Thursday, February 18, 2016



Love is a binding Force of the Universe and so calls for Religious Celebration by all cultures
 (Prepared lecture for a discourse by N. R. Srinivasan)

On Valentine’s Day we take joy expressing Love to wives, husbands, children and grand-children, boyfriends, girlfriends, relatives and very close friends.  Vedas proclaim “Aatmavat sarvbhootshu--love all living beings as your Self. This term includes all the above and extends far beyond. Bible says: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself; love is not puffed up; does not behave rudely. Does not seek its own, is not provoked, y thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13; 4-7. This in fact is  Bhakti or Love of God.  
In Sanskrit the word Kama is used to define human instinct of love as explained above as Valentin Day Greetings and also used as a proper name for God of Love. Unfortunately Kama is also often used in negative sense as infatuation or attachment which is also called as Moha. Veda Mantras use Kama to refer to Deity of Love as a proper name. It again refers to another kind of Kama which is one of the Purusharthas (One of the four goals in life). This is a love that should tread the path of Dharma or righteousness. An alternate expression is Prema which is also linked to Bahakti or devotion to God. 

Love is the binding force of the universe pioneered by Hinduism, propagated by Christianity   but unfortunately often misunderstood and misdirected in the negative sense by some in Islam making it a punitive subject for the religious controlled  Government. Love has been deified in Vedas that promoted strongly Vaishnava Traditions of Sri Vaishnava, Madhva and Bhakti Vedanta which also inspired world religions like Judaism, Christianity and Sufi Philosophy etc.  Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism that branched out of Hinduism deal with the subject in similar fashion.  So is Judaism that gave birth to Christianity. They all join gladly to celebrate Valentine's Day wherever they live. Unfortunately many in Islam today lost their focus on it as could be seen in the narration of Heer-Ranjah below. The life story of Heer -Ranjah  tells people how the course of true love never runs smooth. It also reveals how at one time Hindus and Muslims lived together amicably and considered the theme of love as a subject of veneration irrespective of their religious leanings. Pakistan grew out of hatred and today it still lives with it and causes lot of pain to all particularly to those who share common values with other religions. They hate celebration of Valentine's day unlike in India which is the second largest Muslim Country in the world!   May be the story of Heer-Ranjah inspired many in Pakistan and neighboring Muslim countries to follow Sufi Philosophy which has many common things to share with Hinduism!  We must differentiate two kinds of love.   Love that starts as human instinct which is binding, that is Kama. It matures to Bhakti while practicing Dharma. Kama harnessed by dharma that aspires for freedom (Spirituality) is Bhakti that leads to spirituality and salvation. Non-binding love leads to freedom and Liberation through Jnaana.  

spiritual goal. Hinduism talks of six human instincts that need to be controlled and managed. These are Kama (love), Krodha (anger), Moha (desire), Lobha (greed), Mada (Pride) Matsarya (jealousy). It is human nature to deal with all these in life and can't be avoided but they can be dealt in a Dharmic Way. Even Gods are not free from their influence. In this context anger can be sighte like Avatars of Varaha, Narasimha, Parasurama, Rama and krishna.

"Anger is one of the emotions we all experience on a daily basis, much more frequently than many other emotions. Uncontrolled anger is also one of the primary causes of broken relationships, be it personal or professional. As Aristotle once said, "Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way- that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." Though it is certainly very difficult to master the art of anger management, it is necessary to make sincere efforts towards this goal" says Swami Chidananda. 

 Love starts initially as a human instinct  but  blossoms  into divinity  while leading a meaningful life.  Krishna demonstrated this in his life-style and also discussed at length some of these qualities with Arjuna to prepare his mind to fight the   War of Dharma (Mahabharata War) in Kurukshetra (dharmakshetre kurukshetre).  When divine thoughts are engulfed in Love, human instinct love turns into divine Bhakti as we understand from Gita Govinda where Kaama becomes Rasa (essence) for Radha (dissolution in Supreme). For a spiritual thinker, the yearning for love by Jivatma to embrace Parmatma is the essence of Vedanta. Hinduism has influenced a lot Sufi Philosophy which is very well explained in the following text suitably adopted from Huff-Post narrated by a follower of Islam who resents the attitude of Pakistan Government that hates and takes a punitive attitude towards Valentine Day celebration.

