Thursday, June 29, 2017

1045. Significance of Ashwamedha Yagna.

Social media in recent times is been misused to post articles on subjects that are got from half-baked knowledge. Jnana (Knowledge) has no limits as the count of the subjects is numerous. In that sense we all lack the Paripoorna (Complete) knowledge. But one can access knowledge of a particular subject completely. There are two dimensions in obtaining knowledge of a subject; one is Pakva (Perfect) and Poorna (Thorough). When the knowledge obtained is not perfect it will be Apakva (Half-baked).

A group in Face book which has members who claim to be Hetu Shastris (Dialectics) have posted a write up  on “Ashwamedha Yagna” without thinking logically as to what it mean. All most all members in the group belonged to Hindu religion. To give a chance for those from the other religion to counter the validity of Ahimsa (Non-injury) practiced in Hindu religion, the post on this Ashwamedha was uploaded. I am not a Sanskrit scholar but while reading from a few scriptures and a few literature my understanding about Ashwamedha Yagna is completely different to what is posted.

The author of the post says that a horse was sacrificed (killed) by King Dasharatha as a part of ritual to have progeny. As I understand Yagna is an auspicious ritual and there might not have been bloodshed by killing of a horse or any kind of animal. The word Ashwamedha has two words which are “Ashwa” meaning horse and “Medha” meaning sacrifice. These two words are from Sanskrit Dictionary and it seems to be pointing out to horse killing...isn’t it???

No, the word Ashwamedha can be found in scriptures dated to the Vedic period so if we look for the meaning in the Sanskrit Dictionary we are likely to be misled. Those words which are from the scriptures fromVedic period one has to refer to Nighantu and Nirukta complied by Yaskacharya in 7th century B.C, it is the oldest treatise on etymology, philology and semantics.

In the etymology of the word Ashwamedha, the Dhatupada (root word) is “ash” which means “to consume” and that which consumes is called “Ashwa”. 

So, is Ashwa in Ashwamedha a horse??? 

No, in Sanskrit a word is understood in three different contexts namely Laukika (worldly sense), Yaugika (derivative sense) and Yogarudha (etymological sense). The Nighantu (Vocabulary) clarifies it. Here Ashwa is derived from Ash which is to consume and in Laukika (worldly sense) that animal is called horse. Yaskacharya gives the explanation by saying “Ashnati Adhvanam iti Ashwa” Ashnati is consume; Adhvan is path or road, so, that which consumes the path is Ashwa. This is the Yaugika (derivative) meaning of Ashwa.  

After getting the Dhatupada from the Nighantu we have to consult the Nirukta (Interpreter) which equates our Pancha Indriyas (Five Senses) to Ashwa. Nayana (Eyes) consume the Drusti (Sight); Sravana (Ears) consume Sabdha (Sound); Jihva (Tongue) consumes Ruchi (Taste); Nasika (Nose) consumes Gandha (Smell) and Tvaca (Skin) consumes Sparsha (Touch). We can recall the analogy of the chariot in Kathopanishad where the horses are likened to our senses and the reins holding them is the mind, intellect is the charioteer and the Self is the traveler going on the road called life. 

Medha is not sacrifice alone it also means to bring together, to merge or to combine. Here Ashwamedha is to unite the senses. So in ancient times when the Kings were to perform Ashwamedha Yagna they were unifying their senses. With the senses unified, the mind would get focused in a jiffy and if the mind is focused the goal is achieve. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1044. I Know What Hindu Dharma is......!

Vittala of Pandharpur is “Nada Brahma” since devotees there singing bhajans. Venkateshwara of Tirumala is “Kanchana Brahma” as devotees make huge donations. Krishna of Udupi is “Anna Brahma” because the devotees are fed stupendously there.
Appropriately to this proclamation the Pejawar Adhokshaja Mutt pontiff Sri Vishwesha Thirtha offered “Phalahara” for iftar at the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple to the Muslim community members who were observing Ramzan fast. While this to be a great gesture some section of the society feel objected to what the pontiff has done. When questioned about it the pontiff said, “I Know What Hindu Dharma is”

Well, I remember three instances from the past that highlights the good relationship the Madhva community had with Muslims since the time of Sriman Madhva, the founder of Dvaitha Siddantha.

The first instance involved the Paramacharya himself. Once while Acharya and his disciples were crossing River Ganga the guards of Jalaluddin Firuz Khilji mistook them to be spies.  King questioned Madhva through his interpreter, “Though my guards are keeping strict vigil on the river who helped you people to cross this river?”

To the astonishment of the King, Sriman Madhva answered in Persian language. Raising his finger towards the sky he spoke, “The Supreme Lord, who protects you, me and everyone has brought me here along with my followers. For you, He is Allah; for me, He is Sri Hari, you and me may address Him by different names but only one will answer us both.”

The King was extremely impressed by the bold personality with so much of self-conviction. He climbed down from his seat and invited him to the royal court.

Second instance was when Sri Vadiraja Thirtharu had been to Delhi. He had selected a place to worship the traditional idol of Sri Bhuvaraha. At the same time the son of the Mughal King had passed away and he was not let to perform his daily rituals. By looking from his divine sight Vadiraja Tirtharu told the prince was not dead and it would be great sin to bury the child alive.

