Thursday, August 17, 2017

1075. Jeeva Samadhi of Maharshi Patanjali.

We Hindus believe that every individual in his lifespan has to experience the triumph and turbulence according to the past thoughts and deeds accumulated from several births. This is like the deposit of earnings which is called “Sanchitha” this bag of earnings which is called Karma Phala (Resultant Fruit) is the reason for unending cycle of births. A portion of this taken for utility in this life span is called “Prarabdha.” Amazingly while enjoying the Prarabdha there are chances of accumulating new Karma Phalas this is called Agami Karma.

Consciously or unconsciously our Agami Karma invites Good (Punya), Bad (Papa) or Mixed (Mishra) results. Is this result necessary? What is the yield of Good, Bad or Mixed results? The individual has to take a birth to experience them and again do the same thing that he is been doing in this life. Hence this cycle is called Samsara, that thing we do without a stop.

Annihilation of cycle of birth and death is a process which only a few can think of. While in the sacred Rameshwaram Temple a couple of days back we had the opportunity to pay obeisance to Maharshi Patanjali at his Jeeva Samadhi located behind the Nataraja shrine near the third Prakaram of the temple.

I am not a scholar but I do wish to share my understanding of Jeeva Samadhi. As told earlier that though we have come to endure or enjoy our Karma Phalas, we do amass more Karma Phalas as Prarabdha. When this Prarabdha is exhausted the bonding between the Sthula (Gross) and Sukshma (Subtle) body gets detached. The Sukshma Deha will continue its journey with a new Sthula Deha and this is called rebirth. 

Some do not wish have rebirth and with this Sankalpa (Conviction) they do only Punya Karyas (Good Deeds) and more importantly channelize the resultant fruit to the Divinity and thus become non-doer. The Sukshma Deha is now a non-enjoyer too.

With the conviction of no rebirth the individual will be alert not to commit any Papa Karya (Bad Deed) which could be a Lepa (Taint) for him to come back again. Now is the real essence of Karma Siddhantha, with no Papa Karya and no desire for the fruit of the Punya Karya, where should the Bhagya (fortune) of the deed go???

With no other way the Punya Karya done by the individual will wipe-out the Papa Karma Phala remaining in the deposit of earnings (Sanchitha). When all the Papa Karma Phalas are vanquished, what stays behind is only Punya Karma Phala. As the Prarabdha of this life span is exhausted he does not opt for another Sthula Deha, instead he goes into transcendental meditation. Here he remains immersed in infinite bliss.    

We can never say that in Jeeva Samadhi the body dies nor can we say it is alive, however the energy will remain in and around the body as if it were still alive and hence the body does not decay. This is a state where the he enters into the Samadhi state at his own will after completion of his mission on earth and here his mind completely dissolved into the Divinity, he stops the function of his body and mind. 

In this state of suspended animation the breathing and blood circulation completely stops but the Pranic forces keep the body cells nourished and alive. He continues to guide his followers towards spiritual advancement. While in that state of trance he experiences the ecstasy being rewarded from the resultant fruits in the Sanchitha and is always at Bliss. He remains in the Jeeva Samadhi till the Punya Karma Phala is exhausted.    

It was my fortune to have spent some time sitting at the Jeeva Samadhi of Maharshi Patanjali.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1074. Wells at Rameshwaram Temple...!

Sri Ramanatha Swamy Temple or Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple, or just Rameswaram temple as it is commonly known is one of India’s most revered pilgrimage destinations, on a par with Varanasi in the North. This island houses the Gandhamana Parvatha which is the highest point. Amazingly this temple is in line (almost) with all the other four temples which represents the Pancha Tattva (Five elements).

Rameshwaram (Pritivi) is 79.3 degree E.
Chidambaram (Akasha) is 79.7 degree E.
Thiruvanaikaval (Jala) is 78.7 degree E.
Thiruvannamalai (Agni) is 79.0 degree E.
Srikalahasti (Vayu) is 79.7 degree E.

And also very near is in longitude is Kailasa which is 81.3 degree E.

