Tuesday, February 28, 2017

972. Students and Politics....!

In the ancient times life of a student was confined in Gurukul. The student would be away from parents and gain knowledge from the Guru. His life was devoted to studies and to get prepared to face any kind of problem that may surface in his future life. He is expected to do all his duties like washing his clothes, do farming and attending to the cattle in the Gurukul. The student there would learn discipline and were under the care of Gurupatni (Guru's wife) who took care of them as mother. They were given training on warfare and rajneeti (politics) too.

It is amazing to see that now the students in the universities who had to be confined within the boundary walls of their educational institutions and learn about political science are playing political games. It is not required for students to get into politics as it’s intricacies lies beyond the territorial jurisdiction of their thought process.

Even today it is relevant in the life of the student to have passion towards his studies and also to get ready to face the problems of life to come. If we observe the life of few students now it is more emphasised on taking political stands. The aspects of gaining knowledge and to learn the art of life has taken a back seat for them.

When we were in college we did have student unions and we would elect the student leader. The association of the students in student union should not be overruled. The students are smart, selfless and they love the right and hate the wrong instantly. They are young blood always ready to lay down their lives for the sake of the ideal they believe and follow, whether it is patriotism or something as noble as that. That is why if the students take part in some beneficial movement it becomes a grand success.

Politics within the college should be nourished and nurtured. Students participating in student unions can bring about welcome changes in the administration of the college. But the politics outside the college is always a dangerous affair.

As a student is yet a learner, his first and foremost duty is to gain knowledge. But this does not mean that he should be indifferent to the current affairs of the world in general and especially of his own country. It should not be suggested that the students should be completely away from politics and at the same time they should never be afflicted to main political parties which use them as launch pad to propagate their ideologies. The only advice that should be given to them is that for all noble causes they should go forward, for they only, as the selfless section of our society, having the heart and ability to do what they intend to. But they should never get involved in the active politics of the country which use them as toilet paper. They are left to face the social media war with those who troll them from all angles.

Student life has more to it than playing petty politics.....what say???

Monday, February 27, 2017

971. Arjavam.....Frankness!

While explaining Arjuna the prerequisite qualities to achieve the means to fulfilling the highest purpose of the existence, Sri Krishna uses a word “Arjavam” (Bhagvad-Gita Chapter 13, verse 8). In fact this word is used in Chapter 16 verse 1 too.

In simple words Arjavam is to be Frank or Straight Forward or just to be transparent. I searched for the equivalent English word and found it to be “Rectitude” this word comes from the root word of Latin “Rectus” meaning straight.

Well, it is not as easy as said to be Frank. Being honest is different from renouncing deception. Display of honesty could be while gauging the integrity of another person but in being frank one should not deceive others or himself to achieve an end even in harder times. The one who is straightforward has to face and accept faults without blaming them on others.

Some feel that deception is an art to survive in this society but in reality a deceptive person is a chronic disease to society. The urbanised civilisation has prompted some parents to encourage their wards to be deceptive in order to do well in society. Such parents are not molding them to be good citizens but are creating prospective criminals who will perfect the art and ravage mankind in future.

Arjavam is the best solution no matter how difficult it is to follow. To be remorseful, modest and to repent for misdeeds is the way to win back the faith. To have Arjavam is to have Rijubhava (Riju is arrow) the arrow that is left the bow is aligned to go straight. When there is straightness in thought, word and deed that alignment is called Arjavam. This alignment is the one which plays an important role for the “Dhi Shakti” to flow so as to acquire Atma-Jnana (Self Knowledge).

Is it so tough to be Straight Forward???

There is a proverb in Kannada “beeso donne tappiskondre noor varsha ayassu” (if you can escape from the stick waved at you, you can live a hundred years). Though this proverb indicated that in certain situations it is so demanding to escape from the current problem so that everything can be managed later. Unfortunately this proverb is misquoted and is used as an encouragement to deceptiveness. With the lack of foresight some may think that a crooked way can get them away from a sticky situation, but it is very hard to fool everyone at all times. One incident to establish the crookedness is enough to distance that person away for the rest of the life. Not only that, the person is branded as untrustworthy too. Such a crisis of credibility will not ever allow a person to succeed in life. 

Commenting on the Story of Satyakama Jabala from Chandogya Upanishad, Sriman Madhva clarifies excellently as to who should be called “Dvija” (twice born) in the sense, eligible for Upanayana (Upa means Resemblance Nayana is Eyes... Activation of Third Eye). This according to the Acharya is the only criterion for Yagnopavita Dharana and initiation of Maha Gayatri Mantra.  

Sriman Madhva write thus:

Arjavam Brahmane Saksat
Sudro Narjava Lakshanah
Gautamas tviti Vijnaya
Satyakamam Upanayat

Meaning: Straightforwardness is the quality of a Brahamana and crookedness is that of a Sudra. Knowing this fact, Sage Gautama initiated Upanayana to Satyakama.   

