Friday, November 27, 2015

758. When the Deity in the Sanctum turned towards a Devotee!!!

Kanakadasa was contemporary to Purandaradasa and both have dedicated many of their compositions to Dasa Sahitya. He was disciple of Sri Vyasarajaru of Dvaita tradition. He was a Kuruba Gowda (warrior community) by birth, well trained and proficient in war fare. Once he lost a war even after fight courageously but miraculously escaped being killed in the war. That incident made him disillusioned with the worldly matters. From then on he caught the path of spirituality and started adoring Lord Adi Kesava and requesting Him for wisdom and enlightenment. He went to Sri Vyasarajaru and requested him to accept him as hid disciple.

Once his guru Vyasarajaru advised him to perform a pilgrimage to the famous Udupi temple which enshrined Lord Krishna in the form of a small kid, holding the butter milk churning stick. Udupi is the Karma Bhoomi of Sriman Madhva, the chief proponent of the Dvaita philosophy. According to legend, Sriman Madhva rescued a ship in distress near the coast of Udupi. He signaled the ship to safety by waving a lamp. Convinced that it was through the grace of Sriman Madhva that the ship was saved, the captain wished to offer him a gift and requested Sriman Madhva to take whatever he needed from the ship. Madhva chose a clay (gopi-chandana) lump from the lot that is used for the ship’s ballast. Upon washing the clay, Sriman Madhva discovered a beautiful Idol of Sri Krishna, which He personally carried to Udupi and consecrated it in a temple and began worshipping.  

Kanakadasa on the advice of his guru came to Udupi, a few casteist Brahmin priests and attendants did not allow him to enter the main temple, and turned him back. Dejected and sad that he could not have the darshana of Lord; Kanakadasa sat behind the temple and started singing songs in praise of the Lord Sri Krishna. He was completely lost singing the glory of Lord and pleading Him to shower His mercy and bless him with a vision of His beautiful face. He did not ask for any material or worldly pleasures, all he wanted was just to have darshana of the Lord.

Suddenly the earth trembled and the western outer wall crumbled and the slabs of stone in the inner wall of the sanctum sanctorum cracked open. The idol of Sri Krishna which was originally facing east turned around and faced Kanakadasa, who was sitting behind the temple. Tears tumbled down the eyes of Kanakadasa as he beheld the idol of his Lord Sri Krishna, seemingly beaming at him. The casteist Brahmin priests and attendants who had denied entry to this great soul came and fell at his feet and asked for his forgiveness. Lord Krishna did not speak even a word, but yet demonstrated through this event that devotion alone is supreme than caste and creed.

Even today, the idol in the sanctum faces west. The crack that appeared on the wall of the sanctum sanctorum has been replaced with a window which is called “Kanakana Kindi” and every devotee who visits the temple; behold the beautiful idol through this window. In the place where Kanakadasa sat and sang his beautiful songs in praise of the Lord now stands a towering Gopura called “Kanaka Gopura” and offers a direct view of the Lord's idol inside the sanctum. Devotees visit this place in memory of this great saint and witness the icon of the Sri Krishna, who had turned around away from the priests blinded by distinctions of caste. His beautiful image is visible to all His dear devotees who have nothing but pure unadulterated love and devotion for Him.

Today on Kartika Masa Krishna Paksha, Trutiya is the appearance day of the great soul, Kanakadasa.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

757. Can Puranas, Parables be termed as just Cock & Bull stories!

An open-minded person will neither deny nor admit that Puranas and Parables are mere Cock and Bull stories. For he will have understood that they provide solace to the question asked by the young minds. He is bright enough to know that these stories satisfy the queries of the young minds for the time being, and would not provide them the Truth. He also knows that the young minds would keep inquiring deeper and deeper to find out the Truth by themselves. And if those puranas and parables failed to give them a valid reply, they change their dimension of thinking. Hence, those puranas and parables have flooded with many different stories for the young minds to understand at different stages of evolution. At one stage after listening to those puranas and parables the young mind is no longer interested in them and tries to venture into knowing the Truth by contemplation. Rational thinking comes naturally as the young mind start to attempt to think out of the box. But before that emotional resilience has to be induced in the young minds and puranas and parables are handy for that. 

