Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Dear blog readers,
Knowing your interest in these E-mails I have been able to recover many more E mails sent during the year 2016 to my regular participants which would make an interesting study for you  during your leisure hours on  a variety of subjects. Your comments are welcome. Please enjoy.



Practical Application of Trigunas
The author below  makes  many references to  prac tical applicatins of  Trigunas.  Let me refer to important one. Hindu Caste System which falsely draws support from Varna to make caste birth-right,  described in Vedas for divine administration of the Universe with 33 devatas (controllers) by Deva. They details are found  in BAU. Bhagavad Gita talks about   “Chaatur  varnyam” and not “Chaturvarnaah "  and "gunakarma vibhagasah". There is a scuttle difference here from language point of view which point is missed by many, taking little liberty of Sanskrit grammar. The first one can be attributed to birth; but the second one refers to characteristics being developed by each individual.  Gita says the four-fold order has been created by Bhagawan according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma. Manu says everybody is born with Sudra Characteristic-Janmanaa jaayate Sudrah. Only at the end one can decide whether he remained as Sudra alone or became a Vaisya, Kshatriya being Dvija or Sudra. In Vedic culture majority  decided to go through Upanayana Samskara but few remained without it including women.  There were many women Vedic scholars earlier. This Lord himself demonstrated. Krishna started as a Sudra, became a Kshatriya and ended as a great  Guru teaching Gita and guiding Arjuna through a holy war  refusing to participate in Mahabharata War. This you can also see in many others like Valmiki, Viswamitra, Rishabha and many more. Therefore   these characteristics are based on Trigunas and their mix and not birth related about which I had discussed in my discourse on Caste System. Dr. Kartikeyan  who is  a     well-read scholar unlike me   has  thrown more light on it. Please go through:
"Let us   consider Plato’s theory on the class structure of society. According to him society has a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite – spirit – reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite, spirit and reason stand for different parts of the body. The class that corresponds to the “appetite” part of the soul is the Productive class representing the abdomen of the body. They comprise of the manual laborers and include merchants also.  The spirit class is the Protective class representing the chest. They constitute the warriors or guardians of the society. Into this class come the brave, adventurous and strong people. The third class is the Governing class corresponding to the reason part of the soul. They represent the head of the body and consist of individuals who are ‘intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom and therefore well suited to make decisions for the community’. They are rulers of the society. [May be he refers to Atman in Western concept and Trigunas as Tripartite class!]
It can be seen that Plato is simply repeating the class divisions of Hindu scriptures with only one modification. He limits the classes to three as against four in the scriptures. We will see the details of the Hindu divisions – called Varṇa(s) in the scriptures – below.  Plato’s restriction of the classes into three is defective. He covered only the abdomen, chest and head of the body, but ignored the legs. Without legs, the body is not complete. [Please refer to Purushasookta where leg is referred to Sudra as well as Earth] This mutilation finds expression in his class division also. It is evident that the merchants and agriculturists cannot be considered as mere manual laborers and also that the other two classes would require manual helpers in the discharge of their duties. Such helpers cannot be included in the ‘appetite’ class. This vindicates the four-fold class division of the Hindus. [All the three cannot be supported without Legs. English Language speaks of Stand on your own legs!]
Divisions of society into various categories or rather types have been there from ancient times. Hindu scriptures prescribe four types of people (Varṇa) in society, differentiated by the ‘color’ of each individual. This ‘color’ does not indicate the color of the skin, but the inherent inclination in choosing the type of Karma for achieving one’s ends (4.13 of Gīta). Therefore, this classification finds expression in one’s Karma that he opts when left with many options. For this purpose, Karma(s) are divided into four categories, respectively dealing with education and learning, security and protection, food production and commerce, and finally, rendering manual assistance for the above three categories (For details see Gīta 18.42, 43 & 44). A close look will reveal that this is an “inner to outer” classification. Those who are naturally concerned with the inner-most aspect of existence are termed as the Brāhmaṇa (ब्राह्मण) and those concerned with the outer-most aspect as Śūdra (शूद्र). In between these two, come the Kṣatriya (क्षत्रिय) and the Vaiśya (वैश्य), according to each one’s closeness to the inner or outer aspects. Kṣatriya comes next to Brāhmana and Vaiśya comes before Shūdra.
The society is a collective entity consisting of all these types. Each type is so important that without it the society will not prosper. (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.4.11 to 1.4.14). [This was divine society  classification in BAU which Gita brought down to Earth. Brahman's 33 controllers needed them too to support society]. Therefore, mutual respect and understanding and also joint efforts by these four types are essential for the stability and progress of the society. So, what is required is not antagonism among the types, but their peaceful co-existence; for, nature’s diversity is not for contradiction or antagonism, but for ensuring physical existence. The scriptures, on account of their declaration that the whole universe emerged from and is possessed by a single ever-existent entity, cannot think otherwise. They recognize the diversity and at the same time go beyond it and see the unity that projects the diversity. [All clouded Aatmans can ultimately join untainted  Paramatman  the Universal Light. There isa Universal approach for allo Aatmans to join Paramaatman sooner or later]

Practical application of the concept of Gunas
By Pradeep Srivastava |  IndiaDivine.Org
Before we get into the practical applications of the concept of gunas, it would make sense to have a basic understanding of what gunas are. The following excerpt from Wkipedia would provide an overview of the gunas.
“Guṇa (Sanskrit: गुण) depending on the context means ‘string, thread or strand’, or ‘virtue, merit, excellence’, or ‘quality, peculiarity, attribute, property’. The concept originated in Samkhya philosophy, but now a key concept in various schools of Hindu philosophy. There are three gunas, according to this worldview, that have always been and continue to be present in all things and beings in the world. These three gunas are called: sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic).
All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different, according to Hindu worldview. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.
In some contexts, it may mean ‘a subdivision, species, kind, quality’, or an operational principle or tendency of something or someone. In human behavior studies, Guna means personality, innate nature and psychological attributes of an individual.”
There is no single word in English language translation for the concept guna. The usual, but approximate translation is “quality”.
As you can see, in the material world, gunas are all-encompassing. Even an atom, which makes up all the objects of the world, has the three gunas manifested in it: sattva in the proton, rajas in the electron, and tamas in the neutron. All the three gunas are present in everyone and everything in varying proportions. Typically, we use gunas to describe characteristics of human beings, but there is no reason that the gunas cannot be used to describe the characteristics of all the entities of the material world, living as well non-living.
Gunas can also be used to characterize all the fundamental operational principles that have been identified by philosophers. However, since I am thoroughly familiar with only Hinduism, I intend to focus only on the philosophy of Hinduism. I have tried to be as thorough as possible, but I suspect that there are infinite applications of the concept of gunas and therefore, no one person can capture all the applications. After I hit the number 18 on these applications, I decided to stop, for 18 is an auspicious number and even Gita and Mahabharata  stops after 18 chapters. I am sure the reader will get the message that I am trying to convey. I hope that, going forward, others would further expand on the applications of the concept of gunas.
[In 18,  1 stands for Saguna Brahman followed by 8 his Eight  controllers (Ashta Dikpalakas) It holds good even if 1 extends to infinity by adding several Sunyas who  as zero(Nirguna Brahman) remains as silent invisible spectator--NRS]

1. Living Being (Experiencer)=Intellect, Mind, and Body
Intellect=Sattva; Mind=Rajas; Body=Tamas
2. Living Being (Experiences)=Thinks, Feels, and Perceives
Thinking=sattva; Feeling=Rajas; Perception=Tamas
3. Living Being (Fields of Experience)=Thoughts, Emotions, and Objects
Thoughts=Sattva; Emotions=Rajas; Objects=Tamas
4. Five Elements=Sky, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth
Sky=Sattva; Air, Fire, Water=Rajas; Earth=Tamas
5. Five Knowledge Sense Organs=Ears, Skin, Eyes, Tongue, and Nose
Ears=Sattva; Skin, Eyes, Tongue=Rajas; Nose=Tamas
6. Five Knowledge Senses=Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste, and Smell
Sound=Sattva; Touch, Sight, Taste=Rajas; Smell=Tamas
7. Five Work Sense Organs=Mouth, Hands, Feet, Reproductive Organ, and Excretory Organ
Mouth=Sattva; Hands, Feet, Reproductive Organ=Rajas; Excretory Organ=Tamas
8. Five Work Senses=Speech, Grasping, Locomotion, Reproduction, and Excretion
Speech=Sattva; Grasping, Locomotion, Reproduction=Rajas; Excretion=Tamas
9. Five Koshas=Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vigyanamaya Kosha, and Anandamaya Kosha
Anandamaya Kosha =Sattva; Vigyanamaya Kosha+Manomaya Kosha + Pranamaya Kosha=Rajas; Annamaya Kosha=Tamas
10. Seven Chakras=Muladhara(Lowest), Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna, and Sahaswara(Highest)
Anahata+Vishuddha+Ajna+Sahaswara=Sattva; Svadhisthana+Manipura+Anahata=Rajas; Muladhara=Tamas
11. Antahkarana=Manas, Buddhi, Chitta, and Ahamkara
Buddhi+Chitta=Sattva; Manas=Rajas; Ahamkara=Tamas
12. Four States of Consciousness=Waking, Dreaming, Deep Sleep, and Turiya (the base-consciousness, Brahman, that transcends the other three states of consciousness)
Waking=Sattva; Dreaming=Rajas; Deep Sleep=Tamas
13. Five Pranas=Prana, Apana, Udana, Samana, and Vyana
Prana=Sattva; Udana+Samana+Vyana=Rajas; Apana=Tamas
14. Three Bodies=Causal Body, Subtle Body, and Gross Body
Causal Body=Sattva; Subtle Body=Rajas; Gross Body=Tamas
(Note: Causal Body (Karana Sharira)=Sheath of Bliss (Anandamaya Kosha); Subtle Body (Sukshma Sharira)=Sheath of Intellect (Vigyanama Kosha)+Sheath of Mind (Manomaya Kosha); Sheath of Vitality (Pranamaya Kosha); Gross Body (Sthula Sharira)=Sheath of Food (Annamaya Kosha))
15. Fourteen Worlds (Lokas)=7 Higher Lokas (Bhu, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahas, Janas, Tapas, and Satya) + 7 Lower Lokas (Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahaatala, Rasaatala, and Patala)
16. Four Varnas=Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras
Brahmans=Sattva; Kshatriyas=Sattva+Rajas; Vaishyas=Rajas+Tamas; Shudras=Tamas
17. Four Ashramas=Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sannyas
Brahmacharya=Sattva; Grihastha=Rajas+Tamas; Vanaprastha=Sattva+Rajas; Sannyas=Sattva
18. Four Purusharthas=Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha
Dharma=Sattva; Artha=Rajas+Tamas; Kama=Rajas+Tamas; Moksha=Sattva
It is not hard to see how deep, thoughtful, and insightful the philosophy of Hinduism is. I also hope that this write-up would inform the reader about certain core principles of Hinduism and hopefully motivate one to study those principles in detail, especially, in light of the fact that in the era of Internet so much information on every topic is so readily available online, free of charge.
Please go through my detailed discourse on the subject:
--E-Mail sent on June 19, 2016

To BE or NOT TO BE is in our hands implies  Kathopanishad while explaining the imperishable nature   of Aatman(Self) which Bhagavad Gita reiterates "na hanyate hanyamane sareere". Focusing on BE we remain happy (preyas) in this life and also prepare to be ever joyful (Sreyas)   after  many lives or this life itself. The choice is in our hands. But there are a handful today who have chosen the path of NOT TO BE. They have in that thinking not only brought enormous misery to the world but to their group too  as you witnessed in Orlando and at many other places.  But what can we do? Let us pray to that Supreme to  help these helpless to turn in the direction of BE and not  NOT -TO-BE. Is that possible?  We have the example of the great sage Valmiki.  We all say Ramayana is History and not Mythology. Then it should be possible! Let us try!   But I am not Solomon! Let us hear  to the words  of wisdom of Swami Chidananda and the inspirational song from our philanthropic poet!
You know Upanishadic thoughts are inspired by the thought "BEING wanted to BECOMING". Vedas project Tadekam. He was alone and Happy being BE. He was bored. He wanted to be "BECOMING"(Nasdeeya Sukta).  He brought forth this world of opposites "TO BE" and "NOT TO BE" for his sport (leela). We are caught in his Amusement. But He is gracious to leave the choice to us. He is the silent observer watching the fun! The ball is in our court!
 " What a great spiritual thought to take it with an open heart"

Being Be at any given time
Is” like to be alike all the time
In any given situation
In life
Long or brief
Be it be
Made of joy
Be it be
Made of grief
Which can transpire
With every respire
In meditation
Then again
With Consecration
One can attain
Being Be
In everyday Occupation
One can sustain
Being Be”
“Being Like to be Alike”
“Without Becoming

As Self has no physical form
It has no charm nor harm

Realizing the difference
Spiritual and physical
In Sheen

Will dissolve the illusion
Will absolve the delusion

“But mortals like me
Is too blind to see”



50% of our sorrow (much more actually) will leave us if we grasp the meaning of the Upanishadic revelations that point out that we, in our true nature, do not change at all!
We are "avyaya-svarupa"!

