Tuesday, January 31, 2017

952. Question & Answers for LIFE....1


Prasnottara Ratna Malika of Sri Sri Sankara comprises of Questions and Answers pertaining to both Spiritual and Mundane living.

Q:  What is to be accepted without hesitation?
A:  The words of a Guru.

Q:  Who is Guru?
A:  One who has realized the Truth and is always wishing good of the disciple from his heart.

Q:  What is to be given up?
A:  Action which is against Dharma.

Q: What should a wise man do with the utmost urgency?
A:  Breaking the cycle of births and deaths.

Q: Which is the seed of Moksha?
A:  True knowledge which is put to practice.

Q: Which is the greatest deed?
A: Following Dharma.

Q: Who is clean in this world?
A:  He who has a clear mind.

Q: Who is wise?
A:  He who has discrimination, who can discriminate between Good and Bad, Dharma and Adharma, Eternal and the Ephemeral etc.

Q: What is poison?
A:  Disrespecting the views of wise and elders.

Q: What is the essence of this Samsaara (cycle of births and deaths)
A:  It is the frequent contemplation on the question ‘What is this Samsaara?’

Q: What should a man ask for?
A: Take birth in this world for the benefit of oneself and others.

Q: Which is as intoxicating as liquor?
A:  Love.

Q: Who are thieves?
A:  Five senses seeking Pleasures.

Q: Which is the Samsaara creeper?
A:  Desire.

Q: Who is the greatest enemy?
A: Lethargy.

Q: What is fear?
A:  Anxiety of death.

Q: Who is worse than a blind person?
A:  One who is in the grip of lust.

Q: Who is valiant?
A: One who is not lured by the eye-arrows (gaze) of beautiful women.

Q: What is fit to drink like nectar?
A: Advice of good (saintly) people.

Q: What is the root of dignity?
A:  By not asking for anything.

Q: Which is deep?
A:  Character of women.

Q: Who is clever?
A: One who is not fooled by the enticement of a woman.

Q: What is sorrow?
A:  Discontentment.

Q: What makes one become a laughing stock in the view of others?
A: Begging from a mean person.

Q: What is life as it should be?
A: That which is unblemished.

Q: What is stupidity?
A:  Not practicing what one has learned.

Q: Who is awake?
A: He who knows knowing is doing.  

Q: Who is asleep?
A:  The one who thinks Ignorance is bliss.

Q: Which is volatile like a drop of water on a lotus leaf?
A: Youth, wealth and life span of a person.

Q: Who are those who, like the rays of the moon, make people happy?
A: Good person.

Q: Which is Hell?
A:  Being under the control of another.

Q: What is Happiness?
A: Giving up all attachments.

Q: What is to be achieved?
A: Doing good to all living beings.

Q: What is dear to all beings?
A: One’s own life.

Q: What will result in misfortune?
A: Narcissism.

Q: What will provide Happiness?
A: Friendship with the good.

Q: Who is good at wiping out all sorrows?
A: One who has learnt to let go.

Q: What is Death?
A:  Stupidity.

Q: What is invaluable?
A: That which is given at the appropriate moment when it is most needed by the recipient.

Q: What will be a thorn in the flesh until one’s death?
A:  A sin committed clandestinely.

Q:  Where should one direct one’s efforts?
A: In the acquisition of knowledge, health, and in being generous with the needy.

Q: What should one pay no attention to?
A: Bad character, other man’s wife and wealth. 

Q: What one should think of day and night?
A: How to evanescence this world (samsaara) not about beautiful women.

Q:  What should be the object of one’s love?
A:   Kindness towards the miserable and friendship with the good.

Monday, January 30, 2017

951. The Six School of Thoughts.....!



Satya, the Truth in Vedas is so elusive that it is difficult to comprehend at one go.  Hence for a systematic process of understanding it our Rishis formulated Darshana Shastras (Art of Knowing) expounding the six schools of Vedic Philosophy in the forms of Sutras which were called “Shadarshana.” 

Each of these schools differs from one another in terms of its perceptions, phenomena, decrees and principles. Each philosophy has developed, systematized and correlated the various parts of the Vedas in its own way. Each school has its own Sutrakarta (Author) who devoted his entire life to study and propagate that particular Vedic philosophy.

The common feature of all the six philosophies were to understand the Prapancha (External World) and its connection with Jeevatma (Individual), relationship between Paramarthika Satya (Eternal Truth), Vyavaharika Satya (Empirical Truth) and Pratibasika Satya (Illusory Truth) and finally to describe the goal of life and the means to achieve that goal.


Nyaya Darshana of Maharshi Gautama.

Maharshi Gautama establishes the fact that Paramarthika Satya which is Divinity is eternal while the Vyavaharika and Partibasika Satya are encompassed by “Maya” the illusory power and are momentary and is an aid for the creation.