As Pancha Tattva Kshetra this sacred place is most visited by Saivates but even for Vaishnavites it is one among the four primary holy places, called Char Dham, along with Badrinath in the North, Puri in the East and Dwaraka in the West. Hence it is equally revered by Vaishnavites and Saivites. Here Shri Rama and Sitadevi consecrated the Sivalinga made of sand and together commenced the worship in the presence of Lakshmana, Hanuman and Vibhishana.

Rameswaram is an island marking the Indian side of Ramasetu, the bridge that the Vanara Sena led by Nala and Neela built for Shri Rama to cross over to Lanka to rescue Sitadevi from Ravana.

It may be noted that a small temple which existed for a long period of time was renovated by Raja Parakramabahu, the king of Polonnaruwa Kingdom of Lanka. Thereafter occurred many rounds of expansion and renovation which continue to this day.

Whatever may be the stages of renovation the 22 wells in the temple premises remain most interesting. After the dip at Agni Theertham (Bay of Bengal) which is opposite to the temple devotees walk to temple entering a fantasy world of stone chambers and steel post, which are essential guides to the journey towards the amazing wells inside. 

Starting from the first well called Mahalakshmi Theertham the devotees spend next 90 minutes getting drenched with the water splashed by volunteers who draw water from the well using small buckets. It is a unique experience as the temperature and the taste of the water is different and distinct from each other.   

Each well has a story to tell like at the Mahalakshmi Theertham it is said that Yudhisthira became wealthy by the grace of Maha Lakshmi after taking bath at that well. The second, third and fourth namely Savitri, Gayathri, and Saraswathi Theertham pardoned a rishi of his curse. At the Sanku Theertham which is eleventh in the series, Sage Vatsanaba was rid of the sin of ingratitude. Fourteenth and Fifteenth is Surya and Chandra Theerthams which bestows the seeker with the knowledge of past, present and future which is called Trikala Jnana.  

Finally the twenty second is the Kodi Theertham which was created by Shri Rama by hitting the ground with his arrow to bring forth water to anoint the Sand Linga consecrated here.

In all it is said in Skanda Purana that there are 64 Theerthams in the island along with the 22 which are inside the temple alone. There are a few like Rama Theertham, Lakshmana Theertham, Villondi Theertham and others in the island which are the only few known to us. There are many yet to be rediscovered like Dharma Theertham which was excavated a few years back.

Bathing in all those 22 wells and having the Dharshanam of Sri Rameshwara Swamy was a great experience.

May Sri Rameshwara Swamy bless us all....

1073. Rameshwaram Temple...!

After the pilgrimage to Varanasi we had to visit Rameshwaram to complete the circuit. We had to anoint Sri Ramanathaswamy with the Ganga water we had collected while we had been to Varanasi. Yesterday we got the chance to be in the holiest place situated in Rameswaram island.
It was a great wish and also a part of the pilgrimage ritual circuit to have a tour to this historical and very holy place. I do believe in our Hindu puranas which mentions that whenever God is pleased with you, automatically somehow you will get chance to visit a holy place. I feel really happy to experience the joy of satisfaction by having the glimpse of that place where Shri Rama along with his vanara sena built a bridge. The bridge to cross the sea and reach Lanka to bring back Sitadevi who was abducted by Dashakanta Ravana.
It is said that Shri Rama after the war with Ravana landed in this island and consecrated a Shiva Linga to get rid of Brahmahatya Dosha (Sin of killing a Brahmin).
We all know that Jaya and Vijaya took three births as the rivals of Maha Vishnu. In their first birth they were Hiranyakashyapa and Hiranyaksha. In the second they were Ravana and Kumbhakarna. So though Ravana was born in a Brahmin family, he by his nature was a Asura (Demon). Abducting other persons wife is an act of Asura. Shri Rama killed Vaali, the brother of Sugriva on similar grounds.
Moreover one cannot accept the fact that Brahminism is hereditary. So killing of Ravana could not have brought Brahmahatya Dosha to Shri Rama.
Then why did Shri Rama had to consecrate a Shiva Linga at Rameshwaram is the question.
Ravana was a Shiva Bhakta who was ready to offer his head one after the other into the sacrificial fire to please Maharudradeva. When such a devotee was annihilated there was a loss of one in the strength of Shiva Aradakas (Shiva Adorers). Shri Rama by consecrating a Shiva Linga there at Rameshwaram kept up the tradition of worship of Shiva which is even today followed by millions of devotees.
I am glad to visit such a magnificent temple by His grace. This linga is the representation of Pritvi (earth) tattva of the Pancha Tattva namely, earth, fire, water, air and space. This is also said to be amongst 12 Jyotirlingas.
The uniqueness of this place is taking bath from the water of 22 wells around the temple. It is considered as very auspicious and was not only quite different in temperature but also in taste. It took around 1 and half hour to complete having bath from all the 22 wells. Then we proceeded for darshana.
If possible will post about the bath from those wells tomorrow.
Hara Hara Mahadeva....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