Here I bow to the conviction of Sriman Madhva in proclaiming the Truth, but it is unfortunate that in this society there are many like Satyakama Jabala but the calibre of Sage Gautama is what is lacking...... nevertheless I am confident that one day the Truth will prevail. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

970. Knowledge got from Silent Sentences.....!

In a remote forest under a Vata Vruksha (Banyan tree) facing Dakshina (South) sat a young Adi Guru (Cosmic Teacher) surrounded by four aged Shishyas (Disciples). Guru sported a Jnana Mudra where the tip of his index figure was touching the base of the thumb and other three fingers were straight apart from each other. The thumb represents the Absolute Consciousness and the forefinger the Individual Consciousness. The forefinger touching the base of the thumb indicates surrender attitude of Jivatma. The three other fingers represents Trigunas namely Satva, Rajas and Tamo.  When the Jivatma transcend these three gunas and surrender to Paramatma then Jnana unfolds, th is the philosophical symbolism behind the gesture of Jnana mudra by the Guru. The Guru is Dakshina Murthy and the four aged disciples are Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanat kumara. Guru Dakshina Murthy has Apasmara, the dwarf who represents Ignorance and Epilepsy under his foot.
There was no teaching or preaching heard aloud yet knowledge was transferred in silence. It is said that Mauna Vakyanam (Silent Sentences) were transmitted from the young Guru to the aged Shishyas. The Guru and Shishyas were in sync with lessons while the words were superfluous.

How could the Shishyas get the knowledge without Guru uttering a single word??? Is it possible???

Yes, This was the kind of educational practice my country had long back. It was not like the education system we find in recent times. Most of the knowledge that the student received was through contemplation. There are two major parts in the accumulation of knowledge, Sravana (Listening) and Manana (Contemplating). Earlier the students were Ekasantagrahi (one who can grasp by listening once). So Sravana (Listening) was just 20% while the second part Manana (Contemplating) was remaining 80%. Moreover the lessons at those times were in Sutras (Thread)  The connection between thread and lessons derived from the fact that these were aphorisms verbally taught for easy memorization.  

The knowledge obtained by Manana is what is called “Mauna Vakyanam” by the Guru.     

Bookish knowledge or knowledge that is forced upon will not help us to think analytically. Analytical knowledge alone gives us the leverage to think out of the box. This analytical knowledge is obtained by contemplating on the knowledge got by books or lecture, but the academic knowledge is got by mugging up that which is in the books. While the analytical knowledge stays till our last breath, the validity of academic knowledge is sufficient till one takes the examination to obtain grades and certificates. 

When a guru or a teacher talks about any subject it remains as a concept till the disciple or the student contemplates and comprehends it, so that the reality of that is known to him. These are the silent sentences which help him to get the knowledge first hand. It is not only in the case of learning but in every aspect of life one need to think and get the answers instead of borrowing them from others.

Suppose I am told about the route from Bangalore to Mysore via, Ramanagaram, Channapattana, Maddur, Mandya, Srirangapattana. I will know that it is not the only route but I can take the Kanakapura, Sathanuru, Malavalli route too to reach Mysore, and that will be only if I travel. Guru is like a road map he can only guide but to reach the destination involves my efforts.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna to act as he wish at the end of the Bhagvad-Gita sermon (Chapter 18, verse 63. He never said “now I have told you everything come on draw out the sword and get going” Sri Krishna throughout His sermon guided Arjuna and at the end He wanted Arjuna to act as he wished. To wish Arjuna had to think.... this is the power of contemplation.

There are more answers got in silence.     

Thursday, February 23, 2017

969. Ananda Tandava.... the Dance of Bliss.

Prajapati Daksha decided to perform a Yajna and invited all except his son-in-law Shiva. He thought to himself, “I’ll show the world that Shiva is insignificant.” 

Sati, wife of Shiva wished to attend the Yagna performed by her father. She asked Shiva to take her. Shiva said, “We were not invited. The intention behind not inviting us is to insult you and me. We will be insulted if we go there.” Sati insisted that at least she can go. “I respect the relationship of daughter and father, I won’t come in the between you and your father, but spare me.” Shiva said. 

Sati went to the Yajna alone and as expected Daksha abused Shiva in front of everyone. Sati could not tolerate the insult and she jumped into the yajna kunda (Sacrificial Fire pit) and ended her life. Shiva could not bear the loss of his beloved wife. He instructed Kala Bhairava to vanquish the Ego of Daksha and he sat in deep meditation for eons.