Vaishesika Darshana of Maharshi Kanada.

Maharshi Kanada talked about Paramanu (Atom), he says that “Maya” is ineffectual and there is no creation or annihilation but rather an orderly and morally systematized composition and decomposition of matter. The Primordial Atom is eternal.

Sankya Darshana of Kapila Muni.

Purusha (Consciousness) and Prakriti (Matter) cause the creation. Purusha inspire Prakriti to manifest herself. Divinity is beyond Maya and it can be attained as it is the only source of Bliss.


Yoga Darshana of Patanjala Maharshi.

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug, which means “TO UNITE”. This school gives various methods to merge the Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) with Paramatma (Absolute Consciousness). 


Mimamsa Darshana of Jaimini Muni.

Mimamsa is to analyze and understand thoroughly. This darshana provides a practical methodology for the utilization of the Dharma (righteousness)   for the satisfaction of the urges for Artha (Wealth) and fulfil the Kama (Desires). It is based more on Rituals.


Vedanta Darshana of Vedavyasa Deva.

This is Veda + Antha (Epilogue of Veda) revealing the secret that God is Absolute Divinity and Absolute Bliss. He is Gracious and by just remembering Him a seeker experience His Absolute Blissfulness forever. 

These six philosophies are paired in groups of two based on their close related thoughts. Naya and Vaisheshika make one pair, Sankya and Yoga are related and finally Mimamsa and Vedanta are allied to each other. Since the Sutrakartas of the six Darshanas placed their argument from the same source, the Vedas, all the six philosophies share many basic principles.
Like for example:

Jeevatma (Individual) is spiritual being with the nature of Paramanada (Eternal Bliss).

Jeevatma (Individual) acquires Stula Deha (Gross Body) according to the Law of Karma.

Jeevatma (Individual) experiences the duality of good and bad because of the contact with matter which is worldly.

Jeevatma (Individual) following any one of the six Darshanas, begets the same escalation as the one following the other five. Since the sadhana is all about basic practices of purification and self-control.


Ultimate goal of each philosophy is to end of suffering and experience the Eternal Bliss.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

950. The Abode of Anathapadmanabha.


Sanatana Dharma reiterates that Satya (Truth) is a Tattva (Principle). Hence it also guides a seeker to transcend from Sagunopasana (Ritualistic worship) to Nirgunopasana (Mental worship). Sagunopasana is the stepping stone for Nirgunopasana and Nirgunopasana is the ability to experience the Oneness. Even Vedas which advocates the Karma Khanda and Jnana Khanda prefers that the seeker excel to Nirgunopasana.

Nevertheless Nirgunopsana never stops the seeker to adore a personal Deity. The personal Deity differs from seeker to seeker, depending on dispositions and tendencies towards a particular emotion. This made it necessary to the advent of Agamas. Agamas are set of rules in the Sagunopasana. This was to bring in discipline in the minds of the seeker.

Agamas Shastra laid down the guidelines for the construction of temples and the rituals to sanctify them. The flow chart for the daily rituals from the dawn and dusk is neatly mentioned too. The guidelines in the Agama Shastras have made it possible for us to have a glimpse of temples which are as old as a millennium.
Of the three principal Deities, Maharudradeva and Maha Vishnu have the maximum number of temples. These temples are called Punya Kshetras (Holy Place).

There are 108 temples dedicated to Maha Vishnu which the Alwars, the flowers of Vaishnavism praised and sange about them. These 108 temples which are called “Divya Desam” (Sacred Land) have their origin to ancient times and are referred to in Puranas.

Out of the 108 temples 106 is on this earth plane. 84 in Tamil Nadu, 11 in Kerala, 4 in Uttar Pradesh, 3 in Uttaranchal, 2 in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Gujarat and Nepal. The remaining two is in spiritual realm, one is Ksherasagara (Milky Ocean) and the other is Vaikunta (Point of No return).  

Going on Tirtha Yatra (Centres of Sacredness) has been an integral part of Hinduism and are considered quite important by the ritualistic followers of Sanatana Dharma. Those sacred places are held at high esteem by the ardent devotees who dream to travel and have the glimpse of the presiding Deity there. The pinnacle act of worship is to stand before the Deity and to see and be seen by the Deity to experience the ecstasy.

Most importantly it is not and I repeat again it is NOT the decision of the seeker to visit any one of these Divya Desam to have the glimpse of the Deity there. The Deity has to bestow the grace for the seekers’ eye (both the physical and mental) to get soaked in enchantment of having the Darshana of the Deity.    

Sri Anatha Padmanabha Swamy, the presiding Deity of Thiruvanathapuram has been kind enough to grant me that moment for which I had been longing for so long. I am eager to have the Darshana of Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy...... Pranam.