1072. The Pot of Curd....!

Dahi Handi is a playful mischief associated with Sri Krishna Janmastami. As a little lad Sri Krishna along with His elder brother Balabadra and a group of notorious kids used to steal butter from the households in Gokula. The gang would form a human pyramid to reach the pots of butter hung from the ceiling. 

This is enacted as Dahi Handi to commemorate the birthday of Sri Krishna, is there any profound philosophy behind it. Lets explore.

Here the pot is the ego that dangles in the grasp of Samsara. There is Dahi that is curd in the pot which is embodied as the conscious being. If we observe Sri Krishna and his gang were stealing the Navanitha, the butter while we in Dahi Handi have Curd filled in the pot. 

Why is the pot filled with curd and instead of butter???

The butter is the essence of the Supreme got when the being which is the curd is churned with the mind as the churning staff and the thought as the rope. 

Amazingly in the process of churning the curd to obtain butter there is a conscious  pulling of the rope alternatively on the either side one at a time. When the rope end of one side is pulled the rope on the otger end side gets automatically wound to the churning staff. This is how our thoughts too work, when the positive thoughts in us are consciously flared up the negative gets behind. The positive thoughts in our being when contemplated upon leads us to the Supreme. This is churning of thoughts. Never should we misunderstand this as over thinking. Over thinking involves many thoughts at a same time whereas contemplation is getting different dimensions of a single thought.

The breaking of the pot in this Dahi Handi is the symbolism of subduing the ego in us to release the content that is binding us to samsara. 

However to break the ego is not an easy task as one  have to focus steadfastly on realising the essence or the ultimate with devotion.
Distractions from around distort the focus. The human pyramid trying to break the pot is discouraged by the onlookers who splash water on the participants from breaking the pot. 

The necessity of  one pointed focus and devotion playa an important role to reach the goal. The group in the pyramid is the satsangh.

Lets us celebrate Dahi Handi grasping the philosophy behind it and seek the blessings of Sri Krishna to realise our true self.

Happy Janmastami to you, your family and friends…..!

Sri Krishnarpanamastu!!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

1071. The Mighty Bow.....!

Gandiva is the strongest bow supposed to be unbreakable. Along with the bow was two quivers of arrows. The arrows in the quivers was said to never get exhaust. Thus the archer could keep up with a constant and relentless shower of arrows  from Gandiva. The string of the bow was so tied that if twanged it sounded like thunder, creating terror in the heart of the enemies
Gandiva was created by Chaturmasa Brahma to protect Dharma. He gave it to Prajapati Daksha. Daksha handed over it to Chandra, the Moon God. Chandra gave it to Varuna, the Sea God.

Meanwhile it so happened that Agni, the Fire God was hungry and wanted to devour the Khandava Vana, the dried forest.
In that forest lived Takshaka, the King of Serpents. He was very close to  Indra, King of the Devas. So every time Agni tried to burn down the forest, Indra would ask Varuna to drench it down toake sure Takshaka was safe.

Unable to satisfy his hunger Agni approached Arjuna to help him burn down the Khandava Vana. It is important to note that the burning of Khandava Vana was to rejuvenate the vegetation by burning out the dried up forest.

Forest fires are a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. Fire turns the dead and decay plant matter into ash to reinstate the nutrients back to the soil to make it fertile again. Though it is not right to 
Coming the subject, hearing the woes of Agni Arjuna agrees to help him burn the Khandava Vana. Arjuna consults Sri Krishna as he is aware that he need to fight with Indra, his father in order to assist Agni.
Sri Krishna siezing the opportunity tells Agni to fetch the Gandiva so that Arjuna can confront Indra. Agni explained the situation to Varuna who hands over Gandiva and the quivers to Agni. Anyhow the purpose of creating the bow by Brahma had to materialize.