Tarakasura who was torturing everyone on the earth plane did penance and cleverly got a boon from Brahma. As per the boon the son of Shiva alone can kill him. Now Shiva had no wife and he was in the seat of silence. How could a son would be born to Shiva who had renounced everything and remained aloof. Sati though had reborn as Parvathi, the daughter of Himvanta. Hence all the devas requested Parvathi to wed Shiva, but who will wake up Shiva from deep meditation was the question? That task was thrusted upon to Kamadeva, the god of Love. He not only had to nudge him out of meditative trance but also induce passion.

Kamadeva shot his flower arrow using the sugarcane bow at Shiva to wake him up; instead Shiva opens his third eye and burns down Kamadeva. In fit of anger Shiva started Rudra Tandava, the dance depicting his aggressive nature. Parvathi who was present there looked at the furious Shiva and started Lasya, a dance form expressing happiness and joy. .   
Slowly the Rudra Tandava that was depicting the vigorous mood transformed into Ananda Tandava, the dance of Bliss. Together Shiva and Shakti dance in rhythm with grace and beauty. TAndava and LAsya together became TALA (Rhythm). Ananda Tandava, the romantic Dance of Shiva and Shakti is not for happiness, it’s out of happiness.  

There is a subtle message which I observed and would like to share. When Shiva was furious after burning Kamadeva he started the Rudra Tandava, which could have continued endless for years. Parvathi responded to the male energy of cosmic dance with her beauty, happiness and graceful dance. She wanted happiness and started Lasya form of dance. As a result both ended up in Ananda Tandava, the dance of Bliss.        

In our daily life we find our counterpart in a vigorous mood like my Eternal Guru Shiva doing Rudra Tandava and the conversation then gets heated up. If we divert the topic as my Guru Patni Parvathi did with Lasya, then the course of the conversation or the argument turns in a different direction and there is happiness and peace. Changing the topic of conversation when in argument is the sign of believing in the bond... What say???   

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

968. Rama & Dharma.....!

“Ramo Vigrahavan Dharma” (Rama is Righteousness personified) says Maricha while briefing about Shri Rama's character to King Ravana. In His entire life Shri Rama followed Dharma.

My words are too very small to portray the character of a person whom many like me have regarded as “Maryada Purushottama” (Dignified Ideal Man). Nevertheless I have made an attempt here to look into the Dharma aspects considered by Shri Rama at every stage of His life.    

Rama is hesitant to kill the Tataka since she is a woman. Guru Vishwamitra justifies the necessity of killing, in the larger interest. This is the start for Rama to look at things from Dharma perspective.

Rama is not at all bothered to renounce the coronation and go to the forest. The Dharma to keep up the promise of His father prevails. This is Pitridharma (duties towards father).

When Sitadevi’s wish to accompany Him to forest, He respects the Stri-Dhrama of sharing the pain and pleasure of her husband.

When Bharata request Rama to come back and ascend the throne, Rama advises Bharata “this Universe firmly rests in Satya (Truth), and Dharma is the manifestation of that Truth, and it is by Dharma, the universe is sustained. All events in one’s life are well determined, and one has no freedom on his part to change that course.” Rama also advises Bharata not to have any ill-feelings towards his mother Kaikeyi. This is Vyakti Dharma, the righteousness of an individual.  

Surpanaka tried to grasp Sitadevi to eliminate her so that Rama would marry her. Rama orders Lakshmana to disfigure Surpanaka and chase her away. Pati Dharma is to protect the spouse.  

Rama feels very sad on Jadayu's death and says “fate cannot be conquered”. He cremates the huge bird, this is Manava Dharma, the duty of a human.   

Rama justifies the killing of Vali from behind the bush. He clarifies that Vali was not a human as he had abducted Sugreeva’s wife just like how animals do.  As one belonging to Ikshavaku dynasty His duty was to the moral law. This is Dushtha Shikshana Dharma (punishing the wicked).

When Vibheeshana joined Rama Camp, he was offered protection Rama offered him with an assurance says “He who seeks refuge in me just once, telling me that ‘I am yours’, I shall give him assurance of safety against all types of beings. This is my solemn pledge” This is considered Shishta Rakshana Dharma (protecting the cultured).

At war Rama sends back Ravana when he loses his bow as well as his chariot, and completely exhausted. Ravana was thus given an opportunity to repent for the bad deeds. This is Kshama Dharma (grace of mercy).  

On the death of Ravana, Vibeeshana is crowned the king of Lanka though Raja Dharma gave the proprietary of Lanka to Rama. Rama stood by His word that wanted his wife back. This is Satya Vakya Paripalana Dharma (vow to keep up promise).

Looking at the beauty of Sri Lanka which looked like Gold, Lakshman wanted to know if Rama would stay back. Rama is supposed to have said “Janani Janma bhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi” (mother and motherland are greater than heaven). This is Desha Prema Dharma (patriotic love)

Finally the much debated of Rama sending Sitamatha to forest. Many feel that just because of some loose talk by an ordinary washer man Rama should not have sent Sitamatha to forest. Rama was following the Rajya Dharma which says no to nepotism. Agreed that Sitamatha was innocent but would the words of Rama satisfy that washer man. Also Rama knew that the ideal place for the birth of His sons was the hermit of Valmiki.Hence he directs Lakshmana to leave her in the vicinity of the ashrama.  