Om Namo Anatha Padmanabhaya Namah!    

Monday, January 23, 2017

949. Prankster and Protector in the same Form.....!


Vastra Harana & Akshya Vasana.

Sri Krishna is a Prankster playing Drama in Vastra Harana (Robbing Clothes) and in Akshya Vasana (Providing Clothes) He is a Protector upholding Dharma. In both the occasions He chooses the Sari as the common “props.”

The Gopikas had placed their saris on a stone slab and entered River Yamuna to take bath. Krishna who was then a boy of around 10 years picked the saris and sat on the Kadamba Tree playing His flute. The diffident dames begged Him to return their saris. He insisted they come out and take them. How would they come out of the water they had nothing to cover their nakedness? The pleading and beseeching went in vain as the naughty boy would not yield.

Gopikas finally unwillingly stepped out of the river with their hands covering their nudity. “Why did you take our clothing?” asked one of them gathering courage. The lad replied, “By entering the river without any cloth you have offended Yamunadevi (River) and Varunadeva (God of Rain). As a part of atonement you have to ask forgiveness by raising both your hands and joining the palms above your heads. Only then you get back your saris.” Gopikas do so and get back their saris.

Yudhishtira who had staked Draupadi in the Game of Dice lost her. Duryodhana instructed his brother Dushasana to bring Draupadi to the sabha (court) and disrobe her. Draupadi was dragged to the court and Dushasana began disrobing her. She looked at her five husbands who hung their heads as they were in no position to help her. Realising that Sri Krishna was her only saviour she called out “Oh! Dwaraka Nivasi (Dweller of Dwaraka).” She held the sari tightly in her hands. The time was ticking out; Dushasana was applying more force to pull her sari. Draupadi was in a worst situation finally she cried out “Mama! Hrudaya Nivasi (Dweller of my Heart).” She lifted both her hands up and joining the palms above her head. An inexhaustible yarn of sari flowed down and covered the body of Draupadi.

In both the occasions Sri Krishna has a subtle message for us. Of course we would never be able to get it unless we understand these two instances from the spirit of Bhakti (Devotion). These incidences are symbolic expression of what is demanded of a devotee in order to attain the highest rung of Bhakti. It is here a devotee loses his identity in the intoxicated devotion towards Him.

By taking away the saris of Gopikas and making them stand naked, he slashed the artificial sheath which was binding them to Samsara (Mundane existence). Freed of these, the Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) is liberated from all bonds arising out of ego, desires and emotions. Rising of both the hands above their heads Gopikas let the body consciousness go; this is the supreme act of surrender without which Bhakti is incomplete. If the Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) can align with Paramatma (Absolute Consciousness) without worrying much about “what others would think” then it is the culmination of Bhakti.

Coming to the ordeal of Draupadi, initially she struggled to fight for her modesty all by herself. She could realise the saying “In a crunch situation, all are alone.” She tried to hold on to her sari which was pulled by Dushasana. Such situations make us feel that “we” need to do something failing to comprehend that the “Dhi Shakti” is us is ignited by Him. As long as we wrestle and struggle, He will just stand aside. If we observe only when Draupadi raised her both hands in the final act of surrender, He intervened.

To the one who takes refuge in Him, to the one who truly surrenders and dares to stand naked, there is redemption and salvation....... What say???

Friday, January 20, 2017

948. Dashavatara (Ten Incarnations)


Maha Vishnu is in the state of Absolute Independence (Sarvatantra Swatantra). Once He wanted to check if there is anything in the universe which had emanated from Him, that equalled that trait. He places the trait in one pan of the balance and started loading the different objects of creation; He placed on it heaven, earth and the neither world. He places the entire universe yet, no matter what He placed on that pan, the pan with State of Absolute Independence continued to remain down. There was no sign of that pan raising even an inch from the ground. 
“What! Is there nothing at all to match this State of Absolute Independence?” He wondered, when all that emanated from Him could not match the trait of Absolute Independence. Finally, He took another trait which was in Him, Shubham Kritva “Doing Auspicious” and placed it on the pan. The pan with the State of Absolute Independence started to rise. 

Maha Vishnu decided that the State of Absolute Independence will get its worth only when something auspicious is done. Auspicious doing has more weight or the most exalted object. Maha Vishnu then thought, “So, what should I do? I shall incarnate and do auspicious deeds to mankind.” 

He then incarnated as a MATSYA (FIsh) to take the mankind to a safer land at the time of huge deluge. He orders Vaivasvatha Manu to collect and place the seeds of all species of plant and animal life in a huge boat and pulls the boat to the next Kalpa (aeon) safely. 

