Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY-- FIRST QUARTER 2017



THOUGHT FOR THE DAY—FIRST QUARTER 2017
(E-Mails sent to HR Forum Participants, July 2017)




 FORWARD

I bring to your kind attention and leisurely reading my collection of all E-mails sent to my active participants beginning with January 1, 2017 and ending with March 31,  2017. I would like to share these thoughts with you apart from my discourses. This is a new service I started last year which according to Google Reports is very popular among blog visitors though comments and suggestions from my regular readers were sporadic.   I hope to end my discourses to the Blog by September/October this year.  However, I will post my collection of E-mails sent to participants on quarterly basis from 2018 onwards on the blog to benefit the blog visitors from different parts of the globe as long as I can.  My E-mails often dwell on forwarding messages received from great thinkers and knowledgeable people like Swami Chidananda of Fowai Forum, Swami  Chidananda  of Paramrth Niketan,  Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev,   Phil Goldberg, John Smallman, IndiaDivine.Org, Facebook, feed-spot, Huff-post, Swarajya,  internet sources, serious religious and spiritual thinkers  and HR Forum participants who have sent their valuable suggestions etc., with my comments and further research. If any of you wish to join my regular E-mail service you have to send in your E-mail request addressed to Hindu Reflections: nadipuram@hotmail.com   I started my discourses on Hinduism indu Religion, Spirituality and Culture in 2002 at Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville TN, USA. I did not realize my own strength then. Now Hindu Reflections will complete its mission with little more than 300 postings with more than 3000 pages of reading material on the blog and the customary E--mails as you see in this E-mail.   Around 350000   pages have been read by blog visitors not counting my participants. I hope I have taken your thoughts around multi-aspects of Hindu Religion, Vedanta,   Hindu culture, Inter-faith, Spirituality and Out-reach available all at one source making it mini-ensyclopedia on Hinduism.   Your comments and further suggestions as to how I had served you in the past and how can I can serve you better in the future will be highly appreciated. I would strongly recommend that you download my classified discourses  and use it for reference to go to your subject of interest as my blog is perhaps one of the largest of its kind. My discourses are posted as they got delivered as guest lectures and are not arranged in any orderly fashion. These E-mails are not related to my discourses posted on the Blog.
http://nrsrini.blogspot.com/2015/03/classified-discourses-posted-on-blog.html
N. R. Srinivasan






ASATO MAA SADGAMAYA
Based on the information collected from Kartikeyan,   a Vedic scholar,  FOWAI Forum,  Swami Prabhupada and my own findings I have  consolidated  and finalized  my thoughts on this popular Mantra ASATO MAA SADGAMAYA  Mantra from Brihadaranyaka  Upanishad 1:3:28)  as follows:

We are all very familiar with this mantra from Brihadarnyaka Upanishad: Asatoe maa sad gamaya | tamasoe maa jyoetirgamaya | Mrityoer maa amritham gamaya || Om Saantih! Saantih! Saantih! It is  literally   translated as: Lead me from Falsehood (Unreal) to Truth (Real); Lead me   from Darkness to Light; Lead me from Death, to Immortality; Om peace, peace, peace!

This mantra is explained by the Upanishad itself clearly. Asato maa sadgamaya means make me immortal leading from mortal. Tamas is Mrityu, that means misery of Samasar-- Lifting me up from the misery make  me immortal. The third statement is clear.  Mrityu is indeed Asat and Jyoti  is immortality. I therefore do not understand the customary translation moving away from the meaning mantra itself gives! Probably it is influenced by Gita verse. 

Asat and Sat have specific philosophical meaning, though they are often translated as ‘unreal’ and ‘real’ respectively, which are rather misleading.  Gīta 2.16 says: “Naasato vidyate bhaavo naabhaavo vidyate satah | Ubhayorapi drishe-antasvanayos-tattva-darsibhih” --The Unreal has no existence and the Real has no non-existence; the conclusion about both these has been seen by those who  know  Truth.  Of the non-existent there is no endurance and of the existent there is no cessation.

There is no endurance of the changing body. That the body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of the different cells is admitted by modern medical science; and thus growth and old age are taking place in the body. But the spiritual soul exists permanently, remaining the same despite all changes of the body and mind. That is the difference between the body and spirit. This conclusion is drawn by all classes of seers of   the   truth, both impersonal  and personal.  In the Vishnupurana it is stated that Vishnu and His abode all have illuminated spiritual existence (“Jyotimshi vishnur bhavanaani Vishnuh”).  The words existent and non- existent refer only to spirit and matter.     Therefore mantra Asat to Sat and Tamas to Jyothi refers to a change over from material body to spirit which we generally understand as death and immortality. We pray for being Devas liberated from the status of  humans.

The Supreme is accepted as the origin of all emanations.  Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The living entities belong to the superior nature and all humans  occupy the unique top slot  among living entities  to liberate themselves and join the Supreme.  Only they have to realize the Supreme. Although there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, the energetic is accepted as the Supreme and the energy or nature is accepted as subordinate. The living entities therefore are always subordinate to the Supreme lord.  

‘Asat’ is that which has no state of existence and ‘Sat’ is that which has no state of non-existence. It is to be understood that Asat does not exist by itself; it does not have an independent existence. In contrast, Sat exists by itself. That is the specific difference between the two. The phenomenal existence is neither Sat nor Asat, since it has a beginning and an end. It is actually Asat sustained by Sat; Asat represents the physical part and Sat the eternal sustaining energy says Kartikeyan, a Vedic scholar.   This may be viewed as matter and energy    which are related as enunciated by Einstein E=MC (2). Energy is far superior to matter being manifold.  Humans are of material nature and are subservient to the Supreme (Universal Force or Energy) though are inter-related. So, the first part of the hymn means this: ‘may I be oriented towards the eternal principle of existence, instead of the transient worldly pleasures’. In the second part, darkness indicates ignorance and light represents enlightenment. It may be noted that ignorance relates to Asat and enlightenment relates to Sat; therefore this part is rather a repetition of the first part in a different form. Similarly, the word ‘mortality’ in the last part refers to Asat only and immortality to Sat, going by the imports of Asat and Sat given above.

This mantra of Upanishad has been derived from Rigveda Mantra (RV: 10-72) given below which defines Sat and Asat.  Rigveda says that the Divine, those living in the upper world or heaven are Sat and those that live on lower world or Earth are Humans and  Asat.  This is also defined as Immortals and Mortals in Chandogya Upanishad.   Therefore   this prayer is addressed to the Supreme by the mortals to attain the status of Immortals which calls for Jnaana for illumination   focused in the Mantra.  

Dvayam vaa idam na triteeyam-asti / satyam chaiva-anritam cha  satyameva  devaa  | anritam manushyaa idamaham-anritaat-satyam-upaimeeti tanmanushyebhyo daivaanupaiti //

This world is of two kinds, there is no third—Truth and Untruth. The Gods are Truth (Sat), human beings, Untrut (Asat). Here I go from Untruth to Truth (uttering this while becoming consecrated for the sacrifice) one goes over from (the world) of human beings to (the world of) the Gods (and thus fit to sacrifice to them)—Rigveda 10-72.

In another mantra Chandogya Upanishad says  The Supreme (who is Eko Devah) is Sathyam. This Sathyam  is made up of three syllables sat+thi+yam=Sathyam. Sat means immortals that is Gods or devas; thi means mortals; and yam that which is being regulated. Supreme is the one who regulates both Mortals and Immortals.  It therefore implies that the Supreme alone is Sathyam  and is unique while   the Self or Jivatma can hope to  attain the status of Sat by exhausting all Karmas but  cannot become Sathyam.  As Sat–Chit-Ananda it enjoys the company of the Supreme according to its merits.   The Jeeeva-atma or Self joins and associates and integrates with the Parama-atma. It still exists as an entity united with him inseparably and indistinguishably. It is not absorbed or dissolved in Parama-atma.

FOWAI Forum has the following explanation: In Vedanta, the word Sat means Existence. That which exists in all three states, waking, dream and deep sleep. By this definition, only Ātmā is Sat, everything else only appears to exist but does not really exist. This journey from that which appears to exist to that which Exists all the time is the Spiritual Journey. The journey from Mithyā to Sathya is from Asat to Sat. This spiritual journey can become meaningful, purposeful & successful only if it is a conducted journey with the help of a guide or Guru who has the scriptures (sastras) as the medium of guidance.

Spiritual journey is a journey from samsāra to  Moksha
In Sanskrit, Samsāra means the cycle of birth & death. Moksha means freedom from the cycle of birth & death, thus a journey from mortality to immortality (mrithyu to amritham)--Mrityor maam amritam Gamaya
Spiritual journey is a journey from ignorance (mithyā) to knowledge (Sathya), (ajnānam to jnānam). Working for jnānam is the ultimate real spiritual journey.--Tamaso maa  Jyotir gamaya.
This spiritual journey is conducted in three stages.--1st stage – Jnāna Yogyathā   2nd stage – Jnāana Prāpthi –   3rd Stage  Jnāna Nishtā.
Each stage involves a certain spiritual exercise called Sādhanā.
  1st stage – involves 2 spiritual exercises called karma yoga & upāsana yoga. 2nd stage – shravanam & mananam   3rd stage – Nidhidhyāsanam.
 Is there a shortcut?  May be yes. The path of Bhakti.
A Bhaktha (devotee) is initially an ārtha bhaktha who goes to the Lord for solving personal problems. After that we progress to arthārthi bhakthi where we seek success in all our & our families’ ventures. Then you should graduate to a jignāsu bhaktha where the devotee is interested in a spiritual journey from ignorance to knowledge. With the grace of the Lord and Guru, we should go from ignorance to knowledge; then that bhaktha is called gnāni bhaktha. Thus bhakthi should also be converted to a spiritual journey. The seeker,   sādhaka, using a technique, sādhana, attains the goal, sādhyam and becomes Siddha. Sādhaka to Siddha is the Spiritual Journey.
 --March 11, 2017

SWASTIKA IS PRE-ARYAN, DATES BACK TO 11,000 YEARS
Please refer to my previous E-mail on the subject. Swasatika seems to be much ancient in use than we have been thinking so far. Unfortunately it took a long and malicious journey to get abused under Nazi Germany as a revolving disc of mass destruction. It is left to us to restore it to its pristine glory of Peace, continuity and auspiciousness as it is no longer  by the Western world but  remains a symbol hate and destruction.  Please understand the full significance of this ancient sacred symbol in my discourse on Mangalya Dharanam. I have pleasure in reproducing below the latest news Report from Times of India sent through courtesy IndiaDivine.org
Swastika is Pre-Aryan, Dates Back 11,000 years
By Times of India | Mar 05, 2017 


Swastika – the Indian symbol of peace and continuity that Hitler co-opted for his twisted Aryan supremacy theory – is much older than believed, older than the Aryans and even the Indus Valley Civilization, says a team of top-notch researchers from some of the most prestigious institutions in India.
The researchers say the Swastika dates back at least 11,000 years and have traced its spread to western and Middle-Eastern civilizations. In fact, one of their key findings is that an Ukranian Swastika, believed to date back 12,000 years to the Paleolithic Age, may not be this old, say sources.
The team will announce these and other “breakthroughs” at the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) on July 8, exhibiting all the evidence they have collected. They will also answer queries.
The research was like solving a jigsaw puzzle in the maze of history, involving study of codes and symbols that would excite Dan Brown.
Based at IIT-Kharagpur and led by one of its most senior professors, it was conducted by Sandhi, an HRD ministry-sponsored effort to amalgamate ancient Indian knowledge systems with contemporary science.
The riddle was pieced together by scholars from many IITs, NITs, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology-Ahmedabad, School of Planning and Architecture-Bhopal, and Jadavpur University . In tracking the antiquity of the Swastika, the researchers came across a staggering discovery -that the Rig Veda, generally associated with Aryan civilization, existed much before that, dating back to the pre-Harappan times in the form of Shruti that were orally handed down through the Indus Valley civilization.
“We have found the most mature and geometrically ordered Swastika in the pre-Harappan times in the form of seals. We have also been able to trace the mention of the Swastika in the Vedas around the same time. These are scintillating findings that will help us announce that the Indian civilization is far more ancient than what is written in accepted history books, mostly by Europeans,” said Joy Sen, a faculty member at IIT-Kharagpur faculty and lead project investigator.
The team will show how the Swastika migrated from India -through the Tartar Mongoloid route via Kamchatka to the Americas (hence the plethora of Swastikas in the Aztec and Mayan civilizations), and through the Western land route to Finland, Scandinavia, British Highlands and Europe where the symbol is present in varying shapes of the cruciform.
“After dividing the world into nine quadrants into which Swastika moved from India, we retraced its footprints and have been able to graphically prove our claim through ancient seals, inscriptions, imprints, and religious symbolism in these countries. We will reveal it in great detail,” Sen said.
Unfortunately talk of Swastika cannot avoid the horrors of its hijack by Hitler to suit his Aryan supremacy theory. “It inspired Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche and their progeny, Adolf Hitler, who started an inverted agenda of anti-Semitism based on a falsified Aryan invasion myth through seven years of war, terror, corruption and extermination,” Sen said.

“Researchers Find the Swastika Predates the Indus Valley Civilization
By Ancient Code | Mar 05, 2017        

Researchers maintain that the ancient symbol of the Swastika arrived from India to the Americas and other parts of the world. Researchers have concluded that the symbol of the swastika is older than the Aryans and even the Indus Valley Civilization.
Unlike popular belief, the swastika is a symbol of peace and continuity.
Ever since the Second World War, the symbol of the Swastika was transmuted and became a symbol of discrimination and slaughter, a product of Adolf Hitler’s regime.
For Hitler, the Swastika was the symbol of his Aryan supremacy, but for historians and archaeologists around the globe, the Swastika is anything but that.
In fact, the symbol of the true Swastika goes back over 11,000 years and is believed to have originated in the Harappan period and the culture of the Indus Valley Civilization.
“We have found the most mature and geometrically ordered Swastika in the pre-Harappan times in the form of seals. We have also been able to trace the mention of the Swastika in the Vedas around the same time. These are scintillating findings that will help us announce that the Indian civilization is far more ancient than what is written in accepted history books, mostly by Europeans,” said Joy Sen, a faculty member at IIT-Kharagpur faculty and lead project investigator.
According to experts, the symbol of the Swastika migrated from India –through the Tartar Mongoodi route via Kamchatka to the Americas, the reason why the symbol can be found among the Aztec and Maya civilizations.
It reached other parts of the world through the Western Land route arriving in Finland, Scandinavia, British Highlands and parts of Europe where the symbol is found in a number of different adaptations.
“After dividing the world into nine quadrants into which Swastika moved from India, we retraced its footprints and have been able to graphically prove our claim through ancient seals, inscriptions, imprints, and religious symbolism in these countries. We will reveal it in great detail,” Sen said.
Today, the Swastika is firmly rejected in society because people have absolutely no idea the true meaning of the symbol. It is a hijacked symbol.
It inspired Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche and their progeny, Adolf Hitler, who started an inverted agenda of anti-Semitism based on a falsified Aryan invasion myth through seven years of war, terror, corruption and extermination,” Sen said.”
 WHAT MAKES UPANIHADS UNIVERSAL IN APPEAL?
Please find below an interesting topic by Karthikeyan Sridharan on Upanishads saying that it is not a book of religious prayers or spiritual text pleading to the mercy of the Supreme for Liberation but a compendium of philosophy of life to spiritually evolve and attain divine qualities to become identified with the Divine Supreme Principal. In this context you may also go through my thoughts as to what makes Upanishads unique in character.  We have also   been receiving   from time to time wisdom thoughts from FOWAI Forum--application of Spiritual Upanishadic thoughts to our day-to-day life to lead a peaceful happy life and progress towards Super-manhood that I have been forwarding to you with my remarks as and when received.
The Science of the Upanishads
By Karthikeyan Sreedharan | Mar 09, 2017 

Upaniṣhads are treasures of Indian spiritual thoughts of ancient times. The ten most ancient Upaniṣads belong to the period of 1500 BC to 600 BC, according to commonly agreed estimations. They are called the Principal Upaniṣads and are considered to be the most authentic ones.

There is another Upaniṣad by name Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad belonging to a later period, but viewed at par with the Principal Upaniṣads, considering the dexterity and erudition with which the subject matter is dealt with therein. In this discussion whenever we refer to Principal Upaniṣads, it may be understood to include Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad also. There are many other Upaniṣhads written during later periods, the total number being 108 according to some, while others put the number at 200 plus. But in the present discussion we consult only the Principal Upaniṣads.

All the spiritual thoughts of ancient India which got accumulated through ages were existing in a single lump without any orderly arrangement or classification. It was Sage Vyāsa who successfully classified all into a proper order on the basis of specific topics dealt with in each piece and their comparative importance. This is how we got the four Samhita-s, the Brāhmaṇa-s, the Āraṇyakas and the Upaniṣad-s. Samhitas are mostly hymns for praising or invoking various gods for well-being and favors. Brāhmaṇas and Āraṇyakas mainly deal with ritualistic illustrations of the Samhitas. Upaniṣads represent philosophical postulations either extracted from these three or compiled independently. Of the eleven Principal Upaniṣads, one (Īśa Upaniṣad) is part of a Samhita (Śukla Yajurveda), four (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndogya, Kaṭha, Kena) are parts of Brāhmaṇas and two (Aitareya, Taittirīya) are parts of Āraṇyakas. The remaining four (Praśna, Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍukya of Atharva veda and Śvetāśvatara of Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda) are independent compilations. Why should the same contents of an Upaniṣad find a place in some Samhita, Brāhmaṇa or Āraṇyaka? Because the same text contains certain portions that qualify for inclusion in the Upaniṣad and some other portions suitable for Samhita, Brāhmaṇa or Āraṇyaka. While studying the Upaniṣads we have to make due allowance for this fact.

Upaniṣads are not like ordinary spiritual texts which dwell on glorification and appeasement of an almighty god through prayers, rituals and offerings with an intention to secure protection, prosperity, happiness and long life. The primary concern of Upaniṣads is not the physical life as such, but the ultimate principle that sustains the physical life. Upanishads recognize the existence of an entity beyond the phenomenal world. They advance the concept of reality from a relative plain to the absolute state, to the reality that is free from all limitations of time and space. This advancement is the greatest achievement that Indian meditative mind accomplished and it is the greatest ever height that human mind scaled in speculative thinking. It was with this advancement that, in India, mere spiritual thinking graduated into pure philosophical deductions.
It is therefore imperative that any attempt to understand the teachings of Upaniṣads must be with due consideration for this unique feature inherent in them. Any alternative attempt employing the traditional tools of interpretation is unwelcome as it would only obscure the scientific spirit of the Upaniṣads and degrade their sublime teachings to mere theological compositions. Moreover, being extracts from other three parts of the Vedas, most of the Principal Upaniṣads contain some portions that do not fit well with the main theme under discussion in that particular Upaniṣad. Therefore, while interpreting the Upaniṣads to derive lessons therefrom, these portions have to be omitted from detailed consideration. In the present endeavor we keep in mind these observations as a guide in explaining the contents of each Upaniṣad. That means, we concentrate on those teachings that a rational mind should take note of and assimilate into its own cognitive constitution; in this process we simply ignore those contents which are rather ritualistic or purely mythological in nature.
WHAT MAKES UPANISHADS UNIQUE?
Upanishads ordain that one should gain the cardinal virtues of Brahman-realization. Moral and ethical purity, conquest over turbulent sense organs, mental equanimity and desisting from evil action and leading a pure and pious life are absolutely inevitable to become a seeker of Brahman. One should realize the true-nature of his subservience to the Lord through internal purity. Desire, hatred, anger, jealousy and all other evil trends should be totally eradicated. One has to develop compassion towards humanity and serve humanity by charity and Dharma. The liberated self will be blessed with the eternal bliss of divine communion with Parabrahman and he co-exists for all time to come with Parabrahman; Mundaka Upanishad says he will attain perfect similarity with Parabrahman. It is this that makes Upanishads universal in appeal.
--March 10, 2016

DID RAMANUJA POSSESS HEALING POWERS OF THE HAUNTED?
(Translated from the Book on   the Life of Ramanuja in Bengali by Swami Ramakrishnananda)

Jesus Christ, Ramanuja, Madhva, Saibaba and others seem to have been gifted with healing powers of the possessed   which they seldom played to the gallery but on few rare occasions this was a revelation to the public.   In due course few developed it by spiritual practice  to cure minor mental ailments like Yamunacharya. This siddhi is still available with rare few but no one seeks relief today  Siddhas  since psychiatry   has become a well-developed science.    Please got through the Life of Ramanuja and   his healing power.