Kathopanishad 1:2:19 declares,
"You are the soul, which neither gets injured nor injures anyone"

नायँ हन्ति हन्यते ||
nāyam hanti, na hanyate ||

The belief that we have fallen, we are not progressing, we are way behind others, our meditation is not good etc. (and not facts) create sorrow.
Putting aside these beliefs and staying free of conclusions restores 50% of our "paradise lost"!

Don't get lost in the dreamy business of BECOMING!
Swami Chidananda
--June  16, 2016
Is it wrong to say India is a Hindu Country?
May I draw your kind attention to my discourses Why I am called a Hindu and Vedanta Religion is everlasting, universal and unifying spirituality.  In this context it is worth going through the write up by Maria Wirth who lived for long in India:
"Though I have lived in India for a long time, there are still issues here that I find hard to understand. For example, why do so many educated Indians become agitated when India is referred to as a Hindu country? The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of Hinduism. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression that an India which valued those roots would be dangerous? Don’t they know better?
This attitude is strange for two reasons. First, those educated Indians seem to have a problem only with “Hindu” India, but not with “Muslim” or “Christian” countries. Germany, for example, is a secular country, and only 59 percent of the population are registered with the two big Christian churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under “Christian countries” and no one objects. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, stressed recently the Christian roots of Germany and urged the population “to go back to Christian values.” In 2012 she postponed her trip to the G-8 summit to make a public address on Katholikentag, “Catholics Day.” Two major political parties carry Christian in their name, including Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.
Germans are not agitated that Germany is called a Christian country, though I actually would understand if they were. After all, the history of the Church is appalling. The so-called success story of Christianity depended greatly on tyranny. “Convert or die” were the options given—not only some five hundred years ago to the indigenous population in America, but also in Germany, 1,200 years ago, when the emperor Karl the Great ordered the death sentence for refusal of baptism in his newly conquered realms. This provoked his advisor Alkuin to comment: “One can force them to baptism, but how to force them to believe?”
Those times, when one’s life was in danger for dissenting with the dogmas of Christianity, are thankfully over. Today many in the West do dissent and are leaving the Church in a steady stream. They are disgusted with the less-than-holy behavior of Church officials and they also can’t believe in the dogmas, for example that “Jesus is the only way” and that God sends all those who don’t accept this to hell.
The second reason why I can’t understand the resistance to associate India with Hinduism is that Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam, was undoubtedly the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind acceptance of dogmas and the suspension of one’s intelligence. On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one’s intelligence to the hilt. It is an enquiry into truth based on a refined character and intellect. It comprises a huge body of ancient literature, not only regarding dharma and philosophy, but also regarding music, architecture, dance, science, astronomy, economics, politics, etc. If Germany or any other Western country had this kind of literary treasure, it would be so proud and highlight its greatness on every occasion. When I discovered the Upanishads, for example, I was stunned. Here was expressed in clear terms what I intuitively had felt to be true, but could not have expressed clearly. Brahman is not partial; it is the invisible, indivisible essence in everything. Everyone gets again and again a chance to discover the ultimate truth and is free to choose his way back to it. Helpful hints are given but not imposed.
In my early days in India I thought every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the elite from their ancient tradition but even making them despise it. It helped that the British-educated class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many so-called “modern” Indians are against anything Hindu. They don’t realize the difference between Western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage, if not forbid, their adherents to think on their own, and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.
Many of the Indian educated class do not realize that those who dream of imposing Christianity or Islam on this vast country will applaud them for denigrating Hindu Dharma, because this creates a vacuum where Western ideas can easier gain a foothold. At the same time, many Westerners, including staunch Christians, know the value of Hindu culture and surreptitiously appropriate insights from the vast Indian knowledge system, drop the original Hindu source and present it either as their own or make it look as if these insights had already been known in the West. As the West appropriates valuable and exclusive Hindu assets, what it leaves behind is deemed inferior. Unwittingly, these Indians are helping what Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation calls the digestion of Dharma civilization into Western universalism. That which is being digested, a deer for example, in this case Hindu Dharma, disappears whereas the digester (a tiger) becomes stronger.
If only missionaries denigrated Hindu Dharma, it would not be so bad, as they clearly have an agenda which discerning Indians would detect. But sadly, Indians with Hindu names assist them because they wrongly believe Hinduism is inferior to Western religions. They belittle everything Hindu instead of getting thorough knowledge. As a rule, they know little about their tradition except what the British have told them, i.e., that the major features are the caste system and idol worship. They don’t realize that India would gain, not lose, if it solidly backed its profound and all-inclusive Hindu tradition. The Dalai Lama said some time ago that, as a youth in Lhasa, he had been deeply impressed by the richness of Indian thought. “India has great potential to help the world,” he added.
When will the Westernized Indian elite realize it?
~ Maria Wirth (freelance writer who has lived in India" 
Can anybody question why statue of Jesus Christ with the Epitaph INRI and Kaba the Blackstone in Mecca are venerated? Which Religion has proclaimed loudly "Eko Vipraah bahudaa  vadanti" "aatmavat sarvabhooteshu" "sarvejanah sukhino  bhavantu" "Krinvanto Viswamaryam" and all souls can be liberated and each one  has to work it out to exhaust one's own Karma and there isno savior? Sindhu Tattva wrongly Spelt as Hindu Tattva is all-inclusive and Universal.

--June 2016
  Wise Advice on Meditation by Swami Chidananda
Dhyaana (meditation)   is a continuous remembrance of the object of thought without any alien thought intervening in the middle. A Yogi becomes sthitaprajnya (steadfast) on account of meditation. This necessitates turning inwards and not focusing on an external object like a Moorti as promoted by Bhakti Marga for Moorti Upasana which includes loud Bhajans in groups. Dhyana calls for a mantra. By  its very definition mananaat traayate iti Mantrah, by contemplating on which one gets saved (from the shackles of worldly pains and pleasures), mantra is a powerful tool in the minds of a yogi. Ramanuja says “Dhyaanam hi vijaateeya prtyayaantara avyaahitam eka chintanam”—Dhyaana is the cause of gaining greatness. Gita says one should meditate being seated comfortably. Concentration of the mind becomes possible only then. Great persons appear similar to those who are engrossed in deep meditation on account of the fact they are keeping silent. Swami Chinmayananda says “when you pray you speak and God listens and when you meditate silently He speaks and you listen without any interruption”. Swami Chidananda has the following to say quoting from an  ancient Upanishad Cahndogya as well as Skanda Upanishad which has joined the band wagon of the Principle Upanishads promoted by Puranas  dedicted to  Kartikeya.  Skanda Upanishad recommends Meditation to be performed without the aid of an icon turning inwards like Chandogya.
"Go for regular meditation," advises Chāndogya Upanishad (7:6:1).

dhyānam upāssva |
ध्यानम् उपास्स्व |

छान्दोग्य उपनिषद्

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 when we have not tapped the benefits of meditation.
“Everything great in nature seems to be silent and looks as if   meditating—the Earth, the Sky, The Mid Region and the Celestial Region. The Waters, the Mountains are as if meditating! Gods (Hayagrieva, Narasimha, Krishna) and Men (Buddha, Rishabha) are as if meditating. So those who have gained greatness among men are as if they have gained it through the aspect of meditation.  Unlike those who are inferiors are quarrelsome, slandering and abusive. Those who have gained greatness on account of wealth and others are all those who have gained it  on account of a portion of the results of contemplation. So meditate upon concentrated meditation as Brahman. He who meditates upon contemplation as Brahman will have free movement at will in the entire region of it” says the whole Mantra in Chandogya Upanishad.

Skanda Upanishad (mantra 11) says:

अभेददर्शनं ज्ञानं
ध्यानं निर्विषयं मनः
स्नानं मनोमलत्यागः शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः

Note the second quarter here says - dhyanam nirvishayam manah.
Meditation is when your mind is not (occupied by or) pursuing any (sense objects or) images!

Ordinary knowledge is much to do with filling.

Upanishads recognize the place of acquisitive knowledge but excel in giving us insights into "letting go" of names and forms. They can help us inquire, "Who am I?" and give up our notions of who we are.
Filling is important at times; emptying is "the need" at other times!
Such a thought coming from an Upanishad of recent origin propitiating a Purnic deity  may be intriguing. Anything associated with Kartikeya should be serious!    Those who know Skanda as Guruguha who even surpassed Lord Siva known for meditation, unlike his playful brother Ganesha running with Modaka, should not be a surprise!
In this context may I draw your kind attention to my detailed discourse on Meditation:
--E-Mail sent on June 5, 2016

Why US Hindu Temples are open all day on Memorial Day?