the youth mimics the West or India by celebrating Valentine's Day or Basant Panchami and these festivals have nothing to do with Islamic culture.   Also women should not work because their incomes bring ill-fate to a household according to Islam.  How can woman working be Un-Islamic? What about Hazarat Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet? Wasn't she a business woman?   Isn't Heer Ranjha part of Punjabi culture? Heer-Ranjah is the most celebrated folk story.  For centuries it has been sung and dramatized. It is essentially a celebration of love. How is it any different from the celebration of Valentine's Day? In fact, the celebration of Heer Ranjha's love is much more profound than Valentine's Day like Radha Krishna love episode. In Islamic Punjabi culture it has taken metaphysical dimensions, by becoming part of the folk religion like Bhakti Vedanta on Radjha’s love-making  to Krishna.  Punjabis worship love, and do not just think it a mere social celebration.
Jhang is the city where the legendary lovers, Heer and Ranjha, are buried in a single grave. Their shrine has now become a religious pilgrimage site.  Using the pretext of traditions and culture on several occasions, the right to marry out of choice, the right to practice religion, etc., is curbed. The derogatory manner of looking at tradition is a colonial legacy that thrived on undermining the indigenous culture and exalting the British manner of living. The legend of Heer Ranjha is an example from the repository of 'tradition' that not only celebrates the love between two individuals (a premodern example of honoring individuality) but also raises it to metaphysical dimensions comparing the love between Heer and Ranjha to that between a believer and God.

In  the oral tradition of South Asia, the story of Heer-Ranjha has been sung by bards (tribal singers) and dramatized by folk artists for centuries. The story was first written by a poet from Jhang called Damodar Das Arora during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. However, just the way Valmiki's Ramayana became popular Tulsidas Ramayana in spoken dialect after he rewrote the epic, this legend also became Waris Shah's when he rewrote it in the eighteenth century. Today it is also referred to as Waris Shah's Heer.

According to Damodar's version, which was then supported by Waris Shah, Heer-Ranjha is based on an actual story that Damodar saw unfold in front of his eyes. In the end, both Heer and Ranjha were buried in one grave, to celebrate their eternal love. Their shrine in Jhang, which, according to the legend, is the hometown of Heer, is today a popular destination where people from all over the country come to ask for blessings, especially in the matter of love. True to its pagan roots, folk religion in Pakistan has specialized shrines for particular needs--Aban Shah for fertility, the Shrine of Crows for people with speech impediments and Heer-Ranjha for love. Hinduism  is not far behind in these concepts, may be the  prime mover  too!

lived, there was a wandering Malamati Sufi in Lahore known by the name of Shah Hussain, a spectacular Punjabi poet. He for the first time transformed the story of Heer-Ranjha from a secular epic to a spiritual legend. He compared the love of Heer for Ranjha to that of a believer for his God, a theme that was subsequently picked up by Bulleh Shah and Waris Shah. Through his poetry, he introduced the concept of Wahadut-ul-Wajud, or monism, into the story which remains an essential part of Hindu philosophy and Islamic spirituality.
'Mahi mahi kook di mein ape
Ranjhan hoyi Ranjhan Ranjhan sab koi akho,
Heer na akhon koi'
[Calling the name of my beloved I myself have become Ranjhan. Call me Ranjhan only now as I am no longer Heer]

The shrine of Mai Heer', displays a sign-board on the road. What is Mai?  The term Mai is used out of respect—Baba is for males and Mai for females.  We are all familiar with Sai Baba who is   raised to the status of divinity out of respect and even worshiped in India. Hindu Americans do not lag behind. Sai Baba idols are consecrated in many Hindu Temples. Heer-Ranjha shrine is located at the top of an ancient mound, surrounded by a plethora of graves. A small market had burst into life here. Ignoring the calls of vendors selling threads, bangles and lockets, if you climb  the stairs towards the shrine you will listen to the music of a lone musician  in the courtyard, sitting under a wan tree singing  Shah Hussain (Punjabi Verses) on his harmonium.—‘'O Mother, to whom should I now narrate these tales of my pains?’

Girls looking to get married, tie bangles on the shrine here. Young couples who want to get married but cannot for some reason, tie threads here and their problem is alleviated. Barren women present cradles here and with the blessings of Mai Heer they are gifted a child. The cradle offering has uncanny similarities to the tradition of worship Lord Krishna as Bala Gopala.