Ramanuja’s name became famous in the Chola kingdom because of his curing the daughter of King of Kanchi form evil possession.  People started admiring his occultism, mysticism, spiritual knowledge and religious devotion.  Occultism is concerned with the nature of the "thing-in-itself". This is often accomplished through direct perceptual awareness, known as mysticism. From the scientific perspective, occultism is regarded as unscientific as it does not make use of the standard scientific method to obtain facts. Like Jesus Ramanuja used his healing powers rarely and that on being prevailed upon by those affected.  I understand even Madhva had such   power which he once used and was rewarded with  the  Chandan mud in which Udupi Krishna idol lay hidden.  We come across two such incidences in  the book  written in Bengali by Swami Ramakrishnananda who also has described his visit to Puri Jagannth.   

Western Psychologists say such persons suffer from a disease called hysteria, caused by nervous debility. Women being constitutionally delicate, it is they who generally become hysteric. It is the nerves that constitute the manliness in man. A man is weak or strong according to his nerves are weak or strong. By accepting such   a contention one has to reach the conclusion that that the annihilation of the nerves means the annihilation of the man. The followers of Charwaka philosophy in India too came to the same conclusion long ago disagreeing with the Vedantic  view.   

According to Vedanta  thinking, the soul protects the body, not the body the soul. Only from the presence of the soul are derived the liveliness and the sanctity of the body. Through the body one experiences the pleasure and pain of the world. The desire-instinct in a person is ever eager to enjoy pleasure with the help of the body. This Self when endowed with a gross body appears as human, animal, bird, worm, insect etc. and when bereft of it , assumes the forms of Devas, demi-gods, Brahma-rakshasas, goblins and ghosts. The forms of the latter, being subtle, cannot be grasped   by the five senses.  What cannot be grasped by the five senses also exists. Isvarakrishna, the great author of Sankhyakarika, has settled the issue in a superb manner. He says:

“Atidooraat-sameepyad-indriya-ghaataan-anavasthaanaat | saukshmyaad-vyavadhaanaad-abhibhavaat-samaanaabhihaaraaccha | sauksmyaat tad-anupalbdhih naabhaavaat-kaaryatas-tad-upalabdheh ||(Samkhyakarika 7 and 8 first half)

Non-perception may be because of extreme distance, extreme proximity, injury to the organs, non-steadiness of the mind, subtlety, veiling, suppression and blending with what is similar.  The non-perception of the Prime Nature is due to its subtlety, not to its non-existence, since it is perceived in its effects.”

The subtle body when dominated by Sattva, becomes the body of a Deva (divine possessed), when by Rajas, the body of a demi-god, when by Tamas, the body of a Brahma-rakshasa, a goblin or ghost. That is why it is possible for a person of Sattvic temperament to go under the possession of devas, for men of Rajas to under the influence of demi-gods, and for persons of Tamas to go under the spell of Ghosts.  

The Guru of Ramanuja Yadavprakasa was a great adept in magic science (mantra-sastra). He could cure people possessed by ghosts and Brahma-rakshasas. He was quite famous for his  occultism practices in curing evil possessed beings.

Once the princess of Kanchipuram came to be possessed by  Brahma-rakshasa. Exorcists were  brought from all quarters. But none were able to cure the princess. Then, with great honor, was brought Vedantacharya Yadvaprakasa. But at his sight, the princess possessed by the Brahmarakshasa burst into loud laughter and said: “Ah Yadavaprakasa! Your Mantras will be of no avail here. You are wasting your talents. Go back home”Disregrdingher, Yadavaprakasa  chanted various Mantras for a long time, but was totally unsuccessful in driving away the evil possession. Thereupon the Brahmarakshasa interposed, “Why take pains in vain? You are inferior   in strength to me. If you are determined that I should be driven off from this shrine of the body of the princess, so tender and delightful to touch, then bring here your youngest disciple, the blessed Ramanuja, whose arms reach down to his knees, who has broad fore-head and large eyes, who is the pleasure resort of the goddess of genius, and the choicest blossom in the garden of youth. As the thick darkness of the clouded new-moon night is removed at sunrise, so at the advent of that great soul, I too shall be driven away; otherwise not.”

At the behest of Yadavaprakasha, Ramanuja was instantly brought there. When Ramanuja requested Brahmarakshasa to get out from the body of the princess, it replied: “I won’t go unless you graciously place your blessed feet on my head. Do please fulfill this desire of your slave.”

At the behest of his Guru, Ramanuja placed both his feet on the head of the princess and said: “Now relieve the princess and go, leaving behind some proof you have left her.” “Look there I quit”, said the Brahmarakshasa. “As a proof, I go instantly breaking the top-most branch of the neighboring banyan tree.”

At once the top-most branch of the banyan tree broke with a crash and the princess began to look around like one just awakened from a slumber. Afterwards, when she regained full consciousness and could grasp her plight a little, she hung her face in shame and went away to another apartment, surrounded by maid-servants. When the King of Kanchi came to know of the recovery of his daughter, he hastened to worship the feet of Ramanuja and express his deep gratitude. From that day on, Ramanuja’s name became famous in the Chola Kingdom.

Vitthaladeva was a pious Jain King in Nrisimhakshetra who used  to serve thousands of Sravanas every day. When his daughter became possessed by an evil spirit, he first consulted many physicians. When they failed to show any result, he sought the help of the Jain Munis, but they too failed to cure the princess. Meanwhile when Vitthaladeva heard that   a few Vaishnavas  have come to Purna’s house from the East,  he sent some Pundits who duly invited and brought them to the palace. Ramanuja cured the princess by simply looking at her, at which Vittaladeva was much amazed. Thenceforth he came devoted Ramanuja. King Vitthaladeva was nameds By Ramanuja as Vishnuvardhana and was thence known thence by his new name.

In Chapter XLVII of the Prapannamritam, Bittideva (or Vitthaladeva) is referred as a Buddhist king. Perhaps in pursuance of this version, the author of this book Ramakrishnananda in his original also refers to Bittideva as a Buddhist king.  But in historical records this Hoysola King--who subsequently came to be known as Vishnuvardhana after being converted to Sri Vaishnavism by Sri Ramanuja—is referred to only as a follower of Jainism. Hence necessary alterations are made in this chapter while translating from Bengali by Swami Budhananda to  mention   Vitthaladeva as a Jain.
--March3, 2017

Reply by Dr. Vedavyas, psychiatrist

Sexual and aggressive impulses and urges can build up in strong ways in unfulfilled women (or abused/molested), causing deviant arousal, extreme jealousy and mistrust. All these urges get acted out in demonic/spiritual possessions periodically, depending on the amount of stress, and need for suppression of the evil desires in you.

All of these individuals are hoping and praying that a power greater than the evil spirit inside them will relieve them of carrying these attributes that get associated with them.

Fame of the doctor/saint and his powerful teachings that have been retold, creates a set up for these influences be discarded with the power of the saint/ shrine/penance.

My father was haunted by memories of his first wife who suffered from hysteria and died. He went to the sea on every Amavasya for 16 months and took holy dip to get rid of the evil.

Charismatic saints and siddhas acquire power of healing by their practices that are well publicized, adding to their glory, and are able to persuade the willing to give up their ways. You do realize that the people and their families should have suffered long enough, and the time has to be ripe for them to give up the haunting spirits.

Please don't refer these saints as practicing occultism.

Rajasic qualities are manifest in Narcissistic men, and Thamasic qualities are manifest in histrionic women and antisocial men. These are the common conversion reactions in these people.

All of us have healing power according to our level of education, discipline, devotion and penance.

Possession syndrome has been described in our literature from ancient times, including Ayurvedic texts.  Human mind is capable of dissociating itself completely too to altered states during extreme stress, intense emotional states, and sometimes through ardent practice of identifying with object of worship.



ASATO MAA SADGAMAYA--A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

Please recall my recent E-mail circulated to you which has also been sent to FOWAI Forum   titled    “Prayers leading to Immortality (Sat) from Falsehood or Mithya that is Asat”.    I am glad the forum has taken up the subject for further elucidation feeling my superficial study lacking  Vedantic  depth and   the practical approach by progressive steps through  bhakti   for attaining salvation by short cut about which also I had spoken attaching the in-depth study on Bhaktimarga received from Dr. Satpathy my Vedanta teacher as circulated.   I had discussed on the spiritual journey to immortality from material world and the so called death ( a journey of struggle or spiritual)  while explaining the last mantra in MNU.

From a scientific view point which most of the times conflates with Vedanta,    I have the following explanation. Einstein said Energy is   Matte multiplied  by a constant (cXc). Vedanta says Humans are Asat and Devas are Sat.  Our prayers are  to attain Devatva from Manushyatva. Matter is  viewed as false or transitory (Jagan Mithyam), As humans we are in the false (Mithya) category and by repeated births and exhausting karmas we aspire to attain the state of Sat or divinity (devaloka).  This sat is no longer matter but pure Energy or Spirit.  What happens to liberated human life is the body becomes spirit and loses its Nama and Rupa on realizing Brahman.  Vedas also say humans can   also live in Chandraloka  for a   while enjoying his  benevolences due to their meritorious deeds which we have seen as a possibility. We are also discovering more planets as amicable as earth today.   Devas or divines live in Suryaloka. In the heat of the Sun matter can no longer exist but becomes energy or deva or divine. Deva means that which shines.  So MNU says those who die during Dakshinayana go to Chandraloka and after enjoying their Punya or meritorious deeds for a while return back to earth  to exhaust left over karmas.  But those who have realized Brahman (Jeevanmuktas) continue their   journey further and get integrated with Aditya or Brahman (mamaivamso Jeevabhootah) and never have to face the Samsara again. Please recall the detailed explanation in my previous E-mail. But you will have more explanation from the FOWAI Forum to which I do not have access with my limited IT knowledge.

Jivatman is Sat (truth), Chit (Existence or Consciousness),  Ananada  (Perennial joy or Bliss). Liberated Jeevatma need not bother further for gross, subtle or casual bodies and becomes consciousness (Jnanam) to be one with Brahman (Prajnanam).

Paramaatman on the other hand is Sathyam where Sat=immortal thi=mortal, and Yam=what is being     regulated),  Jnaanam (consciousness) Amalam (ever pure or that which is never touched by Karma) Anantam or Bhuma (plentitude of perennial joy that can’t be defined) as Chhandogya says.

MNU in its concluding mantras144-150 describes guide lines   (Jnaanasaadhana Nirupanam) for the Spiritual journey about which FOWAI forum is going to talk about. This journey could be final   to rare few BRAHMA JNANIS but for those who are enlightened upon the Supreme but not attained Jnaanaa  it is a trip back from Chandraloka   to Earth to exhaust  the left over karmas,  attain Brahma Jnaana and take the final journey. For majority it is a frequent journey for spiritual refinement each time.  Only those who are not Brahmajnas attain the Moon through Pitruyana and return to this world by the same way. But a brahmajna proceeds further from the Moon to Brahaman or Adityaloka.   Moon is therefore a resting place. For those who return from Chandraloka  after  resting to the Earth it is the time to relax, enjoy  in Chandraloka and return with a wider vision about the Supreme. This is what Puranas describe as Swarga and not the final destination described as Brahmaloka or “tadvishnoh Paramam Padam”.

MESSAGE FROM FOWAI FORUM
Talk by Dr. Thimappa Hegde on  Sunday. March 5, 2017
असतो मा सद्गमय, Asato mā Sad-gamaya From Unreal, Lead me to Real
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय,Tamaso mā Jyotir-gamaya From Darkness, Lead me to Light
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय, Mrityor-mā Amritam gamaya From Death, Lead me to Immortality.

The above is the literal meaning. However in Vedanta, the word Sat means Existence. That which exists in all three states, waking, dream and deep sleep. By this definition, only Ātmā is Sat, everything else only appears to exist but does not really exist. This journey from that which appears to exist to that which Exists all the time is the Spiritual Journey. The journey from Mithyā to Sathya. From Asat to Sat. This spiritual journey can become meaningful, purposeful & successful only if it is a conducted journey with the help of a guide or Guru who has the Shāstrams as the medium of guidance.
Spiritual journey is a journey from samsāra to moksha (bondage to freedom).
 In Sanskrit, samsāra means the cycle of birth & death. Moksha means freedom from the cycle of birth & death, thus a journey from mortality to immortality (mrithyu  to amritham).
Spiritual journey is a journey from ignorance (mithyā) to knowledge (Sathya), (ajnānam to jnānam). Working for jnānam is the ultimate real spiritual journey.
This spiritual journey is conducted in three stages.
  1st stage – Jnāna Yogyathā   2nd stage – Jnāana Prāpthi –   3rd Stage  Jnāna Nishtā
Each stage involves a certain spiritual exercise called Sādhanā.
  1st stage – involves 2 spiritual exercises called karma yoga & upāsana yoga.
  2nd stage – shravanam & mananam   3rd stage – Nidhidhyāsanam
Is there a shortcut?  May be yes. The path of Bhakti.
A bhaktha is initially an ārtha bhaktha who goes to the Lord for solving personal problems.
After that we progress to arthārthi bhakthi where we seek success in all our & our families’ ventures.
Then you should graduate to a jignāsu bhaktha where the devotee is interested in a spiritual journey from ignorance to knowledge. With the grace of the Lord and Guru, we should go from ignorance to knowledge; then that bhaktha is called gnāni bhaktha. Thus bhakthi should also be converted to a spiritual journey.
The seeker, a sādhaka, using a technique, sādhana, attains the goal, sādhyam and becomes Siddha. Sādhaka to Siddha is the Spiritual Journey.



PRAYER  TO THE SUPREME SEEKING IMMORATALITY

We are all very familiar with this mantra from Brihadarnyaka Upanishad and its usual translation:

Asatoe maa sad gamaya | tamasoe maa jyoetirgamaya | Mrityoer maa amritham gamaya || Om Saantih! Saantih! Saantih!

The simple meaning is thus:  Lead me from the Non-truth to the Truth (or Unreal to Real) ! Lead me from Darkness to Light! Lead me from Death to Immortality! In the name of the Supreme Principle, may there be peace, peace, peace all around!

Asat and Sat have specific philosophical meaning, though they are often translated as ‘unreal’ and ‘real’ respectively, which are rather misleading.  Gīta 2.16 says: “Naasato vidyate bhaavo naabhaavo vidyate satah | Ubhayorapi drishe-antasvanayos-tattva-darsibhih” --The Unreal has  no existence and the Real has no non-existence; the conclusion about both these has been seen by those who  know  Truth.  Of the nonexistent there is no endurance and of the existent there is no cessation.
There is no endurance of the changing body. That the body is changing every moment by the actions and reactions of the different cells is admitted by modern medical science; and thus growth and old age are taking place in the body. But the spiritual soul exists permanently, remaining the same despite all changes of the body and mind. That is the difference between the body and spirit. This conclusion is drawn by all classes of sears of   the   truth, both impersonality and personality. In the Vishnupurana  it is stated that Vishnu and His abode all have illuminated spiritual  existence (“Jyotimshi vishnur bhavanaani Vishnuh”) The words existent and non existent refer only to spirit and matter.     Therefore mantra Asat to Sat and Tamas to Jyothi refers to a change over from  sought after from material body to spirit  which we generally understand as death and immortality.

The Supreme is accepted as the origin of all emanations.  Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The living entities belong to the superior nature and  so all humans are of superior nature the highest in the order of merits.  Only they have to realize the same. Although there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, the energetic is accepted as the Supreme and the energy nor nature is accepted as subordinate. The living entities therefore are always subordinate to the Supreme lord.  

‘Asat’ is that which has no state of existence and ‘Sat’ is that which has no state of non-existence. It is to be understood that Asat does not exist by itself; it does not have an independent existence. In contrast, Sat exists by itself. That is the specific difference between the two. The phenomenal existence is neither Sat nor Asat, since it has a beginning and an end. It is actually Asat sustained by Sat; Asat represents the physical part and Sat the eternal sustaining energy.  This may be viewed as matter and energy    which are related as discovered by Einstein E=MC (2). Energy is far superior to matter as being manifold.  Humans are f material nature and are subservient to the Supreme (Universal Force or Energy) though are inter-related. So, the first part of the hymn means this, ‘may I be oriented towards the eternal principle of existence, instead of the transient worldly pleasures’. In the second part, darkness indicates ignorance and light represents enlightenment. It may be noted that ignorance relates to Asat and enlightenment relates to Sat; therefore this part is rather a repetition of the first part in a different form. Similarly, the word ‘mortality’ in the last part refers to Asat only and immortality to Sat, going by the imports of Asat and Sat given above.

This mantra of Upanishad  has been derived from Rigveda Mantra (RV: 10-72) given below which defines Sat and Asat.  Rigveda says that the Divines those living in the upper world or heaven are Sat and those that live on lower world or Earth are Humans and  Asat.  This is also defined as Immortals and Mortals in Chandogya Upanishad.    Therefore   this prayer is addressed to the Supreme by the mortals to attain the status of Immortals which calls for Jnaana for illumination   focused in the Mantra.  

Dvayam vaa idam na triteeyam-asti / satyam chaiva-anritam cha  satyameva  devaa 
anritam manushyaa idamaham-anritaat-satyam-upaimeeti tanmanushyebhyo daivaanupaiti //

This world is of two kinds, there is no third—Truth and Untruth. The Gods are Truth, human beings, Untruth. Here I go from Untruth to Truth (uttering this while becoming consecrated for the sacrifice) one goes over from (the world) of human beings to (the world of) the Gods (and thus fit to sacrifice to them)—Rigveda 10-72.

In another mantra Chandogya Upanishad says   The Supreme (who is Eko Devah) is Sathyam. This Sathyma is made up of three syllables sat+thi+yam=Sathyam. Sat means immortals that is Gods or devas; thi means mortals; and yam that which is being regulated. Supreme is the one who regulates both mortals and Immortals.  It therefore implies that the Supreme alone is Sathyam  and is unique while   the Self or Jivatma can hope to  attain the status of Sat by exhausting all Karmas but  cannot become Sathyam. As Sat–Chit-Ananda it enjoys the company of the Supreme according to its merits.   The Jeeeva-atma or Self  joins and associates and integrates with the Parama-atma. It still exists as an entity united with him inseparably and indistinguishably. It is not absorbed or dissolved in Parama-atma

With the same thought to   avoid  repeated  deaths   and attain immortality  the following mantra is addressed to the Supreme:

Traymbakam yajaamahe suganndhim pushtivardhanam | urvaarukamiva mrityoer moekshyeeya mamrutaat ||

We sing Thy (Supreme Principle) praise, thou art Traymbaka being the cause and sustainer of Creation, Preservation and Destruction (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) and as Primordial Energies in the form of Knowledge, Wealth and Happiness (Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Gowri). We are praying for the life rejuvenating nectar to get out of death inflicting diseases as well as the cycle of rebirth and death as the melon gets released from the creeper when mature.  This interpretation of the Mantra is universal in appeal to Supreme Principle.

Sectarian view translation that follows refers to personal deity of Siva glorified in Puranas: We worship the three eyed Lord Siva who is fragrant and who increasingly nourishes the devotees. Worshiping Him may we easily slip off from death just as the ripe cucumber easily separates from the binding stalk! May we be never separated from Immortality!

 Here is the prayer from MNU to attain equality status with Brahman:

Sohamapaapo virajo nirmukto muktikilbishah / nakasya prishtamaaruhya gachched brahma-salokatam //

Thus being sinless, stainless and unbound by evil bondage, may I ascend to the happy heaven and enjoy equality of status with Brahman!

 Srotramaatma…….salokataam aapnoti etaasaameva devataanaam saayujyam saarshtitam samaanlokam aapnoti ya evam vedaatyupanishat || MNU 15-1||

One who meditates upon Brahman (Supreme) attains union with Brahman and lives in the same region of enjoyment with him; that person attains union, co residence and like-enjoyment with these Gods (devatas) in their worlds. This is the sacred knowledge   of Vedas and Upanishad.
 [This is a clear message endorsing Dvaita philosophy of different kinds of liberated souls—saameepya, saalokya and saayujya. Also it makes clear distinction of Brahman as Deva and other Gods as Devatas. Unfortunately the term  Deva and Devatas have been  used indiscriminately in Upanishads causing confusion just as Self (Jivatman) is confused with the Supreme (Paramaatman) since many qualities are common between them. It is unfortunate sectarian views on various philosophies rule strong quoting mantras to suit the context and interpreting wrongly instead of converging to Devo Ekah !]  Philosophies got revised on the basis of  fresh knowledge acquired later and Madhva was the latest.  He had also counselled Vedavyasa who is Chiranjeevi-ever lives like Hanuman]

 --February 26, 2017

WE ARE KEPT IN DARKNESS ABOUT THREE-FOURTHS OF THE KNOWLEDGE!