Monday May 30 is Memorial Day. My thoughts were focused on a Hindu Temple Special Religious Events Pamphlet which says that Temple will be kept open all day long with special worship being conducted by  way of Shiva Abhishekam and Aarati not forgetting Ganesha, the principal deity who under any circumstance cannot be ignored as he is the Prathma Vandita and Gate-keeper of Shiva, his other son having moved away from the family who did not want to play the second fiddle though only celebrity in Ramayana. It is very thoughtful of our founding fathers to have thought about Shiva and Not Vishnu on this day as Shiva's permanent residence is in Smashan and his travel is between Smashana and Kailsha mostly. Devotees therefore wait for him for Mahapradosha time every fortnight when he is supposed to visit temples. But this is doubtful in these days of mounting death rates due to Al Qaeda killings, natural disasters, frequent accidents and epidemics and suicides which keeps him busy in Smashanas even during Pradosha period. It is interesting to go through the light thrown by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev the relevant portion of which I have extracted for your information which will in the meantime justify I am not exaggerating or creating my own story. In order to please orthodoxy temple traditions always associate Siva sanctums with Brahma though they push him to a niche in the northern wall but give him equal respect in worship! In association with the creator the fear of samashana is forgotten and associated with pleasant memories of Soothikagriha birthplace which is not considered as "asaucham" or impurity by orthodoxy in temple area and makes it fit place for worship.
Memorial Day marks the day to commemorate the sacrifices of our real heroes in freeing us from negative forces. It is the day to remember those who died in the line of their duty. I met a teenager who was heading the local cemetery rather than hitting the mall to enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend sales. I was filled with awe at the attitude of gratitude that youth carried in his heart. It is indeed okay to enjoy the weekend get-together or getaway or just hit the mall to collect more trinkets but it is essential to keep the real essence of the day alive.
“The moment of death or the possibility of death is the most intense experience in most human beings’ lives. Most of them would have never touched that level of intensity throughout their lives. In their love, in their laughter, in their joy, in their ecstasy, in their misery – nowhere else do they touch that level of intensity – only in death!
Shiva has shifted his residence to kayanta or smashan. Shma refers to shava or corpse, shan refers to shanya or bed. Where the dead bodies lie, that is where he resides, because he realized working with living people is a waste of time. You cannot get them to the pitch of intensity that is needed. You have to do so many tricks to make people a little intense. The instinct of survival is dominant in every other creature. With the phase of evolution where we have become human, a higher level of awareness and intelligence has entered into our lives – this is the time where the instinct of survival can be kept down and the longing to expand should be fired up.
Shiva sits at the smashan, bored with you and your play, bored because the whole drama all over town is absolutely stupid. The only real thing happens at the cremation ground. Maybe at the moment of birth and the moment of death, something is happening. Maternity homes and cremation grounds are the only two sensible places, though maternity is happening a little too much. Shiva is sitting at a place where life makes utmost sense. But if you are fearful, if you are on survival or self-preservation mode, this will not make sense to you. Only if you are longing to expand and touch the ultimate, it will make sense to you. He is not interested in those who want to survive”-- Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev.
Unfortunately the clever Vaishnavas have been able to convince Hindus that Smashana is a fearful, loathsome and impure place and God cannot be found there. Visiting cremation grounds is prohibited though many Pandas enjoy their life their exploiting the ignorant. One has to purify himself by bath and other purification rituals before entering even his own house, leave alone temples! They forget even Krishna was cremated as a human being!  They have also convinced that Siva when he lives in the company of Brahma who is in charge of soothikagriha, birthplace, his residing place becomes a temple and not smashana.  But look at other religions. They celebrate All Souls Day and    Memorial Day   and keep the burial ground neat and clean with beautiful flower pots kept ever fresh and visited frequently and celebrated on important days with all dear and near ones! We call them Mlecchas too! Celebrate Memorial Day praying for all departed souls who have sacrificed their lives for us and meditating upon the most auspicious Veda mantra "Trayambakam Yajamahe"
--E-Mail sent on May 26, 2016
 Why Vaishnavas do not worship Navagrahas?
First of all  Navagrahas can’t  draw support from  astronomy as this is a concoction by modern astrologers, may be  based on some Purans, as I had explained earlier.  Also modern astrology is not truly based astronomy but like Puranas have been-made-to-believe by astrologers. Jyotisha in Vedic culture was true science and existed focused on astronomy. Over thousands of years this has been corrupted, concocted and falsified and has become a myth called astrology.  To draw additional support even a sookta has been created by some Sanskrit scholar later with no reference to Vedas or Upanihads and a Rishi.   One strong argument in this  context is Makara Sankranti which we are made to believe as Uttrayana Punyakala. We all know that Winter Solstice day falls on December 22 and celebrated in many faiths.  No astrologer or Panchangam ever tried to correct the situation as it affects the fraudulent business and ritualism o focused on Hindu Worship.
 Vaishnava Tradition is focused on single God (Eko Devah) worship on Lord Maha Vishnu as Sriman Narayana and worship only Vishnu and the Vishnu's Parivara and accompaniments.  Worship of Garuda,   Lakshmi, Hanuman, Sudarsana and Vishwaksena are very common in Vishnu Temples. Generally there are no separate sanctums for subordinate deities like Garuda, Sudarsana and Hanuman etc. Garuda is often found outside near the flag post. Vaishnavas believe praying only to Lord Narayana or Krishna (Krishnaarpanamastu; Narayaneti samarpayami)   and feel no need not go through various sub-deities. Vaishnavas treat all other deities as limited power Devatas.  No Azhwar sang in praise of   any Navagraha so there is no place for Navagrahas in Hindu Temples.  Vishnu temples are constructed based on Vaikhanasa and Panchaaratra Agamas.  Navagraha shrine inside a Vishnu temple is not provided in these Agamas. Among 108 Divya Desam Temples only one temple has a separate sanctum for Navagrahas--Sri Koodal Azhagar Perumal Temple, Madurai (probably influenced by local strong Saivism later) has this distinction. These 107 temples serve as guide lines for Vaishnava followers. While Rama is believed to have worshiped Siva and Navagrahas together in Rameshwaram, he is found worshiping Aditya (Surya-Narayana) by meditation only in Ramayana with sole focus as described in Ramayana. There is no Navagraha sanctum or worship in Kali (worshiped as Durga) Temple in Kolkata also. It is strange both Saivas and Vaishnavas are believers in Astrology however false calculated they may be even when based on wrong astronomy exploited by astrologers.   
Kolaru Pathigam composed by Thirujnaana Sambandhar   praises Navagrahas and thus Siva temples have Navagraha Sanctums.  Siva followers attach too much importance to sub-deities. They believe Siva is CEO with many sub-ordinates and feels sub-ordinates should be pleased first to approach CEO and get his blessings! Unless you please Ganesha (Prathama Vandita) you can’t please Siva! It goes with Hindu culture to please or bribe the subordinates first to get the favor of the boss!   He worshiped Surya as Parabrahman   exclusively. If he had worshiped Siva and Navagrahas together in Rameswaram area why such mention is not made anywhere in Valmiki Ramayana which is so detailed and elaborate? Valmiki was quite   aware of Lord Kartikeya for whom he has devoted a chapter but there is no mention of Ganesha either.  I believe Rama worshiping Durga or Siva in Linga form is later concoction by Saiva puranas.   If at all Rama worshiping Durga or Siva is found in Ramayanas it should be in later versions of Ramayana from different authors. Only Valmiki Ramayana is Adikavya and authentic historic version if Ramayana can be justified as History and not Myth. Even original Lanka is disputed as to be the modern Sri Lanka known for long as Ceylon.
On my E-mail as to the myth of  Navagraha  and Sivalinga  consecration and worship by  Rama in Devipattinam and Rameswaram  I received the following comment from a very learned and orthodox  Saivite which is interesting!
“The concept of Navagrahas is based on fraud, deception and cheating.  The astrologers for thousands of years made fool of Hindus, and still continuing.  As long as the people are fools, crook astrologers will continue to exploit the fools.  The sons and daughters of these astrologers have become doctors and engineers by studying the present day sciences and technologies in colleges and universities.  Just because Rama worshipped Navagrahas, or killed Vali from behind his back, or deserted his pregnant wife, all the Vaishnavas need not follow Rama.  Even Saint Thyagaraja Swamy asked Rama in his song as "Sri Rangaraju Vibeeshananiki Banga Naamamu Itina Reethi........"  As you said, Vaishnavas pray only Vishnu and Thaayaar.  They never pray Shiva or enter Shiva Temple.  They even tell their children as "Yaanai Thuratthinaalum sivan koil ulle pokaathe."  The meaning is "Even if an elephant is chasing you, never enter a Sivan temple for saving your life".  "Be prepared to die but never enter a Sivan temple".  In some of the Vaishnava temples, they put naamam and call Ganesha as Thumbikkai Aazhvaar.  I beg off you to avoid posting such a controversial article.”        
Nobody in my house ever visited a Siva temple nor worshiped Navagrahas.  But they all believed in horoscopes whether right or wrong; that was the main criterion for marriage negotiations. My marriage was also based on one such consideration.  My birth star was Visakha as per my original horoscope which I kept hidden from my   parents.  But after many years I found the horoscope-exchanged showed my star was Swathi.  I do not know whether my father was in league with astrologers to change my birth star to make or horoscopes compatible   or my original horoscope was wrong?  Astrologers will do anything for money! Any how I have spent more than 55 years of happy married life thanks to Karma! Similarly I found my sister-in law’s birth star was also manipulated to suit the occasion of my brother’s wedding.  I wonder whether horoscopes have any significance in our life or their influence though we often resort to Navagraha Santi?  Navagraha altars are ever busy which at the same time reveals lineage, my identity and origin from the beginning of times. This horoscope exchange business will soon vanish in Hindu American lifestyle. Most of them do not have any horoscopes, I believe, which may disappoint astrologers who want to continue their business in USA!
I was quite upset with my orthodox Grand-father who was upset with me for visiting Ganesha temple and circumambulating Navagrahas, with his orthodox and sectarian outlook.  After seeing the comments from my religious Saivite I am now forced to believe my grand-father was right. We do not have temples for Brahma for he has nothing to do with practicalities of life after having pushed us to this world.  In fact he is the cause for all our struggles for existence as we had nowhere else to go out of acquired Karma! Therefore only the Vishnu aspect of Brhaman is meaningful to us as he is the care-taker till we die. Siva-aspect of Brahman does not come to the picture like Brahma-aspect in life-time. In GOD we focus only  on  O which stands for Operation! Siva is repeatedly praised as Smasaanavaasa or Kailasavasa. So his rightful place can’t be temples like for Brahma. However he is the future planner of life who needs to be kept in good humors and meditated upon. The overemphasized Siva’s and his subordinates’ worship and rituals in temples seems to be exaggerated based on the  Vedas which insists only on meditation on Brahman. It is superfluous to approach many devatas except to focus on One Deva and his practical role in our life as Narayana in temple rituals and worship. As composite Trimurti, both Jagannatha and Venkateswara seems to be ideal for iconic worship or Murthi  Upasana in Hindu American Temples to suit all traditions fulfilling Puranic and Sectarian  thirst and desire of many as well as Vedic wisdom(tvam rudrastvam, vishustvam brahmastvam)  of the spiritually inclined in the passing phase  before switching over to Vedanta Religion from the most confused and complicated  Hinduism as is practiced today guided by Puranas and Astrologers.
From spiritual  perspective here is how these nine grahas are understood in Hindu astrology. The sun represents the soul, the heart, the father, authority, heat, power and ambition. The moon is the mind, mother, water, coolness, emotions, memory and common sense. Mars is courage, bravery, sports, competition, maleness, passion, action, war, cuts and burns. Mercury is intelligence, learning, teaching, speech, expression, communication and writing. Jupiter is fortune, expansion, wealth, children, religion, philosophy and wisdom. Venus is marriage, love, romance, luxuries, prosperity, femininity, artistic expression, grace, and beauty. Saturn is slowness, struggle, discipline, dryness, labor, asceticism, accidents, and chronic disease. Rahu is material desire, dullness, ignorance, laziness, sleep and addictions and ancestral karma. Ketu is asceticism, spirituality, psychic ability, ghosts, eccentricity and occultism.

Lord Rama is the inspiration/Promoter for Temple Traditions (Rameshavram/ Devipattinam)  and Mass Festival Celebrations (Dipavali).   

Here is a reference to Veknkatesa Suprabhatam: Suryendu Bhouma Budha Vaakpati Kaavya souri |Svarbhaanu ketu dvishat parishat pradhaanaah|tvaddaasa daasa charamaavati daasa daasaah | Sri Venkataachalapate! tava Suprabhaatam (Meaning):" Lord Of Venkata  Hills ! May this dawn be an auspicious one for You ! The Sun , the son of Sun ( Saneeswaran) , Moon, Kuja,   Ketu, Budha and other Grahas (life-catchers) of the sky are actually your servants'  (Garuda, Vishwaksena,Sudarsana) servants.   They are all here."  Venkateswara is believed to be Subrahmanya by some and Devi by some others. Yet  in this temple at no time there was any special  sanctum or worship for Navagrahas.  Ramanuja  decided the Icon to be that of Vishnu only since  Narayana as Parabrahman is also  Parasakti in his Saguna form and  also Brahma , Vishnu and Siva at the same time. Also the above Suprabhata  hymn reflects the Upanishadic thought of the  Mantra "Tasya bhaasaa sarvmidam Vibhaati" - All the luminaries stated in the hymn shine because of Narayana only showing their subservience to Venkateswara. The forms of worship in Puri Jagannath Temple as well as Tirupati  Venkateswara Tample baffles all devotees as to what these icons really represent   or symbolize?
Please find below the interesting description of   Devipattinam Navagraha Temple attached to Tilakeshwara Temple where Rama worshiped both in the vicinity of Ramesvaram Temple. I believe this should be Tilesvara Temple not Tilakeswara!