Hearing this the Mughal king came running to Vadiraja Tirtharu and fell to his feet. Understandably the King was anxious to know if his child was alive. Vadiraja Tirtharu told the King that it was “Sri Hari” who had made him utter so and it would never be untrue.

The King asked Vadiraja Tirtharu to accompany him to the palace. The Madhva saint sprinkled the holy water from his Kamandala (Pitcher) by chanting the name of Sri Hari and the prince got up. That prince was none other than the Akbar. Humayun was so happy that he gifted wealth which Vadiraja Tirtharu rejected. But the King requested the Madhva saint to use it in the service of Kadagolu Krishna at Udupi.

The third instance was when Siddi Masood Khan, the Nawab of Adoni under the province of Ali Adil Shah II of Bijapur Sultanate wanted to test the credentials of Guru Raghavendra Swamy. Having invited the Guru to his darbar, he asked his men to place red meat in a silver plate and cover it with silken clothes. He offered it to the Guru who sprinkled water from his kamandala (water pot) on the plates. Later the silk clothes covered were removed. The Nawab and the whole durbar was waiting for this moment without battling is eyelids. When the clothes were removed the red meat in the plate had turned into fruits and sweet smelling flowers. The Nawab and the entire durbar were astounded and instantly realized the greatness of the Guru. Nawab felt low of his act and wanted to make amends he was willing to give the Guru anything within his capacity.

I personally feel that Pejawar seer has continued the legacy of the parampara he hails from.....I bow to his great gesture.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

1043. The Nine Boon....!

Vedas are apaurusheya (authorless) and whatever is mentioned in it is the voice of the Supreme. Vedas are universal and should never be limited to a religion or a sect, it addresses to the whole mankind. Vedas proclaim the one who is studying andpracticing it is bestowed with Nava Vara (Nine Blessings).   

Let us get acquainted with all the nine:

The first and foremost is the Nara Janma (Human Birth). Every creature emanated from Him is sacred and deserves its place in the universe. We all know that the actions and reactions displayed by most of the creatures are based on the Sahajabuddhi (Instinct). This instinct they have could be adoptive or due to training. We human beings alone have the capability to make a choice keeping in mind the karmic tendencies to act and react cautiously. Further this species can go deeper into contemplation comprehend the Self with the help of Buddhi (Intellect)

The second is Pumsattva (Manhood). Every individual has Stri (Female) and Purusha (Male) qualities in them. Mruduttva (Gentleness), Karunattva (Compassionate) and Bhavapurna (Emotional) are the qualities which are natural and hence it is feminine. The boon is when Vimukha (Dispassion), Nishkama (Disinterest) and Vairagya (Detachment) is masculine. (Note: It is never gender discrimination as we think now)

Third is Sthithaprajnattva (Equanimity). Vimukha, Nishkama and Vairagya are the trait which takes the individual to the state of equanimity.

Fourth is Vipratava (Enthusiasm) which induces a state of the mind there is no flip flop of likes or dislikes to provide Chitta Shuddi (Purity of Mind).

Fifth is Vidvattva (Scholarship). With the Chitta Shuddi got from Viprattva the individual develops Chitta Ekagrata (Focus) to know about Self through the proper understanding of the scriptures.    

Sixth is Viveka (Wisdom). Chitta Ekagrata unfurls wisdom. Viveka is the ability to differentiate the Pramarthika (Real) from Pratibhasika (Unreal).

Seventh is Svanubhava (direct experience) by the wisdom to see the real one can have the direct experience. This direct experience surpasses the scriptural knowledge. (Note: It is in this stage, not before obtaining Viveka, that the direct experience is considered greater the scriptural knowledge. It is an irony that we tend to skip gaining viveka and decide that direct knowledge is achievable)          

Eighth is Brahmatmana samsthiti (comprehending the Brahmattva in all). This is the purpose of a human birth. Individual who has attained this is a Jivanmuktha (Liberated while alive). He is the one who has been aware of his true Self and has the ability to experience that Brahman in everyone & everthing.

Last and final is Moksha (Liberation). With selfless action and desireless thought the individual will not come back for another life span. He as an identity is not present. Moksha is never desired it is granted.

Monday, June 26, 2017


It was in the year 1537 a feudatory ruler under the Vijayanagara Kingdom built a mud fort with moat in a place called “Benda Kaal Uru” (town of boiled beans). Earlier to that in the 12th century Hoysala King Veera Ballala had been on a hunting expedition lost his way in the forest and had come to this place. He was tired and thirsty, he came across an old woman who not only quenched his thirst by giving him cool water but also fed him boiled beans. It is said that the old woman told him that the ground water in that place was so soft that the beans would boil in a jiffy. The King called the place “Bendakaaluru.”

The feudatory king who built the fort 300 or so years after the place got its name was Hiriya Kempe Gowda. He is fondly called “Nadaprabhu” (Lord of the Land). The city of “Bengaluru” as it is now called has the history of more than four centuries. In recent times this is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with IT & BT as the feather in its cap. This technological advent bloomed as the citizens possess “Udaara Mano Bhava” (Cosmopolitan).     
My city has seen a lot of changes and has had the great heart to accept them. From “Chitranna”(Lemon Rice) to “Schezwan Fried Rice” from “Bonda, Bajji, Ambode” (Fried Spicy Snacks) to “Pizza, Burger, Momos” from “Viledele” (Betel leaf, Areca Nut and Slaked Lime combo) to “Maghai Paan”, from “Kodagu Kapi” (Coorg Coffee) to “Budweiser”, from “Panche, Kuppasa, Peta” (Dhoti, Shirt and Turban) to “Jean, T-shirt, Blazers” from “Langa Davani” (Half Saree) to “Minis, Middies, Tops” from “Ettina Gadi” (Bullock Cart) to “Namma Metro” from “Bannada Buguri” (Colourful Spinning Top)  to “Fidget Spinners.”