In our Solar system Planet Venus is considered to be the most spiritually advanced  planet   in Sanatkumara Eastern Tradition.  Planet Pluto is controversial as it has been downgraded to dwarf planet! Venus is the brightest planet in the Solar system. While in our Solar system   eight planets are moving around the Sun in one direction, the Planet Venus (Goddess of Love) is moving around the Sun in the opposite direction.  That means, if all the eight planets are moving around the Sun in the clockwise direction, the Planet Venus is moving around the Sun in the counter-clockwise direction.  If we stand on all the eight planets, we may see that Sun rises in the east and sets on the west.  If we stand on the Planet Venus, we may see that Sun rises in the west and sets on the east.  This is our solar system.  Millions of solar systems, just like ours, make a galaxy, called Milky Way.  Millions of galaxies are in the space, perfectly controlled by Supreme Being. It is rather surprising to note that Puranas had all knowledge of these planets   though there terminology Navagrahas was wrong  or misunderstood as it  is a group  mixed up with stars satellites and nodal points. They also did not include Earth Planet   in the Navagrahas!  Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are called in Sanskrit Varuna, Indra and Prajapati.  Probably the word graha in Vedas  itself is a mystery which the astrologers have commercially exploited playing on the religious sentiments of us on the Mother  Earth planet, extending to heavenly bodies prescribed in  Puranas  ! I am not sure Vedas speak of Rahu and Ketu though they speak of Moon as Chndraloka suited for  humans from where the humans return back to Earth to exhaust remaining Karmas. Vedas  apparently seem to  wrongly club moon and Sun with planets?

Late us  take the Sun as spindle that pulls all the planets.    The planets also equally pull the Sun.  If the energy of the planets is less than the energy of the Sun, the planets will collapse on the Sun.  The planets with their energy are moving around the huge Sun.  Since the planets have different masses, they move with different speeds from different distances from the Sun.  Eight of them are moving around the Sun in one direction, while the planet Venus is moving in the opposite direction.  The kinetic and rotational energies of Venus is balanced by the energies of the other eight planets.  In this way equilibrium is maintained in space by the nine planets around the Sun.  Different masses, distances, and speeds are involved to maintain the equilibrium in space which can be fully explained only by the Supreme Being or Paramaatman!   That is why everyone loves Venus as Goddess of Love.  Love is the most powerful Universal Binding Force called Kaama.  Even Siva succumbed to it leave alone Viswamitra!  Rama wanted   to dry out all the ocean in liberating  his beloved  Sita when Ocean did not obey him!  Venus is advanced spiritually and scientifically, much superior than every other planet.  If she does not move in the opposite direction to other 8 planets, we will not have our solar system.  We will not have galaxies.  We will not have the universe.  We are blessed by the Supreme to live in His consort’s planet.  Venus is also considered to be sister of earth, Probably she is Hridevi   mentioned in Purushasookta along with Lakshmi (Hreescha Lakshmisch patnyau) and the earth was not yet created!

Scientists have today discovered a star encircled by seven earth-like bodies. These are a cluster of Planets resembling the core of our own solar system, but better seven earth-size worlds, each potentially capable of hosting liquid water and therefore life, in orbit around a nearby star.

Are Vedas silent about all these?  Of course Vedas speak of seven upper worlds and seven lower worlds about which we know very little. Even about our planet Earth  we do not have full knowledge as we talked recently about  Kumari Kandam Continent, the submerged Continent,  mentioned in Kanda Puranam,   adjoining India.  But please recall what Rigveda says In Purushasooktam. It says the Supreme willed us to know only  one fourth of what he contained and three fourths is  hidden from us. We will be nowhere  near that information  with all our discoveries. We are just learning about another star system like sun. There are  countless  stars in the Universe he created!  

sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasrapāt |
sabhūmiṃ viśvato vṛtvātyatiṣṭhad daśāṅghulam || 10-90-1 ||

Such is His magnificence, but the Supreme Being is even greater than this; all beings are a fourth of Him, three-fourths--His immortality--lie in heaven.

 tripādūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo.asyehābhavat punaḥ |
tato viṣvaṃ vyakrāmat sāśanānaśane abhi ||10-90-4 ||

Three-fourths of the Supreme Being ascended; the fourth part came here again and again, and, diversified in form, it moved to the animate and the inanimate world.

[All this is He-what has been and what shall be. He is the Lord of immortality. Though He has become all this, in reality He is not all this. For truly, He is beyond the world. The whole series of universes-past, present, and future-express His glory and power; but He transcends His own glory. All beings of the universe form, as it were, only a portion of His being; the greater part is invisible and unchangeable. He who is beyond all predicates appears as the relative universe; He appears as all sentient and insentient beings.]

Vedas also say Humans are ASAT-Mortals. Gods or devas living in heaven are SAT-Immortal; Supreme is the regulator being SATHYAM. Our prayers are to attain that Immortality--Asato maa sad gamaya!

--February 24, 2017
Comments and Reply:

WHY ARE WE IN DARK ABOUT ¾ OF THE SUPREME?

Please recall my e-mail circulated on the above topic. I received the following comments from a reputed Physics Professor in USA who is very knowledgeable on planets and their movements.

“A few days ago, NASA discovered Seven Solar Systems, exactly like ours.  People are living now in those seven Earth Planets around their Suns.  More Solar Systems would be discovered in future years.  What we know now is not even 1 % of the Universe.  In future years, more than 99 % would be discovered little by little.  How small and insignificant we are.  May I request you, Sir to correct from 75 % to more than 99 %!”

You may be equally interested in my answer. If you have more thoughts on the subject please   do not hesitate to send.

“What you say is verily true and scientific. But this is also expressed earlier in Purusha Sukta if you look at the first mantra which is difficult to understand literally but can be explained:

Om sahasra-seershaa purusha-h | sahasraakshah sahasrapaat | sa bhoomim visvato vritvaa| atyatishtad dasaangulam|| (Mantra 1)

The Purusha has  thousand heads,   thousand eyes, and   thousand feet. He has enveloped this world from all sides and has transcended it by ten angulas(?) (or inches).  

Angulas may mean 10 hand measurements. Tamil proverb says "enjaan udambirku sirase  pradhanam" Every man is supposed to be  of eight hand  measurements in height. Probably it started as 10 hand measurements and progressively shrunk to eight!   May be Vedas are right to cover all humans! Then your elucidation can also be explained by Purushasukta. We only know about 10 hand measurements of our body outside and that too not perfectly for we do not know what is going on inside! I did not go that deep with my lack of scientific knowledge like yours. I did mention of the recent discovery of seven planets around a new star. Probably the first stanza of Purushasooktam is more appropriate if “angula” is correctly interpreted.  During the time of Pusushsookts theconcept of modernj  " inch"  was not in vogue though many authors translate it as inches which  translation  seem to be inappropriate. 

Also in Purushsookta we come across reference to “Hreescha Lakshmeescha patnyau” what could this Hree be? Generally we find in processional deities of Vishnu Sridevi and Bhoodevi explained as Lakshmi and Earth. When   Purushasookta was delivered   neither Lakshmi     nor  Earth were born. Earth was born from his feet after the Yajna  and Sree  Lakshmi  later when the ocean was churned as “Ksheerasagara tanaye”. Hence  the goddess Hri (Modesty) and Sri (wealth) are meant as  consorts in trhe mantra and not Lakshmi and Bhudevi.   These could be also   Planet  Venus and Earth  that was the product of Yajna.   Venus and Earth  are considered to be sisters,. Venus is the most spiritually advanced and symbol of love planet  and  hence may be considered as Goddess of Modesty.    Earth with its abounding wealth  may be considered as Goddess of Wealth.  All Vishnu deities have Sridevi and Bhudevi as consorts in addition to Lakshmi adorned on chest.



NONE OTHER THAN THAT ( DEVO EKAH; TADEKAM)

May I draw your attention to the concluding sutras of Narada Bhakti:

Ityevam vadanti janajalpanirbhayaa ekamataah kumara-vyaasa-suka-sandilya-garga-vishnu*-kaundinya-sesha-uddhava-aaruni-bali-hanumad-vibheeshana-aadayo bhakti-aachaaryah. (83)

Thus the teachers of devotion-Sanatkumara, Vyasa, Suka, Sandilya, Garga, Vishnu, Kaundinya, Sesha, Uddhava, Aaruni, Bali, Hanuman, Vibhishana and others-proclaim unanimously in this strain without fear of the carping criticism of men.  (*Krishna in Bhagavadgita was a teacher). Some interpret the word Kumara as the four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara). Sanatkumara is the Guru of Narada and the prince among Bhaktas. Sandilya is the author of Sandilya Bhakti Sutras. Garga is the Acharya who performed the Namakarana (naming ceremony) of Sri Krishna and Balarama. Kaundinya is the son of Sandilya. The full name of Aaruni is Uddalaka Aruni.

a idam narada-proktam siva-anusaasanam visvasiti sraddhate sa bhaktimaan bhavati sa preshtam labhate sa preshtam labhata iti. (84)

He who believes and has faith in this auspicious (salutary) teaching expounded by Narada, becomes endowed with devotion and realizes the most beloved (Lord), attains the most beloved (Lord). Narada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and spread his message all over Bhuloka by his repeated visits chanting  “Narayana  Narayana”  (Saguna Brahman) who is  relaxing on  Adisesha  representing time, praised by Sanatkumaras and attended by the power,  Lakshmi.

Siva-anusaasanam this means auspicious teaching. This tradition was started by Lord Siva himself in Vishnu Sahasranaama. Please recall his instruction to Parvati: “Sri Rama Rama Rameti Ramerame manorame sahasranama tattulyam sri Ramanama varanane” Siva advised all his devotees to contemplate on Vishnu the sustenance aspect of Brahman   during their life span on earth and then come to him for his final judgement whether to  promote their journey upwards to Swarga and others or to decide their rebirth again to exhaust the left over  Karmas.    He reminded them that He is the dissolution aspect of Parabrahman and Vishnu is their best guide and they should follow the Bhaktimarga and He would not recommend skipping Vishnu and directly come to Him for salvation as a short-cut. He reminded the devotees “Karmanyeva adhikariste” as said by Lord Krishna that we alone are responsible for our Karmas,  and,  here he cannot help to dissolve them but can only guide.   Sanatkumara or Skanda   taught  Bhuma Vidya to Narada in Chhandogya Upanishad about which I talked to you in detail. Adisankara also strongly recommended Worship of Vishnu by Bhakti Marga in his last composition Bhaja Govindam as well as in Atma Bodha.  Rama being modest and humble as Maryada Rama   in his parting advice to Vibhishana told “Aradhaya Jagannatham” as mentioned in Uttara Kanda indicating that he is only an Avatar  along with his three brothers and he should therefore go to the  Supreme Principle and worship “The Lord of The Universe”.  Lord Krishna Himself meditated on Parabrahman on early morning hours regularly as mentioned in Bhagavatam. So, Your focus in Bhakti Marga should be on Parabrahman (Eko Devah) through your Ishtadevatas.  Parabrahman is the only Deva and all others are Devatas—“Eko viprah bahudaa vadanti”.

In this context it is good to go deep in understanding the prayer Asato maa sadgamaya and Mrityor maa amritam gamaya.  Vedas clearly mention ASAT means mortal. It says humans are ASAT. It also says Gods  are SAT that is immortal. In our prayers we are seeking our elevation to the divine status and not to be dissolved in The Supreme as many Advaita people think.  While Gods and devas (Living in the upper world) are Sat they too are different from Supreme who is SATHYAM. Chandogya Upanishad says SATHYAM consists of three syllables SAT=Immortal; THI=mortal and YAM-what is being regulated. Supreme alone is in charge of regulating Mortals and Immortals and He is the one who can grant us immortality on the recommendation of SIVA his dissolution aspect.

None other than “THAT”
Presented by: Gargi Dikshit on Sunday, February 26, 2017 FOWAI Forum
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Narada Bhakti sutra (Narada’s Aphorisms on devotion) is a famous ancient text on divine love. It has totally 84 sutras. These 84 aphorisms have been divided broadly in five chapters. In the text Sage Narada explains the nature, merits, ways, significance, glory and culmination of purest love towards Lord.

Divine love is deathless, immortal, limitless reveals the third sutra of the text (1). Our limitations arise from depending upon, from the grossest like our wealth, relatives, good health to the subtlest like our sharp intellect, unique skills, great memory etc. The tenth sutra (2) declares “(Focus) on none other than That (comes from) renouncing dependence on everything else”. In this Sutra Sage Narada points out one of the major aspects of developing pure love towards the Lord. The Sage of Arunachala says “The absence of thoughts is Bhakti and it is also mukti”( Talk 650). The webinar will present the meaning of the tenth sutra word by word and the gist of the path of divine love by Sage Narada.

1 - -  अमृतस्वरूपा    |

2 - -  अन्याश्रयाणां त्यागोsनन्यता  १० |
    

SÜTRA 3
 Amrita svaroopa cha /
Amrita=immortality; svaroopa=having as its essence; cha=and--This pure love for God is eternal.
 In the Bhagavagita (4.9), the Lord also says, “Janma karma cha may divyam evaà yo vetti tattvataù tyaktvaadehaà punar janma naiti maam eti so Arjuna”

Any person who simply understands His transcendental activities and His appearance and disappearance in this material world becomes liberated, and that after quitting his present body at once reaches His abode or source. [Rigveda says people on earth are Asat or Mithya or passing phase. The Divines are Sat  or Reality.  So our aim in life is to attain that devatva or divinity to cross over Samsara and attain immortality—Asato maa sadgamaya]

SÜTRA 10

Anyaasrayaanaam  tyaago ananyata /

Anya=other; aasrayaanaam=of refuge; tyagau=the giving up; na-anyata=exclusiveness.

Exclusive dedication to the Lord means giving up all refuges other than Him.

As mentioned above, in the Bhagavadgita (18.66) Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to give up all modes   of Dharma  for self-realization and surrender unto Him only.  “Sarvadharmaan parityajya maamekam saranam vraja”about which I have talked about in detail in my discourse Self and the Supreme.

Sankara says in Bhajagovindam : “Mayaamayam-idam-akhilam  hitvaa brahmapadam tvam pravisa viditvaa”—Abandon  everything else, that is all a product of Maayaa (illusion or tranitary)
Know the abode of Brahman and enter it.--”tadvishnoh parmamapadam”

 --February 22, 2017


APPLICATIONS OF WHO AM I BY SWAMI CHIDANANDA

Some of you who attended the Nashville Seminar on Who AM I may recall the enlightening lecture by Dr. Venk Mani on this topic drawing our attention to verses 11-16 of Upadesa Sara    rendered in Sanskrit by Ramana maharshi of Tiruvannamalai. His teachings are available in many books viz. Ramana Gita talks, Sat Darsan, Discussions with Bhagavan, Upadesa Sara etc. Many of them are in Tamil language. He had equal command in  Sanskrit and Tamil. Here Swami Chidanandaji  of FOWAI (Flame Of  Who Am I ), the  Thinking-tank  of Who Am I  draws our particular reference to the verse 15 of Upadesa Sara:

Nashta maanaotkrishtayogina| krityamasti kim svasthitam yatah || 15 ||

What duty is there for the exalted Yogi whose mind has been annihilated? None, since he has gained abidance in the Self.

Mere mechanical practice of Japa, Tapa and Yoga alone does not make one a true Yogi.  Bhagavan Raman Maharshi says that the best Yogi is one who has destroyed the deep-rooted ignorance of the mind by contemplation  on the Supreme Principle called Sathyam which we usually translate as Truth. Sathhya consists of three syllables  Sat+thi+Yam. Sat means what is immortal; thi means what is mortal yam that one which integrates mortal and immortal that is the Supreme spirit or Paramaayman and not the Self in us which is only a minute  part of the Supreme who is the abode of all the Jeevaatmans (Self). Ramana Maharshi reflects many thoughts from Upanishads in this concentrated Capsule. Please find few examples below:

Sravanaayaapi bahubhiryo na labhyah srunvato api bahavo yam na vidyuh |aascharyo vaktaa kusalo asya labhdaa aascharyo jnaataa kusalaanusishtah || (Ka.Up. 2-7)

Only a few hear about the Supreme. Fewer still are those that dedicate their lives for Self-realization. Those who speak about the Self deserve our kudos.  People who make it their supreme goal of life are indeed very rare. Few are fortunate to attain Self–realization under the guidance of enlightened Gurus. All those that hear (Upanyasas) cannot easily gain the knowledge of Paramaatman. A clever exponent and an adept attainder of him are very rare.

Naayamaatma pravachanena labhyo na medhaya na bahunaa srutena  (Ka. Up. 2-23)

The Self-realization can neither be attained by the study of scriptures, nor thinking nor meditation nor hearing to discourses about it.

Na karmanaa na prajayaa dhyanena tyaagenaike amritatvamaanasuh | Parena naakam nihitam guhaayaam  vibhraajate yad yatayo visanti || Ma.Na.Up.||
The immortality which the sages (sanyasis or recluses) attain, that immortality which is stationed in Pramavyoman which is heaven above—is attainable neither by rites, nor by progeny nor by wealth. But it is gained by some only through renunciation or self-surrender

Swami Chidananda in his own un-imitable style brings this philosophy to practical life by the following translation

When the mind is shown its place,
When we reach our own true state,
Where is pressure of duty any more
When we unite with our higher capacity?

We can never forget the ground reality in life that we are human beings first and "innovators and leaders" later. As human beings, our minds necessarily carry the burden of fear, anxiety, hurt, pride etc. Comparison with others and competition with achievers also cause agitation. Self-exploration, riding over the fundamental question "Who am I?", can clean up our mind, freeing it of all negativities. This query can take the load off our head, by helping us harmonize with the total truth. Our individual then dissolves in the total.

Adisankaracharya has the following message for us in his Bhajagovindam leading us to the   supreme abode “tadvishnoh paramampadam”: Let one revel in yoga or let him revel in Bhoga (worldly pleasures); Let one seek enjoyment in company  in the society or let him revel in solitude away from the crowd;  one  who has mind revels in Brahman, he enjoys… verily, he alone enjoys.
 
Yogarato vaa bhogarato vaa sangarato vaa sangaviheenah | Yasya brahmani ramate  chittam nandati nandati nandatyeva| Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam!

Any further explanation of mine will be futile after hearing to these scholars like showing a candle in the bright sunshine! Please enjoy the talk by Swami Chidananda and wait for the publication of Dr. Venk Mani’s lecture which may be published soon by Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville,

Here are additional thoughts sent on March 1 by FOWAI Forum:
Overcome Your Inhibitions
   In his advice to his younger brother Bharata on leadership, Shri Rāma, touches upon three traits1 that are indeed very thought-provoking:
1)    Do consult right people on complex matters where you may not know enough,
2)    Do avoid wrong advisors who may speak sweetly but are incompetent and
3)    Do not shut your door and try to sort out every issue all by yourself.
   The above are free translations with liberal addition of phrases. In the actual verses of Vālmiki Rāmāyana2, the mention is of “pitfalls” of leadership.
a)    not seeing wise people,
b)    discussing with advisors lacking knowledge and
c)    deliberating on matters by oneself.
   The advice obviously applies to all of us, irrespective of whether we are CEOs or not. We may or may not be well-recognized leaders in any field but we have to handle various situations at home or at work, where the pieces of advice given by Shri Rāma are very relevant.
   From a psychology point of view, we will have these pitfalls if there are certain inhibitions in our mind that are actually baseless. Because of some painful memories, which have perhaps gone deep into our unconscious, we avoid certain people and see the company of certain others. We sometimes just want to be holed up in our own rooms!
   It has been rightly said by countless spiritual masters that the essence of spirituality is “living in the present”. For this to happen, we need to root out our fears, anxieties, regrets and other memory-based negativities.
   “Who am I?” – This query anchored in intense self-awareness can be a powerful tool to do this. With the flame of “who am I?” burning brightly, the shadows of the past, which are in the form of various residues following incidents that were hard to digest, leave us. No matter what our past was, we can emerge free.
   We can thus see that self-enquiry (Who am I?) can help us overcome the inhibitions in our psyche, and emerge as good leaders.
--February 17, 2017
RIGVEDIC MESSAGE FOR LIVING TOGETHER IN EQUANIMITY & HARMONY

Research scholars of   Ancient Hindu Thoughts  have discovered the influence of the Upanishads on the religious-cultural life of other nations far beyond the boundaries of  India.  Swami Chidananda  has been  throwing light on how to improve our lives   through their teachings  though their focus is on spirituality.  Upanishads are great mine of strength.  Freedom, physical freedom, and spiritual freedom are the watchword of the Upanishads says Swami Vivekananda. 