Agni offered them to Arjuna. Arjuna was overjoyed. The mighty bow was now his! However using the bow was not an issue to Arjuna as the bow displayed its might only when it bonded well with the archer who mends it. Gandiva bonded with Arjuna very well. Arjuna helped Agni burn down the forest with the Gandiva by winning over Indra.

It is said that despite having many guardians, Gandiva truly became a part of Arjuna, it belonged to Arjuna, the way it never belonged to any of its previous custodians... In that sense Arjuna was one with the Gandiva. Even now Gandiva is associated mostly only with Arjuna.

However after the end of the Kurukshetra war, the Gandiva had served its purpose. Agni asked Arjuna to return the Gandiva back to Varuna as he no longer needed it. Realizing that its purpose was over, Arjuna returned the Gandiva back to Varuna, with whom, it is believed the Gandiva still with.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

1070. Perfection in Life is an Impractical Goal.....!

Perfection in life is an impractical goal. In reality it is never a goal it is an approach. No one can ever boast he is leading a perfect life. There is never a hassle free life which can be considered as perfect. Does that mean there is no need to aim for perfection???

If the essence of perfection is understood then the way we perceive it will be different. To aim for perfection does not mean to be the best or to be better than someone; if one is better than what he was a day before then the approach is happening. 

When the great Acharya Trio (Sri Sri Sankara, Srimad Ramanuja, Sriman Madhva) themselves did not proclaim to be perfect, what are we who are yet ordinary seekers. Though the three philosophers knew that they were not Paripoorna (Perfect) and Sri Hari alone is, they preached the necessity to aim at perfection. By chasing perfection alone can one achieve excellence.

There were a few friends working for an IT company. To get relieved from the work stress they plan a weekend trip to a riverside holiday spot. Everyone knew swimming except for one guy who had this Bathophobia (Fear of Deep Water). As expected all the other friends decided to live all their belongings with this guy who sat on a rock and got ready to get into the river.

Splash! They heard a sound; a little boy who had brought his cattle to gaze accidentally fell into the river. Though everyone there knew swimming no one rushed to save the boy. Ironically one idiot took out his mobile phone and started capturing the mishap while another thought it would be dangerous for him to go after the boy. The third was thinking about medico legal issues if he did venture into the river to save the boy and failed to get him out alive.

Our non-swimmer guy who was sitting on the rock also saw the boy fall into the river. He immediately got up and jumped into the river caught the boy by his hair and pulled him out. The boy was made to puke out the water and after a few minutes the boy was able to walk and go home.

The IT friends were astonished at the non-swimmer’s feat, one of them asked, “Hey! How was it possible you said you were afraid of water and you never had entered into water?”  

Unable to believe his act the young man said, “I do not recall what happened to me as soon as I heard the splash sound I became aware that the boy had fallen into the water. The intuition in me guided me to jump and catch hold of the boy by his hair and drag him to the riverbed. I could hear the faint voice from somewhere at which I acted. I feel happy that we were able to save the boy.”         

None in the group were as perfect as Michael Phelps in swimming, yet every individual had a little knowledge in swimming that was sufficient to try to save the boy. One need not be perfect to use whatever knowledge he has if he wish to use it or share it.  

Perfection can be achieved when one knows that he is not perfect. At the same time one should never gauge the other keeping perfection as yardstick.......Am I right???    

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

1069. Value of Time.....!

Kaalapurusha and Chanda arrived at the doorstep of Abhuti with Paasha in their hands. They were the attendants of Yama, the God of Death. They were there to carry out the orders of Chitragupta to extradite the Jeevatma (Individual Consciousness) of Abhuti. Abhuti was one of the richest merchants in the province.

The Paasha (Noose) in their hands is the device they use to yank the soul out of the body. Amazingly that device Paasha is only half of the mechanism. The other half is in the Jeevatma as Aasha (Desires). The Paasha and Aasha are like a pair as we find in hook and loop tape. If we observe the hook and loop fastener tapes which are commonly known as “Velcro” tapes we can understand better. These tapes have two lineal fabric strips while the first strip features tiny hooks the other has small hair like loops. When the two strips are brought together the hooks catch in the loops and the two pieces fasten temporarily during the time that they are pressed together. The Paasha in the hands of the attendants of Yama is the hook and the Aasha within the Jeevatma is like the loop. As there was endless desire in the Jeevatma the Paasha could easily get hold of it. The more the Aasha the easier for the Paasha to get hold of the Jeevatma.