For the native people here no issue is small and no authority is big. They did have a very unique way of addressing the smallest to the smallest issue with however bigger the authority could be. With the cosmopolitan tag attached now the feel of “Bade Bade Shehero Mein Aisi Choti Choti Baatein Hoti Rehti Hai” (In Big Cities, Little Things Like This keep Happening) attitude has crept in and has trivialised the spirit of questioning. The lack of this spirit has pushed the natives to the mode of “Swalpa Adjust Madkoli (Please Adjust A Little)” and thus life is going on in this Metropolitan City.

Our Nadaprabhu Kempegowda had built over 100 lakes many monuments which include the famous Dadda Basavana Gudi in Basavanagudi which houses a huge Monolithic Bull carved out of grey granite of height 15 feet and 20 feet in length. He also had installed four watch towers in the four directions marking the boundary of the place. These towers stand as a testimony even today at Mehkri Circle as northern tip, Halsuru Lake as eastern tip, Lalbagh as the southern tip and Kempambuddhi Lake as the western tip. Our Nadaprabhu would not have imagined that with the growth at this the boundary of Bengaluru would surpass the marked towers many miles ahead.       
I take this opportunity to remember this great personality Nadaprabhu Kempegowda on his birth anniversary today who is instrumental in designing my city which is now considered the best place to live considering the natural conditions and also the native attitude. We, the Bengalureans are like the old woman who gave the thirsty king not just the water but also the boiled beans. She is our role model we welcome anyone from anywhere.....but the onus of living in harmony also lies with our sojourners......Nadaprabhu Kempegowdarige Jai!!!

Friday, June 23, 2017

1041. Professional Skill to Lead & Manage!!!

In a profession to lead and to manage is like the two sides of a same coin. There is a collegial relationship between those leading a workforce and those managing the work within it. While managers can certainly lead and leaders can certainly manage, the skills required to be excellent at either one of them is separate and distinct too.

Our epics Ramayana and Mahabharata provide ample examples where the epic heroes Shri Rama and Sri Krishna very well managed and led their team to fight Adharma. In both the epics the quintessence was victory of good over the evil. In Ramayana, Shri Rama led his army against Ravana who had abducted His wife Sitadevi. In the second epic Sri Krishna managed to help Pandavas regain their Kingdom from Kauravas.

Shri Rama as a leader took up the weapons and was the Apratima Yodha (unparalleled soldier) in the troupe. He led the Vanara Sena (army of monkeys) and had Lakshmana, Hanuman, Jambavan, Sugriva and Vibheeshana to assist Him to carry out the strategies. It was a team work with a leader and the army was happy to follow the orders from its leader. Shri Rama set an example by taking on the enemy head on while He also had to tell the army what to do during the time of crisis. He had to think and consult to counter the strategies of the opponent group and set a flowchart to execute the plan. Ultimately all those skills paid off and finally the enemy was brought down and the war was won.

In Mahabharata it was not so, Sri Krishna had promised that He would not pick up any weapon. He was there in the battlefield only as a charioteer to Arjuna. He was not a leader in the war. In fact He drew the chariot wherever Arjuna asked Him to take it. Yet the war was won because of Sri Krishna.

The observations to be made in both the wars were that the type of army that was being led in the war. Shri Rama was leading an army of monkey not the regular soldiers who were trained in warfare. Obviously the army wanted someone to lead them and expected that leader to fight alongside them. Shri Rama a skilled warrior lead the monkey, He was emotionally involved with every one participating in the war. He gave precise roles and instruction, motivated the army to fight for His cause. Army too was reciprocating to the emotions of Shri Rama.      

Sri Krishna played the role of an instructor who made sure that the mind of Arjuna is not clogged with unwanted thoughts which induce superficial doubts. Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to see things from a different perspective. He had the best of the best archers, swordsmen, spearmen and mace-wielders to manage with. He just had to provide the strategic clarity and the members took the lead and fought for the team cause. Sri Krishna did not get emotionally involved in the war.

Now in this modern era of corporate, it is important to know beforehand if the members in the team you are handling are amateurs or experts in the field. If they are amateurs you lead them, if they are experts you just have to instruct them. Those who are unskilled have their blackboard clean and it is easy to write anything fresh on it. If the members in the team are experts there is no need to write over it just a bit of revision is sufficient.

The problem is with those members who are neither armatures nor experts, it will be a tough job to erase the existing data and reload the new one. Such a member needs the combination of both Shri Rama and Sri Krishna in one......Isn’t it???          