FOWAI (Flame Of Who Am I) is very practical in its presentation bringing the Vedic mantras nearer to our practical life unlike the usual spiritual Gurus who purely concentrate on devotional aspect.  Thus its focus is WOTVEL (Wisdom of Vedas To Enjoy Life).  Vedas and Upanishads including Gita contain lot of such messages hidden  in their Mantras  and hymns which  Swami  Chidananda has been explaining to us from time to time that I forward  often  with my own observations of  limited understanding.  Probably this is intended for Hindu Americans like me who have spent major portion of their lives in material pursuits and also remain confused living among multi-cultures.  Swamiji tells us  us how we could improve our Pravritti marga  (material life with limited spiritual focus) from the Wisdom of Vedas in his discourses.  Motivated by the Forum I have attempted   here to present a set of mantras I came across from Rigveda that spreads the message of Unity, Harmony and Happiness to lead a peaceful life in tune with my oft repeated   Vedic quotes Aaatmavat Sarvabhooteshu (The same Self abides in all Beings), Krinvanto viswamaaryam (let us ennoble the world), Sarve janah sukhino bhavantu (May all people on earth live happily), Vasudhaiva kutumbakam (treat the whole world as one family) etc.  Sanatana Dharma speaks of Universal Oneness and One God and says we are all Children of Immortal Bliss.  It is unfortunate later many religions sprang up, as population moved out seeking greener pastures, with raised walls   and guided or misguided the society  for  long. Those who are now fed up with   religions-fighting   are trying to build small bridges between religions giving it a new name Interfaith or Outreach. Essentially this all means we should get back to, from where we started, guided by the wisdom of Vedas which we then called Sanatana Dharma. Unfortunately Hinduism that carved out of Sanatana Dharma  with a Western and Arab nomenclature  moved out of its base and   has reduced itself  to religious and sub -religious levels creating   countless  traditions   based  on Shanmathas and Ishtadevata worship  and has also not stopped from  creating more and more Gods. For those who want to break these walls and live in peace wisdom of Vedas and Upanishads would be the best guide as Vedas do not promote any one God by name or description but spirituality and focus on the ONE that is indescribable Plentitude called Ananta or Bhuma or Shunya or Siva  which we simply call as Brahman the one that is  ever expanding and ever  guiding.  Rigveda does not even mention the name Brahman and addresses it prayer to natural elements gifted by that Brahman. The mantras below are wisdom thoughts from the sages who constantly meditate on that Universal Light that we as humans   visualize as Sun or Fire or Lord of the Universe (Indra) or air or water or even darkness or Sunya.    Religions need no walls. They need bridges to connect together to focus on the Supreme Spirit and live together in peace and harmony.  Your thoughts are welcome! 

Wisdom of Vedas says "Let us stay united, speak united and act united promoting peace, harmony  and prosperity"

Sangacchadhvam sam  vadadhvam; Samaano mantrah samitih;  Samaano vaa aakootih

1. This mantra says that a person not only should take care of himself but also look after the welfare of the society he lives in.

sangacchadhvam sam vadadhvam sam vo manaamsi jaanataam/
devaa bhaagam yathaa purve sanjanaanaa upaasate //

Come together! Speak together! Let our minds be all of one accord like the divines that sat together in the past  in harmony to worship.

 2. All people should live with one mind without enmity and this can be achieved only by the divine grace says the mantra:

Samaano mantrah samitih samaanee samaanam manah saha chittamesham /
samaanam mantramabhi mantraye vah samaanena vo havisha juhomi  //

Let our speech be one; united be our voices! May our minds be in union with the thoughts of the wise people!  Sharing a common purpose; we worship as one.

[Vedanta Religion is universal. It did not promote walled religions.  Bhagavad Gita later said these religions need bridges to connect to the Supreme. All rivers seek refuge in the vast Ocean. All religions seek universal Lord Brahman only who is ever expanding and indescribable to accommodate all]

3. We should act in a manner with no ill-will towards others, causing no harm and causing no  pain. Let us learn from the nature as to how to live in peace and exist together in harmony that pleases the Lord says the mantra:

Samaanee va  aakootih samaanaa hridayaani vah /
Samaanam astu vo mano yathaa vah susahaasati //

United be your purpose, harmonious be your feelings, collected be your mind, in the same way as all the various aspects of the universe exist in togetherness, wholeness.
--February 12, 2017




UPAASANA, BHAKTI AND SELF UNFOLDMENT

Please recall my talk delivered on "The Relevance of the Self and the Supreme" at the Nashville Seminar on Understanding the Self—Who Am I? Here I focused my thoughts   on  Ramanuja’ s Philosophy on Self and the Supreme and how his thinking culminated in Bhakti  Maarga and Moorthi upaasana.   He was also responsible in organizing uniform method of worship in 108 Divyakshetras in temples devoted to Vishnu, his incarnations and  his Parivara (family and asasociates). At this Seminar Dr. Satpathy  went deeper into the Role of Upaasana/Bhakti in Self enfoldment  on which I briefly touched.  Some of  you who attended the seminar might have read through his handout on the subject besides hearing to him directly. Earlier I too had delivered a discourse on the subject in March 2013 at Sri Ganesha Temple which perhaps some of you might have gone through. I mainly focused on Moorthi Upaasana in the context of our   Temple   Traditions and spiritual focus needed today. Dr.  Satpathy has researched deep on the subject and covered the whole range of Upaasanas with his rich  Vedanta background.  He was gracious enough to send me  the    note  with further revising    and also   permitting me  to attach the same to my earlier discourse.

Upaasana in Sanskrit means to sit near the Lord   and think of the Lord. It is generally translated as worship or meditation. It is  a  mental activity whose object is the Lord. For meditation one requires a support, in the form of a symbol. When the symbol used is a form, the meditation is known as Prathima Upaasana. When the symbol  (like OM) or  name is used, the meditation is known as Praatika Upaasana. The Upaasanas are based on the Vedic wisdom that the Lord is not separate from the creation and therefore can be invoked in any desired form. Upaasanas help one to attain a tranquil mind and an appreciation of the Lord. The true worshiper of a Moorti never feels that he is worshipping a stone or a piece of metal or picture. He thinks only on Supreme Being forgetting all else.    

The Pancharatra Samhitas,   finally recognize the archa manifestation of God. An inanimate object (i.e. image of Vishnu), if duly consecrated according to the Pancharatra rites, acquires a miraculous power, and the Shakti of Vishnu descends into it. It is meant for the purpose of daily worship. This archa worship is different from the Prathima worship. In the latter the symbol is the locus, on which the devotee concentrates his thought. But no sooner the thought is centralized, than the locus soon gets out of his vision and no necessity thereof is felt. But in the archa worship, on the other hand, the devotee feels the very presence of God in it. And as such the inanimate image soon acquires a new meaning, becomes the object of love, of heart’s hankering and of the eye’s rest. This we find in the religion of the azhwars   as well, who are the Tamil Vaishnava saints.

During Praana pratishtha, Consecration ceremony of the idols the following prayer is uttered:

Svaatvasamsttham ajam suddham tvaamadhya Paramesvara| aranyaamaiva havyaasam moortau aavaahayaamyaham||

Oh Lord of the Worlds! You are unborn and pure. You are in my heart. I invoke You in this Moorti. Mak Yourself visible to me in my concentration even as the fire in Arni wood comes out by friction.
A sculpture or carving or cast by an artist is thus infused with divine powers and then on the idol is no longer considered as artifact.  A Pancharatra worshiper feels tis presence of the divine all the time during his worship and feels he is in direct communication with the Lord in his archa form of worship. Jaganntha in Puri is    infused with Brahma-padartha during Nava Nirman ceremony. 

“Vedokilam dharmamoolam” “Saastram Pramaanam te” --Vedas are our ultimate authority; scriptures are our guide. Then  Do Vedas prescribe idol worship?  Yes.   Jaganntha was the first idol that was sculpted from wood.   Here is a mantra  from Rigveda: “Ado yaddaru plavate sindhoh pare apoorusham | tadaarabhasva durhano tenagaccha parastarm”—   In yonder shores there comes floating  a wooden log which no man has created; follow that log and meditate upon it;  with its  support  reach Parmapada or Supreme abode. (Daru could also mean tree as in Devadaru).   jagannatha in Tiruppullani appeared as Aswattha to the praying sages and later revealed  in the divine form with chturbhuja, sankha and Chakra with the consort. Sayana the well-known commentator on Vedas identifies the log with the one Indradyumna found came floating from Dwaraka and on which Viswakarma started working   to sculpt Jagannatha.

Jagannatha was the family deity of Ikshvakus. Rama in his parting advice to Vibhishana advises him to do Jagannatha Aradhana in Uttara Kanda as follows: In Sarga 108, Slokas 30-31   he said to Vibhishana:  “Rakshsendra Mahaa bala! Aaraadhaya Jagannaatham Ikshvaaku Kuladaivatam | Aaraadhaneeyamanisam devairapi savaasavaih ||”—O mighty Rakshasa King! Worship Lord Jagannatha the presiding deity of Ikshvaaku dynasty. He (Vishnu) is to be worshiped   even by the Devas (divines) together with Indra”.  Jagnnatha was worshiped in Tretayuga or even earlier by Ikshvaku dynasty. He was the Kuladeiva (family deity) of Ikshvakus and so much older to the dynasty. Perhaps he started  Upaasana tradition by worshiping the Aswattha tree. Bhagawan says in Gita among trees I am Aswattha.

Please go through my earlier  discourse as well as the note sent  by Dr. Satpathy on the subject added as appendix along with other appendices progressively included. 




--February 11, 2017


LET US CELEBRATE 2017 AS PHILOSOPHERS’ YEAR AND CELEBRATE THEIR BIRTHDAY EACH YEAR

Advaiata philosophy strongly believes in Aham Brahmasmi drawing its strength from Vedas and Upanishads and Gita   quoting profusely,  similarly Vishistadvaita.  Though agreeing broadly with Advaita it strongly argues that the Self is only a small part of the Supreme and is not endowed with the power of creation and dissolution. Also it   is not tainted with  Karma whereas   even the  very first Jivatman was tainted with Karma.  

Advaita believes Self or Jeeva-Atma gets absorbed and gets dissolved in Universal soul. Vishishtaasdvaiya says Jivatma joins and associates and integrates with the Paramaatman. It still exists as an entity but united with him inseparably and indistinguishably. Being united is not the same thing as being in union; rather it is in close communion with God.

Dvaita while mostly agreeing with Vishishtadvaita emphasizes Paramaatman and Jivaatmaan are two different entities and Supreme which is Sathya  Bhuma and Aananta is far superior in all qualities compared to Self (Nitysuris)  which is sat-chit-ananda. It further says all Jivatmans that are emancipated   by the will of the supreme enjoy different status as they are redeemed based on past actions—Saalokya, Sameepya and Sayujya.  Here it can draw ample support from the Vedic mantra: “Yah veda brahmanah  saayujyam   salookataam devataanaam saayujyam saarshtitaam samaanlokataam aapnoti—He who meditates upon Paramaatman attains union, co-residence   and like-enjoyment with these Gods in other worlds (MNU based on Rigveda).

These three philosophies are invariably seen indulging in challenges and fights to establish their supremacy over each other   often resulting in challenges and fights.  Of late followers of Chaitanya Gowdiys Sampradaya and ISKCON largely support Dvaita.  To me this all looks a historic development based on deeper studies and fresh revelations from Vedas and Upanishads that ultimately landed us in Bhakti Marga guided by   Jnaana and Karma to establish sound system of Temple Traditions guiding to spirituality, Yoga and meditation. Thus one should realize the progressive development and improvement. Further it is believed Madhwa had two long discussions with Vedavyasa and on his advice returned back from Himalayas to spreads the message of Dwaita as an improvement over the earlier thoughts after elaborate discussions.     

Madhwa recovered the image of Balakrishna from the Gopichandan clay ball used as ballast by the captain of the ship who had carried it from Mathura not realizing the fact,that  was worshiped by Rukmini and Arjuna as a young preacher.    You do not see Krishna here associated with any female deity and Madhwa worshiped him as Bhagawan mentioned in Gita and made him the deity of his monastery   which is now called temple.   The name Krishna existed   long before Krishna was born. In the Veda mantra Uddhritena Varaahena Krishnna Shatabahuna, Varaha is addressed as Krishna an earlier avatar of Vishnu. Udupi Krishna appears more like Bala Murugan a child prodigy and preacher.  Also there is a synthesis of Vishnu and Siva in the name. Udupi comes from Udupa,   name by which h Siva is known meaning one who carries moon on his head.  Udupi is also known for two ancient Siva temples and was known for its Advaita philosophy and Vedic studies before Madhwa established his Math.

Protagonists of Advaita and Vishishtadvaita Philosophies draw enough strength from Upanishads, Gita and Brahmasutra in   support of their contentions but I have never seen any  argument  by Madhwa philosophers  based on the   Rigveda mantra “Yah veda brahmanah”  quoted above in support of his classification of liberated Jeevaatma as Saalokya, Saameepya and Saayujya.     

This year is very unique that India is celebrating 700th birthday of Madhwacharya and 1000th year of Ramanujacharya.  Hisrtorians say Sanakaracharya was born in the year 788 A.D.  and   lived up to 820 A.D. Swami Chandrasekahrendra Sarswati based on his research findings fixes his period as 509-477 B.C.E. In both cases they agree he lived for 32 years.  Thus his birthday is much disputed. In spite of this controversy it is worth honoring these great philosophers in April on regular basis. We all know Sanakara and Ramanuja were born on the same Hindu calendar day. Nobody questions this!  It is also the day on which King Rishabha became Adinatha   or the Founder of Jain Religion.  The birthday of Basaveswara, the great philosopher of Lingayats   who preached classless society just precedes that..  It is worth celebrating these philosophers and pay our gratitude in this Historic year and also   earmark Vaisakha Sukla Panchami   as Special Religious Philosophers Worship Day every year. It is a good idea to devote this week-end on a seminar on these philosphic thoughts. All other philosophies emerged out of these three philosophies--Advaita,  Vishishtaadvaita and Dwaita. 

--February 10, 2017
SHIVOHAM MEANS I AM SUNYA THAT IS HOW THE SUPREME DESCRIBES ITSELF
Please recall my e-mail in which I mentioned Siva means Sunyam and that stands  for Prabrahman and not the Siva deity worshiped as sectarian  and Puranic god,  not realizing he is the  dissolution aspect of  Saguna Brahman who takes care of us after the so called death handed over by the sustenance aspect of Parbrahman that is Vishnu.  Vishnu is also worshiped as SUNYAM in VSN. I did not mention it as I had circulated this article long back. I believe most of you have forgotten it also.   Please goes through the detailed   article of Sri. M. K. Sudarshan   “Why Lord Vishnu is Called as Shunyah  in  Vishnu Sahasranama?” as attached appendices  to my discourses on Vishnusahasranama and Nirvashatkam provided by courtesy  IndiaDivine.Org,   Due to shortage of time I did not    open this subject at the seminar when Nirvanashtkam was presented. Please also review this with my E-mail   in which I made on observation that Poornam also means Sunyam that is Parbrahman while forwarding the message of Swami Chidananda on Completeness drawing your attention to the Mantra "Poornamadah poornamidam"
There was a great mathematician in India who lived in the 10th century CE, He was Bhaskaracharya. He wrote several pioneering treatises (in Sanskrit) on Vedic mathematics. In one of the treatises, it is said, he wrote a small dedication: “To the Supreme Brahman, who is Infinity, I offer my salutation”.  Bhaskaracharya used the Sanskrit word “khahara” to denote God as “Infinity” in the dedication. It is derived from “kham” which means “Zero” and “hara” meaning “divided”. The word “khahara” was meant to indicate that God who is Infinity is related to Zero. Bhaskaracharya was the first mathematician to reveal to the world the intimate relationship between “sunya” and “ananthaha”, between Zero and Infinity. Any quantity divided by “sunya” is equal to Infinity, he said. Take a value like 16 and divide it (“haraha”) with progressively decreasing divisors. What happens? The quotient progressively enlarges. For e.g. 16 divided by 4 = 4; and 16 divided by 2 = 8; and eventually when 16 is divided by 0 it equals “Infinity!” Every quantity, every value in the world, when divided by “sunya”, results in the same quotient or result viz. Infinity, Ananthaha” says M.K.Susdarshanam
Such is the mighty power of Zero that it can raise and relate all values on earth to the exalted state of Infinity–That very same state in which God Almighty, the Vishnu of the sacred “Sahasranama”, is said to eternally reside and rule!
In his commentary, Sri Sankara (6th CE) explains “sunya” as an apt “name for God, the Supreme Brahman, who is “nirguna ” – i.e. the Being who is totally devoid of any qualities or attributes. In other words, according to Sankaras School of metaphysics, God is “guna sunyan”.  God transcends all attributes. His qualities like omnipotence, omniscience etc. only serve to help us in ascertaining His reality but they do not “per se” define Him. The truth of Gods existence cannot be grasped by us with reference to His qualities or “guna” alone, says Sankara. Brahman is to be apprehended as an Absolute Being who stands far apart from and quite beyond any of His infinitely (“ananthaha”) great qualities – i.e. He is “nirguna brahman”, a Being without qualities, a Being with “zero” qualities. Hence it is fit to call Him “shunyah”
Parasara Bhattar explains “shunyah” in the typical way of the school of Visishtadvaitha theology. According to this school, God is the Supreme Abode of all auspicious attributes. The Almighty is full of innumerable good qualities like “gny+an+a”, “bala”, “aiswarya”, “virya”, “shakthi” and “thejas”. In Visishtadvaitha, God is “ananthakalyana guna ganan+” (to use a famous expression of Sri Ramanujacharya) – i.e. Brahman is Being with infinite number of happy and wholesome attributes. The theology next states that God, by corollary, is also totally devoid of inauspicious, un-wholesome or negative qualities. In so far as, Brahman is replete with infinitely good attributes, He is to be known as “ananthaha”. And in so far as He is absolutely bereft of defective qualities, He is to be known as the God of “zero-defects” – in other words, He is “shunyah”.
To grasp the concept of “sunya” required a very high level of intellectual and spiritual advancement as what prevailed in India during and after the Vedic period. As the English philosopher, A.N. Whitehead wrote: “The point about zero is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one goes out to buy zero fish or eggs. (But) It is in a way the most civilized of all the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated modes of thought”. Vedic mathematics and astronomy of those ancient times clearly bear evidence to the highly sophisticated conceptual and ideological skills that our Indian forbears possessed. There was no doubt at all that the ancient Vedic Indians who gave to the whole world the idea of “sunya” were indeed masters of the most civilized and “cultivated modes of thought”.    Sa Brahma sa Shivah sa Harih sa Sunyah!
--February 9, 2017
“Thank you. An excellent article. “Ananthaha” Such is the mighty power of Zero that it can raise and relate all values on”—Prabir Dash (HR Participant)

THE BEST PRESENTATION.  May you be blessed with God's Infinite Grace—Prof. G. Nagarajan

VALENTINE’S DAY CELEBRATION IN HINDU AMERICAN TEMPLES
Hindu Americans in Nashvillle have given a new dimension to Valentine’s Day and celebrate it as Parents Appreciation Day imbibing in Sunday school children the spirit of   the famous sloka “Jagatah pitarau vande Paarvatee Paramesvarau” .  They  have also sent out a powerful message to all the families to make the day successful and purposeful to make the children appreciate the struggle  and hardship parent’s go through in shaping the destiny of their children to make  them useful citizens. In fact American Indian   parents'   efforts are   much more than that of parents in India who get supporting help from the society as well as family members  and such  efforts are even greater  in the case of single parent.

The message reads: “Let us celebrate the pure selfless bond and unconditional love between children and parents on global level with the objective of creating a strong character and spirit of serving parents. Begin a special awakening in every home and every human heart by celebrating true love and true Valentine in its purest form”

Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion as well as in the Lutheran Churches.  Many parts of the Eastern Orthodox Churches also celebrate Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on July 6 and July 30, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hierolatry Valentine, the Bishop of Interregna. 

Hindu Temples have also made it a Special Religious Events Day drawing inspiration from Christian Religious Institutions that make it a worshipful day  but diverting it to  make it more obligatory on the part of children  to inculcate the spirit of “Matru devo bhava” and “Pitru devo bhava” as  directed by Vedic wisdom  instead of making it as a day significant for parents to express their love for children or the universal binding force of love between  man and woman as it is  a feeling of shy and embarrassment  issue for worship in Temples. Conservative Hindus are against open expression of Love and worship in Temples. But they should only turn to the immortal love between Krishna and Radha even after legal weddings  which divine wedding is celebrated in temples with all pomp and show and also  other Kalyanotsavams.   Matrimonial disharmony and separation  has also  influenced Hindu Americans also living with a society plagued with matrimonial disharmony.  It is therefore worth observing this day as Sahadharmini Day like Suhasini Day focusing on walking through the path of Dharma in married life. Please also read through my discourse on Valentine’s Day to derive support convince yourselves.