A civilized person might find these stories a little stupid a child's mind would relish them. As a child when there was loud thunder in the sky my granny would say that Lord Krishna is set out on his chariot taking Arjuna hence the sound. She would advise me to chant “Krishna Krishna” probably at that age and with the limited thinking capacity I had, that was enough to satisfy my doubt on the sound that I heard from the sky. And as I grew up and I noticed that the before I heard the sound of thunder there was a bright light that struck in the sky. When I questioned about it my granny told me it was Indra welding his weapon called Vajayudha. Then she told me the story of the fight between Indra and Krishna from the “Tulasi Mahatmya” episode and in that story I came to know the difference between Rukmini’s devotion and Sathyabhama’s obsession, and how a small Tulasi leaf offered to Lord with devotion is more than the pomp and show we generally display at festivals.    

After some years I stopped asking for the answers and by that time I had the inputs from all the puranas and parables. That was the time when I started thinking that Sri Rama or Lord Krishna were not only powerful enough to kill demons in the world outside, but instead those stories were meant for me to kill the demons inside me. The transition from enjoying the stories to understanding the significance of them set in. Every story in the puranas and parables has something to say if I am willing to listen to them, instead of just pushing them off as mere cock and bull stories. For me it was stories from puranas and then the iconography and from there it was way of life which put me on the path in that order. At one stage I would admire the heroics of all the Gods in the puranas and they were my idols with so many great characters they possessed, but as the time passed I came to know that Absolute is the one who has surpassed the word character and is beyond Factor, Fame, Form and Name.     

If my granny had talked about how the positive ions and negative ions attract and repel each other to build up electrical charge and become the cause for lightning and thunder maybe I would not have understood at that age. Well on the lighter vein, I will not say so with the kids of the younger generation as they know very well how scientifically things happen!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

756. I love my Motherland. I live here till I die....

My Motherland a pious land called Bharatavarsha was ruled by Sultans from 1206 AD to 1526 AD. After defeating Ibraham Lodhi of the Lodhi dynasty, Babur established the Mughal Empire in 1526 AD. This Mughal Empire ended officially with Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857 as a revolt against the East India Company. And in 1947 we got to have independence and had our own constitution.

By the time my Motherland was independent She had seen extreme atrocities and hardships imposed on by rulers on Her inhabitants. Every ruler enforced his own religion which included a particular way of living and follow the rules of living. Her inhabitants then had the choice of multiple faiths and the philosophies. Although subjected to diversity the amazing quality of Her inhabitants in “acceptance” is, was and will be commendable. The strength of my Motherland is in its “acceptance” of anything and everything as a way of life. My Motherland displays a true live and let live society making Her robust.

However, the ancient form of one way to achieve the God set of ways to be accepted as religious, social, cultural rituals that included various laws and eating habits. These new ways of living encouraged a uniquely peculiar ways to convert natives to “new faith” by force or by lure of better life, and even this was accepted with open arms. The inhabitants of my Motherland would not differentiate the Absoulte from the thought of the other who believe. Her inhabitants accepted every name and form a human thought would project about THAT SUPREME ABSOLUTE

Off late few of Her inhabitants and their wives have found that there is “intolerance” and want to leave Her. Those who have felt so could have not noticed what is happening across the world in the name of religion. My Motherland has tolerated many invaders who have looted Her. I am a fractional part of Her inhabitants and feel that there is no other place on this entire earth plane where I can be safe as am here. I have friends from all religion and we share our thoughts. We never have questioned which faith is superior or inferior since we have never compared but related to each other to excel Spiritually.

Yes, I agree the world outside my Motherland is enchanting and I wish to visit Her sisters as a tourist. I as a inhabitant of my Motherland will never wish to leave Her and settle outside how much ever it is enchanting.

Ultimately it is my Motherland which makes me feel a true Bharathvaasi. Every true big hearted inhabitant can feel the same in this land also I know.......



“Lakshmana, even this golden Lanka does not appeal to me; Mother and Motherland are higher than even heaven.”

After the Lanka war Vibhishana requested Sri Rama to stay back in Lanka. Lanka which was called Swarna Lanka and designed by Vishwakarma on the behest of Lord Shiva to gift it to His beloved did not enchant Sri Rama hence He uttered so to His brother Lakshman.