He then appeared as a KURMA (Tortoise) and lifted Mount Mandara. With the Devas (Divine Beings) and Danavas (Demons) fighting among themselves for supremacy. A plan is drafted to obtain Amrutha (Ambrosia) by churning the  with the efforts of both. To churn Mount Mandara is used  as churning stick, it needs to be supported at the bottom. Kurma holds the mount on His back. 

He manifested as VARAHA (Boar) to protect the modesty of Mother Earth. When Demon Hiranyaksha (Golden Eyed) kidnaps Mother Earth, Maha Vishnu takes the form of White Boar and kills the demon and restores the Earth in solar system.  

Enraged by the death of his beloved younger brother, Hiranyakashipu (Gold Clad) does penance to impress Brahmadeva. He does not get the boon of immortality but is invincible. He cannot be killed either by human or animal which is neither create nor born, in or out of the house, neither in the day nor at night, weapons thrown at him or pierce him. This is very tricky Maha Vishnu springs out of the pillar (neither create nor born) as NARASIMHA (Half Man-Half Lion) it is evening and he drags Hiranyakashipu to the threshold and rips open his belly with his nails. At that He rescues His adrent devotee.

He then came as VAMANA (Dwarf) to subdue the ego of King Bali. He begged for land measuring his tiny three step. He grew to become Trivikrama and measures the Earth, Heaven and finally asked for the third step. Bali offered his head as the third step. 

He then came as PARASURAMA (Rama with Axe) to check the atrocities of the ruling class. 

Purushottama SHRI RAMA (Ideal Person) was His next incarnation. He showed the mankind the art of Principled Living. 

As SRI KRISHNA (The Dark One) He preached us about Practical Living. 

As BUDDHA (The Enlightened) He made us understand the importance of the middle path. 

As KALKI (The one on Horse) He is ever appearing to check the dominance of Adharma over Dharma.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

947. Revering the spirit of womanhood......!


I was watching the National Geographic Channel program on the behaviour of monkeys. A group of male monkeys were trying hard to impress their female counter part. They use their sharp teeth and nails to attack the other male to win the female to mate with them. If we observe it is the male in competition with other males and the female is choosy to pick one among them as mate. Ultimately it is the choice of the female that matters. What is laudable here is the persistency and passion of the male to roam around the female and strive hard until selected for copulation. Seldom do they force upon the female.       

When seeing the atrocities on women in the recent times I think we humans are behaving worst than animals. There are crimes against women at her work place and she is not safe at home too. The respect she deserves in her work place is deprived. It all starts with an uncivilised colleague sending a “B” grade joke to her WhatsApp, if she responds then she available. It is sensible to keep away from such womanisers. 

There is a standard claim that men are generally very egoistic and do not wish to hear “NO” from women. Hence they consequently apply force to convert that “NO” to “YES” it could be emotional blackmail or intimidation. These uncultured men think they have achieved triumph by doing so but in reality their standard does not even match the male monkey.      

Taking a “NO” from male is awful for women too. Women normally do not exhibit their sexual urge unless they trust themselves and embraces their femininity in full force. It is only at that time do they come forward without any fear unlike their male counterparts. Therefore it is mentioned in the ancient texts that the feminine sexual essence need to be highly revered. It advocates that the sexual urge exhibited by a woman towards a particular man has to be honoured. It becomes the utmost duty of the concerned male to fulfil that. A “NO” from that male would be like questioning the essence of being a woman. 

Our tradition and culture has explained this unique essence of a woman which is relevant even today. In earlier time it was the women who summon their counterpart to satisfy their wish come what may. There is an instance in Mahabharata to justify this. After the Great War, Pandavas perform Ashwamedha Yagna. The sacrificial horse enters the Kingdom of Campapuri ruled by King Hamsadhwaja. It is a dictum that either the King has to fight or surrender, the King chooses to fight. His son Sudhanva is newly married. He has to fight the Pandavas the next day. Knowing the strength of the Pandava army and expecting an unfortunate result from the war the new bride, Prabhavathi wishes for the progeny. Sudhanva and Prabhavathi spend the night together and it is late for the war the next day. As per the law Sundhanva has to be put into boiling oil for being late. However Sri Krishna saves him.      

Having said that, it is the prerogative of male too. Again in Mahabharata we can find that Arjuna accepts Ullupi’s advance and embraced her feminine nature revering the spirit of womanhood. While on the other hand, he faced a curse of being a eunuch for refusing Urvashi’s wish to satisfy her urge. As per his understanding Urvashi, the apsara was his mother after she was married to Pururavas, the ancestor of Kuru clan. Urvashi tries to explain Arjuna that in Indraloka the relationships are immaterial. But Arjuna sticks to his ideology.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

946. Does the Evil exist???


There is nothing called “Evil” just as there is nothing called “Darkness” and “Ignorance” Darkness is just lack of “Light” and Ignorance is lack of “Knowledge.” When I strike a matchstick and produce light in a dark room, the darkness just vanished away it does not shift to any other place. Light is an existent thing while dark is nonexistent.  If I do not know about a thing and learn about it, by say, reading or listening about it the ignorance I had about that thing just fades away and I have the knowledge of that thing. With the flourish of knowledge, the ignorance that was in me does not hop to another person sitting next to me. Right???