The walls of the shrine are filled with love messages written by pen such as: “You may never be mine but I wish that wherever you live you may spend a happy life”; “Zainab and Imran forever”; “Salute to the love legend Mai Heer and Baba Ranjha”

In a hot-bed of religious violence, these were fascinating messages of love in honor of Heer and Ranjha. It is unfortunate in a lot of villages in Pakistan the recitation of Waris Shah's Heer is not allowed. People believe that if the sounds of the verses fall on the ears of young girls, they too will elope like Heer! It is also surprising to note that the actual life story was brought to light by a Hindu author Damodar Das Arora immortalizing Heer and Ranjah.     
For the love story of Heer and Ranjah refer to Rupa Publication 2015, “In Search of Shiva: a study of folk religious practices in Pakistan” by Haroon Khalid.  

I have dealt at length in my earlier discourses how Christianity has given religious sanctity to Valentine’s Day like Christmas and also commercially exploited it on which day several gifts   and greeting cards are exchanged in numbers to match Christmas and New Year.    To-day   around 200 million greeting cards are exchanged in USA on this day of which many contain religious themes: Here is an example of a greeting card  message with religious theme:
On Valentine's Day
I reaffirm my deep and abiding love for you.
I continually pray to love you
like Jesus loves
wholly, selflessly, completely.
I continually pray
to be the person
God wants me to be for you.
I appreciate you
for your heart full of love for me,
for your dependably fine character
and for the special gifts God has given you,
that I notice and admire and treasure.
I am abundantly blessed
that you are mine eternally.
Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart;
My heart and my love are yours forever.
By Joanna Fuchs

Hindu Americans join the majority in celebrating Valentine's Day. In the city Nashville where I live, enthusiastic Hindu devotees visiting Ganesha Temple go round greeting all ladies and also serve them food in the Prasadam hall leading them to dining tables on Valentine’s Day. On other days it is the ladies prerogative to serve all with food. With all this enthusiasm and exchange of greetings in sacred temple grounds I wonder why this day is not declared as Special Religious Events day like Christmas, Thanksgiving etc., in Hindu American Temples.  My detailed discourse on Valentine's Day gives ample justification supported by Upanishads and Puranas to make this day a special events day in Hindu American temples.  Generally Hindus feel embarrassed to speak on sex and for describing the love of Krishna towards Gopis (milkmaids) in general and Radha in particular, they use the term Raasa-kreeda. This embarrassment to sex topics is probably the later inheritance from the Western culture where sex is associated with immoral act only or a private affair. Rasa is the alternate word for Kama in religious approach. Upanishads and Puranas are open -minded on the subject.

What do Kamadeva and Cupid or Eros have in common? Kamadeva is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection in Hindu mythology and Cupid is Kamadeva in Western mythology.  Hinduism being the oldest, Hindu God of Love should have inspired Romans and Greeks to worship Cupid as God of Love and Romance.  Both Kamadeva and Cupid are   associated with arrows.  Cupid is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars.  Cupid is also known in Latin also as Amor ("Love"). His Greek counterpart is Eros and he is just one of the ancient symbols associated with St. Valentine’s Day, along with the shape of a heart, doves, and the colors red and pink. He is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow which he uses to strike the hearts of people. People who fall in love are said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow’. Convince yourselves how close is this description to  Puranas.

In common understanding Kama in Sanskrit means love and Moha means desire. Valmiki mentions   the phrase “avadeeh kaama mohitam” referring to the pair of Krauncha love birds in his opening chapter.  Here Kama means physical love.  Brihadarnyaka Upanishad deals at length with incantation and ceremonies for procreation in Chapter six with several Mantras. Garbhadaana is a Vedic ceremony and an important sacred Hindu sacrament for the first sex   initiation for a child birth with divine blessings after Brahma marriage by wedded couple about which I have talked in detail.  Kaama is personified as a deity in the Vedas.   Naasadeeya sukta talks of Kaama or God’s will in the form of desire to create the world when this universe did not come into being.  This needed a male and Afemale component. So the Sukta talks of loneliness and the desire for mating.  Puranas mention of Brahma and Satarupa as the first divine pair who started creation.  Upanishads are not shy to talk at length on sex but say that any act of sex should be based on Dharma. We have later entire treatise Kaama Sutra (aphorisms) by Sage Vatsyaayana. There is an ancient Temple in Uttar Pradesh Khaju Raho wholly dedicated to Kameswara with many erotic scenes displayed on walls-architecture.  Please recall my detailed   discourse on Upakarma.  In this ritual obeisance is paid to the deities of Love and desire through the Vedic fire sacrifice (Homa)

According to the Matsya Purana, Visnhu-Krishna and Kamadeva have a historical relationship. Krishna is sometimes worshiped as Kamadeva in Gaudiya traditions, and according to the Krishna-centric   Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Kamadeva was directly a form of Vasudeva Krishna after this Deva was burned down by Siva. In this particular form Kamadeva is believed to be a demi-god of the heavenly planets especially capable of inducing lusty desires. Some followers of Vishnu distinguish a form of Kamadeva who is a deva, demigod in charge of inciting lusty desires, the cause of generation and referred to in Gita   with the words “prajanas chasmi kandarpa.