967. Duck is a duck and Eagle is an eagle....!

You all might have read about this story which the management sector tells is a true story of Wally, the cab driver. It is about a nice inspirational statement by Dr. Wayne W Dyer “Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.” which the cab driver is motivated and leads his life on those lines.

I had read sometime back and now I had an opportunity to read it again when I received it in WhatsApp this morning. Now I did have a different dimension altogether. Dr. Wayne W Dyer has inspired me from different angle. I have this rather eccentric thought to educate people and motivate them to a higher level of existence. Sometimes I fail, now I do remember this golden rule “A Duck can never become an Eagle”. I have wasted many hours trying to inspire and motivate some ducks without result.

Duck is a duck and an eagle is an eagle. If I am forcing a duck to attend the school of an Eagle I am doing a mistake. Duck and Eagle are different species of avians according to the Laws of Nature. But we are humans with intellect and intelligence yet unfortunately we have this duck and Eagle attitudes. 

Now I have this obvious question “How can I identify a duck attitude?”

A person with a duck attitude always has one or the other excuse. He does not think about finding a different angle to anything instead he has some ready-made sentences like:

“I am busy”....... Every individual is Busy and it is the priority that matters. If they prefer doing they do they don’t give an excuse.

“Not the right time”....... Any time is a golden moment. Procrastination is the face of lethargy. Why blame the time for your laziness.

“I happy with what I am doing”....... No will to explore at all. Either you are afraid of new ventures or you are stubborn.

“I can’t do it”....... anything got without sweat is never sweet. Anything we do is initially difficult and seems impossible, but attempt to do it will make the “I can’t” to “I can”.

Moreover it is foolishness to expect a duck to fly as its expertise is only to sail on water. Ducks love to paddle on the water and maximum they might take to flight on some occasions but an Eagle will soar high and remain in air for longer period of time.

NO MATTER WHAT! If I try and use all the best of resources to make a duck fly like eagle, it will not. My advice and guidance to such go wasted.These people with Duck attitude are happy with a pain-killer than making an effort to find a long lasting relief.

My only small request to Dr. Wayne W Dyer Sir is that Ducks have their own existence and eagles have theirs with limitations. We humans have the ability to cross all limits only problem is that we always set goal lines well below the line of our capability.

Monday, February 20, 2017

966. Social Media and Me...!

If you are reading this write up it is most certain that you have a social media account of your own and of course as I am sharing you this write up even I too have one certainly.

Every time after I post a write up there is a thought that come to my mind. The subject which I post obviously would be satisfactory to me, but I subconsciously feel to know how it would be received by the readers. I understand that some agree with my thought while a few have a different opinion. My write up is liked by those who agree with it. How many likes the write up has gathered is not important to me as I only look for those response which I feel will polish my thought further. This eagerness makes me anxious every time there is a notification.

Social media is suppose to be a platform for me to share things with all you friends, exchange comments and learn more to excel. But sometimes back it was not so with me I had experienced this itch to watch the number of likes. This itch slowly made this platform to access my self worth. This self worth was a gauge determine how “popular” I was among my friend and as I had kept my post open to all I had unknown acquaintance also clicking thumbs up icon for the write-up.

After being high about those like icon for a few day I started to feel like sharing things on social media just looking for apreciation. Also this like icon made me mad to post more just to get them. It was indeed a sort of addiction which had taken over me.

Many times even when I had no subject to post I was pulled to come up with something to post. This made me share whatever is posted on my timeline. Those which did not have the authenticity was shared too. All to get those like icon. But truly, what I post on my social media was like my own version of knowledge. Specially crafted in order to get attention from others.

Then I started to think why must I let something so trivia like how many likes I get on my post to determine how well liked I am to others? Isn’t that suppose to be determined through how well I treat people and the smiles I get back from that? I don’t know the answers to this. I do admit that despite it all, I still wouldn’t delete my social media accounts. I did crave for those likes, I did want comments of affirmation.

By the grace of my Lord I did come out of that mindset.
I did slowly learn how to enjoy posting something up just for the sake of feeling the joy of sharing eventually. I hope all.my friend agree with me......what say???

This social media is just a part of me, beyond that there is still so much of me for me to explore.....am I right???

Saturday, February 18, 2017

965. Vedanta Misinterpreted......!

Life is a journey in which every traveler needs to enjoy the voyage. This is exactly what almost all philosophers and saints have told in their thesis. Sri Vijayadasaru of the Dasa Sahitya tradition writes in one of his couplets, “saDagaradallippudE shreeshanAj~je(To be cheerful is the order from Absolute). Vedas too emphasize that an individual has to progress and prosperity. Vedas provide the ways and means to achieve them through the path of spirituality. There are a few who believe that spirituality is to abandon everything and stay aloof. In reality Vedas furnishes a practical methodology to awaken the immense, innate, divine and dormant potential in every individual to progress and prosper.