Thursday, June 22, 2017

1040. Prosperity or Posterity???

One of the Purusharthas (Object of human pursuit) mentions about Artha (Wealth). The Purusharthas were called Trivarga (Three Categories) with Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Aim) and Kama (Desire) in the Vedic period. It is important to note that the Vedic sense of Artha was not wealth but aim. However in the Upanishad era the Purusharthas got upgraded to Chaturvarga (Four Categories) with the addition of Moksha (Liberation) and it was in this period the meaning of Artha too advanced from “Aim” to “Wealth”.

Mimamsa school of thought which emphasizes more on rituals looks at Artha as not just Purushartha (Pursuit) but as Dhayitvatha (Responsibility). This Dhayitva is the social responsibility which we lack now. In the present world Artha is to make wealth from any means irrespective of how it might reflect on the society. We keep in mind that one of the Purusharthas is Artha and we need to earn money but we fail to comprehend that in the approach we have to include Dharma (Righteousness) also. Hence Jaimini, the founder of Mimamsa Dharshana said, Human Pursuit and Human Aim are not separate. The Phala (Fruit) of the Karma (Action) is inherent in the Artha (Aim) itself. 

This story which many of us know will help understand better. It was quite common in ancient times for the King and his minister to disguise themselves as common citizens and take a tour around the kingdom. The intention was to find out how the administrative decisions were accepted by the public. 

In one such spree the King and his minister happened to see an old man drawing water from a well. King and the minister observed from a distance the old man was making the trip to the well many times. He was weak and tired but continued to fetch water from the well. The King and his minister wanted to know what this old man was doing with the water he drew from the well. They found out that the old man was watering the mango saplings. 

The King spoke to the old man, “The seedlings have just sprouted and become saplings. You are fetching water from the far away well for them. You are already very old; do you really believe that you will live to relish the fruits from them?”

The old man smiled at the King and said, “I am not just old but wise too. I know by the time these saplings grow and yield mangoes I would probably not be alive. Fortunately I did experience the taste of mangoes, if you can look at those big trees there with mangoes they were the trees planted by my grandfather. I have planted these saplings so that my grandchildren will enjoy the fruits from them. I work for Posterity also not for Prosperity alone.”

The old man knew that his prosperity is when he does something for the posterity. Posterity and Prosperity are the interleaved aim in Artha. The old man knows that the nature which is yielding all the vegetation is the loan he has indebted from the younger generation. It is his social responsibility to return it back to them after enjoying the dividends from it.   

The real prosperity is when our posterity is not left out high and dry..... What say??? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1039. Astanga Yoga, the Eight limbs of Yoga....!

Today is “International Yoga Day” and Yoga is going places and beyond control too. Sage Patanjali might not have imagined that the sutras formulated by him would have so many wings and flutter in such unimaginable directions. In the first place the version of “Yoga” which Maharshi Patanjali has put forth in Patanajala Yoga Sutras is entirely different from what we have understood/ misunderstood.  

Yoga has its roots in Sanskrit word “Yuj” which translate to “Join.”  Now the question is “Join” with what???

Yoga is an ancient science to comprehend the true identity of “Self” and get aligned with it. Here we need to understand that one joining the other or aligning with the other translate to duality, the “Higher Self and Lower self”. The Higher Self is the Chaitanya (Consciousness) present in all of us which is termed “Paramatma” and the lower self is the Manas and Buddhi (Mind and Intellect) index which is termed as Jeevatma.

Yoga guides the Jeevatma to join with the Paramatma by transcending the mind and intellect realm. Maharshi Patanjali gives the eight limbs known as Astaanga for this purpose. They are:
YAMA (the five restraints): This is on how a Jeevi should conduct with society. In this part there is mention of Ahimsa where it is encouraged to develop the attitude of harmlessness to get the feel of universal benevolence. Satya is to adhere to truthfulness, Astheya not to steal, Brahmacharya walk on the path of Brahman, Aparigraha is to stay away from avariciousness. 
NIYAMA (the five observances): This is on how a Jeevi should conduct for his own good. Saucha is maintain purity in the body as well as mind, Santosha to be contented always, Tapas to have self discipline, Svadhyaya is to introspect, Iswara Pranidhana is to surrender to the Cosmic will.

This ten constitute to Yama and Niyama which is the prerequisite to ASANA which are various postures to make the body flexible and agile. Then comes PRANAYAMA the control and expansion of Prana (vital breath) followed by PRATYAHARA which is not just dieting but having control over senses. DHARANA, DHYANA and SAMADHI are concentration, meditation and self realization respectively which sum up to eight limbs.

Today we have lots of Yoga classes where only the ASANA part is taught or a few some might even glance at PRANAYAMA too. I can say without batting my eyelids that none of them ever talk about YAMA & NIYAMA which are most important for the lower self to get aligned with Higher Self. The flexible and agile body can only cater to the fitness of the body but it will never work on the ailments of the mind. Without the practice of YAMA & NIYAMA the DHARANA, DHYANA and SAMADHI is impossible. 

Yoga has now gone global but the worrying factor is it has come back to my country with added attributes to it. There is “Power Yoga” which is similar to aerobic “Hot Yoga” where yoga asana are done in steam and finally “Beer Yoga” yoga under influence of alcohol.

Power Yoga claims to be a vigorous form of doing the Asanas in a stipulated time. Asanas are to be done with grace and without being aware of time. In Hot Yoga there is sauna and steam which has reduced Yoga to spa culture. Beer Yoga is a new fitness trend which allows you to sip beer. I do not know how you can concentrate on the hip while doing Katiaasana when you are let to sip???   