I love my Motherland and live here it I die…….

Monday, November 23, 2015

755. Understanding is a two way path.......!

It is highly impossible to carry the same emotions always; one can be experiencing different emotion depending on the situations around. Quite interestingly it is due to the people around us rather than the things around that we get more emotional to. Things around are inert and do not have the capacity to change our emotions, it’s only when we lose them we get emotional.  So there is less to understand about things around us unlike the relationship we develop among humans in society.

At times it can be hard to understand others but this is necessary to build a better relationship. The great advantage is that it helps in building great relationships with family and friends. As I said understanding others is hard but it is not impossible. Let’s understand how and why it is better to understand others.

Our human body is an amalgamation of Pancha Bhutas (Five eternal elements) namely Akasha (Ether), Vayu (Air), Aapa (Water), Agni (Fire), and Prithvi (Earth). These five elements are never in balance and there is always one element which is predominant. Depending on which element is predominant the individual display his emotions.    

When the Prithvi (Earth) element is dominating the individual is very expressive and thrive to express his thought with lots of excitement.  He communicates by telling stories about someone or something in detail. When dealing with such an individual it is important to put yourself in his shoes and focus on how to relate to him and allow him to be the centre of attention. He is down to earth person.

When the Agni (Fire) element is dominating the individual desires control and thrive to make decisions. He is very interested in getting things done in a jiffy come what may. When dealing with such an individual it better to let him take control and get things done as achieving results is important. He consumes all like fire.

When the Aapa (Water) element is dominating the individual is a great analyst. He desires caution, restraint and is best at going into details with deep thinking. When dealing with such an individual it better to let go the “take it for grant” attitude. He purifies all.

When the Vayu (Air) element is dominating the individual is a great observer. He normally will not show his emotions openly. It very tough to understand as he say nothing and wish to stay out of trouble. When dealing with such an individual it better to be very cautious about what we utter about him. His emotions are invisible like air.

When the Akasha (Ether) element is dominating the individual is a steadfast person. He is neither interested in others understanding him not does he tries to understand others. He has no complaints what-so-ever about what others think about him. He is aloof to society and always to himself. When dealing with such an individual it better to learn from him that beyond understanding there is love and compassion, which needs no understanding at all. He is vast as space.

Understanding is a two way path, they say.......but then there is always a pathless path too.

Friday, November 13, 2015

754. Are We Burdening Ourselves a Lot and Failing to Enjoy Life?

The overloading of egoistic thoughts with sense of doer ship has become a hindrance for progress to mankind. The attitude of doer ship is fine until the work done yields a successful result, if there is failure this sense is such a that it takes the cheer out of the individual and makes him look gloomy. The worst part in it is that if the individual has taken the deed to be as a challenge owing to the doer ship he tends to commit suicide if the deed is a failure. When the mind is full of thoughts like “I need to do this or I have to finish that work by today evening” automatically we are burdened with the sense of doer ship. This should not be the way to start the day; the day should start with smile and end with smile. How can one smile when we are doing a serious job or handling a huge organization? Planning the day in advance and having a light heart to feel the day’s job to be a delight and acts of amusement does help a lot. One has to be mature enough to know that all the attempts of doing a work will never result in success; there may be failures also which the part of the play is. 

We are very eager and aspiring to look for success in every work we do and our intentions could be flawless also. Yet despite of all the sincere efforts sometime we are unable to achieve the best results expected. In such times we have this tendency of blaming our fate or Absolute. One thing that we should understand in life is that, if we are pigeon one day chances are that we can be statue in other days.

There is a story about an old villager who was travelling in the train for the first time. At the ticket counter he was told that he would be allowed to carry 20kgs of luggage. But he was on his way to meet his daughter in the town and he had with him 30kgs. What did he do? He weight his luggage to 20kgs, took up his seat in the compartment and he kept the 20kgs load on the floor. The balance he put it on his head and sat.

The train started to move and his co passengers were surprised to see this poor fellow carrying a load on his head. After some time, the travelling ticket examiner entered the compartment. Even he was surprised to find the old man carrying the load on his head.