Usually temple authorities draw their strength and support from the lone sloka jagatah pitarau vande of Kalidasa. Hardly I find any reference to the sloka “Maataa Raamo Matpita Ramachandrah” or  “Tmameva maataascha pitaa tmameva. Tvameva servam mama deva deva”

Many are not aware all these  salokas are based on Rigveda Mantras later supported by the Gurukula Convocation ceremony and the parting advice to students—Matru devo bhava and Pitrudevo bhava. Please go through the Rigveda mantras and convince yourselves. I hope our   learned priests will include them  in their worship as Mantras are more powerful than slokas:

Supreme spirit is both male and female. It is hailed as Paramaatma, Parmeswara, Parasakti, Agni,  Indra, Varuna  etc in the Vedas. Supreme Being is our father, mother relative and friend and everybody. There is nobody who is better than Supreme as our benefactor for Supreme takes care of us in this life as well as after-life too. Even our parents were given to us by his kindness only. Therefore we must realize he is worthy of love  and worship  more than even our parents.   Here are these rare mantras:

Tvam hi nah pitaa vaso tvam maataa satakrato baboovitha /  adhaa te sumnameemahe //
(Rigveda VI-98-11)

Oh! he Merciful benefactor! You being my father  are taking good care of me!   You like mother fondle me! Therefore I beg of you your mercy all the time!
 It is no wonder our parents address supreme as “Pitaa tvam Maataa tvam”-You alone are  the real Father and Mother (for us as well as our children).

Agnim manye pitaram-agni-maapi- magnim bhraataram sadamitsakhaayam / Aghneraneekam brihatah saparyam divi sukram yajatam sooryasya //
(Rigveda X-7-3)

I recognize the supreme (Agni) alone as my father; Him alone as brother and the amicable friend. Just as we worship the glorious Orb of the Sun in the sky I worship Agnideva as Aahavaneeya sacrificial fire.

 --February 8, 2017
RECOGNIZE THE COMPLETENESS GUIDED BY THE WISDOM OF VEDAS
Om poornamadaha poornamidam poornaat poornamudachyute Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornameva avasishyate |||| Om Saantih; saantih; saantih ||
That is whole, this is whole; from the whole, the whole becomes manifest. From the whole when the whole is negated, what remains is again the whole. With particular reference to the Vedic study here this could also mean: That other world is full  with Knowledge (veda). This world is too full with  Knowledge (veda). That which fills is more celebrated than the world that is filled. Withdrawing the   the agent of filling from the world (that is pervaded by the Supreme) their remains the  OM that is full. Om Peace be; Peace be; Peace be. This mantra is also translated by some as follows: That which is beyond is Plenum (full and undiminished). That which appears as this here (that is as the universal) is also Plenum—equally full and undiminished. Out of the Plenum, Plenum arises. Plenum having been taken out of Plenum, what remains is still the same (undiminished) Plenum. Purushasookta implies, what appears as the Universe as Plenum is but a very limited aspect of Purusha, while what remains as un-manifest is unlimited, is incomparably great. Please listen to  the words  of wisdom on the subject by FOWAI Forum for a better  explanation  to improve our  life on earth.   Watch for Swami Chidnanda’s talk    on the U-tube
  “It is an extraordinary revelation of the Upanishads, pointing out the illusory nature of our ego on one hand and the hidden divinity in the entire Creation on the other. Contemplating on the import of this mantra helps us to rise to such a lofty vision that the worries and anxieties of the little ego in us get blown to smithereens. The webinar presented the word-by-word meanings of this well-known mantra, with references to the clear and profound comments by Ādi Shankārāchārya by Swami Chidananda—“That is Complete; this is Complete; the Complete arises from the Complete; When the Complete comes out of the Complete, the Complete alone remains!”
The term Brahma-nirvana appears in verses 2.72 and 5.24-26 of the Bhagavad Gita.  Brahma nirvana (nirvana in Brahman) is the state of release or liberation; the union of Self with the Brahman.   This is a state of nothingness. Siva though generally translated as auspiciousness also means nothingness, darkness or Sunyath. Therefore Sivoham refers to Nirguna Brahman.  It is  logical to conclude Darkness or nothingness  is  eternal  and  not light! Please see my discourse”Hindus seek Brahman  in Darkness and see him in light (example of Deepaaraadhana in Garbhagriha)
The numeral   0 is called shunyam in Sanskrit.  I  Pundits say  0 represents Nirguna Brahman   and 1   Saguna Brahman. If we consider Poornam as 0 in the above   mantra the meaning still holds good. They also say nine is a sacred number which represents Brahman and his controllers dikpalakas
That is shunyam, this is shunyam; from the shuyam, the shunyam becomes manifest. From the shunyam when the shunyam is negated, what remains is again shunyam. Siva means   shunyam says Sadguru. That means Siva in Sivoham represents Parmaatman alone as the dissolution aspect of bringing everything to shunyam. Mathematically 0 is unique as it stands unchanged in computation for example 0x0=0; 0-0=0; 0=0=0 etc.
I wonder why Sankara did not look into Chamakam where we are asked to meditate on numbers though he explained VSN elaborately! I have given my own explanation with my limited knowledge. Hence it is logical to conclude that numbers mentioned in Chamakam  and discontinued  beyond 48 are also divine like syllable OM. In  today's  worship 108, 1008 and 100008 are considered holy ans  may  be  33 Crores of Devatas!
Chamakam asks us to meditate on Brahman   not in the form of icons but as odd and even numbers which abruptly ends at 48. Obviously it is humanly impossible to go on like this for ever for Brahman is limitless.  “Anoraneeyan mahato maheeyaan”—smaller than the minutest (virtually 0) and bigger than the largest. He pervades everything from 0 to infinity.  So it is wiser to go to the root of all these numbers that is “0”, unique contribution to the knowledge of  numbers to the World by Hinduism which we call Shunyam or Siva that is Brahman. 0 is the amazing numeral that forms the basis of all digital technology to-day, a contribution of Hinduism through its Vedas,  that is Brahmajnaanam,   Knowledge of Brahman.   Therefore the word Shiva  in  the mantra Sivoham  refers to Paramaatman alone or the Supreme and not the sectarian belief of God Siva worshipped by Saivites. Please refer to my discourse on “What do the Odd and Even Numbers in Chamakam Signify--January  2012”
--Thank you for this nice note—BRG Iyengar
  --February 7, 2017
MADHWACHARYA’S 700TH BIRTHDAY
Today marks the 700th birthday of Madhwacharya  and I was  sad to notice that this great  reverential  day was left unnoticed in our Hindu Temple, may be so in other Hindu American Temples too.  At least our temple could have brought this message to the notice of the devotees when they conveyed other information.  Soon we will be getting the Birthday of Ramanuja and Sankara, Basveswara and a landmark day of  Rishabha all close to Akshyatriteeya day. It will be fitting and proper to celebrate the week as Spiritual Conscious Week or Vedanta Week   and honor our great philosophers as America earmarks a day to celebrate all Presidents marking it as National Presidents Day, instead of celebrating it as Akshayatriteeya day on April 28 201>This year marks 10000 years of Ramanuja's Birth celbrated in all Vishnu Templesa in India asa wel, as Sankara's Birthday.
 Madhwacharya’s philosophy gives one the scope to evolve.
Pushya Shukla Navami marks the day when Acharya Madhwa delivered his last exposition on Aitreya Upanishad to his followers at the Anantheswara temple in Udipi. ‘Sumadhwavijaya,’ a biography written by his student Narayanapanditacharya describes a shower of flowers under which the Acharya disappeared and ascended to Badri to serve his moolaguru Veda Vyasa. This year the day falls on February 5, the 700th anniversary of this event.
Poornaprajna, he soon mastered what his guru Achutaprekshacharya had to teach him. The guru named him Anandatirtha and encouraged him to independently reassess the prevailing understanding and practices of the other schools of Vedantic thought. He extensively toured India and authored 39 works covering commentaries on Brahma Sutra, the Bhagavata, the Gita, the Upanishads and importantly the Rig Veda. Notable are the Anuvakhyana – a terse commentary on Brahma Sutra and the Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya – a grand overview of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
To his followers Madhwacharya was the third of Vayu’s avatara-traya – after Hanuman and Bheema. His works reflect his wide reading and engagement with several texts and form a complete school of philosophical thought – which came to be called ‘Tattvavada’ or ‘Dvaita’. Asserting the duality of the divine and the soul, he created a framework of philosophical thought as an alternative to Advaita and Vishistadvaita. Monotheism for him was the quintessence of Vedanta - Hari being Sarvottama and Vayu Jeevottama.
When Madhwacharya embarked on his mission, the country was already in the grip of the threat faced by external conquests. Explains B.N.K. Sharma, a renowned scholar, “Fatalism had robbed society of its inner strength and weakness pervaded the prevailing socio-economic fabric. Acharya Madhwa strived with his philosophy to awaken in his countrymen a renewed faith in Theism” and “to rouse the people to a sense of dignity of man as a real agent in the world,” words later echoed by Purandaradasa’s ‘Easabeku, iddhu jayasabeku.’
In his system of philosophy, Madhwacharya propounded two orders of reality – the Independent ‘Svatantra’ and the Dependent ‘Paratantra’ – the former being the Supreme Brahman. The duality of the God and atman is the basis of reality and all Vedantic literature is in praise of this Supreme one. He explained that God is the ‘bimba’ or the original source and the rest are ‘pratibimbas’ or reflections. He introduced the concept of ‘Sakshi’, explained by Dr. Sharma as “an instrument of validation with the Atman in his capacity as the self-luminous knowing self.” He also formulated the concept of ‘Visesha’ – of identity in difference. The Pancha-bheda or Fivefold Differences – explained the differences between ‘Paramatma’, ‘jivatma’ and ‘jada.’
His pre-eminent contribution, which remains relevant even now is to put the responsibility of development and emancipation in the hands of the individual. While differences are inherent between individuals, it is for the individuals to study, understand and finally accept the reality of the universe and the omnipresence of God but only after validating the truth for themselves. This attainment is in direct correlation with one’s own effort.
Mukti then is not the disappearance of or from the universe but a state of bliss commensurate with the nature of each individual. This gives scope for souls to evolve and turn on its head the ‘Varna’ concept. For Madhwacharya knowledge without action was an impractical intellectual exercise.
He consecrated the Krishna idol which he retrieved from a mound of gopichandana in the temple at Udipi. He left behind a legacy of several maths to continue the propagation of his school of thought and devotion. The Ashta Mathas or the eight maths of Udipi manage and perform the daily pujas to the Krishna temple to the idol which he had installed.

The ‘Paryaya’ system of Krishna worship and temple management, and the ‘Dwandwa’ system of pairing the eight mutts into groups of four make for a wonderful study in continuity and management.
Acharya Madhwa’s teachings resonate in their wisdom, compassion and call to action – for ultimately the benevolence of God is most in abundance when one strives to attain it in words, thought and action.


--February 5,   2017


UNDERSTANDING CONSCIOUSNESS 

Hindu, non-dual Advaita philosophy offers a framework that may be useful for our contemporary cognitive science and philosophy of mind precisely for it offers a theory for connecting the material with the phenomenal.

Hindu conceptions of the mind   says that the cut between mental and material occurs at a much higher-order level of mental operation.   Classically, we find in Hindu thought in two separate categories, termed “Puruṣha” and “Prakṛiti”, spirit/consciousness on the one hand, and Nature/matter on the other. Puruṣha is awareness, self-aware and sentient.  Prakṛiti is insentient, mere dead materiality.   The category of Purusha actually encompasses much of what   Western model would understand as “consciousness” or “mind”.

The medieval worlds of Hinduism   takes for granted all sorts of phenomena that appear impossible for our worldview, predominantly here, the idea of reincarnation, the idea of a subtle body, the idea of siddhis, or magic  through a modal conception of subjectivity and objectivity.   It links materiality with the notion of consciousness through a modal conception of subjectivity and objectivity.

Please go through an interesting article “A cognitive Science View of Abhinava   Gupta’s Understanding of Consciousness as presented by Lorilia Biernacki. He was an Advaita philosopher of 11th century.

  “Consciousness is at the very center of our epistemic universe and our access to it is not perceptually mediated.”
—David Chalmers ([1], p. 169)

“The freedom of the uninterrupted delight
 of I-consciousness is completely independent of any reference to anything else”
—Abhinavagupta  
  
"Aaditte viswe kratum jushanta sushkaadyaaddeva jeevo janishthaah"—O Agni Deva!  (Vyahriti of Brahman)! People started praised   and venerated you only when you were born as a living being coming out of inert material. (Linking materiality with Consciousness).
--Rigveda1-68-3
Albert Einstein says mas is related to energy E= Mc.2

--February 5, 2017



 BE THE FLAME

Why Swami Chidananda emphasizes devotion to teacher so much? It is not that he needs such a respect. A teacher  is the one who imparts the knowledge  of scriptures. He represents the tradition, and Knowledge.  In being devoted to him, there is devotion to the knowledge, devotion to scriptures, devotion to the tradition and devotion to God. 

Yasyadeve paraa bhaktir yathaadeve tathaa gurau | tasyaite  kathitaa hi arthaah prakaasante mahaatmanah || One who has total or supreme devotion for the Lord, and the same devotion for the teacher as  in the Lord,  in the mind of such person will the words of the scriptures  reveal their meaning says Shvtesvataropanishad.   Thanks to IT technology we can pick  up   our own Guru at no cost   as Ekalavya did. But you have to be careful not to choose fake Gurus as they are also in plenty misleading us!  
If the truths are taught to one who has   no devotion to the  Lord  as well as the preceptor, they will not be properly imbibed. They become difficult to understand. These truths shine out only to him who has   utmost devotion towards his teacher and the Lord. This mantrain Svetesvataropanishad  is the concluding mantra of this Upanishad which focuses on meditation on Parmaatman and makes a clear distinction between Jivatman and Paramaatman. 

Swami Chidananda  then draws our attention to meditate on smoke free Light that is Paramaatman (Supreme only) because of whose light only all other illuminating  bodies shine. (Katha II-4-13). This mantra in the  Upanishad draws our attention to thumb size,  smoke free light referring to the Supreme of the past and the future also. Paramaatma is often described as Thumb-sized Antaryamin, inner controller in Upanishads.  Evidently this is not the Jivatma tainted with Maya (smoke). The thumb-like smoke free Jyoti recommended by the sage of this mantra  is only to provide the Meditate   with a prop  to develop concentration during the early stages of his practices just like idol worship. If an idol is unfortunately stolen away from the temple or the light is put off it does not mean God has vanished. Once you have focused your thoughts on Supreme you are connected to the Supreme. When you meditate the Lord  speaks and you listen as Swami Chimayananda says. In our daily prayer of Sandhyavandana also Jyoti is referred as Brahman  (Om  aapo jyotih  amritam Brahma).   It is also necessary to ignite your Self or Atman before you focus on  that universal Jyoti. We can see the Prayer to Atman and Paramaatman in  Moorti upasana. The devotee first performs aatma pooja; that is he meditates on his inner aatman encased in his body.  By appropriate mantras he first purifies his body including his praanas and his sense organs. That is why Swamijji says "Be a Flame  without smoke to merge with the column of fire”

A seeker of liberation has to develop his power of concentration progressively.  First he has to find a guru and good company (satsanga). Then he has to focus on studying scriptures (svadhyaya) and master them. Then progressively   one should get rid of all clouds covering the    Self  by constant meditation and then   submit to the Supreme smokeless light.  He/She then has no other diversion except to rise   to Super-personality  and attain bliss with the grace of  the Supreme ( Bhuma or plentitude).  I believe this is the message focused in this sermon while referring to Gita and Kathopanishad. May be I am wrong! Please listen to the wisdom thoughts of Swami Chidananda.


ARANI SERIES
 Spark 29
BE THE FLAME WITHOUT SMOKE
   “Discover that ‘light within you,’ that is a flame without smoke!” Kathopanishad1 urges us to do so.
   In the simplest language, we are that bright flame when ‘selfish motives’ leave us. Egoism and the numerous selfish aspirations that arise from it are the smoke that make the light dim.
   Wherever we go, we find that there are varieties of misunderstanding in relationships. Many a time, it is because each side clings to its own perception of the situation. Each side believes it is seeing the matter rightly. We must introspect. We must re-examine the stand we have taken. We must be ready to change, if we find that we have been wrong.
   This honesty is the way to free the ‘flame of our awareness’ of the ‘smoke of error in perception. Alertness is the royal way to alertness. All other practices are stepping stones at best.
   Pride, false prestige, foolish attachments and, above all, certain baseless sense of insecurity obstruct honest living. Living in fear, we postpone the cleansing of the ‘flame’.
   Some teachers realize our limitations and sympathize. If alertness, the direct approach, is hard, we may go for some practices, they say. They are not wrong. We need to arrive at a degree of inner order or balance.
   Bhaja Govindam has a verse:
            Stay devoted to the lotus feet of your Guru; restrain your senses; control your emotions; follow healthy rules of right living; you will soon get freed from the worldly bondages; you will see the Self, shining in your own heart!
Swami Chidananda

Notes:
1.         jyotir-iva adhoomakah - Kathopanishad 2.1.14
2,           guru-charanāmbuja-nirbhara-bhaktah
            samsārād-achirād bhava muktah |
            sendriya-mānasa-niyamād-evam
           drakshyasi nija-hridayastham devam ||(Bhajagovindam)

--February 3, 2017


RATHA SAPTAMI FEBRUARY 3, 2017
To-morrow (03-Feb-2017, Friday) is the auspicious Rata Saptami. Please find attached to my earlier discxourse on Ratha Saptmai a  rare Saptakam (7-stanza hymn) on Lord Surya taken from Skanda Puranam, Vaishnava Khanda, Ayodhya Mahatmyam, and Chapter 7 titled Ghosharka Kunda Mahatmya through courtesy   Krishnan Muralidharan Iyengar from Singapore. May I extend my   thanks and gratitude to him   on your behalf for remembering us and sending this timely dispatch.

May we pray to Lord Surya as Vyahriti of the Supreme  glorified in MNU with a number of Mantras to be meditated upon as Brahman,  with this hymn on Rata Saptami day! Please also go through my discourse on the subject.

 http://nrsrini.blogspot.com/2012/01/ratha-saptami_25.html



http://nrsrini.blogspot.com/2012/02/some-vedic-mantras-used-in-hindu_20.html

{This is the most popular discourse with Global Readers being in the top ten of my discourses. Please go through the mantras on Aaditya}
-- February 2, 2017

RECOGNIZING THE GRACE

You may be wondering what FOWAI founded by Swami Chidanananda stands for. This stands for Flame Of Who Am I.  Fowai’s wisdom thoughts are meant to the society to educate  people. It also indirectly tells me that it is meant for a person in USA like me. I have not been listening to FOWAI due to lack of computer skills. With my little knowledge  I readily accepted to give a speech at Nashville Seminar Who am I and also posted my speech. I hope I had made sense in my talk though I was not so well learned as the other speakers were.   But I listen to all words of wisdom and just reflect them to my Hindu Reflections forum who occasionally react.  “Aa no bhadraah kratavo yantu viswatah”—May noble thoughts come from all corners of the world; “krinvanto viswamaaryam” Let us ennoble the world (spreading such noble thoughts) So, if you receive one spread it around as some of you do already.  I am happy to announce you all the webinar audio/videos are available on YOUTUBE/fowaiforum). It is a golden   opportunity  listening to these wisdom thoughts from various Gurus than my long discourses for which often you do not find time.

Did my forwarding messages from FOWAI Forum prompt our Ganesaha Temple Chairman to arrange a seminar on Who Am I?  I can’t tell.  Egoism creates a dream world. I thought I am wise enough to participate in such seminars and join a band of learned lecturers out of my ego.  I hope I have made sense with my speech. “I, Me and Mine are the warp and weft of such a dream world. If we do not notice this primary Pramaada  (mechanical living) all  else will be futile.   We have to wake up to spirituality. This comes from recognizing Who am I.  The recognition of Who am I comes from Satsanga and Svaadhyaaya—wise company and Self-study.  Swamiji Abhisheka Chaitanya says the inner strength comes from four directions—Recognizing  the Supreme; Recognizing   the Wisdom of Vedas; Identifying the Guru needed and the last but not least Recognizing the Self within  us. Please enjoy the talk now made available to your convenience thoughtfully provided by Swami Chidananda knowing our limitations of thought that  Time is Money. I have neither such IT skills nor the ambition to join  such a galaxy.  I would like to be just Vitaranananda enjoying my job as a free distributor.