Anyways not being too cynical I wish everyone to be in the pick of heath both in body and mind on this International Yoga Day....! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

1038. Half Empty or Half Full.....!

Every person in the world has experienced the ups and downs of life. Life is a roller-coaster ride and at every given stage he is provided with valuable lessons whether he takes it or not.

We are learning valuable lessons not by the setback alone but by the influence it has over our life and the ability to react to the negative situation. It is indeed very difficult to make a negative experience into something more positive and helpful. In fact it seems so since some of the most catastrophic moments in our life never end if it starts happening. However, there is always a way to take a worst situation and extract something positive from it.

The most important mantra is to think that the catastrophic moment is not here to stay “This too will pass on.” And some people believe that everything happens for a reason. While some may not buy that philosophy, we can at least give each experience a purpose and try to learn from that experience. There is no hard and fast rule that a good experience is the one that can give us lessons for life.

There is a story of two brothers. The elder brother was a drunker who frequently quarreled with his wife. The younger one was a businessman who was respected in society and had a wonderful family. The neighbours were very eager to know how the two brothers of the same parents, brought up in the same environment, could be so different.

The elder one was asked, “How come you are living your life like this? You drink a lot have frequent quarrel with your wife and children. What is the reason?”

He said, “My father was an alcoholic he would come home late night and beat my mother. What can you expect if one is brought up in such an environment? That is what I am.”

They went to the younger brother asked him the same question. “How come you are successful in life and doing everything right? Who is the source of your motivation?”

And guess what he said???

“My father, when I was a little boy I used to see my father come home drunk and beat my mother. That was the time I made up my mind, when I grow up I would not be like him.”

Here both were deriving their strength and motivation from the same source, but one was using it positively and the other negatively. Negative motivation brings the desire to take the easier way which ends up being the tougher way. If we seriously think we will know that there were many such avenues of learning we missed everyday by looking at the trouble with a negative viewpoint. Every experience whether it is good or bad should be actually a learning experience. A wise person looks for the lesson in every experience, failure, victory and challenge so he can learn from it and choose to do more of the same if it is laudable or make adjustments to create a desirable outcome if it is dreadful.

If there are important lessons to be learnt from Pandavas as to how one has to live, there are lessons too from Kauravas how not to.   

1037. Empathy, the Mother of Compassion!!!

To understand the perspective of another person it is important to think as that person at least for a moment, this act is Empathy. Empathy should not be confused to Sympathy; sympathy is only a feel, while we are still our self. Empathy calls for getting into other persons shoe, a sympathizer will never get into another person’s shoes. It is easy to sympathies but to walk in other persons shoes and feel what they feel is a little difficult.  

Every individual thinks unique hence we have different experiences, habituation and attitude. It is near to impossible for two people to have the same opinion on all points. If we see the comments posted for a write up we get the proof of this happening every day. A person who does not believe in empathy is the one who stand to judge and criticize others. In this regard he feels that others person’s perspective is not acceptable as it does not agree with his point of view. Such a person is inclined to see only through the glasses he is wearing, and does not bother about what other think. 

Empathy also helps us to understand others and develop our self-awareness. In this society everyone play various roles in life like that of father, spouse, child, employee, employer etc. It is required to know about ourselves by looking at ourselves dispassionately from the perspective point of our counterparts in the roles we are playing. Empathy should develop in us as a great quality. Communication becomes better to a person with empathy as he is not partial to his own views. Empathy teaches us to be self-aware, receptive to the wants of others, liberal on other person’s points of view, and results in building a harmonious relationship with others. To have empathy is concern for others and living with more wisdom.

The most common hindrance to empathy is our failure to marginal our own pain to walk in the steps of others. When we are engrossed in our own pain, it makes us hard to feel the pain of others, or to understand them deeply from heart. There are many ways to develop empathy, one way is to do so by mentally and emotionally using our imagination to step into the other person’s shoes, just as actors gets into the character in a play. Yet another way to develop empathy is to remember the situation we had been in similar circumstances to the situation the other person is now in. If the other person feels egoistic we have to remember when we had been egoistic before and what the consequences were then. Other methods also include meditating and to keep clam and learn to listen about the person’s inner voice, look for kindness, and initiating values such as caring and a sense of responsibility. 

1036. Puranas and Willing Suspension of Disbelief!!!!!!

The stories from Puranas can be viewed from different viewpoints like that of a folklorist, anthropologist, sociologist, and psychologist. Though we do not agree many consider them as Mythology. Myth is understood on the basis of the perspective we apply. The folklorist observes the migrations of peoples and the folklore attached to it. An anthropologist wants to know about the culture of the people. The sociologist watches how the society on the whole gets the advantage from it. The psychologist studies its effects on the mind of people and their aspired approach to live in the society. For an occultist and spiritualist it is regarded as a tool to help them achieve their goal, whether it is union with the divine or self realization from within.
Mythology is a part in the history of most, if not all, human traditions and communities, and is a basic ingredient of human culture. It helps a community to have a common agenda in understanding the most mysterious and unanswered question like why the world is the way it is. It also advices them as to how one should behave in certain situation and why they should behave in that manner; why their society is structured the way it is, and what will happen if one break cultural prohibitions.