In the similar line “Evil” too does not have a separate existence of its own. It thrives when there is lack of morality and ethical values. If an opaque body is the hindrance for the light to penetrate and thus create darkness, know-all attitude is the obstruction for knowledge. The know-all attitude creates an illusion of knowledge which prevents the advent of knowledge. Ego is the obstacle for morality and ethical values thus making an individual evil. Egotism is based on the delusion that we are separate selves in competition with others and the rest of the world. 

Last week I saw an inspirational video of a “Life Coach” who was talking to a huge audience. He was talking about success and the means to achieve them. Amidst his talk, the life coach request 10 people from the audience to come up on the stage. He wished to give a live demonstration. 10 of them volunteered to go up on to the stage. The life coach had a brief chat with all of them asking them about their profession. Most of them were into business and there were a few from corporate sector too. He then asked his volunteers to give an inflated balloon and a toothpick to the 10 people on stage. He asked the 10 of them to hold the balloon in their right hand and the toothpick in the left. 

When the 10 people were ready he said, “I will count ten, whoever has the inflated balloon in his hand by the end of the count is the successful person.” As the Life Coach started to count , the 10 members on the stage tried to hid the balloon at their back and run to prick the other persons’ balloon. By the end of the count there was none with the inflated balloon, but the person whose balloon was the last to burst shouted, “Sir, my balloon was the last to burst.” 

The Life Coach silently walked up to the 10 and said, “My dear gentlemen, I had told whoever has the inflated balloon intact at the end of 10 counts is successful. I expected all of you to just hold your balloon but I do not know what made you go crazy to prick the other peoples’ balloon?”   

The lack of morality and ethical values in them instigated all of them to burst the balloon of the others. The high of the word “success” got them to see that only they should have the inflated balloon till the end. They never entertained a thought that all can be successful by not having the evil idea of bursting the balloon of others. 

It is the ego in them which induced the separateness and created the individual identity. That thought of separateness pushes an individual to participate in the rat race. When in rat race the morality and ethical values take the back seat. It is here the “Evil” triumphs.....this is the irony!!!          

Sunday, January 15, 2017

945. An Ocean in a Drop......!


The pilgrimage of the water molecule from the ocean and back to ocean is termed “Hydrologic Cycle.”It is the journey of the water molecule from the ocean surface to the sky and their way to the earth plane and then back to the ocean. This colossal voyage is powered by the energy from the sun and by the plants. There is a continuous exchange of moisture between the oceans, the atmosphere, and the land. While the visible part of evaporation is carried out by the sun, plants do their bit unnoticeably by transpiration. Due to the heat energy from the sun the water molecules evaporate and rise. The rising air currents carry it upward high into the atmosphere. Due to the high pressure they condense from a gas to a liquid to form cloud droplets. Cloud droplets can grow and produce precipitation which is the primary mechanism for water to come back to the earth plane.

When this cloud droplets fall over the land surface, it follows various routes in its subsequent paths. Some of it evaporates immediately as it falls and returning back to the atmosphere. Some seeps into the ground as soil moisture and are absorbed by the roots of the plants to be let out in due course of time. Some flow off into streams and then on to rivers and finally reach the ocean again. Almost all of those water molecules which left from the ocean bed eventually have to reach the ocean at sometime or the other and this cycle continues over and over again. This is an amazing system that is happening in nature since eons. 

If we notice at different stages of the hydrologic cycle, this water molecule which is basically ocean gets different names and forms like water vapour, cloud, rain, soil moisture, stream and river. Though it is the same ocean water which is at every stage I cannot call it ocean all the times. I will call it in different names looking at its form and appearance, like if it is in gaseous form I term it as vapour. When it is condensed, it becomes cloud droplets which I call rain. If it is flowing shallow I name it stream and if it has depth it is river to me. The water molecule gains its own individuality the moment it is away from the ocean. 

A Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) is also like that water molecule. The moment it gets away from the Paramatma (Absolute Consciousness) it gets its own identity. The destiny plays the role of the energetic sun. The different stages which the water molecule had to endure, is the different births for the Jeevatma. Those water molecules which evaporate the moment they fall on earth are like those of the Jeevan Mukthas it need not undergo too many transformations. Some water molecules enter the soil and get absorbed by the roots of the plants, likewise some Jeevatmas are attracted to materialist comforts and get absorbed by the mundane world. They then get liberated in the due course of time just as the roots in the plant release the water molecule.
The duality exists in the name and form of the water molecule in reality it is one and the same. 