FOWAI FORUM AND STEP (USA)
 (FOWAI: Flame of Who Am I? and STEP: Society To Educate People)
RECOGNIZING THE GRACE 
 Presented by:  M M Swami Abhishek Chaitanya Giriji
 on   Sunday, February 5, 2017

It is only on recognizing what one really has, that an individual will be able to charter his journey on the map of life. Only when one is aware of what one has, then that person will truly be able to value his life, relationships and other accessories of life. This will also help a person even to evaluate what he really wants and what his redundant pursuits are.

'Vedanta' as a true means of knowledge identifies 4 forms of grace in a fruitful pursuit for liberation. Seeking the blessings of an enlightened teacher is often quoted and sought. This is not only a tradition or a custom, but an inevitable factor in the pursuit of liberation. Hence the importance of knowing what it means to seek the grace. This session of webinar is given to understand this important aspect of spiritual discipline.

The four forms of grace are - Grace of the Lord, of the Scriptures, of the Teacher and of One-self.
 --February 1, 2017

-Thank you for this nice and timely article  —BRG Iyengar


VISHNU IN RUDRAM—VISHNU IS SIVA AND SIVA IS VISHNU

While sending his explanation Sri KV Sarma also sent the following comments which I reproduce for your kind information. I have spoken a lot about it too:

Generally it may look as if Gods and Godesses worshiped by Hindus like Sun, Shakti (Ambika), Ganapati, Vishnu, Siva etc., are different/distinct from each other. This difference is seen in an amplified fashion especially between Vishnu and Siva Education through even umpteen number of sastras seems to be in vain. The objective of this article is to show that Siva and Vishnu are not different from each other but are the same.

By showing that difference between Siva, Vishnu and other Gods and Godesses is ignorance, that one paramatma (universal consciousness) manifests itself in various worships, that any of these deities may be worshipped to ultimately worship that one paramatma, and by proposing “panchayatana puja” to achieve this, Adi Shankaracharya did an immense good to the world. Similar to सर्व देव नमस्कारः केशवं प्रतिगच्छति  | “ Sarvadeva namaskarah kesaavam pratigacahati”—all obeisances  go to  Kesava only.

Sivaaya visahnurooppaaya siva rooppaaya vishnave   sivasya hridayam vishnuh  vishnurhridayam sivah | yadhasivamayo vishnurevam vishnumayam sivah yadhantaranapasyaam tadhaame svastiraayushi ||
शिवाय विष्णुरूपाय शिव रूपाय विष्णवे | शिवस्य हृदयं विष्णुः विष्णुर्ह्रुदायग्० शिवः |यधाशिवमयो विष्णुरेवं विष्णुमयं शिवः यधान्तरनपस्यमि तधामे स्वस्तिरायुषि ||

“Siva is a manifestation of Vishnu. Vishnu is a manifestation of Siva. Siva’s consciousness is Vishnu. Vishnu’s consciousness is Siva. As long as we do not see a difference between the two, our health (society’s health) remains  strong”.
In Siva Sahasranamam, Siva is referred to as
  1. हरिश्च हिरनाक्षच (harischa hiranaakshcha)
  2. सुतीक्षः कृश एवच(sutheekshah krisa evacha)
  3. विश्वक्सेनो हरिर्यज्ञः (viahwakseno hariryajnyah)
  4. वैष्णवः प्रजविताळि(Vaishnavah prajavithaali)
  5. धाता शक्रश्च विष्णुश्चDhaataa sukrascha Vishnuscha)
In Vishnu Sahasranamam, Vishnu is referred to as
  1. स्वयम्भूश्शंभुरादित्यः (Svaymbhoosambhuraadityah
  2. रुद्रोबहुशिराबभ्रुः(rudrobahusiraababhruh)
  3. भूतपतिः  (Bhoopatih)
  4. सर्वशर्वः शिवस्थाणुः (Sarvasarvah sivasthaanuh)
These references clearly indicate Siva-Vishnu non-duality in Hindu Culture.
In Krishna Yajurveda Sandhya Vandana Vidhi (procedure), the performer  is expected to recite some mantras which talk of Siva-Vishnu non-duality. Even the sandhya vandana vidhi (procedure) itself invokes four of the shanmata deities – Sun, Shakti (ambika), Siva and Vishnu. This can be seen in the following stages.
  1. Arghyam is an offering made to Sun.
  2. Achamanam invokes Vishnu.
  3. Tarpanam invokes Shakti.
  4. In digbandhana process, Vishnu, Siva, and all other deities are invoked.
Just the Gayatri mantra itself is seen by scholars as a representation of Sankhya philosophy – Purusha and Prakruti. The invocation is for Gayatri or Shakti. Gayatri mantra is exactly 24 letters. Ramayana is exactly 24,000 verses


In my discourse on MNU I have   drawn your attention to five mantras of salutation and  prayer called Panchbrahmamantras employed in the worship and meditation of Mahadeva visualized as having five faces turned towards the four quarters and up. The term Sadyojata means instantly born which applies to Vishnu in Narasimha avatar equally. Siva is also instantly born as a column of fire on Mahasivaratri night.  Please go through my full description of these mantras. Thus these mantras are applicable both to Vishnu and Siva. Yet we do not chant Rudram while doing abhishekam to Vishnu and similarly Purushasuktam while doing abhishekam to Siva or his Parivara.  You can thus see how falsified and sectarian in view we are in worship   traditions. it is amazing Hindu Americans drawn from high intelligentsia   are consoled to such a sectarian view  importing from India  but not based on Vedas.  Please go through the attached text on Rudram showing   how the mantras are applicable to  Siva as well as  Vishnu. While doing worship we should have that feeling of Oneness and all our prayers are addressed to the One and Only Supreme Paramaatman. This aspect is almost neglected. 

--January 28, 2017

RECOGNIZE THIS COMPLETENESS

Just before the study of the Upanishads,   each day, the Master and the disciple pray, and thus invoke the best in them to come out, through a complete surrender to the mighty powers of the omniscient God-principle. When the mantras are chanted with intonations, a divine atmosphere is created with holy vibrations all round. The resplendent Self is attainable by the practice of spiritual discipline as truth and continence. The chanting of mantras is a great spiritual discipline. Such mantras are also chanted at the conclusion of 16-step Ritual worship. Fowai forum draws our particular attention to the following Shanti Mantra which I had explained to you in my discourse on the subject long back posted on  the  Blog in September 2013.

 Om poornamadaha poornamidam poornaat poornamudachyute |
Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornameva avasishyate ||
|| Om Saantih; saantih; saantih ||

That is whole, this is whole; from the whole, the whole becomes manifest. From the whole when the whole is negated, what remains is again the whole. With particular reference to the Vedic study here this could also mean: That other world is full (with veda). This world is full (with veda). That which fills is more celebrated than the world that is filled. Withdrawing the vyahriti that is the agent of filling from the world (that is pervaded by vyahriti) their remains the Omkaaraatmaka vastu that is full. Om Peace be; Peace be; Peace be. This mantra is also translated by some as follows: That which is beyond is Plenum (full and undiminished). That which appears as this here (that is as the universal) is also Plenum—equally full and undiminished. Out of the Plenum, Plenum arises. Plenum having been taken out of Plenum, what remains is still the same (undiminished) Plenum. Purushasookta implies, what appears as the Universe as Plenum is but a very limited aspect of Purusha, while what remains as un-manifest is unlimited, is incomparably great. Please  listen to  the words  of wisdom on the subject by FOWAI Forum.

RECOGNIZE THIS COMPLETENESS
Presenter: Swami Chidananda

The famous mantra, "poornam-adah poornam-idam.." is found in the Brihadāranyaka Upanishad (5.1.1). It is also the peace invocation in the Upanishads of Shukla Yajurveda. It is an extraordinary revelation of the Upanishads, pointing out the illusory nature of our ego on one hand and the hidden divinity in the entire Creation on the other. Contemplating on the import of this mantra helps us rise to such a lofty vision that the worries and anxieties of the little ego in us get blown to smithereens. The webinar will present the word-by-word meanings of this well-known mantra, with references to the clear and profound comments by Ādi Shankārāchārya.
That is Complete; this is Complete; the Complete arises from the Complete; When the Complete comes out of the Complete, the Complete alone remains!
poornam-adah poornam-idam poornāt poornam-udachyate |
poornasya poornam-ādāya poornam-evāvashishyate.||

 LORD SHIVA AND MANIKKAVACHAGAR
I circulated  to you long back Sivapuranam. The author of it is saint Manikkavaachagar.  Every Saint has left a story behind him or her. Last week you heard about Upadesasaara of Ramana Maharshi at the seminar of Who Am I. This was the outcome of  Siva disguising  as a young mendicant imparted Knowledge (Jnaana) to the ascetics. The Lord explained that the root cause of sorrow was not lack of power but the lack of Self-knowledge. The Lord thereafter imparted the knowledge to them. At this point the poet Muruganar an ascetic in the assembly felt that he was not fit person to write about the Knowledge that the Lord gave. He approached Bhgawan Ramana Maharshi who thereafter composed Upadesasaara, the Essence of Self Knowledge in Tamil which he later translated to Sanskrit Vedantic Teachings. Ramana Maharshi is believed to be an incarnation of Siva by some Tamils.  Please read here another story of a famous saint Manikkavachagar who wrote Thiruvachaga--The Sacred Gospels.  Tamil Saints have created their own Vedas and Upanishads in Tamil Language   which is so rich in Spiritual literature.  We have an American Ved  too!  Naalaayira Divyaprabhandm is considered to be Tamil Veda and sung in all Vishnu Temples and processions of the Lord.


Lord Shiva and Saint Maanikkavaachagar
By K. Bharath Kumar | Jan 20, 2017  
The saint Manikkavaachagar was born in the village of Thiruvaadhavur (near Madurai) in Tamil Nadu around the 9th century A.D. He was bestowed this name for his gem-like words and captivating devotional verses.
Manikkavaachagar (often called ‘Manivaachagar’) served for a while as the minister to the Pandiyan King by name – Arimarthana Pandiyan. He was an efficient administrator but his heart was not in the affairs of the world and was focused on obtaining Lord Shiva’s grace only. He thus incurred the king’s anger on many occasions. Lord Shiva saved him from the wrath of the Pandiyan king on several occasions. It was on Manikkavaachagar’s behalf that Shiva unleashed flood in the Vaigai river when Manikkavachagar was punished by king Arimardhana Pandiyan and made to stand in the dry sands of Vaigai in the hot sun.
Later, Shiva visited Madurai again to correct flood damage to the city. He chose to help an old woman by name Vanthi who had none to assist her to seal the river banks to stop future flooding (The king had ordered every householder to assist in this task). Lord Shiva took the form of a coolie laborer to help her and was whipped by the king Arimardana Pandiyan for not working and idling casually! This famous incident is celebrated every year as the “Bittukku mann sumandha leelai’ (Manual labor in exchange for a sweet rice-flour cake) on the Moolam star of the Aavani month (Shravan) (i.e., mid-august to mid-September). The whipping on Lord Shiva was felt by all people of the whole city just to reinforce faith in the city that Lord Shiva is everywhere and in every one’s heart. It also showed how much Shiva loved Manikkavachagar so as to endure this whipping. It was also a lesson to the king that Lord Shiva is the real master and ever present in all citizens’ souls and showed the king that he was merely human. This lesson was needed – as kings often became tyrants and used to harass devotees who lived a life with only God as their supreme master and not the king.
In a second incident, Lord Shiva transformed a set of jackals into attractive horses temporarily to save Manikkavaachagar from his imprisonment. It showed the extent that Lord Shiva was ready to influence Nature (temporarily, at least) to release His beloved devotee from jail by temporarily satisfying the king’s demand for horses through this event – celebrated as ‘Nariyai Pari Aakiya Leelai’ (i.e., ‘Transformation of Jackals into Horses’). This was probably also to transform the king himself into His devotee later – by showing him that wealth and form were mere illusions.
Manikkavaachagar was not one of the sixty-three Nayanmars (the group of Shaivite saint devotees whose lives were spent serving Lord Shiva and who lived in Tamil Nadu). But he holds a unique place in the Shaivite world and occupies a place very adjacent to Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. His work ‘Thiruvaachagam’ holds a special value in the world even today after a thousand years. The section in it called ‘Shivapuraanam’ is a well-recited work read devotedly even today around the globe. It is often said that if one’s heart cannot melt on reciting Thiruvaachagam, it will not melt for anything else.
Manikkavachagar also played a vital role in defeating the Buddhists and in removing Buddhism that was strongly influencing Tamil Nadu at that time. This tells us that the Lord was and still is indeed aware of political and religious changes prevalent all around threatening Shaivism or even the fundamental undoubted belief in Gods.
In the end, in order to ensure that Manikkavachagar’s work was not lost for  ever to humanity, Lord Shiva Himself assumed the guise of a Brahmana scholar and by His Own Hands, wrote all verses of Thiruvaachagam as Manikkavachagar recited it to Him at Chidambaram. Soon after this, Manikkavaachagar was absorbed into the effulgent flames with Lord Shiva inside the Chidambaram Natarajar temple.
Author’s website: bharathkumark.simplesite.com
--January 25, 2017




VEDANTA’S TIMELESS GUIDANCE FOR TODAY’S LIVING

We see lot of suffering and frustration in the world.   Nashville seminar “Who am I” told us to  turn inwards and know our Self. Here comes a conflict in us between what we see outwardly and what we have not seen turning inwardly.  The fact is   we have seen neither side fully in our frustration. In meditation we are thinking something we have not seen with our eyes.   When we are working we see the world. There is therefore a double devotion to both the world and the abstract object of meditation. Hence the confusion arises as to which one we should follow. What we see is real to our mind and what we hear from others as in the seminar  also seem real to us which is the other factor. So we keep thinking what we have heard. Our sentiments makes us to see the world and our faith in the person who tells there is something unseen which is real is    the other factor. We think of it because it is different from our sentiment. It requires profound study and learning and a protracted period of training in the correct way of thinking if the confusion is to be got over. What we see with our eyes is not real therefore cannot affect us. But we erroneously think it is real. In other words we believe according to what our eyes tell us. But the eye that has a cataract gives wrong visions. One need special glasses to see things correctly. We have to see things and think about them correctly in due course. Even this idea that we have confusion has come to us on these lines. So everything will   come in its own time. If I say I am  50 years old  these doubts did not come for 50 years.  I took much  longer time. But now because you and I are in the proper atmosphere, the idea has surfaced to our thinking.  Similarly proper guide will appear in time and guide us how we should think and act. If you had been to the seminar or read through my discourse “who I am” it means the idea has surfaced us. Others who did not perhaps  felt they have all the time through their ignorance. I see the same confusion as in me as in you,if not the Self! But thinking you and I are the same is important.  Unlike me Webnair is leading you to several gurus and thoughts for you to choose the right one, for I am not Guru.  That way they remind us   to seek a right guru and right thought. Please find time and go through the wisdom thought  from  Praasad Vepa and see if that is right for you.   

"Freedom--physical, mental and spiritual is the watchword of the Upanishads" says Swami Vivekananda. This freedom you don't find outside but by turning inwards about which Nashville Seminar on Who Am I talked about. After listening to the repeated chanting of the  sound SIVOHAM at the seminar  I realized how ill prepared I am even in my eighties . I should start thinking of getting myself Pure and auspicious before I can pride on it. May be next birth! I also felt it all starts with  "DASOHAM"  that is being servant   of the Supreme and also   thinking of serving others as Dasa.   It is customary  for followers of Ramanuja to end their spiritual letters and upanyasams with" Krishnarpanamastu" and "Dasoham". They do not feel the need for VISHNOHAM as they think of Him at a level that we can only associate with Him or integrate but not get dissolved or submerged.   Probably dasoham is  English Your's Obediently. Please follow the gyroscopic path that Prasad Vepa shows by turning inwards. Namaste is the obeisance to the ONE  who resides in association with Self as the Antaryamin, Inner controller. who is inside as well as outside and everywhere. Dasoham means I remain the servant of that  Inner Controller.

These days we routinely use a GPS system for finding our way in an urban setting like the unfamiliar streets of a new town.  While hiking in the woods or in a park we sometimes use a compass along with a trail map. In both cases the attention is on the outside world. In this talk, Prasad Vepa asks us to turn our gaze from the external world to the inner world of the individual as we navigate life's journey. He shows that by using the gyroscope of Vedanta to center ourselves, rather than just a compass or a map to know the terrain, we are more likely to find meaning, fulfillment and joy in our journey of life. His talk will focus on four key questions that he considers as quintessential for living, just like the four principal design elements of a sailboat, essential for sailing: the keel, the hull, the rudder and the sail. He turns to the timeless guidance of Vedanta to find answers to these perennial questions of living.

Dasoham is a Sanskrit word meaning “I am your servant”. It is a combination of two words “Dasa” meaning Servant and “oham” meaning I am. It describes the state of witness hood or surrender.

Dasoham is initial stage, which is Duality (Dvaita) I am His Servant. Here we have two personalities “I” and “Him”, which is not oneness. Hence in the second stage Da has to be given up. Then it is Soham state (Visishtadvaita) again this is not oneness, it means “I am Him” there are qualified non-two - I and Him. I and reflection of the self is qualified non-two. “SO” has to be given up from “SOHAM”, what is left then is HAM. Ham is Advaita state - oneness only One, I am I.

Once a follower of Advaita went to a temple and wrote “ham” meaning I am I, on the board, a follower of Visishtadvaita came to the temple saw that and added “So” to it to make it sound like Soham means I am Him. Upon seeing the change, a follower of Dvaitha made a correction by adding “Da”, now it became Dasoham. Then the follower of Advaita added “Sa” to make it Sada Soham, meaning I am always (eternally) Him. The follower of Dvaita responded smilingly to this by adding another “Da” to it, now it became Dasa Dasoham indicating I am servant of His servant.

Soham and Dasoham are both mental attitudes, assumed for getting rid of the illusion “I am the body.  Annihilation of ego is the main aim in both these attitudes. Dasoham is to remember always the truth that Absolute alone is the doer and the instigator, His will alone prevails, and that there is no “aham” (“I”ness) that separate me from Him. One who experiences the perfect Dasoham state, experiences “Soham” aswell.  

Until the mind transcends the three Gunas, it is an instrument of ignorance. The seeker, who is yearning for liberation, should never let it come under its sway. Just as a mother bestows constant care on her child, likewise the discriminating faculty Buddhi should watch and isolate every subtle mode and movement of the mind. The mind should surrender itself to the Buddhi. The reins (mind) of the senses should be in the hands of the vigilant charioteer, the awakened intellect, Buddhi. 



--January 19, 2017


SELF KNOWLEDGE—MEDITATION AS MEDICATION.

“We are ignorant and so we cannot see our own true nature, the Pure Self, आत्मा (ātmā). What is the way to know this Self? Shankarāchārya guides us in His composition आत्मबोध (ātma-bodha), where he also provides powerful verses that serve as material for meditation. In a bunch of six verses, the culmination is when "ceaseless dwelling on the understanding" is said to remove our ignorance just as right medication cures us of ailments!” sayfs Fowai Forum
 .
viviktadesa aaseeno viraago vijitendriyah|bhaavadekam aatmaanam tamanantam anyadheeh |
Meditate with undisturbed attention on the Self which is One without a second (that means Parabrahman), sitting in a solitary place, freeing the mind form desires and controlling the senses.

Aatman eva akhilam drisyam pravilaapya dhiyaa sudheeh | bhavayed ekam aatmaanam Nirmala aakaasavat sadaa ||
A person of wisdom should intelligently merge with the entire world of objects in the Self alone and constantly think of the “That One Suprem” always uncontaminated by anything like the clear sky. You see crossing the clouds.

Roopa-varnaadikam sarvam vihaaya paramaarthavit | paripoorna-Chid-Aananda svaroopena avatishthate ||
One who has realized the Supreme, discards all his identification with the objects of names and forms. Thenon that person dwells as an integral part of the Absolute Consciousness and Plentitude. He identifies himself with the Supreme.

Jnaatri –jnana-Jneya bhedah paren-aatmanividyate | chidaanandaika roopatvaat deepyate svayam eva hi ||
The Supreme is identifiable neither as the knower, nor the knowledge nor the object of Knowledge.  On account of its being of the nature of Bhuma  or plentitude, indescribable and endless Bliss, Supreme does not admit of such distinctions (like the Self) within itself. The Supreme shines by its own self.   