Mythology provides the moral values of the culture. Many of our moral values come from the mythology, for example: The story of Druva points out the requirement of endurance to achieve the goal. The story of Satya Harishchandra inspired Mahatma Gandhi to be truthful in life; likewise the Mahabharata and Ramayana are great epics that are even today emitting the fragrance of motivation and inspiration in many lives.

Mythology can yield lessons to lead a wonderful life if we drop arguing about its logic. It is advised to keep our intellect at a respectable distance when we read mythology. Logic becomes a hindrance to the reader and will delude him. If we shun arrogance and vanity and show a bit of love towards imaginations and appreciate the deep flow of poetic feel, with a free heart we become childlike and will embrace the stories of mythology. We can grasp the great truths revealed in mythology by penetrating into the hearts of the Rishis and Munis who wrote them. We will really enjoy it then. As per human psychology a statements is better understood and remembered if it is in the form of a story or a poem.

Mythology answers all the questions of mysteries, though it may look little bit fancy, if the process is kept in willing suspension of disbelief then the core of the mystery gets unfolded. For example: if one has doubt as to how could Lord Krishna, right in the middle of battle field give lecture to Arjuna, and what were others doing at that time, then the person will never get to know the important aspects of Bhagavad-Gita and he is stuck there. He can understand Gita if he keeps all those questions in willing suspension of disbelief.

Mythology works in transforming an individual and shedding him from his confined historical and cultural condition, and leading him to some kind of inexpressible experience. It provides a direct bridge between an individual’s consciousness and universal consciousness and closes the gap between him and Godhead, providing a path that one may use to become aware of the Absolute Truth.

If a person on spiritual journey questions the need of mythology, it would be like a Calculus professor disapproving the need of Tables book. Yes to talk about Calculus one has to go beyond the Tables book. But there are many who need them as they have just started to explore………… Right???

Sunday, June 18, 2017

1035. Father or Dad???

On this father's day in one of my WhatsApp Group there was a question asked, "Is there a difference between  Father and Dad??? In the vocabulary sense it said that one who has provided his sperm to be eligible to be the biological connection is the Father while the one who takes the responsibility to provide good care in the form of food, shelter and clothing is a Dad.

This could be in other countries but in my country almost in every family the Father is the Dad too. In a family it was he who would take the oath to take care of the all the members dependent in him. (Note: I am using this word dependents which is not reality in the broader sense as we all know who the real provider is). 

According to our ancient thought marriage was to continue the progeny and at the same time for the Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) to get back into the world through the womb of the mother. The purpose of the union of the man and his consort has its fulfilment not in experiencing the ecstasy alone but creating the overlap of the mortal to make the mankind on the whole immortal.

In that sense if the man and his wife are a part of the noble venture they have done with the purpose of life. Now if one asks what about providing them the basic amenities and bringing up them to be a better citizen by good parenting, that is another issue. A man cannot just be a means to bring a Jeeva to the world, if that act is Prarabdha the Agami of him is to take care of the progeny.

From the progeny point of view the vouchsafe is in the Father bringing them to this earth plane. That is more than sufficient as it is by itself a virtue considering the fact that many in the recent time are reluctant to bring the progeny to this wonderful world.

A father is not just Dad but a friend for life... Am I right???

Saturday, June 17, 2017

1034. Saplings and Seedling care...!

A successful businessman got enrolled in a week long spiritual retreat camp conducted by an ashrama in the outskirts of the city. The reputation of the ashrama had crosses the shores and many followers from abroad were also participating in the camp. Though the gathering was huge the Guru in the ashrama made sure that he interacted with everyone and gave them points to ponder.          

Our businessman was a go easy type guy who had son who was a brat. Being a successful businessman his influence would get the kid out of trouble always. While one such discussion on parenting, this businessman who would always listen to the discourse of the Guru made his stands clear. He said, “As Gurudeva had quoted Bhagavad-Gita and told that every individuals life is the continuation of his previous life so our previous interests carry over from that life to this. So as parents we do not have control over it. Our kids have in them the ability and capability to know what has to be done.”

Many of them were confused while a few agreed with him, but none wished to continue the debate on the topic. The essence of the discussion reached the ears of the Guru. Guru sent a word to the businessman asking him to join him for a stroll in the community garden nearby the next morning.    

Guru and the businessman walked past many flowering plants which were pleasantly blooming displaying their lovely colours. At one quarter there were small saplings which were razed by cattle and a few seedlings were dried up. Looking at the entire landscape with captivating flora and fauna, the businessman was uncomfortable with the carelessness of the gardener for not having the saplings secured by providing fence and a few seedlings were invaded by weeds. He said, “How can this gardener be so slapdash he has destroyed the saplings and the seedlings.”

Guru smiled at him and said, “The seed which sprouted out to be the seedling and the sapling has the plant survival instinct which has come from the plant which has produced the seed. It has inherited the endurance skills from its mother the tree. You need not worry about it.”

Businessman was shocked at the words of the Guru he protested, “Gurudeva, the seed has just sprouted and some of it is hardly reached a foot long height. The plant has to be taken care until some stage if not it will be eaten away by cattle or they get infested by pests. No regular weed out has weakened the seedlings.”