As the Jeevatma was to be taken out Abhuti realized that the time had come to bid goodbye to the present life. “I am not ready to die I do have much to do. Do you mind coming back next year?” asked Abhuti.

Chanda replied, “Sorry your time is up and we must take you now.”

Abhuti enquired, “Do you know who I am? I am one of the richest men in the region.”

Kaalapurusha nodded, “We know all about you and as we take everyone else when the time is up we have to take you too; so hurry up, let’s go.”

Abhuti pleaded, “If I were to give you Dashapratishata (Ten Percent) of my earning, which is Laksha Swarna Varaha (One Lakh Gold Coins), will you return after year later?”

Both the Yama attendants shook their head and replied, “You don’t seem to understand. It is time to go.”

For the next few moments, Abhuti tried his best to negotiate with the atattendas of Yama by giving away more of his earning for lesser time. He finally succumbed and offered “If I were to give you all my earnings, will you give me one Ghalige (24 minutes) so that I can talk my Patni (Wife) and Sutah (Children) and express my prema (Love) to them. I have never told them that and it is very important to me that they know how I feel about them. I also need to seek Kshama (Forgiveness) from my elder brother I have hurt him most. All I ask is one Ghalige!”

Chanda and Kaalapurusha paused and looked at Abhuti curiously and asked, “How long did you take to earn Laksha Varaha?”

Abhuti replied, “60 Ayana (30 years), it took me a whole 30 Varsha. See it seem to be a great Prasttava (Deal) in exchange for one Ghalige, take it all. You will never have to work another day in your life.”

The Yama Kinkaras were short of words finally coming to terms they said “Really we do not understand you Manavas (Human Beings)! If you are willing to give up the earnings you made for 30 Varsha for one Ghalige, then why did you not make the most of every Nimisha (Minute) while you had it? How did you value your Samaya (Time)? What was your Pradhanyata (Priorities)? Why didn't you say or do the things that really mattered most?”

The light in the eyes of Abhuti faded, he was gone. His One Laksha Varaha could not buy him the Samaya (Time) to do what really mattered most to him.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1068. He entered Alive into the Tomb.....!

Hari Sarvottama Vayu Jeevottama!!!!

When the Prana Vayu (Vital Breath) leaves the Chaitanya (Consciousness) too departs and the individual lose the identity, “He” is now just called “body”. The Chaitanyahina (Lifeless) Deha (body) is disposed of by Bhu, Jala or Agni (Earth, Water or Fire) Samadhi.

Now, what is this Samadhi???  

The word Samadhi has two syllables “Sama” and “Adhi” Sama is Equal and Adhi is beginning. Equal to beginning is to merge with the source. The Jeevatma (Subtle Body) after detaching itself from the Stula Deha (Gross Body) has to merge with Paramatma (Supreme). The Gross body too has attained Samadhi as it is also merged with the five elements namely space, fire, water, air and earth. This procedure is the normal for an ordinary mortal, but there are a few who go into Sajeeva Samadhi (Entering the tomb alive). 

Sajeeva Samadhi is attained by an individual who willfully stops responding to external stimuli. This is achieved with years of practice in Pranayama (Breath Control). We know that Diaphragmatic breathing exercise is practiced to reduce high blood pressure, essentially here too breathing is so practiced that the brain is kept in Super Sub-Conscious state such that the bio-rhythm gets slower and slower. 

Since the individual in Sajeeva Samdhi has control over his breath, he does not allow his body to become lifeless. Hence the body cells do not get destroyed but the functioning of the body is stopped by will power that is got from leading a life filled with positive energy. The individual fixes his mind permanently with Paramatma and is able to stop the voluntary functions thus creating a Spiritual Energy force around him. Then a Brundavana is built around the person who sits still ceasing his breath, his body never gets decayed even after many years. 