Jalal-al-din Muhammad Balki, the greatest Sufi mystic and poet fondly known as Rumi says “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” We often are so narrowly focused that we only see ourselves as a drop in the ocean. This could be due to feeling of scarcity, a thought which says we are not enough, rather than acknowledging the miraculous culmination of evolution and creation, and elements.

I am the entire ocean re-establishes in me that I have everything I need to sustain and it is within me. There is no scarcity in an ocean. I am not a teeny tiny particle of a huge entity. I have and am all things in myself. That amalgam of all things is a part of an amalgam of whole........ I am nothing in everything and everything in nothing.......I AM THAT.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

944. The Middlemen.......!


There is a well-known proverb in Kannada which goes like this: Devaru Kottaru Poojary Vara Koda (Though God grants the wish, the priest wouldn't). This is to illustrate the pathetic state of a person who though being a beneficiary, has a middleman who would not let the benefits reach him. The God would have granted the wish but in between the God and His Devotee there is the priest who holds the reign and he is called The Middleman.  
I have always wondered why one need this middleman, why not have a direct touch with the God who is not elsewhere but inside everyone. There is a difference between having a Preceptor (Guru) and a Priest (Poojary). Preceptor is the one who guides us to the path and they are very much necessary they are like the road maps. We need to keep them along the journey. Priests are like the signboards in our journey they too play an important role in guiding us, but only for a short while. We need to look at the signboard and move on we need not carry the sign board along with us.

The middlemen who are addressed as “Dalal” (Middlemen) are a big problem in the modern society. Earlier there was no such character or designation as middleman. Our farmer would sell his agricultural produce in the “Santhe,” the weekly market and it was a win-win situation of him as well as the consumers. Now with the advent of middlemen there is no direct contact between the farmer and the consumer, the middleman sits between them and plays all the trick. The farmer is badly hit and the consumer is helpless. Such is the position of the middleman.

Even a army general can become a middleman and swindle the funds coming from the central government. Recently one of our Jawans posted his woes in the social media he was complaining about the quality and quantity of the food Border Security Force personnel gets. He was says that though our Indian Government is releasing funds for them, the defence personnel serving at the borders are made to starve. Some have gone hammer and thong over the issue to spot the black dot in the style of functioning of our P.M. While a few who stand behind the P.M are scrutinising the past of the “whistleblower” saying he was a habitual drunkard and was suspended many times on disciplinary grounds. Both are not behaving as responsible citizens. There is no point in talking against our P.M as well as trying to dig the past of the revolting solider.

The noticeable truth is like that of the Kannada proverb mentioned above. Though the central government allocated substantial funds to the defence the funds are not used appropriately, we had statements from the villagers near the border that the groceries were sold at half the price to them. Whoever is selling them is like that Priest in the proverb. He is between the government and the BSF personnel......It is time to annihilate that character..... What say???

Monday, January 9, 2017

943. JALLIKATTU.....The Manly Sport....!


It was in the year 1993 when I had newly started an industry to cater to the motor manufactuting units, I had been to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. It was around Pongal, the Tamil New Year and my host insisted that I join them to watch a famous event that takes place every year at the same time. I was reluctant to go but was dragged to the event by my friend and the men in his family. There were easily tens of thousands gathered to witness the event. The sea of people from far and near villages had flooded the roads filling the narrow alleys, their eager faces gaze down from rooftops. Some had climbed the trees while a few had perched precariously on the sarve (a lean tree stem) scaffolding to get a better view. When all of us were waiting there came the massive inexorable force, a ferocious species of bull, the Kangeyam bull. This bull is let free and it dashes into the street.  The men have to tame it without using any sort of weapon, this is the task of the event. It is a mark of masculinity and the person who holds on to the bull and if possible brings it down can boast about it for the rest of the year. There is a lot of cash prize in the offering and more than that it is a high privilege to be regarded as a hero. It is said that in earlier days women used this event as swayamvara to choose a life partner.

The event I am talking about is the traditional “Jallikattu”, the taming of the bull. How foolishly I would have missed this event if I had not agreed to go with my friend and his family. Smeared with vibrant colour powder and ribbons tied to its legs, the bull charges down swaying its pointed horns. A silence engulfs the crowd and the excitement is evident. While the ordinary onlookers scamper to shelter themselves from the fiercely beast. The alley, which looked jam packed just a few moments back miraculously gave way to the beast. A handful of them tried to latch on to the bull. I silently thanked my stars for letting me view this manly sport, though a bizarre one at that, Jallikattu was worthy experience.