Krishna, Valentine of Radha is invariably worshiped in all Hindu temples. On the other hand legally wedded wife, the Crowned Princess Rukmini is seen with Krishna only in a rare temple in Chennai. In spite of painful separation Lord Srinivasa does not fail to join with Padmavati every year and spend his best time of the year which is glorified in Temple worship annually.  Saivites often resort to the worship of Ardhanariswara which is Siva’s most auspicious spiritual form.  Parvati-Parmaeswar is the most celebrated pair honored as world parents (Jagatah pitarah).     The great sacrifice of Kamadeva was instrumental in bringing them together.      But for Kamadeva, world would not have had Ganesha and Subrahmanya who are the most popular deities of Hindu worship.  Siva did not fail to recognize the great risk Kama took to bring him and Parvati together.  So, Siva  pleased Rati by restoring back   her husband Kamadeva to life  and  also restored the worshipful place for him.

In Hinduism Religion and Spirituality do not conflate often. Extreme devotion (Love in the form of Bhakti) has to culminate in Spirituality that leads to Liberation. “Spirituality and Religion are often wrongly considered to be antagonistic to each other. One is considered to be a symbol of individual freedom and the other a symbol of bondage. It is important to realize that too much freedom can also lead to depression and too much bondage can lead to fanaticism. The right approach is to balance these two aspects of human life.  Both are equally important: being part of a social order and giving private space to individuals” says Swami Chidananda.  Kamadeva is a Vedic deity and you can find Kamokarsheet Mantras used in fire Sacrifices and prayers. Upanishads deal at length the yearning for love of Jeevatma to embrace Paramaatma and ultimately join with it as symbolized in Ardhanariswara.

Christianity has made Valentine’s Day a religious Day for Mass worship and America has successfully commercialized it like Christmas.  Realizing the enthusiasm and festive mood that prevails in Hindu Temples on Valentin’s Day it will be fitting and proper for American Hindus to add  Valentine’s Day to other Special Religious Events Days like—Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor and Memorial Day. This day has more justification than others to celebrate the divine weddings of Siva and Parvati, Srinivasa and Padmavati, and, Radha and Krishna.  Spiritual seekers will be   pleased to add Ardhanariswara to the list symbolizing the Union of Jeevaatman with Paramaatman. I believe this union is the reason why Polygamy is religiously accepted and not Polyandry but for the rare incidence of Pancha Pandavas.  You know too well Lord Krishna and his Harem of 16008 wives whom he treated equally well! Hinduism guides World Religions. It does not throw the baby with bathwater! Only we should understand there are two kinds of love. Love that is binding is Kama. Love that aspires for freedom is Bhakti that leads to spiritualty and salvation.

It is strange that Islam that branched out of Abrahamic Religion is the one strongly opposed to celebrate Valentine’s Day in all Islamic countries  as well as wherever they are settled and live along with Western culture unlike Hindus.   I live in a neighborhood where people of all cultures live. During Christmas Season one can see Christmas Lighting in all the houses except few houses in which people of Islamic culture live. Hindus are the earliest to start the Christmas   lighting beginning with their Festival of Lights, Diwali.   Hindu devotees who visit temples in USA on Valentine Day walk around in festive mood greeting each other. Temple authorities do not take this as a wrong act breaking the discipline of the Temple Etiquette. But what prevents them from declaring this day as Special Religious Day for Mass worship by all tradition?  Having lived under the British Rule and grown with that culture for long they still treat subject of love in   derogatory manner, a colonial legacy that thrived on undermining the indigenous culture and exalting the British manner of living. The same British and other Western cultures have given religious status to Valentine Day in USA and have highly commercialized it like Christmas. I believe even in England it is celebrated now-a-days as a religious day in Anglican Churches.  They almost worshiped Princes Diana as God of Love with innumerable candles when she met with her tragic end.  I am sure Hindu Americans will soon overcome this colonial influence and go back to their original culture where Kama (Love) occupies an important part in shaping human destiny as well as self-purification as confirmed  by the ritualistic practices.  Ganesha, the Lord of Obstacles is the most popular venerated deity of Hindus where obstacle is deified.