Progress and Prosper is not just about acquiring wealth to garner comforts, but to grow intellectually too. Apart from focusing on our well-being we need to think of others welfare too. Then we need to have foresight to mold the future life, flow of thought that is unique in all respects, a good oratory power and the ability to express the knowledge we have assimilated.

Our Acharyas were the role models of practical living and they never recommended to renounce the materialistic world. Their view on this world was of positivity, filled with factual optimism. They were capable of guiding their disciples to build a new world. Samartha Ramadas took Chatrapati Shivaji to the helm of the mighty Maratha Empire. Acharya Chanakya exalted Chandragupta to be the greatest emperor. Vidyaranya inspired two ordinary boys Hakka and Bukka to build Vijayanagar Empire. This is the spirituality of the Hinduism, a mixture of both philosophy and materialism.

There is a hymn in Rig Veda called “Bhagya Sukta” (Good words on Fortune) “Su” is good “ukta” is told and we all know “Bhagya” is fortune.  It is meant to achieve progress, prosperity and good luck. This Sukta, addressing to Providence requesting for the end of miseries and prosperity to prevail, all pleasures to unfurl, comforts and riches to follow, make our faces beam with radiance, our brains to be filled with intellect etc.

Thus Vedas and its essence have been advising us to lead a life of prosperity to the fullest. It is so shocking to find that an opposite view of this is spread among seekers. A section of people have conveniently used the words of Sri Sri Sankara to quote that this entire world is Mithya (Illusion) and material progress is unnecessary. This kind of ideology has force poverty upon us in the name of “Vedanta.” Sri Sri Sankara never ridiculed the purpose of living. He just warned us of over indulgence. He felt that “Possession is not an issue, but possessiveness is.” If not, he would not have rendered “Kanakadhara Stotram” to produce the shower of Golden Gooseberries for the old lady. Unfortunately a few of his followers interpreted that we need nothing in life. 

We living in Bharathavarsha had all the pleasures and comforts and enjoyed everything in life. Our scriptural dictum proclaims “Paripoornatayaa Jivet” (Live Life to the Fullest). None of our scriptures have ever discouraged the seeker from enjoying any pleasures of life. It was a few perverted minds which misinterpreted Acharya Sri Sri Sankara by saying Vedas recommend renouncing all pleasure experiences in life to attain liberation.

If we observe it is the experience of pleasure which makes path to progress for the seeker. Some may disagree with what I have understood but I strongly feel that this wrong notion of Vedanta has forced us to close our eyes to progress and well-being. 

The ideology of Sanatana Dharma since ages has been life affirmative, never negative......What say???

Thursday, February 16, 2017

964. Unity is Strength......but for principles i can stand alone !!!!

We have heard the slogan “Sangathan mein Shakti hoti hai” (Unity in Strength). The word unity is to get together not virtually but to have similar thoughts. When there is togetherness in thought there is likely to be more strength in opinion. With the strength in opinion there is strength in action. And with the strength in action the movement itself will have the power. We all go by the strength in numbers and it is obvious that, a group is strong when compared to a single persons opinion. This is what unity is all about according to what we understand. It will be interesting to note that the Kauravas brothers stood united in whatever they did (off course, Vikarana was an exception, he had objected only once). They all unanimously accepted what Duryodhana told. On the other had Pandava brothers had many times displayed their difference of opinions. There was an apparent discord owing to disagreements and even sometimes verbal fights amongst themselves. We know once Arjuna had rushed to kill his elder brother Yudhishtira when his “Gandhiva” (Bow given by Agni) was insulted. Bhisma displayed anger on his elder brother at the game of dice.

Some believe that being united is better, but unity without Viveka (Wisdom) is like a wrestler without strength. Unity is essential but never at the cost of losing the power to discriminate. There is no point in staying united if there is a no chance to voice an opinion. We have seen people of one community or one group stand united just to show their strength to the people of other communities or groups. The citizen of an entire country gets united in celebrating an occasion which neither benefits them in their well-being. This is uncalled for. 

There is a need for being united but it is important to have voice within the group. If we happen to see a forest from an aeroplane we see it is very thick but when we get down and get close to it we can observe each tree has its own space.