Devipattinam, where Rama installed and  worshiped  Navagrahas
"Posted by Abhilash Rajendran on
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Devipattinam   is a coastal village near Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that the Lord Rama prayed to Navagrahas at Devipattinam before embarking on his journey to Lanka. Lord Rama placed nine stones as symbols of the nine planets, Navagrahas, at Devipattanam and therefore the place is also known as Navapashanam or Navabashana. It is an important place visited by pilgrims on the way to Rameshwaram Dhaam.
The nine stones placed upright by Lord Ram can be still seen in the water close to the beach near a bathing ghat of the Thilakeshwar Temple, also known as Navagraha Temple. The nine stones symbolize the nine planets or Navagrahas.  Lord Rama performed the ritual so that the nine planets would shed their auspicious light on him in the battle with Ravana to rescue Sita.
The Thilakeshwar Temple is dedicated to Shiva and Parvathi (Durga). Shiva here is known as Tileswarar and the Goddess is known as Soundaryanayaki. The shrine has a beautiful image of an eight-armed Durga with weapons. The deity in the temple is worshiped with tila or sesame seeds. People come from India and around the world to Devipattinam to perform Tarpan (water-sesame oblation) for the ancestors.  Devipattinam is around 14 km northeast of Ramanathapuram.
*      -- E-Mail sent on May 21, 2016
Religion is Dharma
 There is no word equivalent Dharma in English language. The word religion is used for it although it doesn’t connote the same meaning. The word religion is so widely used that most people consider both words are synonymous.
Religion connotes a set of exclusive system of beliefs conforming to a strict theology originated by a particular person at a particular time sometimes sounding dogmatic and embodied in a particular book. The believers of a particular religion are deemed to be saved (for a possible entry in heaven on the judgment Day upon the cataclysmic end of the universe as in Christianity), while non-believers are presumed condemned to the eternal hell. This archaic concept together with an injunction to convert others based on historic inter-religious competition to enhance their numerical strength drives a zealot   of a religion to try to proselyte non-believers by force, coercion or temptation.  Many wars have ensued from religious strife throughout history.
Dharma in the Sanatana Dharma has no English equivalent. Foreigners called it Hinduism to compare it with other religions. The closest literal meaning of dharma can be true nature or duty. Hinduism over its long practice of Dharma got influenced by misunderstood Puranas and other religions   got diluted, corrupted and also got drifted and so one may not be wrong in calling it a religion or Hinduism. It also lost its association with the suffix “–ity” as in Christian-ity.   Mohammadan-ism later delinked itself from “ism” and called itself Islam by force. Other religions were helpless to delink with “–ism” at the hands of foreign rulers and had to console to the situation including Judaism. It is high time Hinduism corrects some of its wrong practices and reverts back To Sanatana Dharma based on wisdom of Upanishads and Vedas.
Sanatana Dharma connotes voluntary and open faith in an evolutionary Theology and Philosophy of   life. It focuses on the duty of man in the light of his true nature and the perennial and non-sectarian relationship of human being and the Ultimate Reality (GOD) representing the Unity of all Diversity manifested in the Nature and the Universe. Countless seers, sages, thinkers   and devotees  have contributed for millennia the scriptures of   Sanatana  Dharma which for our convenience and easy understanding as well as other religions Vivekananda called  Vedanta Religion instead of Vedanta Dharma.   Vedanta religion   is an Inclusive Path—according respect for alternative paths—for spiritual journey of life leading towards the realization of God within oneself, asserting that heaven and hell are basically states of mind within oneself depending on one’s Karma.  The word karma has entered into English dictionary. Vedanta religion has never prompted to proselyte or to wage wars against the followers of other religions; actually it has given shelters to the   victims of religious persecution of other faiths from all over the world. The living example are the followers of   Zarathustra    living as Parsis in India having been driven out of Iran enjoying their religious freedom.  So also Tibetan Buddhists. Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are among other leading religions rooted in the Vedanta Religion.  Hence Vedanta religion is Inclusive and peaceful. All religions as practiced today are Exclusive.
For practicing Vedanta Religion one need not   have to move out of  his  righteous religious practices.  In due course you will feel that there is no need for any barricaded religion and eliminate also beliefs and myths and focus on Dharma alone.
Swami Sivanada defined Dharma as follows:  Dharma is so called because it holds; dharma alone holds the people. The word Dharma is derived from the root  dhr=to hold and  its etymological meaning is that which holds this world or people of the world, or the whole creation from the microcosm to the macrocosm. That includes even environmental  safety and protection (Santi Mantras).   In plain word Dharma is generally defined as righteous-duty. It defines the principles of righteousness, the holiness and the principal of unity.
My discourse titled “Vedanta Religion—Everlasting, Universal and Unifying Spirituality” is   posted on the Blog Hindu Reflections : <Nrsrini.blogspot.com>
--E-mail sent on May 20, 2016

Is Ramyana Fact or Fiction
Stephen Knap who wrote this article is known for his writings on Hinduism. Probably he is more critical than his Hindu Counter parts.   Present govt. should take initiative to find out the truth in public interest like what Christianity has done. There are written records of the execution of Jesus from the non-Christian Roman Emperors that ruled Jerusalem at that time as well as inscriptions dating back to the 2nd century near the place he was killed.   I wonder how Knapp missed these research findings which he should have known.  Ramasetu controversy was started during the DMK Government when Congress was in power.  Rama was projected as an Aryana and Ravana Dravidian! Congress neither contradicted did or pursued the matter further in order to please their partner in Tamil Nadu. Till date no historic fact has been found to the contrary! Bible as well as Ramayana does indulge in oculist powers of Rama,   Jesus and Moses. I wonder how he missed Bithur near Kanpur which is claimed to be the place where Lava and Kusa were born and also Sabarimalai ! Some of the tribes referred in Ramayana do exist even to this  day With these   observations of mine in mind you may go through the exhaustive research findings of Stephen Knapp which gives food for thought for further research based on facts.
Research Findings of Stephen Knapp
In the year 2007, the idea of whether Lord Rama exists or not has been called into question, by no less than some of the politicians in India. So it is a wonder how such persons can be accepted as leaders of the people of India who should be concerned with preserving and protecting the culture of the country.
Obviously, they are neither concerned nor aware of the depths of information that can be found in support of the traditions for which India is especially known. Or, they are really attempting to dismantle or destroy the authority of the timeless nature of the   In regard to Lord Rama, the point about ancient history is that the farther you go back in time, the fewer references you can use that actually refer to the incident in history. There may be many commentaries, but few quotations to the actual events.
However, when it comes to the Ramayana and the history of Lord Rama, there have been numerous authors who have accepted the Ramayana as a history of ancient events. For example, the first Governor General of India, Sri Rajaji, wrote on the Ramayana and called it a history, as also did the English Indologist Sir William Jones. Various other western authors have made a study of the culture and history of the Ramayana, such as Philip Lutgendorf in his book Rama’s Story in Shiva’s City, California University; Joe Burkhalter Flueckiger and Laurie Sears in The Boundaries of Traditional Ramayana and Mahabharata Performances in South and Southeast Asia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; W. L. Smith on Ramayan Traditions in Eastern India, University of Stockholm, and others.
There are also numerous places that are indicated as the locations where various events happened in reference to the pastimes of Lord Rama and Sita. Thus, they are accepted as historical sites. I have personally visited many of these places, such as Ramesvaram, Nasik, Hampi, and others where there are particular locations and sites that are related to the events that took place in the life and adventures of Lord Rama. Many people accept these sites as the locations for the events described in the Ramayana. So how can this be unless there are not some reality behind it?
However, why is there not more archaeological evidence that points towards Rama’s existence? Because such an effort has not been made in India and systematic excavations have never been carried out, says historian Nandita Krishnan. She says that to doubt the existence of Rama is to doubt all literature. There is little archaeological or epigraphic evidence for either Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed, who are known only from the Bible and Koran respectively.(?) Does it mean they did not exist? If Rama performs miracles such as liberating Ahalya, the Biblical story of Jesus walking on water or the Koranic tale of Mohammed flying to heaven on a horse are equally miraculous. Such stories reinforce divinity.
She also describes in summary what areas the events of Lord Rama’s life took place. She explains: “The Ramayana is geographically very correct. Every site on Rama’s route is still identifiable and has continuing traditions or temples to commemorate Rama’s visit. Around 1000 BC or earlier, no writer had the means to travel around the country inventing a story, fitting it into local folklore and building temples for greater credibility.
“In 1975 the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed fourteen pillar bases of kasauti stone with Hindu motifs near the mosque at Ayodhya; reports of the excavations are available with the ASI. Rama was born in Ayodhya and married in Mithila, now in Nepal. Not far from Mithila is Sitamarhi, where Sita was found in a furrow, still revered as the Janaki kund constructed by her father Janaka. Rama and Sita left Mithila for Ayodhya via Lumbini. In 249 BC, Ashoka erected a pillar in Lumbini with an inscription referring to the visits by both Rama and Buddha to Lumbini. Ashoka was much nearer in time to Rama and would be well aware of his facts.
“Rama, Lakshmana and Sita left Ayodhya and went to Sringaverapura – modern Sringverpur in Uttar Pradesh – where they crossed the River Ganga. They lived on Chitrakoot hill where Bharata and Shatrughna met them and the brothers performed the last rites for their father. Thereafter, the three wandered through Dandakaranya in Central India, described as a land of Rakshasas, obviously tribes inimical to the brothers’ habitation of their land. Tribals are still found in these forests. The trio reached Nasik, on the River Godavari, which throbs with sites and events of Rama’s sojourn, such as Tapovan where they lived, Ramkund where Rama and Sita used to bathe, Lakshmankund, Lakshmana’s bathing area, and several caves in the area associated with their lives in the forest.
“Rama then moved to Panchavati near Bhadrachalam (AP), where Ravana abducted Sita. The dying Jatayu told them of the abduction, so they left in search of Sita. Kishkinda, near Hampi, where Rama first met Sugriva and Hanuman, is a major Ramayana site, where every rock and river is associated with Rama. Anjanadri, near Hospet, was the birthplace of Hanuman (Anjaneya); Sugriva lived in Rishyamukha on the banks of the Pampa (Tungabhadra); Sabari probably also lived in a hermitage there. Rama and the Vanara army left Kishkinda to reach Rameshwaram, where the Vanaras built a bridge to Lanka from Dhanushkodi on Rameshwaram Island to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. While parts of the bridge – known as Adam’s Bridge – are still visible, NASA’s satellite has photographed an underwater man-made bridge of shoals in the Palk Straits, connecting Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar. On his return from Sri Lanka, Rama worshiped Shiva at Rameshwaram, where Sita prepared a Linga out of sand. It is still one of the most sacred sites of Hinduism.
“Sri Lanka also has relics of the Ramayana. There are several caves, such as Ravana Ella Falls, where Ravana is believed to have hidden Sita to prevent Rama from finding her. The Sitai Amman Temple at Numara Eliya is situated near the Ashokavana where Ravana once kept her prisoner.
“All the places visited by Rama still retain memories of his visit, as if it happened yesterday. Time, in India, is relative. Some places have commemorative temples; others commemorate the visit in local folklore. But all agree that Rama was going from or to Ayodhya. Why doubt connections when literature, archaeology and local tradition meet? Why doubt the connection between Adam’s Bridge and Rama, when nobody else in Indian history has claimed its construction? Why doubt that Rama traveled through Dandakaranya or Kishkinda, where local non-Vedic tribes still narrate tales of Rama? Why doubt that he was born in and ruled over Ayodhya?
“Rama’s memory lives on because of his extraordinary life and his reign, which was obviously a period of great peace and prosperity, making Ramarajya a reference point. People only remember the very good or the very bad. Leftist historians have chosen to rubbish archaeology, literature and local tradition.”
Nandita Krishnan also adds that “Nobody believed that Homer’s Iliad was a true story till Troy was discovered after extensive archaeology. Unfortunately, the sites of the Ramayana and Mahabharata have now been built over many times and it may never be possible to excavate extensively either at Ayodhya or Mathura.”
To further verify this aspect of the history of Lord Rama, Pushkar Bhatnagar concludes that geographical evidence for the epics is abundant. There still exist many places like Rameshwaram, Kishkindha, Kurukshetra, Hastinapura, etc. where the visits of Rama and Krishna are a basic part of local folklore.
Lack of archaeological evidence is no excuse for denying the existence of history, sums up Bhatnagar. “If the buildings of that time over 7000 years ago do not exist today, can we just infer that civilizations and personalities of that time also did not exist?”
 In literature, we have the Ramayana and other texts such as the Puranas which also relate and verify the history and existence of Lord Rama. People from many other regions of the world have also accepted the Ramayana as worthy of attention, devotion, and historical evidence. For example, we can see the effects of the Ramayana tradition in many countries who have adapted their own form of the Ramayana and worship of Lord Rama, especially in the countries of Southeast Asia. These include Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia (Capuchia), Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Other areas can also be found where the influence of the history of Lord Rama is in effect, such as the continent of Africa was once known as Kushadvipa for having been ruled by Kush, one of Lord Rama’s sons.
The other fact is that many millions of people feel the reciprocation from Lord Rama whenever they engage in devotion to Him, or read the Ramayana, or hear the Ramayana in a katha, or watch a television show or movie about Him, or go to one of the temples dedicated to Him. This cannot be denied or neglected. Just because we have insensitive politicians who cannot perceive this reciprocation does not mean that we all are so spiritually undeveloped. This dedication and reciprocation has spread throughout the world.
There have also been astronomers who have identified the approximate time of the Ramayana by the descriptions of the stars and constellations as given in the Ramayana, or even in the Bhagavata Purana and other texts. Pushkar Bhatnagar, author of the book Dating the Era of Lord Rama, claims that there is a significant amount of information available to prove that Rama was a historical personality. He says, “Valmiki, who wrote the Ramayana, was a contemporary of Rama. While narrating the events of the epic, he has mentioned the position of the planets at several places.” He explains that by using recent planetary software, it has been possible to verify that these planetary positions actually took place precisely as specified in the Ramayana. These were not just stray events, but the entire sequence of the planetary positions as described by Valmiki at various stages of Rama’s life can be verified today as having taken place.
Bhatnagar goes on to explain: “This information is significant, since these configurations do not repeat for lakhs of years and cannot be manipulated or imagined so accurately, without the help of sophisticated software. The inference that one can draw is that someone was present there to witness the actual happening of these configurations, which got recorded in the story of Rama.”
Bhatnagar provides the following quote from the Ramayana: “Rama was born on the Navami tithi of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra masa (9th day of the increasing phase of the moon in the lunar month of Chaitra). At that time, the nakshatra was Punarvasu, and Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were in Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer and Pisces respectively. Lagna was Cancer and Jupiter & Moon were shining together. — Ramayana 1.18.8,9
The conditions can be summarized as follows, according to Bhatnagar:
  1. Sun in Aries
  2. Saturn in Libra
  3. Jupiter in Cancer
  4. Venus in Pisces
  5. Mars in Capricorn
  6. Lunar month of Chaitra
  7. 9th day after New Moon (Navami Tithi, Shukla Paksh)
  8. Moon near Punarvasu Nakshatra (Pollux star in Gemini constellation)
  9. Cancer as Lagna (Cancer constellation rising in the east)
  10. Jupiter above the horizon
According to the Planetarium software, it provides the following date: Sri Rama Navami – 10th January 5114 BCE – Birth Day of Rama, Observation at 12.30 p.m.
Bhatnagar continues: “By using a powerful planetarium software, I found that the planetary positions mentioned in Ramayana for the date of birth of Lord Ram had occurred in the sky at around 12.30 p.m. of 10th January 5114 BC. It was the ninth day of the Shukla Paksh of Chaitra month too. Moving forward, after 25 years of the birth of  Lord Ram, the position of planets in the sky tallies with their description in Ramayana. Again, on the amavasya (new moon) of the 10th month of the 13th year of exile the solar eclipse had indeed occurred and the particular arrangement of planets in the sky was visible. (Date comes to 7th October, 5077 BC). Even the occurrences of   subsequent two eclipses also tally with the respective description in Valmiki Ramayana. (Date of Hanuman’s meeting Sita at Lanka was 12th September, 5076 BC). In this manner the entire sequence of the planetary positions gets verified and all the dates can be precisely determined.”
 Although this provides verification of the existence for Lord Rama according to calculations as given in the Ramayana, some people feel the timing for the day and year of His birth may be different than what the planetarium software indicates. For example, Vedic astrologer Nartaka Gopala devi dasi points out that “Regarding the calculation of Lord Rama’s birth as 10th of January 5114 BCE – Birth Day of Rama, Observation at 12.30 PM, there are 2 reasons why this cannot be correct. His rising sign, or lagna, is Cancer. That places Aries in the tenth house, and He has the Sun in Aries. The placement of the Sun in any birth chart will tell the time of day of the birth. Sun in the tenth house means birth at noontime (approx. 11 AM to 2 PM). There are no exceptions to this. (Lord Krishna appeared at midnight, the Sun is in Leo, 4th house for Taurus rising. Birth at 6 PM means 7th house Sun. Birth at sunrise means 1st house Sun.) Also, in Lord Rama’s chart the Sun is in Aries, and the dates for Sun in Aries are fixed, which means the same each year on April 14th to May 13th. So how did the January 10 date come up? These two Jyotish corrections are common sense that any Vedic astrologer would immediately see.” So there may be a difference in what the planetarium software suggests. This also corroborates why we who follow the Vedic calendar celebrate Lord Rama’s appearance in April-May each year. So the traditional date appears accurate.
Furthermore, some people feel that the appearance of Lord Rama took place many thousands or even millions of years earlier, in the Treta-yuga. For example, the Bhagavata Purana clearly states that Lord Rama became king during Treta yuga (Bhag. 9.10.51). We have been in Kali-yuga for 5000 years. Before this was Dvapara-yuga which lasts 864,000 years. Before that was Treta-yuga, which lasts over 1,200,000 years. Thus, according to this, the existence of Lord Rama had to have been many thousands of years ago. And if Lord Rama appeared in one of the previous Treta-yugas, it would certainly indicate that Lord Rama appeared several million years ago. And this is exactly what is corroborated in the Vayu Purana.
In the Vayu Purana (70.47-48) [published by Motilal Banarsidass] there is a description of the length of Ravana’s life. It explains that when Ravana’s merit of penance began to decline, he met Lord Rama, the son of Dasarath, in a battle wherein Ravana and his followers were killed in the 24th Tretayuga. The Roman transliteration of the verse is:
tretayuge chaturvinshe ravanastapasah kshayat
ramam dasharathim prapya saganah kshayamiyavan
There are 1000 Treta-yugas in one day of Brahma, and it is calculated that we are presently in the 28th cycle of the four yugas (called divya-yugas, which is a cycle of the four yugas, Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, and then Kali-yuga) of Vaivasvata Manu, who is the seventh Manu in the series of 14 Manu rulers who exist in one kalpa or day of Brahma. Each Manu is considered to live for 71 such divya-yuga cycles. So, without getting too complicated about things, from the 24th Treta-yuga to the present age of this Kali-yuga, there is obviously a difference of millions of years when Lord Rama manifested here on earth. Of course, few people may believe this unless they are already familiar with the vast lengths of time that the Vedic literature deals with.
Nonetheless, maybe there is further reason why we should accept that Lord Rama appeared millions of years ago. In the Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara-Kanda (or Book 5), Chapter 4, verse 27, [Gita Press, Gorakhpur, India] it explains that when Hanuman first approached Ravana’s palace, he saw the doorways surrounded by horses and chariots, palanquins and aerial cars, beautiful horses and elephants, nay, with four-tusked elephants decked with jewels resembling masses of white clouds.
Elsewhere in the Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara-Kanda (or Book 5), Chapter 27, verses12, an ogress named Trijata has a dream of Lord Rama, which she describes to the other demoniac ogresses upon awakening. In that dream she sees Rama, scion of Raghu, united again with Sita. Sri Rama was mounted on a huge elephant, closely resembling a hill, with four tusks.
The question is how could there be a mention of the elephants with four tusks unless Valmiki and the people of his era were familiar with such creatures? A quick search on the Encarta Encyclopedia will let us know that these four-tusked elephants were known as Mastodontoidea, which are said to have evolved around 38 million years ago and became extinct about 15 million years ago when the shaggy and two tusked Mastodons increased in population. Now there’s something to think about, eh? So this would mean that the specific planetary configuration that is described in the Ramayana, and is verified by Pushkar Bhatnagar, may have indeed happened, but at a time millions of years prior to merely 10,000 years ago.
In this way, as we go through the evidence, we can see how Lord Rama was an actual historic personality, as described in the Ramayana and in other Puranic texts. Nonetheless, there will always be those for whom no matter what you present for verification, it will not be enough. Some just won’t believe it. Some will, some won’t, so what, let’s move on. But many in the world already accept the authority of the Ramayana and other Vedic texts for the verification of the existence of Lord Rama.
Jaya Sri Rama!
Why is Nasik named so and when? Where is the birth place of Hanuman? From which place Sita was abducted by Ravana? What is Nasik famous for? If you need answers to these please go through the text below.
Lord Rama’s Home in Nasik
Posted by The Editor | Feb 16, 2012 | IndiaDivine.org