The Spiritual Energy force and the already existing positive energy acts as a life force in the body. The time limit for the individual to remain in the Samadhi state depends upon the individuals bio-spiritual strength, which may vary depending on his conviction. However until then, the Atma (Soul) of the person in Samadhi state will continue to bestow grace to the devotees. As an invisible or unseen saint that soul guides the human race towards excellence.

One such saint is Guru Raghavendra Swamy of the Dvaita Philosophy of Sriman Madhva during the period between 1595 and 1671. He is renowned for entering into Sajeeva Samadhi at Mantralaya, Andhra Pradesh in the year 1671. 

Mantralaya is now a pilgrimage destination. Devotees believe that Guru Raghavendra helps the society and mankind to emerge out of troubles and miseries.  His Brundavan even to this day has an enormous positive energy and has created countless miracles.

One such incidence is when the collector of Bellary under the British Rule had visited the Brundavana. Sir Thomas Munro in the year 1801 (130 years after Guru entered the Brundavana) came to confiscate the land belonging to Sri Mutt. Amazingly Guru Raghavendra Swamy answered to the queries in English from within the Samadhi and this incident is preserved as a note in the Madras Gazetteer. It can be seen in letter format: “Extract from Madras District Gazetteer” by W. Francis Esq ICS Volume No 1 Bellary Reprint 1916 by the Superintendent Govt. Press, Madras.

Today, Shravana Bahula Dwitiya is the day when Guru Raghavendra Swamy entered Brundavana 346 years ago. This day is considered as “Aradhana Mahotsava” (Great Festival of Adoration). We normally observe jayanthi's (Birth Anniversaries) being celebrated, but the Madhva Sampradhaya rejoice the disappearance day as the great festival to adore. This is the true merger and hence calls for celebration.....isn't it???   
Devotees pay obeisance to Guru Raghavendra Swamy with the following mantra:

pujyaya raghavendraya satyadharmarataya ca
bhajatam kalpavrikshaya namatam kamadhenave


{Sri Raghavendra who rides on the chariot of Truth and Righteousness and is like a kalpa-vriksha (a desire fulfilling tree) for he always takes care of his devotees' spiritual needs.}

Sunday, August 6, 2017

1067. Brother-Sister bond.....!

 “Raksha Bandhan” (bond of protection) is the celebration of relationship between a bother and a sister. The relationship which is no where else celebrated as in my country. It is a day when sisters pray for the well being of their brothers. The day this falls  on Shravana Purnima which is today and is  also known as Rakhi.

On this fullmoon day brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms and troubles and the sisters pray God to protect their brother from evil and tie a thread called Rakhi on their brother's wrist and brothers promise to take care of their sisters. 

Raksha Bandhan got the significance from an incidence which happened in Mahabharata. It so happened that once Sri Krishna was with his asthabharya (eight wives). He started to cut an apple to distribute to them. In the excitement He hand cut His  wrist. Blood oozed out all His asthabharyas were shocked. The shock left some dumbstruck, some were worried and some did not know what to do. Draupadi who saw the gush of blood tore the edge of her saree and used it to stop the blood by tying it around the wrist.

Sri Krishna was touched by her gesture of devotion and pure love. He asked her what would she like in return of this favor. Draupadi, like a true sister, just asked for the Lord's holy presence in her life forever. From that moment onwards, Sri Krishna had been with Draupadi like a shadow protecting her from every small and big trouble. When the Kauravas tried to disrobe Draupadi in assembly of Hastinapura, she called for Sri Krishna continuously to reduce her. He did take care of her honor and provided her endless yarn of saree. Dushyasana who was assigned to disrobe Draupadi fell down tied unable to pull the continuously flowing lengthy saree.  

Rakhi has a historical significance too. Alexander who invaded India had to encounter fierce resistance from Paurava King named Puru (Porus). Though he was defeated and taken into custody the King did not let his self esteem go down. To him it was an intruder who had captured him not a king. When Alexander asked Puru as to how he would want him to treat. He told Alexander to treat him as how a king would treat another king. 

Alexander was taken back listening to the King. He made him his friend ad returned back his kingdom. Alexander’s wife Roxana sent a Rakhi to Puru, asking him not to harm her husband, and accordingly King Puru who gave full respect to Rakhi and its tradition, restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.