Unity even with differences can be achieved if the goal is same. Pandavas reflect the principle of unity in diversity. They united for higher goals despite the confrontations. There was no need for the Kaurava brothers to stand united just to inflate the ego of their elder brother. If the goals are high the strain to achieve them is worthwhile. The higher goals are achieved by the art of cooperation. Cooperation is not mere agreement; it is when the differences merge at a certain point of fixed principles. Those fixed principles are invoked and implemented because it is understood and accepted that at times diversity is the principle and unity is the austerity. The austerity which teaches the individual to accommodate an opinion without compromising the principles.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

963. Our 33 Crore Gods....!

If you have watched the Sanskrit film “Adi Shankaracharya” made by Kannada director G.V. Iyer on Sri Sri Sankara, you will be familiar with a sloka which is repeatedly played in the background. This sloka made a very strong imprint in my mind when I heard it. I remember this being recited time and again in the movie right from the starting scene where Sri Sri Sankara's father passes on to the time where Sri Sri Sankara is shown walking off into Eternity.

“Akashat patitam toyam yatha gacchati sagaram
sarva deva namaskarah Keshavam pratigacchati” 

An absolutely beautiful comparison between the drops of water which fall as rain and make their way again into the mighty ocean and the prayers offered to the different deities we adore eventually making their way to the One and Only Kesava.

This is a sloka makes a very strong case for universal brotherhood. No matter which deity a seeker adores or which path he takes, everyone eventually end up at the same One and Only entity. The simple meaning of the sloka is that just as the rivers discard their individual names to merge with the sea, so do the wise ones discard their egos to merge with the One and Only Kesava. 
Hinduism has many deities to adore. 33 crore is the number of deities that we constantly hear when any discussion regarding the deities in Hinduism is mentioned.  The irony is that most of us are unaware of Hindu religion and the symbolism of the numerous deities we adore. The 33 crore number collectively represents the One and Only Entity. There are deities with different names, forms, activities, attributes and powers owing to differences of function. A person who understands Vedas know that all animate and inanimate which are visible and those yet to appear are nothing but the manifestation of that One and Only Entity.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad records the conversation between Sage Yajnavalkya and Shakalya held at the court of King Janaka. Shakalya wants to know the number of deities. Initially Sage Yagnavalkya answers three thousand and three in total. When the question is repeatedly asked again and again by Shakalya. Sage Yagnavalkya says, thirty three. When the question is again repeated he says, Six. Finally, after several repetitions he says ONE.

The intention behind the conversation recorded in that Upanishad is to say that there is One and Only One Entity, which appears in diverse forms. All other forms are merely different cosmic functions which enable the seeker to reap the fruit of his karma. There is a need for an agency to give us this body; there is a need of another agency to monitor our actions and one more agency to determine the fruit of our actions. Likewise there are many agencies which assist us to reach our final destination and each agency has a head and this head is reporting to that One and Only Entity which the composer of that sloka is mentioned as KESAVA.

Sri Sri Sankara explains it very well by saying it is the One and Only Entity which appears as many, by Sagocha (Contraction) and Vikasa (Expansion).
So when we mention about 33 crore deities in our Hindu religion, it consists of the person mentioning it and the one listening to it plus all living and non-living things. 

In fact, if Sage Yagnavalkya were to be asked today about the number of deities, then he would be counting it in billions or trillions.

Monday, February 13, 2017

962. Happy Valentine....!!!

There is'nt a single living being which does not wish to be loved. To achieve that Love we have heard and seen many who have gone past all the boundaries. Love thus attained has showered the experience of joy and ecstasy to some while for a few who have been deprived of it there is frustration and depression. Love has become an emotional need as so as food, water and air for physical need. Though there is that immense effort to achieve it, all are not successful. Why is it so??? Is there anything we need to contemplate on this???

Yes, Love is defined as giving and receiving which makes it “Conditional.” This mindset will never allow us to know about “Unconditional Love.” In the hurry to achieve that Love we have ended up making it a commodity which we think we can “Buy.” This conditioning creates a mindset that Love is conditioned. Yes, agreed that a good behaviours is always applauded, one has to think what the child will start expecting from others??? Obliviously the child also will search for the same. The journey for the child to “Buy” love continues. This kind of mindset has made us relate to Love as “I like how you make me feel” instead of “I like how you feel.” Love is not something which works like as in barter system. There is this notion that Love is earned, when we do, what the one whom we love want us to do. Unfortunately many are “in Love’ believing this notion and there are a few who are making use of this notion. This kind of conditional Love makes us remain ordinary and there is way to transcend this and go for what is called Divine Love.    

Divine Love is caring about the happiness of the other without an iota of thought as to what it might fetch us. It is all about giving without expectations. “If I love you would you do this to me” is not Love at all it is a well planned strategy. If the person we love is forcing us to say something or do something which is not in our nature, then it is not Love it is a game. The one who is putting conditions to love has more manipulating power that sacrificial attitude; this may cause injury to the relationship. He who values a relationship holding nothing back and loving unconditionally will enjoy love more than the one who sketches the conditions. Such a person experiences joy regardless of whether his Love is requited or unrequited as he knows only to give.  