Nasik is an important holy city located approximately five hours northeast of Mumbai. Lord Rama stayed here for some time during his exile, and several pastimes depicted in Sri Ramayana took place here. Every twelve years, the Kumbha-mela is held in Nasik, alternating with the Kumbha-melas held at Allahabad, Haridwar, and Ujjain.
Residing on the banks of the holy Godavari River, which flows to the Bay of Bengal, Nasik is one of the holy dhamas where drops of nectar fell when the demigods and demons fought during the churning of the Milk Ocean. It is said that if one takes sacred bath in the Godavari River while the nectar is falling, he accumulates merit equal to bathing in the Ganges for 60,000 years. Over 3.5 million people attended the 1991 Mela. The last Kumbha-mela in Nasik was held in August-September, 2015.
Nasik is also famous for the pastimes of Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya, who made Nasik his abode during his 14 years in exile. It is the same place where Laxman, by the wish of Lord Rama, cut the nose of Shurpnakha. Consequently, this place was named “Nasik” (from the Sanskrit word nasika). Also found here are the Sita Gupha caves, from which Sita was abducted by Ravana. Sita Devi lived and cooked in this Gupha while in exile at Panchavati. The surrounding area is known as Panchavati in Dandakaaranya (Panchavati is the place in the forest Dandakaranya). Found here is the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, and two of the 12 Shiva temples (Dwadasha Jyotirlingas).
In 150 BC, Nasik was believed to be India’s largest marketplace. From 1487-1818, the city was under Mughal rule and was known as Gulshanabad (the City of Gardens). The city got its present name in 1818 when the Peshwas got control of the city. The Peshwa rule did not last long, however, as the British captured Nasik the very same year.
Sita-Rama Deities reside in the Sita Gupha, a small cave by the Kala Rama temple. This is the cave where Ravana abducted Sita. Devotees must crawl into the cave entrance to see the Deities.The nearby Kala (black) Rama Temple is the domicile of the very beautiful Sita-Rama-Lakshman Deities pictured above. A great tower stands over this temple, at a height of 83 feet.
E-Mails sent on May15, 2016

I have talked enough in 3 of my discourses on Mother’s day in the past years as cited below. In raising children, parents are also growing up and evolving.  A woman isn’t necessarily perfect but a mom is. Hearts expand by just thinking about   moms who can go to any length to ensure safety and love for her children and helicopter moms to see the children among top ten at least if not first and in all activities, talented or not! We come across in USA helicopter moms but not helicopter dads. 
Moms who readily confess to their faults and resolve them inculcate the value of honesty in their children. Owning up your imperfections is what real perfection is. Moms come forward to share their hilarious goof-ups, embarrassing moments and recommend fixes to parents who find themselves in similar tight spots.  
The Ten Commandments command people to honor their parents (even if they don’t deserve it?). However, they don’t do a very good job of outlining how to treat children well. They appear to forbid murdering children, stealing from them, and bearing false witness against them (if only implicitly), yet there’s nothing about obligations not to harm them in non-lethal ways or about the need for people generally to be nice, nurturing, and respectful to them. There’s nothing about the duties of parents to meet the needs of their children or to do any of the other things that parents should do for their children. Children comprise a rather large and very important part of the human population, are especially vulnerable, and have distinct and extensive needs, so an adequate list of fundamental moral rules like Ten Commandments    should contain at least some explicit directions for how to treat them well.  Today it all depends on the poor mother as the child is nurtured and guided through for many year  till it stands on its own legs!  Strangely  Mass Worships are held  on Mother's Day  in all churches with no reference to Mother Mary! This shows again Christianity is male chauvinistic! In Bible also there are no details as to the nurturing of Baby  Jesus and how  he was brought  up-to age 12 by Mary, when he deserted parents or this part might have been deleted in house cleaning! Compare Krishna's Bala Leela   who found his deserted parents   and was the darling of both Yasoda and Devaki narrated at length in Puranas!
 Hindu mother  is guided by  the Wisdom of Vedas: "Matru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava  Acharya devo bhava ; aatmavat sarva bhooteshu; krinvantoi viswamaaryam and Ahimsa paramo dharmah"   in training the child. Here   Sishyaanusana --The Commandments to the Disciple  in Taittareeya Upanishad  should  serve  as guidelines as what is expected of a child passing on to adulthood and how a child should be  brought up with that in focus. On  Mother's Day Lakshmi is worshiped as " Trailokya kutumbineem...Vande Jaganmataram" in lone sanctums and Parvati as (Jagatah Pitarau vande Parvatee paramesvarau).