Haroon Khalid, Is Celebrating Love Not Part of Islamic Culture?  Huff-Post 02/15/2016

The Love Story of Heer and Ranjah as given in Wikepedia
Heer is an extremely beautiful woman, born into a wealthy Jat family of the Sial tribe in Jhang, which is now Punjab, Pakistan. Ranjha (whose first name is Dheedo; Ranjha is the surname), also a Jat of the Ranjha tribe, is the youngest of four brothers and lived in the village of Takht Hazara, Pakistan by the river Chenab. Being his father's favorite son, unlike his brothers who had to toil in the lands, he led a life of ease playing the flute ('Wanjhli'/'Bansuri'). After a quarrel with his brothers over land, Ranjha leaves home. In Waris Shah's version of the epic, it is said that Ranjha left his home because his brothers' wives refused to give him food. Eventually he arrives in Heer's village and falls in love with her. Heer's father offers Ranjha a job herding his cattle. Heer becomes   mesmerized by the way Ranjha plays his flute and eventually falls in love with him secretly for many years   until they are caught by Heer's jealous uncle, Kaido, and her parents Chuchak and Malki. Heer is forced by her family and the local priest or 'Maulvi' to marry  another man called Saida Khera.
Ranjha is heartbroken. He wanders the countryside alone, until eventually he meets a 'jogi' (ascetic). After meeting Gorakhnath, the founder of the "Kanphata" (pierced ear) sect of jogis at Tilla Jogian (the 'Hill of Ascetics', located 50 miles north of the historic town of Bhera, Sargodha District, Punjab), Ranjha becomes a jogi himself, piercing his ears and renouncing the material world. Reciting the name of the Lord (Rabb) he wanders all over Punjab, eventually finding the village where Heer now lives.
The two return to Heer's village, where Heer's parents agree to their marriage. However, on the wedding day, Kaido poisons her food so that the wedding will not take place. Hearing this news, Ranjha rushes to aid Heer, but is too late, as she has already eaten the poison and died. Brokenhearted once again, Ranjha takes the poisoned Laddu (sweet) which Heer has eaten and dies by her side.
Heer and Ranjha are buried in Heer's hometown, Jhang. Love-smitten couples and others often pay visits to their mausoleum.


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”

Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14.  The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). In Europe, Saint Valentine's Keys are given to lovers "as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart", as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine's Malady). Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion,  as well as in the Lutheran Church.  Many parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church 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 Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna. 

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 saloka “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 // (Rig 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 // (Rig 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.

--E-MAIL message sent by Hindu Reflections on February 7, 2017
Paramacharya -Universal Love

Love and compassion to all beings should fill our hearts always. Where there is love, there is the expression of divinity, for God is love. Even as a light behind a screen becomes visible in all its splendor when the screen is removed, so too, there is an effulgence of jnana and prema when evil desires, hatred and anger are removed from the mind. This truth has been brought out in songs of saints like Pattinathar and Ramalinga Swamigal. God also appeared as Mother. He was Thayumanavar (தாயுமானவர்) embodying and expressing the natural and spontaneous love of the mother to all children. God has love for all and all things; He is the ocean of love (kripaa samudram क्रुपासमुद्रम्).

Love between equals is called maitri (मैत्रि) or friendship; love shown to God and to superiors is bhakti and love to inferiors is kripa. A house cannot be built, nor can it stand, except on a strong and enduring foundation. The edifice of our life ought to be raised on the foundation of universal love. We frequently come across the expression “Dharma ensures success” (dharmamejayam தருமமே ஜயம்). This dharma should be basis of our life. Katchaleswara Agraharam and the adjoining parts of Madras are known as Kandakoshtam, like Kumarakoshtam in Kanchi. And Sri Ramalinga Swamigal has praised Madras in the words, Dharmamihu sennai (தர்மமிகு சென்னை). Madras is justly renowned for its charity. He taught us the unity of grace and love – the arul (அருள்) of Siva and anbu (அன்பு) of the Divine Mother – both of which can be earned only by leading the dharmic way of life (nanneri நன்னெரி). If our heart is filled with love, we will qualify for the grace of God.

"Acharya's Call"- invaluable speeches given by His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamiji
                                                                                                  April 2, 1958