Long live the bond of Brother-Sister.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

1066. Happy Friendship Day....!

Is it possible to go through life without having a friend??? They say that the friends we make are the family we choose. When we say we choose is there any chance to keep in mind that our choice matter and only make good friends??? No, it isn’t simply because like in all dimensions of life, we attract all kinds of people and the circumstances of meeting them also differ. 

A friend who may seem be good at the start of the friendship may show off his true colours later on. Nothing can be taken for granted, especially in a friendship. The best example is the friendship between Dronacharya and Drupada. Drupada and Drona were friends in Gurukula, noticing the worried expression on Drona’s face; Drupada discovered that his friend was concerned about how he would earn a living after Gurukula. Drupada assured him that he need not worry since once he is crowned King, he would give half of his Kingdom to Drona. As a King he failed to keep up his promise when Drona came to him remembering the promise made.

Good friends are the ones who are concerned of your welfare and always want you to be comforts. They always wish the good for you, even if it may seem to look as if they are being un-supportive and not with you. They tell you what they really feel and what their actual opinion on the topic in question is, instead of sugar coating the truth or hiding behind lies to please you. With good friends, there is mutual respect for each other and this respect ensures that opinions on either side is always be valued. Sri Krishna and Sudama were good friends in Sandipani Gurukula. Sri Krishna did not promise anything to Sudama and even Sudama did not expect anything from his friend. Just to please his nagging wife Sudama came to Dwaraka with a small bundle of beaten rice which was Krishna’s favourite. Sri Krishna relished the beaten rice and showered the riches on Sudama more than he could have asked for.

There is no “bad friend” as this phrase do not strike well, if one is intentionally bad he is not a friend. Yet this kind of friendship exist and stand on the matter of gain and loss. For the most part of the friendship it is only the gain aspect which keeps them together and if the loss surfaces then there is a crack in their friendship. Many think Duryodhana and Karna were great friends, but my personal feel is that Duryodhana would have made anybody who had the courage to contest against Arjuna his friend and crowned him King of Anga, necessarily not Karna only. H e saw the gain in having Karna as his friend. Though we can say that Karna was loyal to his friend even after knowing that he was the eldest of Pandavas, but it is more important for a friend to lead the other on the right path. Karna in fact inflated the ego of Duryodhana and leading him to wrong path.   
The friendship between Sri Krishna and Sudama is Uttama (Superior) as there were no promises yet the welfare of both was the key. The friendship between Duryodhana and Karna is Madhyama (Middling) as the friendship itself was made with an objective; though one was loyal, the friendship was unethical as it seem to be more like feudalistic approach by Duryodhana in his choice of a friend. The friendship of Dronacharya and Drupada is Adhama (Inferior) as there was a promise made and the benefit of the promise was looked for. When it was not fulfilled either if them never hesitated to vanquish each other.

Dear friends, let us make friends without any promises or objectives only then the purity of friendship can be experienced. A friend does not make a promise but will rush to give his maximum support to his friend always.

Happy Mitratva Divas.......:)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

1065. Daughter of the Ocean.....!

She is Bhargavi and also Samudra Tanayee. Bhargavi since she is the daughter of Bhrigu Maharshi. Bhrigu was one of the Saptarishis (Seven Sages) born out of the Mind of Brahma, they are called Manasa Putras. The purpose of creating them was to educate the inhabitants of this earth plane about the secrets of this universe and the mysticism surrounding it. They came to the earth plane and started guiding the people here on how to perform Homas and Havanas and its benefits. Maharishi Bhrigu felt that the Homas and Havanas would enrich the mind and lead one to enlightenment, but will it satisfy hunger? 

While the other six Rishis of the Saptarishi group adored Maa Saraswathi, the Goddess of Wisdom, Bhrigu set out to find a Deity who could satisfy hunger. Humans were mortals who were subjected to hunger and thirst. Bhrigu felt that before preparing them to thread the path of enlightenment it was important to help them sustain and nourish their body.    

He went to Varuna, the Water God and learnt from him that Anna (Food) is the only means to satisfy hunger and help nourish the body.

Bhrigu did penance and invoked Maha Lakshmi, the Goddess of Abundance. She blessed humans with abundance in cultivating food grain which sustain their body and keep them nourished to pursue the path of enlightenment. Since it was Maharshi Bhrigu who invoked her she is called Bhrigu Putri or Bhargavi. This is her Tattva (Absolute State) part which was in the unmanifested form. As the manifested form she is Samudra Tanayee.

