was thus reduced and Shri Mataji said, “See, if you make a pure desire then it will always be fulfilled.”
Coming back to expectations, I may mention here that once you are connected to your Divinity through your Self Realisation, you should feel assured that you have been admitted into the Kingdom of God, that you are His subject and therefore He is duty-bound to look after you, irrespective of what you expect of Him. So please do not expect… Only pray to Shri Mataji that She should make you what She wants you to be.
Baba Mama, 1999