Evam-aatma-aranau dhyaana-mathane satatam krite | udita-avgatier-jwaalaa sarva-jnaanendhanam  dahet ||
Bottom of Form  
When thus a the higher and lower aspects of the Self are well churned together, the flame  of Knowledge is born from it, that in its mighty conflagration burns down all the fuel of ignorance (Avidya) in us.

Arunaaneva bodhena poorva-santamase hrite | tatah avibhaavet aatmaa svayameva amsumaana iva ||
Varuna, the Lord of Early Dawn has already blasted away the thick darkness as soon as the Sun rises.  The Divine Consciousness of the Self rises when the right knowledge has already ers abdicated darkness of the

Sacchidaatmani anusyoote nitye Vishnau prakalpitaah ||
All the manifested world of things and living beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum that is All-pervading (anusyoote)   Vishnu whose nature is   Existence-intelligence-Self (Sat-chit-aatmani). [Vishnu Himself is Sathyam meaning one who regulates immortals and mortals.  All Selfs are only minute particles of the Supreme like rays of the Sun].

Knowledge of one’s own nature is called Self-knowledge. Gaining Self –knowledge   human beings   attain liberation. Why humans?  Human being has attained perfection in the process of evolution. They   alone are endowed with an intellect, can comprehend their present state of limitations, bondages, imperfections and incompleteness.   But humans remain ignorant busy in their material pursuits.    So we cannot see our own nature, the Pure Self. People who follow religion as an escape from themselves, ultimately come to gain nothing except a lingering sorrow, dulled by blind faith that bumbles the very capacity to perceive their owe tragedies of life.

What is the way to know this Self?  Sankaracharya in his Aaatmabodha,  Ramanuja in his Vedantasangraha and Sri Bhashyam and Ramana Maharshi in his Upadesa Sara tell us how to understand  that Self and remove our ignorance.  This had been the subject matter of Nashville Seminar on Who Am I.
--January 17, 2017



UNDERSTANDING SELF--WHO AM I-NASHVILLE SEMINAR ON JANUARY 15, 2017

This is a very difficult question  and it is not easy for others to answer the  question though we all try to convince.   You know how Buddha struggled to find an answer and after a long time came to the conclusion "Life is full of misery. The root cause of it is desire". Today we come across Siddhas who have struggled hard  to find their own answer like Ramana Maharshi and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. We can only follow their example of struggle and methodology of  Sadhana and find our own answers. We know Milk just as we know our body.  We  have to struggle hard to know the butter in it, Halfway we may discard the yogurt and miss the butter.So don't give up.  Start thinking on   your own. May be you have a better answer.  All our sages have come out with different approaches. But they all agree on  SATHYAM as I had explained.

Knowledge of one’s own nature is called Self-knowledge. Gaining Self –knowledge   human beings   attain liberation. Why humans?  Human being has attained perfection in the process of evolution. They   alone are endowed with an intellect, can comprehend their present state of limitations, bondage, imperfections and incompleteness.   But humans remain ignorant busy in their material pursuits.    So we cannot see our own nature, the Pure Self. People who follow religion as an escape from themselves, ultimately come to gain nothing except a lingering sorrow, dulled by blind faith that bumbles the very capacity to perceive their owe tragedies of life.

What is the way to know this Self?  Sankaracharya in his Aaatmabodha,  Ramanuja in his Vedantasangraha and Sri Bhashyam and Ramana Maharshi in his Upadesa Sara tell us how to understand  that Self and remove our ignorance. 

Sri Ganeaha Temple in Nashville held the seminar on January 15 at 9.00A.M. UNDERSTANDING SELF- WHO AM I?  JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY based on the wisdom thoughts from these great Gurus. The understanding of self has evolved through history of Hinduism from Vedic-Upanishadic times to modern times. After reviewing the fundamentals of structure of man in ancient and modern times, this seminar explored the various approaches in our journey of self-discovery.  In my lecture as attached I have  discussed briefly how    Ramanuja has shown us the way to get deeply involved in   Bhakti Marga by the wisdom gained in Jnaana and Karma  culminating in the worship  in Temple Traditions in order to integrate with the Supreme and free ourselves from worldly pleasures and pain.   In this process we should also think that the same Self abides in all of us and we should also help others to join us in the process of spiritual evolution from ordinary man to Super-manhood.  I expected lot of questions from the crowd mostly accustomed to Advaita Philosophy but surprisingly there were no questions from the highly evolved knowledgeable crowd. However if you have any question after going through the lecture please do not hesitate to E-mail me. If I can I will answer with my limited knowledge.


 Comments received
1.      After reading the discourse Prof. G. Nagarajan says: “Narayana enru sollatha naavum oru naavaa?’—Is that   tongue worthy which does not say Narayana?
2.      Very good and terse explanation of the subject. Thanks Srinivasan—BGK Iyengar, Religious scholar from Bengaluru.
3.      Wonderful article. I learn a lot Thank You—Anbil Ramaswamy,  Editor & Publisher,” Sri Ranga Sri”, a well-read scholar and author of several publications on Hinduism,,
4.       Material you prepared was quite scholarly, and I apologize for not giving you enough time. My main     goal is to capture the imagination of the audience and create thirst for more learning by attending these seminars. I wanted people to have an opportunity to see you on the stage, after reading your writings over the years—Dr. Vedavyas Biliyar
--JANUARY 16, 2017
  
HUNTNG FESTIVAL OF BALAJI ON KAANUM PONGAL DAY
Hunting festival conducted annually shows clearly how this deity was worshiped by Hill Tribes  in the beginning about which I have spoken:
Paruveta Utsava  is observed on the Kanuma day at the Tirupati Balaji Temple in Tirumala. It falls on the day after Sankranti celebrations. Paruveta Utsavam 2017 date is January 15. Paruveta Utsavam in Telugu means Hunting Festival.
It commemorates the hunting expedition of Lord Venkateswara to Narayanavanam.
He happened to see Goddess Padmavathi while he was chasing a wild elephant. That is why the Paruveta (hunting) is celebrated on the day of Kanuma at Tirumala every year.

How is Paruveta Utsavam Observed?
 Lord Malayappa wears hunting dress, head guard and five weapons such as Sudarshana Chakra, Panchajanya Conch, Nandaka Sword, Koumodaki Gada and Sargabow besides Sword, Shield and Sphere, boarding Silver Chariot and reaches Paruveta Mandapa in Papavinashanam road nearly two kilometers away from temple by procession. Along with Lord Venkateswara, Lord Krishna as well reaches Paruveta Mandapa where both of them are made to sit and conduct musical and cultural concerts are organized at 2 PM by singing the songs of Annamayya. 
In the evening offerings are made to Lord. After that Lord Krishna on the invitation of Sannidi Golla visits their habitate, eats butter and returns to Paruveta Mandapam. At that moment Sannidhi Golla as a token of a love and gratitude offers burning camphor and appalations to the Lord.

After that Lord Srinivas starts Hunting. Even the Archaka swamis follow the Lord with weapons to hunt animals, three times forward and three times backward and receive Harathi. Ultimately, returns to the Temple. With this, the Paruveta Utsavam comes to an end.
It is unfortunate such highly educated Hindu Americans believe Uttarayana starts on Makara Sankrnati Day anmd celebratew it in Hindu American Temples. Please also note that  Karunanidhi started the Tamil New year on  Makara Sankranti  Day for some years coinciding with Tamil month  Thai but jayalaita revcerted it back  due to political squabbles. It would havwe bveen wiser for all hindus start their New year on Winter Solstice Day  and make it a worshipful Day instead of rushing to temple on January 1 a  Chrisatian Holiday forced on all in the world by Pope Gregory in which we pride in and make it a special Religious Events Day for New year Resolutions.  Please see how confused and complicated we are;
Magh Mahina is the eleventh month in a traditional Hindi calendar followed in North India. Magh Month 2017 begins on January 13, 2017 and ends on February 10, 2017. This calendar is followed mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Chhattisgarh and other North Indian states. A month in these regions is calculated from the day after Purnima or full moon to the next Purnima. The current year in the Hindi Calendar is Saka 2073.
Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchami, Saraswati Puja and Ratha Saptami are observed in this month.
Note - It must be noted that Magh month in calendars followed in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka begins on January 28, 2017 and ends on February 26, 2017.

Should Hindu Americans as highly educated mass should blindly follow and celebrate January 1 and January 14 for Uttarayan punyakala. Why can't we have a correct astronomical Hindu American Panchangam and start our New Year on Winter Solstice Day? Westerners correctly celebrate Winter Solstice Day who learnt Astronomy from us!
Tamils please go through my description of  Kaanum Pongal in my discourse on  A Festival named after  Food.
                                 --January 11, 2017        

MEDITATION MEANS OF UPAASANA ON BRAHMAN
Meditation is a continuous remembrance of the object of thought without any alien thought intervening in the middle, A yogi becomes steadfast (Sthitaprijnya)  on account of meditation. Mewditation is the means of gaining greatness.  One should meditate seating comfortably. Concentrartion of the mind becomes possible only then. Great persons appear similar to those who are engrossed in deep meditation on account of the fact that trhey are keeping silent. Mantra 7-6-1 advises, meditate upon concentrated meditation as Brahman.
Dhyaanam vaava chittaa Bhooyah   | Dhyaateeva prithivee dhyaateeva antariksham dhyaateeva dhyauh dhyaanteeva aapah dhyaanteeva parvataa dhyaanteeva devamanushyaah | tasmaadya iha manushyaanaam mahattaam praapnuvanti dhyaanaapadaa(m)sa ivaiava te bhavanti | atha ye alpaah kalahinah pisunaqa upavaadinaste| atha ye prabhavo dhyaanaapadaa(m)saa ivaiva te bhavanti | Dhyaanam upaasveti ||
Concentrated meditation is greater than chitta (intelligence).The earth   (being silent) is as if meditating. The Antariksha or intermediary region is as if meditating.  The celestial region is as if meditating. The waters, the mountains are as if meditating. Divines and men are as if meditating. So those among men who gain greatness are as if they have gained it through an aspect of meditation, unlike those who are inferiors, quarrelsome, slandering and abusive. Those who have gained greatness on account of wealth and others are also those who have gained it on account of a portion of the results of contemplation. So meditate upon concentrated meditation as Brahman!

Advice on Meditation

"Go for regular meditation," advises Chāndogya Upanishad (7:6:1).
dhyānam upāssva |
ध्यानम् उपास्स्व |

 While Skanda Upanishad (as we saw yesterday) gave the high plateau definition - meditation is when the mind does not pursue any images - here is a suggestion that is "one notch below".

Adi Shankara defines meditation in this context as the steady flow of thoughts dwelling on supports supplied by scriptures such as god-forms, not interspersed with other thoughts.

The Upanishad here praises meditation as the source of greatness in diverse fields. We become insignificant.

What do we learn from the Upanishads?


BE ALERT WITH THESE TWO

The words we speak and the thoughts we entertain - have been given great importance in the Vedas, including Upanishads.

May these two (speech and mind) shine and shine; may they grow (mature). - Such is the prayer of the Aitareya Upanishad in the very peace invocation.

A lot of damage to our relationships takes place when a few wrong words slip from our tongue; can anyone deny this?

These wrong words have their source in wrong thoughts.

What is more, words and thoughts influence each other too. We therefore need to be very vigilant about both these precious faculties that we possess.

Look before you leap, they say. Watch before you think, we may say; think before you speak, we may add.

~
Basis: Aitareya Upanishad (Rigveda), shānti mantra
Let these (word and thought) shine and shine; let these grow.
āvir-āveer-ma edhi ||
आविर् - आवीर् - एधि

om van (g)me manasi pratishthitaa mano me vachi
pratisthitam-aavir aaveer ma edhi vedasya ma aaneesthah srutam
me maa prahaaseeh anenaadhitenahoraatran sandadhaamritam
vadishyaami satyam vadishyami tanmaam avatu
tadvaktaaram-avatu avatu maam-avatu
vaktaaram-avatu vaktaara
m
Almighty Lord! My speech is well established in my mind. My mind is well established in my speech.  Oh Brahman! Reveal thyself to me! O Lord, please empower me to grasp and preach the Vedas. May I never forget your teachings! Only by knowing you are with me, I am able to maintain my days and nights. I shall always only follow you. May you protect me! My dear Lord, please protect me and my preceptor! O my dear Lord, please protect me and my preceptor and all those around me!
 Aavir aaveer ma edhi means  Oh! Brahman please reveal thyself to me! This reminds us of Jehovah revealing to Moses in the wilderness as  Fire (Universal  Light) and Divisoorya sahasrasya the brightness of Viratpurusha in Bhagavad Gita comparable to thousand  Suns in the sky.  Swami Chidananda   speaks practically here   saying our thoughts and speech need to be illumined to focus on Brahman.
--January 10, 2017
THIRUVAIYARU THYAGARAJA ARADHAN MUSIC FESTIVAL IN 2017
Aiyarappar temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the village of Tiruvaiyaru, Tamil Nadu, India.   The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. Thiruvaiyaru means Five Rivers around the city. The Five Rivers are Arisilaaru, Vennaaru, Vettaaru, Kudamuruttiyaaru and Kaaviriyaaru.   Thiruvaaiyaru has an old Shiva temple dedicated to Panchanatheeswar. Though pilgrims flock to this temple throughout the year, Thiruvaiyaru is more renowned for its association with Saint Thyagaraja, who, along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, comprises the Trinity of Carnatic music. Near the Shiva temple is the one-roomed house where Thyagaraja composed some of his greatest works.  Muthuswami Dikshitar has sung in praise of Dharmasmvardhii a consort of Siva as sister of Balarama and Krishna. Mother Goddess in the temple is praised as Aram Valartha Nayaki in Tamil and Dharma Samvardhini in Sanskrit meaning Mother who upholds Dharma.    Mother Dharma Samvardhini is praised as Lord Mahavishnu  (like Balaji is worshiped as  Devi Baalaa) in this place.  She holds Conch and discus in her upper hands.  Hence, there are no Vishnu temples around this place. It is believed Siva’s  long and thick turf is spread throughout the place behind the shrine.  As a devotee cannot afford to tread on the Jatamudi of Lord, circumambulation is prohibited.   I recently referred to the consolidation efforts of this temple complex  removing many  subordinate and myth based deities.
Thyagaraja Aradhana (Ceremony of Adoration) is held every year on the anniversary of the demise of the saint. This is on Pushya Bahula Panchami day (the fifth day of the waning moon in the Hindu lunar month of Pushya). The Aradhana is conducted by the Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha and is held in the precincts of the samadhi (memorial) of the saint located at Thiruvaiyaru village, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India.
 The Aradhana in its present format is not even a hundred years old. Tyagaraja died in 1847. A few days before his death, he had formally renounced everything and become a sanyasi. When he passed on, his mortal remains were buried on the banks of the river Kaveri and a small memorial was built at the site. His disciples returned to their respective villages and observed his death anniversary at their own homes. The memorial soon fell into neglect and had become quite dilapidated by 1903, when two of the last surviving students to have been taught by Tyagaraja happened to make a nostalgic visit to the site. These were the elderly and eminent musicians Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagavatar and Sundara Bhagavatar. They were dismayed by the neglect and dilapidation; indeed, they had to search for the memorial in the wild foliage of the riverbank. They arranged for the renovation of the samadhi and decided to commemorate the tithi or death anniversary of their guru every year at the Samadhi itself.
From the following year, efforts were made by musical stalwarts to observe the death anniversary regularly at Tiruvayyaru, and to use the occasion as an opportunity for his followers to converge and interact with each other. In 1905, a lavish ceremony, complete with feeding of the poor and worship at the memorial as per Vedic tenets, was celebrated. While Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagavatar and Sundara Bhagavatar were the moving force behind the renovations and celebrations, the brothers Tillaisthanam Narasimha Bhagavatar and Tillaisthanam Panju Bhagavatar were the main financiers and organizers. By the following year, the brothers had fallen out with each other. From 1906 onwards, each began conducting a parallel Aradhana. Various musicians also began aligned themselves with one or the other brother and two rival factions came into being. The group (and the aradhana celebration) conducted by Narasimha Bhagavatar came to be called the Periya Katchi ("senior party," since he was the elder) and that of Panju Bhat became known as the Chinna Katchi. With the passing of the Tillaisthanam brothers, the Periya Katchi came under the control of the ace violinist Malaikottai Govindasami Pillai, and the Chinna Katchi under that of Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, the noted Harikatha exponent. Gradually, a convention emerged whereby the Chinna Katchi's celebrations began five days before the Aradhana and concluded on the Aradhana day, while the Periya Katchi's celebration began on Aradhana day and continued for four days after that. Both groups organized music performances and feeding of the poor and so the public was the real beneficiary during the nine days. On one point, both groups were united. They did not allow "performing women," a euphemism for women of ill repute, to perform during the Aradhana. In those days, no decent woman ever sang or danced in public and the profession of entertainment was strictly the domain of the courtesan, who was often a devadasi or temple performer. Another point in common between the two groups was that they did not permit nadaswaram performances.
Bangalore Nagarathnamma was precisely such a temple performer, and one of the most famous professional concert artistes of her era. Nagarathnamma, who was then residing in Madras, was an ardent devotee of Tyagaraja and an aficionado of his music. Indeed, the soulful rendition of his kritis had been the mainstay of her career throughout her life, and she considered that she owed her considerable wealth to his grace. In 1921, the aged and childless lady decided to dedicate her life's earnings to preserving Tyagaraja's legacy and perpetuating his memory. In 1925, she began the construction of a temple enclosing the memorial. According to some sources, she purchased the land on which the grave stood, whereas according to other sources, that land was panchayat riverside land (village common land), and her construction was illegal, but tolerated by local residents due to its pious intentions. Nagarathnamma also had an idol of Tyagaraja sculpted and installed in front of the memorial. The consecration of the temple took place in early 1926. The two rival groups, while not interfering with all this, refused to let Nagarathnamma perform her mucic, or even Harikatha, within the temple which she herself had had constructed. They cited several instances from Tyagaraja's songs where he had complained about women in general.
Undeterred, Nagarathnammal began a third front which conducted its own music programs at the rear of the shrine. This third event featured many women artistes, and perhaps for that very reason, it began eating into the public popularity of the events hosted by the two Katchis. The doughty lady also filed suits in the local courts demanding the prevention of the Katchis from entering the temple, claiming that it belonged to her by right. She lost the case, but the hours of worship were laid down by the courts, dividing the Aradhana day equally between the two Katchis and her own group.
Matters continued this way till 1940, when SY Krishnaswami, ICS, convinced the groups to unite and it was in 1941 that the Aradhana as we know it was first conducted. Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar selected the five pancharatnas as being best suited for group rendering, so that a common homage by all musicians became possible. This idea was adopted and the choral rendition of the five songs was made an integral feature of the Aradhana. Before 1941, the three separate events had all been in the nature of music festivals, with no restriction regarding which of Thyagaraja's songs could be performed. It was only in 1941, when the three events were merged into one, that the convention of group singing of the five pancharatna kritis was decided upon.
Bangalore Nagarathnammal spent the rest of her days in Tiruvayyaru and bequeathed all her wealth to the Tyagaraja memorial, with the stipulation that women be allowed to pay their homage without any hindrance. When she died in1952, she was buried close to Tyagaraja's memorial and a statue was erected on the spot. The statue directly gazes on Tyagaraja's memorial.Thyagaraja Aradhana 2017is scheduled to be celebrated from January 13 to January 17.   The 170th Aradhana Festival Pancha Rathna Keerthana is on 17th January 2017. Many participants during the Aradhana stay at Thanjavur, which is around 13 km from Thiruvaiyaru. On the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival day, hundreds of Carnatic musicians pay their homage to the Saint Thyagaraja by rendering his ‘pancharathna kritis’ in chorus at his samadhi at Thiruvaiyaru. Another highlight on the day is the Unchavruthi Bhajan. (raising alms by singing the glory of the saint and feeding the poor).
Carnatic Music lovers wherever they are located on the Globe create   the tempo of Tiruvaiyaru Aradhana on the prescribed day or any other day convenient to them annually where large number of Musicians and students of Music learning participate.
--January 7, 2017
 VAIKUNTHA EKADASI
Vaikuntha Ekadashi falls on Sunday January 8, 2017.   Please find below a rare Kavacham on Lord Vishnu by Lord Krishna and retold to Lord Brahma by Yoganidra. This is sent by  Muralidharan Iyengar from Singapore taken from Brahma Vaivarta Puranam, Krishna Janma Khanda, Chapter 12 titled Shakatasura Bhanjana.
 The sanctity of this kavacham can be seen by the elaborate phalashruti (which is lengthier than the hymn itself)! It mentions that Goddess Durga defeated Shumbha and Raktabija and Lord Shiva destroyed Tripura by chanting this hymn. It is also given that one who recites this kavacham never gets afflicted by any fear.
 May   Lord Narayana guide us in all our deeds and guide our destiny     in this New Year 2017 through this sacred hymn!
 I do not believe in Phalasrutis norI pray seeking anything from the Supreme Lord for short gains or material benefits. My prayer is simple as follows for the good Lord known what is best for me. It is better to leave it to His choice:
Viswaani deva savitur duritaani paraasuva |yadbhadram tanma aasuva|| Oh  God, oh Creator, turn away from me all the sins. Bring to me that which is beneficial!