Young lovers of today are caught in the web of this conditioned Love (if I could call it Love at all). There is more of scrutinising whether the other is caring about the gain and comfort rather than bonding the relationship. Pain and discomfort is a part of human growth and it has nothing to do with Love. Love is not about fostering growth and shielding the one we Love from pain and discomfort. Many have confused Love to be providing comforts, satisfying needs and shielding from trails. Only a Divine Lover understands that by doing so he is only clipping the wings of his lover causing hindrance to fly free. There has to be concern and a sincere effort to evade pain and provide comfort, but that should never be with the intention of safeguarding Love out of fear.

Divine Love has no fear and is never insecure..... What say???      
Gift your Lover that Love which is fearless and is secured always......Happy Valentine!!!  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

961. The Cobra Hood.....!

When we had been to Melkote, a small Vaishnava pilgrim center in Karnataka the priest there explained about how Srimad Ramanuja, the proponent of Vishishtadvaita had Avinabhava Sambhandha (Universal Relation of Inseparability) with the place. He also told about an incidence when a few ardent followers of Jainism argued with Srimad Ramanuja about Vedas and Hindu way of ritualistic worship. The Jain followers insist that Srimad Ramanuja answer their questions and if he convinced them that the ritualistic practices followed were logical, and then they would accept him as their Guru. Prior to this Srimad Ramanuja had cured the mental illness of the daughter of Jain King Bittideva (who later on embraced Hinduism and was called Raja Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty). Jain monks had tried to cure her too but had failed. 1000 Jain monks challenged Srimad Ramanuja with 1000 questions. It is said that Srimad Ramanuja took the form of a 1000 hood Cobra and answered all questions. After hearing this story about Srimad Ramanuja I happened to see photographs of him with a 1000 hooded snake behind as a canopy.

Further Jayathirtha (Teekacharya), the sixth pontiff in the linage of the Dvaita Siddantha exponent Sriman Madhva is also shown with a canopy of snake hood. Vidyaranya, an unrivaled Advaita Vedanta and author of many works like Panchadasi was his contemporary. Enthralled by the extent and depth in the philosophical works with rapier-thrust logic Vidyaranya had Jayathirtha seated on a decorated elephant and paraded in a grand procession. Even the 23 Thirthankara Parshvanatha is shown sitting in meditation under the canopy of snake hood.   
Is there any connection with the flared up snake hood and all these great saints???

Science has explained how the snake fares up and form the hood as a defensive move. A snake creates the hood by extending the ribs behind its head. The scientists have found that there is an electrical activity which makes the group of eight muscles in the upper portion of the snake to flare up and form the hood. Interestingly these set of eight muscles are present in non-hooding snakes also.

Now let me share what I understand from this. Awareness is an ability which gets alerted and opens up when there is knowledge of a subject. Cobra which has formed the hood is always alert and aware of itself and its surroundings. Human mind is the avenue by which the awareness unfolds; become alert and gets manifested.

Just as all the Serpents have the eight muscles to flare and yet only few have the capability to form a hood, we human species have mind and only a few like Srimad Ramanuja, Sri Jayathirtha and Sri Parshvanatha are ever aware. In a way they are always in the state of wakefulness but in tranquillity. Cobra is a symbol of the psycho-spiritual energy that raises and opens up; energy which is alert and at the same time restful.

One should not visualise as there is a real cobra at the back of their head. It is just to symbolise that they are wakefulness and at the same time in deep state of rest. This state is called Meditation. Always in totally bliss, doing nothing, wanting nothing, being nothing but just being open, like the hood of a cobra; alert without any effort.

Now what can I say about my Lord who is reclined on Adhishesha???

Thursday, February 9, 2017

960. Kusha, the Divine Grass....!

There is a grass which is held in high regards by one section of people following Sanatana Dharma. Its botanical name is Desmostachya bipinnata and  commonly known in English as Halfa grass. It is found in damp marshy and low-lying areas. Normally Hindus always keep them in their houses. It is used in auspicious ceremonies to purify. It grows to a height of about two feet and is thinly pointed at the top. It has extremely rough surface and if rubbed the wrong way, it can cut through the skin. 

The Sanskrit word for it is Kusha meaning sharp may be keeping in the view that it does have sharp edge. The one who fetch this grass for the ceremonies was also referred as Kushala (expert).  This grass is used since Vedic period and is considered a sacred plant. It is believed to block the positive energy accumulated by sitting in the seat of silence from draining out of body into ground. It is also believed that Bhagavan Buddha had spread this grass under him while he was sitting under Bodhi Tree. In Ayurveda this grass is regarded as having medicinal value. It is used to treat dysentery and menorrhagia. It is used as diuretic too. 

It is said to have originated at the time of Samudra Mathana. There is a belief that this grass is the hair of Varaha the third incarnation of Maha Vishnu.

There is an interesting story on how this grass got the status of being Pavitra vastu (auspicious material) for the rituals. 