Last year there was a  lot of outcry by the animal activists to ban this event as they felt the bull is harmed.  The Supreme Court of India did ban this sport. I called up my friend to get the details.
I was told that the main reason of bringing-up the Kangeyam bulls was not just for sport, but mainly as studs to impregnate their cows. During this annual event all the healthy and strong bulls are brought and exhibited. Small farmers who cannot afford bulls, take a note of the top agile bulls and seek them for impregnating their cows. 

Unlike the Jersey bull this Kangeyam bull can impregnate up to 40 cows., which is a big problem for the bull semen West. If they want our farmers to depend on the semen then all our desi bulls should die or become redundant.

As a first target they tried to make the bulls “redundant”, with the introduction of tractors. I am not against automization but I feel that any machine should only make the work of men and animals simple. It should not make them redundant. The tractors have rendered the bull useless.

A few still care for their long tradition of having stud bulls. This made the semen companies to use the local NGO's and animal activists to shout against Jallikattu. 

We have to support this traditional sport so that the Kangeyam Breed does not get extinct....what say???

942. Respect women folk......!


A famous bollywood star urges the parents to teach their sons to respect women. No doubt his advice  is logical and has to be considered, but is bollywood respecting women folk??? While our mothers are teaching their wards to respect women, is not the film industry using woman as just a commodity to sell their product??? 

The male dominant film industry has to take the blame for using female artists to benefit monetarily. Our producers believe that without a salacious storyline the movie will not fetch them good at the box office. There is a misconception that they are catering to the likings of the audience, but the reality is that the audience are force fed with B-grade obscene scripts. 

I am not arguing that the Indian film buff is circumventing sensual subject. We should not forget that ours is a land which is filled with those connoisseurs who have grown up reading the romantic classics of Kalidasa, Bhartrhari and Jayadeva. Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhavam, Abhignana Shakuntalam, Raghuvamsham, Meghadutam and Ritusamharam are elegant poetry filled with romance. Unfortunately our moviemakers do not know what Shringara (Romance) is and which is Asheela (Obscene). 

Amazingly both Shringara and Asheela depict the same Kama (Eroticism) in different dimensions. Kama cannot be narrowly interpreted as mere erotic urge, since all the Rasas (Emotions) proceed from it. Shringara springs out from the relationship between a man and his woman relating to the fullness of fantasy. When this Shringara is distorted in the interpretation then a degraded version of Kama sprouts out which is Asheela. This Asheela is branded as “glamorous” by our so called “intellectual” filmmakers. 

There is huge difference in portraying a woman from a Shringara point of view and Asheela perspective. We Indians have the knowledge of this difference though the Westerners accept both as same. Hence they erroneously use the word “love making” for physical relation in their movies. Kalidasa in his plays conveyed much deeper sense to this term; he depicted Shringara to “Beauty” not just “Lust”. So in all his kavyas it meant enjoying the company of the opposite sex in a very lovely and romantic manner. This concept is lost now. It needs a fantastic creative flow of thoughts to bring out the Shringara dimension of Kama by a director or writer, if he is unable to do so he replaces it with the cheap version of it, which is Asheela.    

Our sculptors sculpted naked or scantily clad statues of beautiful damsels on the walls of the temples and there are also erotic sculptures where a man and woman are shown taking part in “Srishti Yagna”. This was never obscene or provoking but the creative images of recent times are disgusting, immoral and obnoxious. Why??? The simple reason is that the intention behind making it as well as looking at it is weird. There should have been the innocence in creating as well as fantasising an art which is gone now. 

When a Shringara Natya (Romantic Dance) is performed on the stage, the initial gesture by the dancer is meant to purify the atmosphere of all sexual instincts. The dance Guru checks and corrects the dancer to bring out the delicate movements of the hands, hips and limbs which are graceful. This is Natyakala. The indecent Adayein (pose) which our heroines perform being insisted by our moviemakers is of poor taste. The intent here is to make money and hence it is not a Kalaseva at all. 

I miss the directorial class of Satyajit Ray, the thought churning Shyam Benegal, natkhat style of Hrishkesh Mukarjee, the artistic Guru Dutt, the subtlety of Basu Chatterjee, the patriotism of Mehboob Khan, social responsibility of V Shantaram, realistic and socialistic touch of  Bimal Roy, the masala of Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra, the romantic fantasies of Yash Chopra.

Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh Din..... 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

941. Anna Santarpanam.......!


In earlier days there were no hotels, not that there was no entrepreneurship in that field. The reason was, in the first place food was never a commodity to be sold in exchange for money. The second reason was that eating at a place, other than their home was a taboo. There were philanthropists who constructed choultries for the benefit of other travelling from other place. Manusmriti ordains that one must not have food without offering to others. At the same time elsewhere in the same scripture there is an emphasis that one should avoid partaking food at the house of another. 