 Sri Vishnu Kavacham – Yoganidra – Brahma Vaivarta Puranam
 The following is a rare Kavacham (armor stuti) on on Lord Vishnu by Lord Krishna taken from Brahma Vaivarta Puranam, Sri Krishna Janma Khanda, and Chapter 12 as told by Yoganidra to Lord Brahma.
The elaborate Phalashruti mentions that by reciting this hymn Goddess Durga was able to destroy Shumbha and Raktabija and Lord Shiva destroy Tripura. One who chants this hymn never gets afflicted by any fear – poison, fire, water, enemies, etc
Yoganidrovāca -
śrīhariḥ pātu me vaktraṁ mastakaṁ madhusūdanaḥ |
śrīkṛṣṇacakṣuṣī pātu nāsikāṁ rādhikāpatiḥ || 1 ||
karṇa-yugmaṁ ca kaṇṭhaṁ ca kapālaṁ pātu mādhavaḥ |
kapolaṁ pātu govindaḥ keśāṁśca keśavaḥ svayam || 2 ||
adharoṣṭhaṁ hṛṣīkeśo dantapaṅktiṁ gadāgrajaḥ |
rāseśvaraśca rasanāṁ tālukaṁ vāmano vibhuḥ || 3 ||
vakṣaḥ pātu mukundaśca jaṭharaṁ pātu daityahā |
janārdanaḥ pātu nābhiṁ ca pātu viṣṇuśca mehanam || 4 ||
nitamba-yugmaṁ guhyaṁ ca pātu me puruṣottamaḥ |
jānu-yugmaṁ jānakīśaḥ pātu te sarvadā vibhuḥ || 5 ||
hasta-yugmaṁ nṛsiṁhaśca pātu sarvatra saṅkaṭe |
pāda-yugmaṁ varāhaśca pātu te kamalodbhavaḥ || 6 ||
ūrdhvaṁ nārāyaṇaḥ pātu hyadhastāt kamalāpatiḥ |
pūrvasyāṁ pātu gopālaḥ pātu vahnau daśāsyahā || 7 ||
vanamālī pātu yāmyāṁ ca vaikuṇṭhaḥ pātu nairṛtī |
vāruṇyāṁ vāsudevaśca sato rakṣākaraḥ svayam || 8 ||
pātu te santatamajo vāyavyāṁ viṣṭaraśravāḥ |
uttare ca sadā pātu tejasā jalajāsanaḥ || 9 ||
aiśānyāṁ īśvaraḥ pātu pātu sarvatra śatrujit |
jale sthale cā'ntarikṣe nidrāyāṁ pātu rāghavaḥ || 10 ||
|| phalaśrutiḥ ||
ityevaṁ kavacaṁ brahman kavacaṁ paramādbhutam |
kṛṣṇena kṛpayā dattaṁ smṛtenaiva purā mayā || 11 ||
 śumbhena saha saṅgrāme nirlakṣye ghora-dāruṇe |
gagane sthitayā sadyaḥ prāpti mātreṇa sa jitaḥ || 12 ||
kavacasya prabhāveṇa dharaṇyāṁ patito mṛtaḥ |
pūrva varṣa śataṁ khe ca kṛtvā yuddhaṁ bhayāvaham || 13 ||
mṛte śumbhe ca govindaḥ kṛpālur gagana-sthitaḥ |
mālāṁ ca kavacaṁ dattvā golokaṁ sa jagāma ha || 14 ||
kalpāntarasya vṛttāntaṁ kṛpayā kathitaṁ mune |
abhyantara bhayaṁ nāsti kavacasya prabhāvataḥ || 15 ||
koṭiśaḥ koṭiśo naṣṭā mayā dṛṣṭāśca vedhasaḥ |
ahaṁ ca hariṇā sārdhaṁ kalpe kalpe sthirā sadā || 16 ||
ityuktvā kavacaṁ dattvā sāntardhānaṁ cakāra ha |
niḥśaṅko nābhikamale tasthau sa kamalodbhavaḥ || 17 ||
suvarṇa guṭikāyāṁ ca kṛtvedaṁ kavacaṁ param |
kaṇṭhe vā dakṣiṇe bāhau badhnīyādyaḥ sudhīḥ sadā || 18 ||
viṣā 'gni jala śatrubhyo bhaya tasya na jāyate |
jale sthale cā'ntarikṣe nidrāyāṁ rakṣatīśvaraḥ || 19 ||
saṅgrāme vajrapāte ca vipattau prāṇasaṅkaṭe |
kavaca smaraṇād eva sadyo niḥśaṅkatāṁ vrajet || 20 ||
baddhvedaṁ kavacaṁ kaṇṭhe śaṅkaras tripuraṁ puraḥ |
jaghāna līlā mātreṇa durantamasureśvaram || 21 ||
baddhvedaṁ kavacaṁ kālī raktabījaṁ cakhāda sā |
sahasraśīrṣā dhṛtvedaṁ viśvaṁ datte tilaṁ yathā || 22 ||
āvāṁ sanatkumāraśca dharmasākṣī ca karmaṇām |
kavacasya prabhāveṇa sarvatra jayino vayam || 23 ||
tasya nandaśiśoḥ kaṇṭhe cakāra kavacaṁ dvijaḥ |
ātmanaḥ kavacaṁ kaṇṭhe dadhāra ca svayaṁ hariḥ || 24 ||
prabhāvaḥ kathitaḥ sarvaḥ kavacasya hares tathā |
anantasyā 'cyutasyaiva prabhāvaṁ atulaṁ mune || 25 ||
|| iti śrībrāhme vaivarte mahāpurāṇe śrīkṛṣṇa-janma-khaṇḍe yoganidrovata śrīviṣṇu kavacaṁ sampūrṇam ||
--January 2017

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL SPIRITUAL HARMONY
Sankara   convinced by Mahavakya “Aham Brahmasmi”  taught people “Brahma Sathyam  Jagan Mithyam”  which we generally translate as   “I am Brahman” or the  “I am the Self”. So we go in search of Self within us turning spiritually inwards forgetting the three “da”s Upanishads insist. That is Dama,   Daya and Dana—Constrain, Compassion and Charity. Turning inwards is Nivritti Marga which comes after practicing   Pravritti Marga—outward spiritual development by composure, caring and sharing. No doubt Sankara said the world is Maayaa or Mithya or false.  World is Mithya to those who have reached perfection by spiritual  Pravrittti Marga pursuits which Gita describes as Gunaateetaa state where we will have no concern for papa or punya—merits or sins,  a sort of desire-less state. To those fortunate few world is no doubt “Mithya” and their only goal is to integrate or associate with Parmaatman as they can’t get dissolved in him. Occasionally he sends them as Devatas or divines to help the souls on earth as I described you the descent of Santkumara with his contingent described even in the Holy Bible, Book of Revelations. May be all the deities we worship have their role to play and get back. We have seen how popular Ganesha and Balaji have suddenly appeared   in Kaliyuga to play their part and guide us.
While Jeevaatman is Sat Chit Ananda (Truth; Sentient and Bliss) Paramaatman is Sathyam Jnaanam Anatam Brahma ((Taittareeya Upanishad)—Brahman is  ‘Sathyam’,  Intellect, Plentitude of Bliss. Here we should understand the difference between Sat and Sathyam. Sat means Truth as in the Mantra “Asato maa Sat gamaya”.  Chhandogya Upanishad says: Sathyam=sat+thi+yam   where sat means immortal, thi means mortal and yam means what is being regulated. Jivaatman is not concerned with this aspect. Even first ever Jivaatman was tainted with Karma while Paramatman is untouched by it. These two characteristics differentiate Jivaatman from Parmaatman though they both are endowed with eight other qualities-- Apahataatma, Vijaraa, Vimrityaa, Visoka, Vijigista, Apipaasa, Sartyakama and Satya Sankalpa.  Jivaatman enjoys Aananda integrated with Paramaatman who is Ananta Plentitude called Bhuma. Parmaatman is the Self of all Selfs (Jivaatmans) and Satyasya Sathyam,   Sathyam   (as explained above) as Truth.
So as ordinary Jivaatmans tainted with karma we have to prepare ourselves spiritually elevated outwards and then turn inwards even from  Vedantic point of view. But FOWAI forum is even more practical in its approach and will explain how spiritual discipline is important in our daily life dealings with this world thus enlightening us how Upanishads can be our daily guide.
Webinar 63--Panel discussion on Internal and External Harmony
The spiritual process essentially consists of going inwards and seeking joy within ourselves instead of looking for it outside. But does this mean that we start neglecting the external world? Is it possible to find internal joy if our external circumstances are out of order? And similarly, is it possible to enjoy the external world if our internal state is not restful? We shall explore these questions in this panel discussion.
 --January 3, 2017

WHAT IS SAMADHI AND MAHASAMADHI
By Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev | Dec 30, 2016
The word samadhi literally means sama and dhi – Sama means equanimous and dhi means the buddhi or intellect. If you reach that kind of equanimous state of intellect, it is known as samadhi.
The word samadhi has been largely misunderstood. People think samadhi means some death-like situation. The word samadhi literally means sama and dhi – sama means Equanimeous and dhi means the buddhi or intellect. If you reach that kind of Equanimeous state of intellect, it is known as samadhi.
The basic functioning of the intellect is always to set things apart. It is because intellect is functioning that you can discriminate cold versus warm. If you transcend the intellect you become equanimous.
When your awareness becomes perfect you are simply Equanimeous, you are not making a distinction – you are simply here, seeing life in its true working.
The moment you drop or transcend the intellect, discrimination cannot exist. Everything becomes one whole, which is the reality. In this state there is no time or space.
Time and space is a creation of your mind. Once you transcend the mind as a limitation, time and space doesn’t exist for you. What is here is there, what is now is then. There is no past or future for you. Everything is here in this moment.
Samadhis are of different varieties. When you are living in the body there are eight samadhis available to a human being.
Of these eight, they have been broadly categorized as savikalpa: samadhis with attributes or qualities – samadhis that are very pleasant, blissful, and ecstatic – and nirvikalpa: samadhis that are beyond pleasant and unpleasant, they are without attributes or qualities. Those who go into nirvikalpa samadhi states are always kept in protected states because their contact with the body has become very minimal.
The smallest disturbance, like a sound or a pinprick would dislodge them from their body. These states are maintained for certain periods to establish the distinction between you and the body. It is a significant step in one’s spiritual evolution, but still not the Ultimate. The samadhis by themselves have no great significance in terms of realization.
Mahasamadhi
As long as you are in the body, whatever liberation you attain, the body is a limitation. It is not complete liberation. When someone leaves their body in full awareness, then we call this mahasamadhi because he or she has shed the body.
For someone to be able to do this – taking this life and throwing it out without injuring the body – it needs tremendous energy. Mahasamadhi is a state where one willfully drops the body. The cycle is over. There is no question of rebirth, it is complete dissolution. You can say this person is truly no more.
Life just shifts from one level to another. In reality there is no such thing as death. Death exists only to one who has no awareness about life. There is only life, life, life alone. But Mahasamadhi means the real end.  
Jeff Says:
This world is a world of illusion Created so you won’t question who you really are
And designed to keep you small Learn to meditate and dispel with the illusion
Drop the glamour and mass materialism become aware of self.
Om Shanti Om
Bijoylakshmi Das says:
At present some Indian Gurus are misguiding young aspirants regarding the concept of SAMADHI, an esoteric discipline of YOGA. The Gurus also mislead young disciples, both girls and boys in the name of TANTRA which was not at all practised in the Vedic period. Hence it is high time to have proper grasp of the Vedic Discipline of Tantra in correct perspective. Tantra is not for enjoyment of senses; the Divine realization can never be attained by indulging in sense pleasures, it is rather to transcend the material consciousness in the light of the Divine and achieve the perfect transformation of the physical in order to be united with the Sublime Consciousness.
Leela sastry says:
Samadhi is a state where there is no conception or perception of the nature of duality in the sense the duality is taken as the nature of nature.
Venkateswaran.NR says:
Of all different types of Samadhi, Sahaja-samadhi is what one should aspire for through systematic spiritual practice of meditation under the guidance of a capable and compassionate spiritual Master. The mind has to be thoroughly purified of all mental impressions and should become original mind of pristine purity. When there is a high-calibred spiritual guide having the capacity of Yogic-transmission, the seeker can derive tremendous spiritual benefits by following him with “Sraddah”, “Bhakti” and “Samarpana-Bhavam”.

--January 2, 2017

LET US STAY CONNECTED
My Observations
“What is the use of gaining the whole world when you have lost your own soul” preached Jesus to his gathering. He wanted us to stay connected with our Self while we are engaged in the world. Otherwise you are cut off from your after-life welfare. We try to connect with the unknown many ways guided by priests, gurus and sadhus. Here is a wise thought to stay   continuously connected with heaven and earth. Let us have that high understanding in the New Year whoever may be guiding us politically, religiously or spiritually!
 Agnirdevoe dwijaateenaam muneenaam hridi daivatam |
Prathima svlpabuddheenaam sarvatrea viditaatmanaam ||
The ritualists have their God in the fire (Agni); but the wise folk find him in their own heart. It is the dull-witted one that seeks God in the icon. Those who have higher understanding see God in Everything.


ARANI SERIESSTAY CONNECTED
 A certain spiritual practice (sādhanā), let’s say, appeals to you the most. Why waste time in a hundred other things? Stay put in that sādhanāof your choice.
 In these days of mobile telephony or Internet, there are times when we find the signal level to be good at some corners in a campus and we stay there to do our work, don’t we? If we move away, our work suffers. Likewise, let’s “stay connected” to the Divine by remaining in the area of our sādhanā, as much as possible, and avoid going away to activities and engagements where we lose our connection to the Divine.
“One must stay firm, united with Me,” says* Lord Krishna while cautioning us about the stormy senses that derail our life’s journey. “Why do you move away from the cool shade of the tree, when it is unbearably hot everywhere else?” asks Sri Ramana Maharshi, urging us to remain devoted to self-inquiry. “When one hand of yours is at work, hold God with the other; when the work is over, hold God with both your hands,” exhorts Sri Ramakrishna.
No matter what path suits us, do we have the capacity to put our heart and soul into the practice? Or are we like someone who climbed up four floors to his room’s entrance and then found that he had carelessly dropped the key to the room somewhere downstairs?
After some study, satsanga (spiritual associations) and discussion with wise people, we gain a good degree of clarity in the matter of what we must do – to bring our life back in order. Why do we permit a big gap between ‘what we think we must do’ and ‘what we actually do’? These gaps between any two among the three – thought, word and deed – are a major factor contributing to an unhappy life. We must work towards bridging these gaps by taking sometimes small but bold steps. For example, a friend decided to sleep before 10 pm every night, and she was able to exercise daily morning as a result, which led to a whole lot of improvement in her way of living. “Small victories lead to big victories,” observed Eknath Easwaran.
 As the New Year arrives, can we give high priority to living rightly? Can we make a few important changes in our lifestyle, which can help us “stay connected” to our chosen form of sādhanā? Can we give up our fickleness or our addictions? Can we listen more to our own inner voice and live a more conscientious life?
We have wonderful tools with us; we have not been using them. We are blessed with great guidance but we have failed in our homework. Let us get earnest and put our house in order, without further delay.
 WISH YOU HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017, WHERE YOU’RE BETTER CONNECTED WITH YOUR TRUE CALLING!
Swami Chidananda
Notes:  *yukta āseeta mat-parah - Geeta 2.61
--JANUARY 1, 2017
 My Observations:
Our perceived isolation in the world leads to unhappiness. Among trees “I am Aswattha tree” says the Lord. He stays connected with Heaven and Earth. It is for us to perceive! We fail to perceive that Ever Green Tree. Let us stay connected with settled wisdom. “Yukta aaseeta…..prajnyaa pratishtitaa”—Stay firm connected with the Supreme says Gita in 2.61. Please go through the New Year Message from Paramartha Niketan in this context.

NEW YEAR--NEW DREAM--BE GREEN 
Message from Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, India, Saturday, December 31, 2016
At this beautiful time of New Year, as we say goodbye to 2016 and usher in 2017, let us pledge to give birth to a New Dream and inspire us to Be Green in every moment and in every minute of our lives.
This past year, it seems that each day when we see the news, it has been filled with the tragedy of violence, terrorism, polluted air and water, desiccated waterways, and soil contaminated by chemicals and toxins.
We may feel despair and dismay at this news, due to our perceived lack of ability to effect real change, due to our perceived helplessness and futility in this vast universe and due to our perceived isolation in the world. I say "perceived” because that is exactly the problem: an error in our perception. God has graced us all with a very special, unique and significant role to play in this world, and we are neither helpless nor futile. Our unique role is also seamlessly intertwined and interconnected with every other living being.
Let me share a story with you:
A famous orchestra was rehearsing in New York City before a major performance. This orchestra was one of the largest, most complex symphonies ever to play together. Hundreds and hundreds of musicians and singers came together under the leadership of one of the world's most renowned conductors.
This orchestra played as part of a famous ballet. As the music played, the dancers danced a drama of great beauty. One night, the piccolo (a very small instrument you play with your mouth) player thought to himself, "What difference do I make anyway? I'm the smallest instrument here; my music is so soft you can barely here it in an empty room, let alone as part of a huge orchestra. What's the point of practicing all the time, rehearsing all the time, working so hard, just to be another useless part of this orchestra?" So he decided to stop playing. The musician held the piccolo close to his mouth, so it would look like he was still playing. But, he did not play his instrument.
Within moments the dance became confused; ballerinas who had danced the same ballet night after night suddenly lost their step. The audience could sense something was amiss and grew restless in their seats. The conductor immediately shouted, "Where is the piccolo?"
We, too, may feel like the small piccolo at times, small and voiceless in a great ocean of other instruments, all of which seem more powerful than we are. However, each of us has been given a unique and significant role to play in the ballet of life. We may not be able to hear the sound of our own instrument, and thus we think we are insignificant. But, God, the great Conductor, hears all, sees all and knows all. He has put us in His orchestra and He is depending upon us to play our part. Hence, even in global challenges of climate change and terrorism we each have a very real and significant role to play. The choices we make in our everyday life impact the kind of world we are building now and for the future. Hence, living "green" reminds us to live like Mother Nature, interconnected, alive, growing, changing and sharing with one another. There is a beautiful example we can take from the Redwood forest:
The Redwood forests in California are hundreds of years old. These gorgeous and often times mammoth trees grow hundreds of feet tall, so you would assume that their roots must be deeply rooted into the ground in order to support such huge, strong growth. Yet, the roots of the redwood tree are actually not deep at all. Rather, their support comes from the fact that they are interconnected with the roots of the trees around them. In this way, the entire forest is held up by every tree being connected to those next to it. A signal from one tree can pass through an entire large forest by the intricate network of interlinking roots.
This is the same in our lives. When we feel we are isolated and alone in this world, when we feel our actions don't matter, we don't realize that every action, every choice and even every thought is connected, deeply to the world in which we live. Our own actions, choices and habits are the seeds which create our world.
So at this time of the New Year, let us resolve to bring into our lives the strong connection of the Redwood Trees. Let us realize that our own growth and our own roots are sustaining and nourishing the community and the world around us. . Living a more eco-friendly "green" life, making choices of what to eat, buy and wear based not merely on our desires but on our interlinked family across the world, being vegetarian, choosing compassion, service and love -- these choices are the most natural outcome of our own essence.
Let us all have renewed faith, renewed vigor and renewed enthusiasm for our invaluable, irreplaceable role in the beautiful dance of life. Let us vow to play our instrument (whatever we have been given) with as much devotion, commitment and zeal as we can. We are all crucial parts of God's orchestra and He is listening with as much attention to the small piccolo as to the huge tuba. No matter what our role may be in the orchestra, we can be a source of inspiration and love for those around us, co-creating with the Divine Conductor, a symphony for the whole world of love, peace and consciousness.
 --JANUARY 1, 2017