The officer asked him the reason for doing so, the old man replied, “Sir! I was told I would be allowed to take only 20kgs of luggage, so I have placed my 20kgs luggage on the floor, the remaining 10kgs I am carrying on my head myself!” The officer was amused to hear the old man. He said to him, “Don’t you know that your entire luggage along with you is being pulled by the engine of the train? Whether you keep the luggage on the floor or carry it on your head, the burden is ultimately pulled by the engine. You will have to pay for the extra 10kgs of luggage!”

We may laugh at the act of the old man but if we look seriously we are doing exactly same. In our daily life, many of us behave like the old man. We imagine that we are the one who are shouldering the burdens in our life but we are just the players all we have to do is just play, it is the Absolute who is the captain of the team he has the entire burden, the entire burden of the universe.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita, “Yogakshemam Vahamyaham”  “I shall take care of the welfare of my devotees!”  If the mankind does the work aiming at the welfare of the society with the confidence that Absolute will take care, then one can have the mindset of abundance which is an excellent mentality to have.

“Work hard and direct all your concerns towards the Absolute! Toss all your burdens at His Lotus-feet. And feel relieved to enjoy the Joy of Life!”

Friday, November 6, 2015

753. Oh Mind, Silence Plzzzzzz......

A few months back one of my friends asked me if I can remain silent for just half an hour. I am too very talkative and all my friends know that I love talking a lot rather than listening. It was just a challenge thrown at me and it was not the friend who wanted me to remain silent alone who was interested but the whole bunch of friends around wanted to see if I can shut my mouth for at least half an hour. 

The stop clock was on and my time to sew my lips started. Knowing my nature a few had already decided that I cannot stop myself from talking for more than 5 min, but it was a successful 30 minutes of silence amidst some alluring topics discussed. When my friend who had challenged flagged the 30 min deadline, I was wondering if I had been silent for half an hour.

In fact I was not, there was a monologue running in my mind. One thought was firm about remaining non-verbal while the other was sceptical and was not so optimistic like the other. What if I could not remain silent was the big thought in the mind. There was lot of noise due to that. Silence that Zen masters talk about is not just keeping the mouth shut alone; it is about silencing the mind. Silence is not scribbling on a chalk board or using hand signs instead of talking to communicate. It is the total and lack of creating mind pollution.

At a monastery four Monks were asked by their Master to remain in the seat of silence for a week. On the first nightfall the oil lamp which was burning in the corner started to flicker and after a few minutes it went off.

The first Monk said, “Oh, no! The light in the room is out.”

The second Monk said, “We are not supposed to talk you idiot?”

The third Monk said, “You two broke the silence fools?”

The fourth Monk smiled to himself and thought, “Ha! I'm the only one who remained silent as ordered by the master.”

While the first three of them thought the fourth had abided to the conditions the Master had put, but the fourth was also not silent.

Is it really possible to silence the mind???

No, mind is never silent. We can reduce the number of thoughts and with continuous practice we can limit the flip flop of thoughts and concentrate on a single thought. Sage Patanjali terms it as “Dharana.” Further Sage Patanjali explains that while Asana helps an individual to have control on his body, Pranayama on his breath and Pratyahara on his senses, Dharana teaches him to control his mind. With the Body, Breath, Senses and Mind in control Dhyana becomes simpler. 

Now what is Dhyana, is it just sitting in seat of silence???

Dhyana is continuous flow of consciousness toward an object of concentration.  Let’s not confuse Dharana with Dhyana. In concentration, there is a subject and an object. I, the subject, can concentrate on a burning lamp or an image of God, or chant the bija mantra which are objects of concentration to me. In Dhyana, the object disappears and so also the subject that is me. There is oneness as all becomes one. Rather than focusing on a mantra, I and the mantra become one and hence all borders, boundaries, and separation between me and the universe begin to disappear. I begin to realize the inherent oneness of all beings and all of creation. When even that realization goes one tread to Samadhi. 

Each time my mind runs here and there I need to bring it back it is called Dharana. Concentration is trying to fix the mind on one thing. Dhyana is when I have tried and have been successful. And the threshold to Dharana is Inner Silence……….Oh Mind, Silence Plzzzzzz…….!!!!