One will be confused while reading those two contrast statements from Manusmriti, but deep contemplation reveals the hidden message. Though it encourages a householder to have a thought, “Which great one will I have the honour of feeding today?” on the other hand, the guest who is travelled from other place has to feel, “I should not eat at another’s place, but I have travelled for long and am famished. If some great one provides me food, I will be able to reach home before evening.” 

While people sought the hospitality of others only in times of need and that too with great hesitation, householders deemed it a great fortune and bound duty to serve and feed such people. This was how it was in earlier times. In fact, there was a custom in my native village where the householders would keep the food ready for anyone who has come from other place. Those were the time when we all as humans were concerned about the welfare of other first. Our endeavour was to make others feel that they are happy and comfortable on this earth plane. Being of use to others was our initial priority; hence Manusmriti encouraged us to be one. Simultaneously it also warned us to not have the attitude of “take it for grant” it rebuked those who were always depended on others to feed.

At those times the number of people who were ready to offer food was more than those who were accepting the food. Amazingly now the number of people who wants to be feed free of cost has increase substantially compared to those who are eager to feed. 

Now anything that is free is and should be used to the maximum. There is a tradition called Anna Santarpana (Sharing of Food) by those going on pilligrimage to Sabarimala. After pooja and bhajans the individuals in deekshe will organise this sharing of food (Oblation). In one such event I happened to see that though the strength at the time of pooja and bhajan was little, it swelled up during Anna Santarpana. There was a huge rush I wondered where these people were at the time of pooja and bhajan? There was literally pushing and pulling where aged, women and little kids were put to inconvenience. We have no patients to follow queue system. Our only agenda is to see that our expediency gets its priority without even thinking of what would happen to other. 

Truly we are living with the ideologies of Charvakas......Am I wrong to feel so??? 

Friday, January 6, 2017

940. Is there a prerequisite qualification to be a devotee???


Jnana Yoga put forth some prerequisite condition for a seeker, like to have Viveka (discrimination), Vairagya (dispassion), Shatsampatti (Six virtue., mind control, sense control, faith, endurance, contentment, equanimity), Mumukshattva (intense desire for liberation). In Bhakti Yoga there is no such prerequisite proviso. To be a bhakta a seeker need not have any qualification or a criterion. One can turn towards bhakti in any phase of his life, like Prahlada who could start his journey of devotion when he was in his mothers’ womb or as Ajamila who could remember Him at the eleventh hour.  

Some say, “One has to be entitled to perform the rituals to tread the path of devotion”. 
With my little knowledge on the scriptures I wish to know, “What was the profession of Dharmavyada?” Was he not a butcher who could impart the knowledge of Brahman to the sage who could burn down a bird by just looking at it?

“Should one be of a prescribed age to be a devotee.” some ask in doubt. As far as I know Dhruva, son of King Uttanapada was just five year old when he obtained a vision of the Lord. The tiny toddler managed to get himself a place better than his fathers’ lap, the Dhruva Mandala (Pole Star).
  
“The ability to utter slokas and mantras a must to be a devotee?” is a must feel some. 
What sloka or mantra did Gajendra, the elephant recite for Maha Vishnu? Maha Vishnu seem to be in a hurry to save the elephant from the jaws of the crocodile, He fly down from Vaikunta mounted on Garuda without informing his consort Sri Devi.  

Those who are often pleased by affluence believe, “Only rich and wealthy are qualified to be the devotees of the Lord.” 
All that Sudama had with him was a handful of beaten rice to offer to his childhood friend Sri Krishna. Where is the question of wealth and richness in devotion? The pomp and show never works here.    

“Should one be born as a Brahmin to be a devotee of the Lord” some argue. 
Vidhura was not born in a Brahmin family. When Sri Krishna came to Hastinapura as an ambassador to Pandavas, He chose to stay in Vidhura’s place. He also accepted the banana skin which the mesmerised Vidhura offered by mistake.  

“Only those who offer the best of the best can be his devotees.” think a few of them. 
What did Sabari offer to Shri Rama? Was it not just the berries which she collected in the forest? She in fact tasted the berries to check if they were sweet or sour, before offering it to Him and He accepted them. 

While explaining to Arjuna about the offering He will accept from his devotes Sri Krishna mentions “Patram, Pushpam, Phalam, Toyam” (Leaf, Flower, Fruit and Water). Lord has given us an excellent option. He has suggested any of these can be offered to Him. One has to contemplate on the stuff Sri Krishna has mentioned in this verse. A Leaf, or a Flower or a Fruit if neither of them, then just water in the cupped palm offered in the form of Arghya will do. He considers only devotion nothing else.