At the time of churning of the ocean by devas and asuras to obtain ambrosia there were many precious things that emerged after Halahala (Poison). Kamadhenu the wishfulfilling cow, Ucchaisravas the flying horse, Airavatha the white elephant, Kaustubhamani the divine gem, Padmaraga the padparadscha sapphire, Parijatha the divine flower, Apsaras the celestial dancers and then it was Maha Lakshmi. Since she emerged out of the ocean she is called Samura Tanayee.

She emerged sitting on a lotus flower which blooms in muddy marsh yet remains clean. This signifies that a seeker has to be a part of the mundane world within the world but also unsullied by the world. She has four arms representing the four purushrthas namely Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Prosperity), Kama (Desire) and Moksha (Liberation). She is seen wearing red sari symbolising active energy with gold border which indicates opulence, the cascade of gold coins from her palm indicates the inexhaustibly. Two elephants on either side are depicted as pouring water from a pot; the elephant is the symbol of royal power and the water gush from the pot indicate the constant effort in the form of sadhana by the devotee to obtain her grace.

I bow to that Absolute State of Maha Lakshmi and entreat for the welfare of the entire mankind.            

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1064. Happy Festival Time....!

Starting with the Varamahalakshmi Vrata in
Shravana Maasa there are a lot of Hindu festivals lined up for the next few months. We have Krishnaastami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Anant Chaturdashi in Bhadrapada followed by Dasara in Ashvija and Deepavali in Karthika.

Festivals help create an atmosphere where the mind which is always immersed in the mundane affairs will focus on spiritual impetus. Thereby giving the opportunity to experience the sense of belongingness by bringing together the families and communities. We need to be fortunate that our ancient traditions have gifted us with various festivals. It is amazing to know that every Utsava (Festival) is intertwined with Vrata (Religious Votive).

While Utsava is the outer way to express life in its natural state of liveliness, Vrata is to purify the three namely Manasika, Vachika and Kayaka (Thought, Word and Deed). The word Vrata is a combination of two syllables “Vr” means conduct and “rta” is order. Vrata means orderly conduct which is self discipline. Vrata though is guided by some ritualistic practice as suggested in scriptures, it is personal where conviction becomes the key. I remember the incidence in Ramayana where Sitamata offered sand balls instead of the prescribed traditional rice and til balls as pinda to her father-in-law (King Dasharatha) while in exile. The Jivatma of Dasharatha accepted it joyfully. The orderly conduct at display.

The festival does have a tinge of pomp and show but it is not to be pretentious. Moreover there are different ways every individual would think of adoring the Deity and make an offering during festivals. I have observed that some raise objection to the kind of offering made, be it the Naivedya or the choice of fruits or flowers. I fail to understand how one can decide on what could be offered and which has to be avoided. Besides, in that sense what is there for us to offer which is not His? Who are we to intervene between a devotee and his Deity on the issue of adoring or offering?

When Sri Krishna went to Hastinapura as the divine ambassador, He wished to stay at Vidura’s place. When He arrived Vidura had left his house and his wife was present. On seeing Krishna, she was very happy and her joy knew no bounds. She was so spellbound that she did not know what was happening. She welcomed Him with respect. Krishna waited for Vidura. Seeing Krishna sitting in her house she was lost in thoughts. She didn’t know what to do. She offered him bananas. In total joy, she peeled the banana, gave the pealed skin and threw the fruit down. Lost in ecstasy she offered Him banana peels and without any objections He happily ate all them. 

This is a perfect example to illustrate how a devotee lost in ecstasy behave and also how the Deity value the love and affection shown to Him by His devotee. He never minds what is given to Him by His devotees what is more important to Him is the love for Him. He values only the devotion shown to Him because He is Bhaktavatsala, the devotee is very dear to Him than anything else. Maharshi Valmiki in Ramayana and Bhagvan Vyasa in Mahabharata have brought out these incidences to make us think what is more important. 

So undeterred by the probe made by others on what you have offered or how you have performed the rituals, just offer yourself to the Deity and enjoy the Bliss. 

Happy Festival Time.....!