Why am I talking about children here?  I believe Taittareeya Upanishad Gurukula Farewell Advice should be kept in mind and proper training and discipline initiated by the Mother while training the child and prepare him for School.  As you know handcuffing and booking children of age group 6-12 has become a regular feature. In 2015, 2000 children of this age group in TN have been arrested. I have seen some Hindu kids too here. Only Mothers can be effective  in bringing  up the child in early days properly to save the situation! 
Wish you all a Happy Mother's Day and I pray to Goddess Lakshmi (Jaganmatar-Mahalakshmi) to bless you all.   Her birthday is on May 9, 2016 too! Let us wish her Happy Birthday on Akshaya Triteeya Day!
 -- E-Mail sent on May 7, 2016

Why Hindus rush to Temples to get Diamond Jewelry blessed on Akshya Triteeya Day
Why Hindu ladies rush to buy gold and precious stones particularly diamond on Akshya Triteeya Day and place it before Lakshmi and pray to her to grace the same before gifting  away to their daughters particularly during their wedding? Hindu social life is so knitted with religion they cannot but think of buying them and seek divine blessing by conducting special puja  on  an auspicious day. Akshya Triteeya is the Birth Day of Goddess Lakshmi. I have already explained in detail the importance of Akshaya Triteeya Day. Lakshmi is prayed as “suvrna rajata srajaam”  (glittering ray  of Gold), Vishnu patni (consort of Vishnu) and (Vakshasthale Kausthubam), the diamond  in the chest of Vishnu. Besides these tributes they are also influenced by the past history of world famous diamonds.
The Ratnasastra informs us that among all stones the diamond is the very best. It is said to have unique mystical influence on each of the four divisions of society. Properly assigned it brings power and good fortune; improperly it brings misfortune and defeat. Astrologically it is associated with the planet Venus (Shukra, “brilliant”) the brightest planet in the night sky, which, like a diamond, reflects the Sun’s brilliance.   India at one time was the source for all  the world’s diamonds and was the first to develop the techniques needed to process, cut, and polish diamonds.
It was only after Alexander the Great’s attempted invasion of India (326 B.C.) that diamonds began to enter the European market. The Greeks referred to diamonds as ‘adamas’ meaning ‘unbreakable’ and believed them to be the tears of the gods. Over the centuries caravans brought diamonds from India, through Arabia, the Ottoman Empire, and finally into Europe’s diamond markets (Antwerp, Frankfurt, London, and Vilnius).
In Sanskrit the word for diamond is ‘vajra’, meaning lightning, the divine weapon of Lord Indra. In one battle between the demigods and the demons, Lord Indra faced an insurmountable enemy in the giant Vritrasura. Lord Vishnu instructed Indra to approach the Sage Dadhichi and requested his bones for the creation of a powerful weapon. The Sage agreed and sitting in vajrasana (diamond pose) gave up his body. The demigods harvested his spinal column, the reservoir of the Sage’s mystic energy, to create the Vajra thunderbolt, capable of killing the giant Vritra.
Unfortunately by 1729 India’s diamond mines were exhausted. As luck would have it, diamonds were next discovered in Brazil and subsequently South Africa. India’s 2000 year monopoly on diamonds thus  came to an end.
Below are short descriptions of some of the more famous Indian diamonds. Many of these diamonds were cursed after being stolen from Hindu temples. Famous diamonds were always the part and parcel of the diety as you see.
The Orlov Diamond which was cut and installed as the center jewel of Russian Imperiall Scepter,  now in Russia, originated from the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India as the eye of the deity of Vishnu.   Another diamond, called the Black Orlov, was an eye of the deity of Brahma in Pondicherry, India.     Finally, it was cut up into three pieces in an attempt to break its curse.   The Nassak diamond is from the Amaragiri mine in Mahbubnagar, Telangana, India. It adorned the deity of the Triambakeshwar Shiva temple in Nassik (Maharashtra, India). It was stolen by the British East India Company during the Third Anglo-Maratha War as a spoil of war.   Kohinoor Diamond meaning ‘the Mountain of Light’    discovered in the Krishna River   was the largest diamond of 787 carats in the world till recently.  It currently sits in the crown of the Queen of England guarded in the Tower of London.  The Blue Hope   diamond was originally stolen from a deity of Sita Devi and bought by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier in 1660.  Today it sits at 45 carats in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. New research by the Smithsonian Institute indicates it was originally cut to produce an image of the sun in the center when it was set against a gold background.
But all of these diamonds are pale in comparison to a recent discovery by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They have detected a diamond 50 lights years away, measuring 4,000 Kilometers in diameter, with a mass of 10 billion, trillion, trillion carats; Truly a diamond in the sky. Even this shines because of Supreme Being (Brahman) only after whom the Sun, Moon and Stars shine (tasya bhaasaa sarvamidam vibhaati).    Today I read in The Tennessean about the Diamond Lesedi la Rona 1105 carats. Who knows one day someone in India may research and say that it was also stolen from a deity from India. We still do not know about the diamonds that are recently discovered in Tiruvanatapuram (Travancore) in the Padmanabhaswamy Temple!
 --E-Mail sent on May 5, 2016

As per Hindu Astrology, the day is highly auspicious day because the sun and moon are believed to be at their best position and shower brilliance on earth.  Chandan yatra is held in Jagannath Temples on this day. The once in a year Charan darshan of Lord Krishna at the Banke Bihari Temple takes place on Akha Teej. Alms giving, donating food and clothes on the day is believed to bring eternal glory. The Char Dham Yatra to the four temples in Uttarkhand begins on the Akha Teej day.
Akshaya Tritiya is one of the Kalpadi Tithi and it marks the beginning of Krita Era. Shraadha  and Tarpana performed on this  day are highly meritorious and everlasting.   The importance of Akshaya Tritiya Shraddha is mentioned in the Garuda Purana. Akshya Triteeya is a day of festivals and ritulas for Hindus of all traditions. 
Akshay Tritiya was the day when Vyasa started writing the history of the great Bharat war in the form of an epic Mahabharata. This day is symbolized by god Vishnu, the preserver-god in the Hindu Trinity. According to Hindu mythology, on this day the Treta Yuga began and the river Ganges, the most sacred river of India, descended to the earth from the heaven.
Basveswara Jayanti falls on this day (May 9, 2016).  By strange coincidence Swami Chinmayanands is also born on the same day.  Two days later on Panchami tithi comes the Birthday of Sankara and Ramanuja together.  This bright fortnight may as well be celebrated as Philosopher's fortnight  honoring the great Philosphers of Hinduism starting with Akshaya Triteeya and ending with BuddhaPurnima on May 21. Buddha is also an Avatar of Vishnu believed by many.
Hindu American  academics  can celebrate this fortnight  by thanking their teachers as well as remembering past teachers and scholars. Usually this is done on Guru Purnima day in India which can be shifted to Buddha Purnima Day the final day of the fortnight.
It was on this day that Goddess Annapoorna devi was born. Kubera received his wealth and position as custodian of wealth and property with Goddess Lakshmi on this day, by praying to Lord Shiva at Shivapuram. It is traditionally observed as the birthday of Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of god Vishnu. The Puranic scriptures speak about how he reclaimed the land from the sea. In Mahabharata, Yudhishthira receives the Akshaya patra, which he uses to serve food for all the needy in his kingdom. It is on this day that poor Sudama, the best friend of Krishna visits Him (Lord Krishna) to greet Him after He became the King. With nothing to offer, Sudama takes with him Poha (puffed rice) and offers it to his friend and never discusses his poverty though he intends to. On his return he finds his hut changed to a palace. It is on this day that Dushasana, Duryodhana's brother, unveils Draupadi at the royal court where Krishna protects her providing the 'unending' veil...]
In more recent history, Adi Shankara recited the Kanaka Dhara Stotr on this day for the sake of the poor couple at whose house he stopped for Bhiksha and was offered their only available gooseberry. Goa and Kerala regions, even today, are referred to as Parushurama Kshetra.
Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright-half of the lunar month of Vaisakha is considered one of the most sacred days of the year.
In Odisha, on Akshay Tritiya day, farmers start ploughing their land and construction of chariots for Rath Yatra begins at Puri. This day is generally observed by fasting and worship of Lord Vasudeva with rice grains. A dip in the river Ganges on this day is considered to be very auspicious.
The Vedic scriptures  say that knowledge gained or charity done on Akshay Tritiya is very fruitful. It is considered to be a very lucky day to start new business or venture. Many people buy gold or property on this day.
Fasts are kept on this day and pujas are performed. In charity, fan, rice, salt, ghee, sugar, vegetables, tamarind, fruit, clothes, are given. The god Vishnu is worshiped.  
In Bengal, on the day of the Akshay Tritiya, "HalKhata" - a ceremony to start the new audit book is performed - with the worship of Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi. Bengalis perform many rites and rituals on this day.
This day is most auspicious day for the Jat farming community. Early morning, a male member of a Jat family goes to the field with a shovel. All the animals and birds encountered on the way to the field are omens and predictions for rains and crops. Akshay Tritiiya is an occasion for weddings, which are conducted in mass ceremonies. It is considered an unboojha muhurat.
It is believed that god Kubera, the treasurer of the gods, is the richest deity. Lakshmi Tantram says that even Kubera will pray to goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu, on Akshay Tritiya. A day-long Kubera Lakshmi Puja is performed in which an image of Lakshmi is worshiped with Sudarsana Kubera Yantra, symbolising Kubera.
On Akshay Trutiya, a king or those who have the responsibility of taking care of the subjects, should perform ‘puja’, with gratitude and devotion, of the picture of ‘Vaibhav-Lakshmi’ with Sree Vishnu as it helps to make the subjects happy and prosperous.  We are  graced by ‘Goddess Lakshmi’ as she is the divine energy (shakti) of Sree Vishnu. How can His ‘divine energy’ come here and bless us if Sree Vishnu is not invited? Therefore, before worshiping Sree Lakshmi in any of her forms, first invite Sree Vishnu and then invite Sree Lakshmi as the worshiper gets maximum benefit of Lakshmi-tattva" (principle).
Please go through my detailed discourse on the subject:
Bhakti Marga followers interested in  more and   more  Slokas  and Bhajans   may please also go through the Lakshmi Stotra sent through courtesy by Muralidharan Iyengar from Singapore. Phalsrutis come always with fresh offers!  A Hindu mind is so fabricated with religion he cannot think of even buying gold  without chanting some sloka. Even our Muralidharan Iyengar is tempted to think  of Kohinoor Diamond on this day while thinking of the  Lakshmi Gem that came out of Samudhra Mathana on this day of which I separately talked about!  Politics and Religion go hand in hand with Hindus nay  humans to survive and succeed materially. Jewelers know the Hindu mind and know how to attract crowds to gate-crash buying of gold jewelry on Akshaya Triteeya Day. They  may attach this sloka  handout on this sacred day. They are active participants of my Blog too! A spiritual seekers has no time  for  these. He is busy with meditation on "Om Tad Brahma tad Vayu tad Atma tat Satyam tat Sarvam tat Puror Namah ||" He keeps his  mantra  simple to focus on Supreme!
 Akshaya Trityai falls on 09-May-2016 (Monday) and in that connection I am delighted to share two stutis on Goddesss Mahalakshmi taken from Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Ganapati Khanda, Chapter 22. This chapter contains Kavacham, Mantram and Stuti in that order but I have given in the reverse order excluding the Mantra as Mantras always need initiation by people who have authority over the Mantra.
Although the stutis are short, their sacredness can be understood by the brief Phalashruti. In the hymn by Lord Narayana, He mentions that even He can't effectively pray to Goddess Lakshmi. Need to say anything more? In the Kavacham, it is mentioned that unless this is recited, even chanting Mahalakshmi Mantra a crore times will not bring any fruits. Both the hymns mention that one who recites these will get immutable wealth in all his/her births.

Thanks to the marketing gimmicks of Jewellers, Akshaya Trityai has become a mad rush for gold accumulation in the hope that the wealth will have multiplier effect! This has never been prescribed anywhere (prescribed only by jewelers :). But the material wealth alone is useless for one's physical life and utterly useless for the spiritual life. So, all of us have no choice but to reflect on what wealth means to us and whether our assumptions are valid at some point in our lives.

Recently, I read a very interesting article http://swarajyamag.com/world/forget-kohinoor-the-british-looted-greater-treasures-from-india as a sequel to the ongoing debate of whether or not India should claim the Kohinoor diamond from the British. The article illustrates the amount of wealth plundered from India over two centuries by British. The article also illustrates that the amount of wealth plundered in the previous 600+ years would have been much more but the psychological damage inflicted by British on the Indian and Hindu society is immeasurable. How many of us know that India dominated World Economy with 30% of share for 1700 of the last 2000 years and when we got independence it was less than 2%. The biggest wealth we lost was self-esteem of the Hindu society - all other wealth are irrelevant against self-esteem.