Guru then stopped walking, turned towards the businessman and resting his hand on the shoulder of the businessman he said, “Correct I agree with what you have told. One has to take care of the saplings and seedlings till they have reached certain stage. The gardener has to be blamed if they get destroyed by any means. Don’t you think the same is true with kids? They might have great ethos which can make them a better citizen, will it not be the responsibility of the parents like the gardener to safeguard them from unwanted insects and weeds. The young kids are prone to get into bad association. The intuition and instincts get easily swabbed at that age. Gardening and parenting is similar constant management of weeds and periodic pruning is necessary for both. Most importantly providing adequate support is crucial.”               
The businessman understood where his Guru was leading him to.

Friday, June 16, 2017

1033. Experience or Education......which is better???

There was a video I watched yesterday. It was of our Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi having a chat with college students. One of the students wants to know from him “Which according to him is important in life Anubhava (Experience) or Shiksha (Education)?

Modi ji initially says it is a difficult question to answer but he clarifies the doubt of the young girl. He says, “Though undeniably Experience is most important it makes us confront with two kinds of situation and to choose between the two one has to have Education (Note: the word is shiksha it is not to be viewed as academic knowledge alone).

He further says, “Along with Shiksha one has to have Ache Sanskar (Good Virtues) which aids the Shiksha obtained so that it is easy to get the better of the Anubhava.”

He gives an example to make the students understand better. “Suppose you are in a market and your purse is pick pocketed. It is an experience which brings you two dimensions, one is you know how easy it is to make money (Charvaka Thought; I need to gratify my senses and I do not mind grabbing others wallet to do so). The other thought is, How can I rob other persons hard earned money? Moreover I need to be alert and safeguard my wallet henceforth.

Here the experience is one that is, you have lost the wallet but the thought process is different. The Sanskar which Modi ji is talking about is so significant that if one has it, every Anubhava in life can give him Shiksha.    

Sanskar is mental impressions which can be modified and to modify them one has to adhere to the “Word of Guru”. The word of Guru is in the form of Shiksha. So in order to get the better of the Experience we need to have ability to discriminate and absorb the good which is the base and this base is obtained from Education.

Now can a Guru change the Sanskar of an individual???

Guru can only guide the path, the words of the Guru is just a pointer and one has to thread the path all by himself. The Guru Shiksha was same to both Siddhartha and his cousin Ananda, one was compassionate towards the wounded Swan while the other caused injury to it. Pandavas and Kauravas got the lessons from the same Guru but had developed different attitude.  

Sanskar plays an important role here than Shiksha and Anubhava, but with a determination to use Shiksha to excel one can change the Sanskar too. Human life is a play of impressions developed by repeated actions. Those actions could be good or not good also; while one is constructive the other could be destructive. The repeated actions would have etched a groove which needs to be taken care. It is better to wipe off those impressions which may lead us to destruction.

What say???      

Thursday, June 15, 2017

1032. Mountains Ranges of Bharata...!

Himalayan Mountain Range and Vindhya Mountain Range along with Aravalli, Eastern and Western Ghats make the chain of mountain ridges in India. The Himalayan Mountain Range shares its domain with Nepal, China and Tibet. In this range the most talked peaks are Mount Everest and Mount Kailasa. Mount Everest grabs the title of the world’s highest peak while Mount Kailasa is undoubtedly the holiest peak.

Mount Everest which stands at 8848 metre (29,029 ft) in height has been scaled by over 4,000 people. Mount Kailasa is 6638 metre (21778 ft) it is short by 2210 metre (7250 ft) compare to Mount Everest yet none could reach its summit. We Indians know the reason; it is the abode of Maharudradeva. The mountaineers across the globe are baffled by this.      

An ancient Tibetan writing says thus: “No mortal can ever be able to walk atop Mount Kailasa, which is the abode of the Divine Beings. He who dares to scale the Holy Mount and come face to face with Gods will not survive!”

Colonel R. C Wilson, one of the many mountaineers who tried to climb the summit of Mount Kailasa explained, “Just when I discovered an easy walk to the summit of the mountain, heavy snow began to fall, making the ascent impossible.”

Mount Kailasa is believed to be the Axis Mundi, literally the ‘Axis’ of the world that provides a connection between the land of mortal and the Divine Land. It is a link to the physical realm and spiritual realm and the holiest place of the world. Legend says that the Mount Kailasa is the earthly manifestation of Sumeru parvatha mentioned in Puranas.


Interestingly our puranas tell us that mountains had wings and could fly and were causing havoc. Indra, the king of Devas chopped of the wings of the mountains with his Vajrayudha. The problem of flying mountains was stopped forever, but there was one mountain Vindhya which grew exorbitantly. Its towering height obstructed the movement of people on either side to cross over to the other side. Surya, the Sun god too had problem as the mountain would block and his movement.

 Agastya was assigned to do something to stop the growth of Vindhya. The Sage who lived in Himalayas started to go towards the southern part of Bharata. When he was to cross the central part Vindhya Mountain saw him and as a respectful gesture bowed down to him. Sage Agastya blessed Vindhya and told him that he was going down south and would return after sometime. Being a short man, it was difficult for him to climb and move to the other side. Due to the respect the Sage commanded, Vindhya promised that it would stay in bowed form, thus shortening his height till the Sage returned back. The Sage was happy and went south and settled down in south forever. Vindhya is still waiting for him to return from South of Bharata.