 Sage Kashyapa had two wives, Vinata and Kadru. Vinata was the mother of Garuda and Aruna. Kadru was mother of thousand Nagas. Both of them did not get along well. One day they happened to see Uchisravas, the white horse. Vinata expressed her joy of seeing the whiteness. Just for the sake of disagreement Kadru claims that the tail of the horse was black. After a lot of argument they decide to check about it the next day. The bet was that if the tail was indeed black Vinata had to be the slave of Kadru. Kadru knew that she was wrong so she called her thousand Nagas and told them to wrap around the tail of the horse to make it look dark. Thus Vinata becomes a slave to Kadru. When Garuda pleaded the Nagas  to release his mother. Nagas put forth a condition that Vinata would be released if Garuda brought them Amrita (Ambrosia) from the Devaloka (celestial land). 

Garuda brought the ambrosia after overcoming numerous hurdles. Nagas were delighted by the look of Ambrosia. Garuda placed the pot on Kusha Grass. Vinata was set free. The Nagas went to take bath before could Relish Ambrosia. When they return they found the pot missing, Indra had taken it away. 

A few drops of Ambrosia fell on the Kusha Grass. The Nagaa feverishly tried to lick up the drops of Ambrosia that had fallen on the Kusha grass. They didn't get much nectar, but the sharp blades of the grass slit their tongues. Snakes ever since have had forked tongues. Kusha with the few drops of Ambrosia on it became sacred.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

959. i am lying.....!

A few days back I had posted four series of “Gem Necklace of Questions and Answers” (Prasna Uttara Ratna Malika) of Sri Sri Sankara.   
In the 46th verse there is an interesting question “Who should not be trusted?” the answer Sri Sri Sankara provides is “One who as a rule utters lies.” Next question is much more interesting “On what occasions even a lie is considered sinless?” the answer is “That which when uttered is for the sake of protecting righteousness (Dharma)”. Sri Sri Sankara feels that, if the truth which when uttered will harm anyone, then one can tell a lie if and only if it can benefit the one who is hearing it.

Talking truth is a must and it is applauded in all scriptures and in all philosophies. In fact it there is a small incidence which is mentioned in Chandogya Upanishad. It is about a boy called Satyakama (Desirer of Truth) who approaches Gautama Maharshi to learn Vedas. Gautama questions him about his Gotra (Lineage). The boy says all he knows is that he is the son of a woman named Jabala. Gautama asks the boy to go to his mother and enquire about the details of his father. The boy asks his mother about his father. Mother plainly says she does not know who his father was. Satyakama then went straight to Gautama and told what his mother had told him. Immediately Gautama Maharshi accepts him as his disciple appreciating him for having the quality of a Brahmana. In those times whoever had the courage to speak the truth were Brahmana.
In spite of these high moral standards how could Sri Sri Sankara say one can utter lie if it can do some good. There is a proverb in Kannada “Saavira sullu helli ondu maduve maadu” (utter a thousand lies and perform a marriage). It is to over look a little deceit while performing a good deed. Uniting two people in marriage is a good thing hence minor things could be ignored.
Also we have a small anecdote in Mahabharata wherein the dilemma of whether to tell the truth or not was cleared by Sri Krishna. When the Pandava army finds it difficult to subdue Guru Drona it is Sri Krishna who comes to the rescue with a lie. The Pandavas knew that Drona will discard the weapons when he hears about the death of his son Ashwattama. Sri Krishna named the elephant of the opposite camp as “Ashwattama”. He asked Bhima to kill it. When Drona asked Yudhisthra to confirm the news, Yudhisthira says “Ashwattma Hatah Kunjara” that Ashwattama, the elephant had been killed. When the last word “Kunjara” meaning elephant was uttered Sri Krishna blew his Panchajanya. The statement from Yudhisthira, drowned in sound of the conch made to appear false. Drona could only hear “Ashwattama Hatah.” This news shattered Drona, he threw down his arms in despair. Dhristadymna, the son of Drupada was able to slain him.
It is mentioned in Adi Parva of Mahabharata that one can utter lie under the following five circumstances. It is not considered a sin at all. The five circumstances are:
You can tell a lie to women. (No offense...!  it is said that women folk do not keep secret, they are good at heart)  
You can use lie in a witty situation.
As told above in the proverb in the looking for alliance for marriage.
At a life threatening situation one can tell a lie (In the lighter vein, it is truth that comes out when the end nears).
In the event of losing wealth one can utter lie if it can safeguard it.

Bhagvan Vyasa the composer of Mahabharata knew that lies can’t be avoided completely in Kaliyuga. But the end justifies the means. So if anything leads to a good end or a beneficial effect, then lying is justified...if the intent is clear panchakoota of Sri Krishna will take care of the words.....What say???

{Now a bit of work-out for mind--- if someone is saying "I am lying" is he telling truth}