The last line in the article is golden in my opinion "The Kohinoor should remind Indians that they became enslaved because they were divided. And they should say: “Never again.” It would be wrong to blame the foreign occupiers for a willful self-destruction - we paid for our disunity. Self-Esteem and Unity are the greatest wealth India needs now. Money will come and go, though important.  It is time all Indians said "Never again"! May Goddess Lakshmi bestow the Indian/Hindu society with self-esteem, deep appreciation/practice for our traditions, pursuit of dharma, and harmony. May She bestow us the power to move away from the dreary dead sand of dead habits! May She impel us to resolve to dump our poverty of childish intra-group rivalries! May Akshaya Tritya make every one sarva shreshtha.
--April  28,2016
Om tad Brahma tad Vaayu tad Aaatmaa tat satyam  tat  sarvam tat purornamah—thus describes a Rigveda mantra, the Democratic Vedanta God--The Supreme Being  is  that Sound or word  Om; That is   Spirit, all-pervasive and circulating air within the body as well as the outside world; That  is the inner Self; That is Truth;  That  is Everything; It is what That  was before all  the present creations implying That  is what it will be in the future too. Hindu Scriptures say: “Agnir devoe dwijaateenaam muneenaam hridi deivataam; Pratimaa svalpabuddheenaam sarvatra viditaatmanaam”--Those who indulge in rituals have their Gods in the fire; but the wise folks find God in their hearts. It is the dull-witted one that seeks God in an icon (temple). Those who have higher understanding see God in everything. 
Same or similar thought is reflected in the Holy Bible which is of recent origin compared to Vedas. Throughout the Gospel of John the Holy Spirit is spoken of as an abiding, inner presence. In John 14:17, Jesus says that this Spirit of Truth will abide with his followers and be in them. As Islam is also part of Abrahamic religion Allah is also the same Spirit of Truth which in  later gospels  is ascribed to Jesus Christ  in Christianity and  Prophet Muhammad in Quran. John of Damascus, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Nicholas of Cusa, and Martin Luther—have seen Muhammad not as a “Spirit of Truth” but as a “Spirit of Error,” a false prophet or heretic….. You see how all religions conflate in visualizing or perceiving God as Spirit of Truth, which is the Upanishadic Thought!    But unfortunately Abrahamic Religions are prejudiced and identify Hinduism as idolatry.  All these have contributed to conflicts, quarrels and killings.
Sanatana Dharma talked about Tadekam--That One and its 33 controllers.  Later Vishnu Sahasranama named it   Zero as well as  Infinity (Sunyah and Anantah). That gave scope for 330 million names and controllers called   Devatas   with individual identity names. The process has not stopped and we are adding further names and Sanctums in Temples for Andal, Swami Narayan, Saibaba, Santoshi maa, Karumari Amman and so on.  Islam taking the inspiration gave 99 names to Allah the Truth.  It is because the secret of zero was only known to our sages. They only knew numbers 1 to 9. So they arrived at 9 and added another 9 lineally and came up with 99 (9+9=99, a poor way of learning mathematics without zero). They then stopped at 99 and gave up.  Christianity came up with three names Holy Spirit (TRUTH), Holy Father and Holy Son and called Son as Spirit of Truth. Quran followed and called Mohammad Spirit of Truth (Allah) as you read in the text Huff post. Judaism stuck with Truth Alone and also said it is Spirit.  The other two walked out of Spirit is Truth revelation and went with the concept believing Jesus as the spirit of Truth  and Mohammad as t the Spirit of Truth.
Gospel of John says: “In the beginning there was the Word; the Word was with God and the Word was god, He was with God in the beginning” The Word here conflates with OM described in Vedanta. May be this became Amen or Amin later! It is also clear the Word is Spirit (Om tad Brahma). May be God here refers to Saguna Brahman Custodian of  Generation, Operation and Dissolution for which the three letters of God G, O, and D stand for. HE in the Gospel may refer to the WORD or Spirit and therefore the appropriate preposition should have been IT in English. Hindu scriptures translate Brahman too as HE only often.  Christianity and Islam, living in male   chauvinistic society   took advantage of the wrong preposition and associated He with Jesus in Christianity and  Islam  with Mohammad. So both Jesus and Mohammad are now considered as Spirit of Truth in the article above to bring in unity in thinking. They both separated from their origin Judaism to which also they added the suffix –ism (to make it look inferior). Jehovah is "the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God,"  "I am that I am," a covenant-keeping God--Exodus (3:14).  This is exactly the expression   “Tad Brahma” or “Aham Brahmasmi”.  Judaism and Hinduism being the most ancient religions think alike or perhaps Judaism followed closely Hinduism; they perhaps believe in the same Supreme Spirit. Brothers and Neighbors later separated fighting with each other.
Of late Abrahamic Religions are trying to live together  in peace and harmony  studying deeply their own holy books. They are trying to find out common ground in understanding the Known (Incarnations, Prophets etc.) as Spirit of Truth as common basis for mutual understanding of TRUTH and live in Peace. Whatever it is, TRUTH is ONE. This essentially is the Upanishadic Thought and Vedic wisdom which the Abrahamic Religions   reflect though not accept with grace. In this context it is worth going through the    interesting write up of the Religious Columns of Huff Post included in my discourse “Does Christianity draw Inspiration from Sanatana Dharma”.
Inspired by these I have come up with my discourse titled: "Vedanta, Everlasting Universal Unifying Spirituality and Religion". Watch for the same next month. 
-- E-Mail sent on April 30, 2016
https://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifThere are five stages and understanding each one of them must be crystal clear and this is a journey people will take (irrespective of the cycle of birth)
a) Incentives to Spiritual Life (clear understanding between Spiritual life and religious life) and how to steer from the Scylla and Charybdis that can surround it on both sides
b) Importance and Need of Moral Preparation
c) The Relation of God to Saints and observe this thru our sense and mind
d) The beginnings of the Pilgrimage
e) The highest Ascent
"The bad news is that 999 out of 1000 people talking of Self-knowledge have their hearts somewhere else - in fame, name, wealth, power or popularity - that is expansion of their empire. They cannot help us. Now the good news. There always are, though rare, some saints and sages for whom the 'Self' is 'not the other' - ananya. Shri Ramana Maharshi was one such enlightened figure. (It is not desirable to judge anybody in the present times, so do not ask for someone in body to be named.) The Upanishad mantra says the insight dawns upon us when conveyed by such a master who is in Self-abidance (ātma-nisthā)"'--Swami Chidananda.
Raman Maharshi  rarely spoke but kept silence. But the rare one out of 1000 who reached him had the Spiritual Osmosis to know the Self. Below you will find what the other 999 secular educated will be guided by. The choice is yours. Are you worried about What you will become or How will you be saved from being   born repeatedly  and struggle each time all the time worried as to what you will become? We talked about True Self (spiritual prosperity). Professor Below talks about true self (material prosperity)  It is good for  Pravritti, But we need to prepare somewhere for Nivritti. Otherwise we will end up with kindergarten in our spiritual evolution! We must at least strive to reach high school level in this life. Otherwise our time is lost!  You will soon hear about it more! May be professor is talking about Macrocosm and I on Microcosm! "What is the use of gaining the whole world when you have lost your own soul" said Jesus too once!
Harvard Professor Explains How We Think About The 'True Self' All Wrong
Antonia Blumberg Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post
According to Chinese philosophers like Confucius, Xunzi and Laozi, we shouldn't be trying to discover our "true self."
Harvard University professor Michael Puett teaches a class on classical Chinese philosophy that has gotten buzz for being one of the school's most popular courses.
This month he published a book called The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, co-written by journalist Christine Gross-Loh, that consolidates the lessons from his class for a wider audience.
"A lot of my students enter college thinking, 'I have four years to find myself and get really good at figuring out who I am and what my talents are,'" Puett told The Huffington Post. "What they find in practice is that it's a fruitless search."
Puett said that, according to Chinese philosophers like Confucius, Xunzi and Laozi, we should do away with the notion of a "true self" altogether. Our goal, instead, should be to recognize which habits, preferences and patterns shape our identities most and try to overcome these patterns to realize greater potential for our lives.
Practices like meditation and mindfulness, which grew out of Buddhist, Taoist and other philosophical and spiritual movements of Confucius's day, weren't just intended to help us practice self-love and acceptance, Puett said. "They were developed to help us overcome the 'self,'" he said.
Puett further explained these ideas in a recent video for Big Think:
Story continues below.
If we get angry at little things or find ourselves acting irritable, bored, or defensive, Puett said that's an opportunity to ask ourselves: "Is that just me, and I should love myself for being that? Or are those just patterns I've fallen into?"
"One of the goals of meditation is to break us out of those patterns and gain some distance from them," he said.
Chinese philosophers believed in something called the "Tao," or "the way," which is the founding principle of Taoist religion but also played an overarching role in the philosophical thought of ancient China, Puett said. The Tao is essentially everything - the universe in a constant state of flux and transformation.
The Tao can also be our model for breaking out of ruts, Puett said. The path to a good life, according to Chinese philosophers, is one in which we strive to mimic the flexibility modeled by the Tao and transcend our habits of personality.
"These philosophers would say, think of the good life as a world in which you are constantly striving to be a better human being," Puett explained.
It can be as minor as the way you greet someone, your tone of voice, or the way you walk down the street, Puett suggested. Simple as it sounds, the more we learn to break out of our scripts, the better we get at shaping our reality to serve the highest good.
Every year Puett's students are tasked with putting this ancient philosophy into practice. They start doing things like taking classes or signing up for extra-curriculars that break their own rules about who they are and what they're good at. 
As one of Puett's students is quoted in the book: "You can adopt new habits and literally change the way you take in the world, react to it, and interact with other people."
So the next time you face a quandary and think - "What does my 'true self' want? How would my true self respond?" - consider the wisdom of Chinese philosophy.
Confucius and company would argue that our definition of the self "should be unbelievably open-ended," Puett told HuffPost. 
"Train yourself to be open to the world," he said, "and who knows what you'll become?"
--E-Mail sent out on  April 27, 2016

Sadness, a mere habit
Here is a Mantra from Mundaka Upanishad to which our attention is drawn by Swami Chidanada  which  calls for  developing  right discipline before   starting prayer or meditation.
Naayam aatma bala-heenenaa labhyo na cha pramadaat tapaso vaapya lingaat | Etair-upaayaat-yatate yatsu vidwaan tasyaisha aatmaa visate brahma-dhaama || (Mundaka Upanishad 3-2-4)
The Self is not gained by the weak in body, mind and spirit, nor by the insincere, nor by those practicing (meaningless) austerities, but wise men who strive with vigor, attention and propriety attain union with Brahma.
The Self can be realized only by right discipline. It can't be realized by those who are weak in mind, who   are restless and those who practice wrong short-cut disciplines. The Mantra in 3.2.4 of Mundaka Upanishad not only refutes any success to foolish and stupid methods, but also at the same time points out the right path and correct methods of perfection. The mantra promises sure success to all those who are healthy in body and intellect and spirit, and who have necessary amount of discriminating understanding to differentiate the true from the false, and thus live in self -denial---denying themselves the false pleasures gained in courting delusions like sorrow. People do  pray to their chosen deities  in their helplessness and  address him as Deenabandhu, Anaathabandhu etc and  often find no solace. There  is no such short-cut.  It calls for harmonious and progressive growth of Body, Mind and Spirit. That is indeed the right technique recommended by Yogasastra of Patanjali.  Short cut techniques like severe Austerity (tapas) or Akhand Path (Non-stop recital of scriptures) will not help if the mind is agitated to start with. We need to follow the techniques of  self-purification, meditation and submission to reach the Supreme Being and enjoy perennial happiness (Sreyas). Let us here the wisdom thoughts from Swami Chidanda focused on this Mantra:
There are people who are not sad even in grave circumstances and then there are those who are sad on a daily basis! We need to therefore examine if sadness is mostly a habit of the mind. When we are sad, things seem to go wrong more than before; when things go wrong, we become sadder. What supports this vicious circle? Upanishads talk about 'living in error' or 'unintelligent living' where we slip and fall into foolish habits again and again. Using the word 'pramāda', Mundaka Upanishad (mantra 3.2.4) cautions us, "You cannot come upon the bliss of Self-knowledge unless you give up mechanical living!" It is mere psychological habit to stay attached to wealth, position and relationships. (Adi Shankara defines pramāda as (a mental state caused by) attachment to son, wealth etc.) Living in awareness is indeed the panacea for immature repetition of false ways.                                                      (E-Mail sent on April 25, 2016)