It was because of the Vindhya that Tamil speaking region of the south of Bharata are rich with the “Rasavattam” (Siddha Alchemy
Sage Agastya is considered the Guru of all Siddhas, and the Siddha medicine system is believed to have been handed over to him by Karthikeya, the son of Maharudradeva. Siddhas are the followers of Maharudradeva and Sage Agastya is the first among them. His disciples and other siddhas have contributed thousands of texts on Siddha literatures which are mainly on naturopathy. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1031. Donate Blood....Save Life!

Today I had been to Rashtrotthana Blood Bank, a wing of Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Yes, it was to donate blood. The day was special as it was "World Blood Donor Day". It is a routine for me to donate blood twice a year. Basamma and Hemanth who work as phlebotomists know me and some times they do make a call when there is an emergency. There are many blood banks doing a great job by providing blood for the needy undergoing surgery.

RSS which is labeled as right wing organisation have taken the initiative to collect, separate and store blood and provide them to hospitals and patients. Amazingly the Hindu thought does not approve the donations of any part of the body including blood. Though there is no mention of this kind in any of our scriptures, some do believe that donation may lead to karmic distribution. This is a mere misconception.

Moreover our sect is not like the one which sticks to whatever is said in the scriptures. We are those seekers who give a rational thought and decide the best to be done. If donation of any part of the body can help others why not donate??? We know about Kannappa, the devotee who donated his eye to Maharudradeva and became the "first eye donor" of the universe. We have heard of Sage Dadhichi who gave his backbone to make Vajrayudha, the thunder weapon of Indra.

Karma Siddhantha and donations of any part of the body including blood is miles apart. Yes, there is a concept which states that the karmic debt is spread to the whole body including blood and if we donate the karmic debt could get infused into the body of the recipient (we do have the case of a heart transplant in U.S.A where the aged lady who received the heart of a young man who was brain dead, started to feel the urge to drink beer and eat fried chicken. It was later found that the young man was addicted to drinking beer and eating fried chicken.)

Karmic debt as I understand is just in our cluster of thoughts, I mean in the way we keep it in our memory crest. Blood donation hardly took half an hour. If I can think that the blood I am donating should help the recipient will it not be the thought that is infused in the blood???

When I entered the blood bank to donate the blood Hemanth who is a regular reader of my posts wanted me to write on the blood donation. He even clicked a snap and insisted I post it too. I told him that it is Raktha Daana and in our culture it is said that one should never publicize that which is give as Daana. Hemanth gave me a grin and said, "Sir, why don't you spread the word  as an inspiration or motivation?"

I do not know how many get motivated as I feel the only motivator is Sri Hari who motivates me to donate. However it is a nice feel to give 350 ml of blood every 6 months and help save some lives.......Donate Blood and Save Lives.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

1030. Material attachment is first rung to Clinging on for Life......

When I was a kid I had a racing car toy which I was very fond of. I kept it with me even when I went to bed. I would not allow anyone to touch it, everyone who came home would tease me telling that they would take it away and I would cry. My mother would pacify me with her tender words. One day the wheels of the racing car toy broke, I had to discard it.

When I joined middle school my father presented me a “Hero” fountain pen. I was obsessed with it and had concluded that it was because of that pen my handwriting was pretty. I would not allow anyone to use it I had secured it in my geometry box. One day the tip of the pen broke, I had to discard it.

When I was in high school I purchased a watch from the saving I had. It had a leather belt wand the frame was golden with the numbers in Roman numeral. I was very proud of that watch. I had my full arm sleeves school uniform shirt folded so that my watch is visible. One day the watch stopped working and it had gone beyond repair, I had to discard it.

When I joined Pre-University College, I had a bicycle to go to my college. Every Sunday I used to wash it and oil the chain. Check the breaks adjust the seat height and after a few years the bicycle chain sprocket developed problems and I had to discard it.

When I joined engineering college I persisted to have a two wheeler and my father got me one when I was in the second year of my engineering course. Very few in my class drove into the college with a two wheeler at those times. I had the privilege with the other few and we had a good time doing all sorts of tricks with the bike. Whenever there was a period off we would hit the playground on our bikes and try to test our capabilities of handling the machine.

After I finished my engineering and thought of venturing into doing business, I started an industry. I was thinking that a car would be better than my old bike it would fit my status, I brought a car. I hardly used the bike and had to discard it.

Then from an old car to new car and life has been going on with discarding the old and taking up new as and when the old did not have strength to move on. This has been and should be the way, discard that which is not of use and replace it with a brand new one.

We have all experienced this in our lives. We all know that one day even our body will cease to function and so there is no point in getting attached to it so much that taking up a new body would become a terrible idea.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna “As a person exchanges old clothes for new, so does the soul abandon old bodies to enter new ones.” Then why does it become a hindrance to discard this body when it is finding difficult to perform??? Could it be due to our attachment towards our body???

Sage Patanjali while explaining the five Kleshas (Afflictions) of Mind points out to this tendency as Abhinivesha (clinging on for life). This is due to extreme obsession with body which would have stared from attachment towards material objects.

An Understanding on what we had been doing all our life with the things that does not work anymore, will give us confidence to overcome Abhinivesha ….. Just discard!!!