People like me who listen to or learn Vedanta by self-study try to obtain some kind of   scholarship in Vedanta. But   the understanding of the Self (Aatman) is possible only when it is taught by one who has realized Brahman. I can't be  the Transmitter of Flame.  True understanding of Self will not be there when taught by a man of inferior understanding.  Kathopanishad says Self cannot be known   when taught by a person of inferior order as it is subtler than the subtle and beyond reason. You should therefore understand what I have done so far is to create interest in you like the way I got interested after completing my mission of Pravritti.   It is therefore necessary for you to seek the   guidance of  proper Vedantins. Please read through what Swami Chidanada has to say on this mantra from Kathopanishad. Blessed are they who through the illumined Teacher attain to Self-realization. Those who see themselves in all and all in them as Geeta says help others through spiritual Osmosis to realize the Self themselves. Sanyasis like Ramana Maharshi believed in true silence and not endless speech like the present day Gurus. But those who approached him with all sincerity and joined him in meditation had the spiritual  Osmosis. You have heard the story of Kalidasa and Valmiki. They  were the recipients of spiritual Osmosis. You need the Divine Grace!
अनन्य-प्रोक्ते गतिः अत्र नास्ति  कठ 1.2.8
ananya-prokte gatir-atra nāsti |
The transmission takes place without fail, when (the flame comes from) someone established in the Self. (Katha Upanishad 1.2.8)
There is a bad news and then there is good news too.
 The bad news is that 999 out of 1000 people talking of Self-knowledge have their hearts somewhere else – in fame, name, wealth, power or popularity – that is expansion of their empire. They cannot help us.
Now the good news. There always are, though rare, some saints and sages for whom the ‘Self’ is ‘not the other’ – ananya. Shri Ramana Maharshi was one such enlightened figure. (It is not desirable to judge anybody in the present times, so do not ask for someone in body to be named.) The Upanishad mantra says the insight dawns upon us when conveyed by such a master who is in Self-abidance (ātma-nisthā).
 Others give long lectures, write huge volumes or preside over big projects on the scriptures. This sage, without all such din and roar, helps a seeker by a mere gaze. For others, the ‘Self’ is other than themselves. For this sage, the ‘Self’ (ātmā) is ‘not the  other’ (ananya).
 The word ‘gati’ has three meanings, as Ādi Shankara explains in his commentary. ‘gati’ – literally meaning movement – can mean ‘moving / going in countless, wrong directions’. When the sage, established in the Truth, showers his grace upon us, we simply cannot move in any of those wrong directions. (gatih na asti).
 ‘gati’ can also mean ‘samsāra-gati’ – the ways of the world, numerous ways in which we remain shackled in worldly attachments. The anugraha of the mahātmā frees us from such worldliness. (gatih na asti).
 Thirdly, by grammar, the sentence may be taken as – prokte agatih atra na asti– where the ‘a’ gets dropped because of ‘sandhi rules’. In such a case, ‘gati’ is in a complimentary sense – movement in the direction of Self-knowledge or even attainment of the Self-knowledge. ‘agati’ then is uncomplimentary – not moving in the right direction. Then the Upanishad statement implies – there is no way the seeker would not gain Self-knowledge. (agatih na asti).
We must therefore ‘hitch our wagon to a star’ as the idiom goes. We must reflect on the life and work of enlightened masters. That paves the way for the “transmission of the flame” to take place.                                                                                                    (E-Mail sent on April 4 2916)

Identify yourself and act appropriately when depressed

For millions of years all over the world people of all religions have been taught to worship the Lord of the world, his Incarnations, the saviors and prophets. They have been taught to consider themselves helpless, miserable creatures and to depend    upon the mercy of the Lord or some persons for relief from that hopeless situation. Unfortunately, slokas and phalasrutis make him   believe that the god is Anaathabandhu and Deenabandhu and will immediately relieve him from such depressed situation. Without getting the expected outside help and relief he further gets depressed and even turns angry at that God to whom he earlier pleaded.

Spiritual approach of Vedanta says one has to work his way out himself  and  exhaust  or reduce past Karmas with good Karmas.   For this you need a cool and calm mind and right action. Swami Chidananda has the following words of wisdom to the Depressed:
“We human beings are endowed with different skills, natures and temperaments. Some of us are good in linguistics, others in handling finance and yet others in managing people. Some are slow and steady but others are aggressive and fast. Some are very sensitive or even delicate while others can bear with criticism and work in hostile environments. 
Depression is the result of ill-placed comparison. Instead of feeling sad over our failures, we must identify our strengths and work upon them. Quite possibly, we failed at something we are not meant for. 
In our depressed situation self-realization is important to discover who we are. Identify what you are. Recognize how you are made. Work steadily on your strengths. Have the courage to give up those ways in which your energy was getting wasted. Win you will”  

Self-control and meditation helps to overcome depression. Religious approach is to plead for mercy while disappointed get more depressed or get annoyed over one’s self. Spiritual technique helps to calm down oneself, analyze oneself and bring the mind under control and think about positive steps to overcome depression. When you pray you talk and want God to listen to you. When you meditate He talks or the Self within you talks and you listen.  That is the right path of wisdom.
(E-Mail sent on April23, 2016)

Swatantra Devi for Hindu Americans of Multi Traditions.
May I draw your kind attention to an interesting news column titled   “Patriotism in India  Oh Mother”—A nationalist slogan sends sectarian sparks” The Economist, April 9th—15th 2016.
In this contest we should understand the idea of Bharat Mata was conceptualized by Bankim Chatterji.  Consequently efforts were made to make Bharat Mata, a unifying force and National Icon which were strongly influenced by Westerns fabrications such as Britannia and America’s Statue of Liberty.   However it   did not take off to make Bharat Mata a secular National Symbol acceptable to all in India after Independence. A social life of Hindu is so fabricated that he cannot think of anything without relating it to religion. So Bharat Mata in due course became a deity for worship joining the galaxy of 330 million Gods and Goddesses.  In their iconography of Bharat Mata Hindus miserably got confused and failed.  Bharat Mata’s iconography remained vague Did she have four arms or ten? Was she accompanied by a lion, or a map of India? And which map at that as the map went on changing and still changing?  They got consoled building several temple dedicated to the would be goddess, including the one in the holy city of Varanasi opened in 1936 by none  other than Mahatma Gandhi who fasted so much for Hindu Muslim  unity.  After Independence the temple of Bharat Mata at Haridwar has gained full Hindu Temple Religious Status with Aagama/Tantric form of religious worship  like some Saibaba Temples  in  India.  
Some private schools in secular India now require applicants to wish victory to Mother India.  I do not know whom or what cause they are fighting for? The BJP Chief Minister of Maharashtra says that anyone who avoids the words “has no place in   India”. Baba Ramadev a Yoga Leader who runs a prosperous noodle business upped the ante further by asserting that were it not for India’s constitution he would have “beheaded hundreds of thousands” for refusing to repeat the chant. Mother India will need to get her squabbling children in line before someone gets hurt.
 Of course nobody can raise any objection for her worship in Hindu temples as Vedas say Matru Deo Bhava.  Here we should go by the Bharat Mata that was accepted by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. That was Bharat Mata with a crown clad in Sari as national dress of India for which even Christians and Muslims have no objection as they all wear Sari. Only the color combination of red and green will be more pleasing to Christians and Muslims for which Hindus will have no objection. Also the Bharat Mata icon Gandhi had in mind had the full map of British India even before Queen Victoria had given away some part of the land as   gift to Prince of Wales to make separate countries. It will be a good idea to compulsorily build  one prayer hall with Bharat Mata Icon at the entrance  in all towns and villages acceptable to all religions and inside the hall have all religious symbols as in Ramakrishna Math temples as common place of worship. Incidentally that will inspire all in India to fight for the original land of India for reuniting as happened in Germany.  
Unfortunately Mahatma Gandhi along with other ill-advised Congress Members agreed to   partition and a revised map of India. Fortunately the revised map has not entered the Bharat Mata Temples of India and she has been made a Hindu Goddess with many arms, weapons and Lion of all imagination and even with a flag of India. Therefore, if Bharat Mata is made secular icon Indians can start the agitation for reunification of Akhanda Bharat.
We cannot advise Hindus in India politically or religiously from here. They will continue with their 330 million Gods adding more with sectarian squabbles and political flights. Let us see how Hindu Americans can make their worship more meaningful and spiritual in our One Temple for Many Traditions!
It will be a good idea to consecrate Liberty Statue in all Temples as Swatantra Mata and worship with mantra Jai Mata Di paying our first obedience as Prathama Vandite! This should be acceptable to all including Neo-Hindus. We should not mind such a Devi as we are quite accustomed to make sanctums for Buddha, Mahavira, Swami Narayan, Saibaba, Nagdevata etc., and worship also with Aagama/Tantric scriptural sanctions.  Vaishnava followers generally do not like Navagraha Puja or Ganesh Puja as Prathama Vandita. They visualize Ganesha as Vishwaksena for they do not like elephant head with broken tusk (a defect in Vigrahas is objectionable in Sastras). So Swatantra Devi will be welcomed with open arms and even would be preferred as Presiding Deity. These Temples may also be called As Daya Sindhu (Merciful God) Temples instead Hindu Temples or even Sanatana Dharma Temples. The additional deities could be Venkateswara and Jagannatha and Aiyappan as explained earlier. Mata as presiding deity will also please all Devi worshipers and others will not have any objection. All religions will appreciate this broad-minded idea.  Spiritual followers will also be favorably disposed as it only reflects “Eko Viprah Bahudaa Vadanti”
 -- E-Mail sent on April 7, 2015
Can Gita be official book and Bharat Mata Secular God of India?
Statue of Liberty like the Star Spangled Banner of USA is an official icon of veneration and honor, irrespective of religious or political affiliations. Fight is now going on as to make the Holy Bible Official Book of Tennessee.
“In additional to the constitutional issues with the bill, my personal feeling is that this bill trivializes the Bible, which I believe is a sacred text. If we believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, then we should not be recognizing it only as a book of historical and economic   significance. If we are recognizing the Bible as a sacred text, then we are violating the Constitution of United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee by designating it as the official state book’’—with these remarks Governor Bill Haslam Vetoed the Bill that waited for his signature  for its passing.  The sponsors of the Bill that are  making the Holy Bible the official book  have not lost hope and hope the General Assembly Session next week will make it a bill.  It takes only a simple majority in both chambers to overcome the Governor’s veto.
Hindu Americans will be happy if the bill is not passed. If it is passed what would be bothering in their mind can be easily imagined. Someone may even seek justice and equal treatment  in a court of law   like a Sikh serving on the army fought for his five religious symbols  recently and won the case, overcoming the army regulations of dress and discipline.  At the same time Hindu Americans should know what is happening in India! India’s Constitution would not also permit making Gita or Veda the official book. Hindus are also finding it impossible to make Hinduism the religion of India though Hindus are all concentrated in India only and not spread out like Christians and Muslims all over the globe that  dominate in many countries wiping out  other faiths or by conversion  of them to their faiths.  Four in five is a Hindu in India.   Germany however has boldly declared Christianity as its State Religion. But recently in  the election-fevered state of Assam Bharat Mataki jai is being chanted at   election rallies. In a giant country of multiple creeds and tongues, and even more opinions, simple slogans carry complex and even dangerous messages.  Being the state known for Devi worship by Hindus this sounds perilously close to the religious chant, jai mata di.
In this contest we should understand the idea that was conceptualized by Bankim Chatterji and the consequent efforts to make Bharat Mata, a unifying force and National Icon which were strongly influenced by Westerns fabrications such as Britannia and America’s Statue of Liberty.    However it   did not take off to make Bharat Mata a secular national Symbol acceptable to all. A social life of Hindu is so fabricated that he cannot think of anything without relating it to religion. So Bharat Mata in due course became a deity for worship joining the galaxy of 330 million Gods and Goddesses.  In their iconography of Bharat Mata Hindus miserably got confused and failed.  Bharat Mata’s iconography remained vague Did she have four arms or ten? Was she accompanied by a lion, or a map of India? And which map at that as the map went on changing and still changing?  They got consoled building several temple dedicated to the would be goddess, including the one in the holy city of Varanasi opened in 1936 by none  other than Mahatma Gandhi who fasted so much for Hindu Muslim  unity. I wonder why he could not come up with an idea like that of Statue of Liberty acceptable to all!  Recently the temple of Bharat Mata at Haridwar has gained full Hindu Temple Religious Status with Aagama/Tantric form of religious  worship  like some Saibaba Temples  in the country.  
May be a new wave of protests may start to make Bharat Mata a National Symbol for Worship or Veneration like Statue of Liberty after the success of taking Yoga to the  United Nations.
Some private schools in secular India now require applicants to wish victory to Mother India.  I do not know whom or what cause they are fighting for? The BJP Chief Minister of Maharashtra says that anyone who avoids the words “has no place in   India”. Baba Ramadev a Yoga Leader who runs a prosperous noodle business upped the ante further by asserting that were it not for India’s constitution he would have “beheaded hundreds of thousands” for refusing to repeat the chant. Mother India will need to get her squabbling children in line before someone gets hurt. Of course nobody can raise any objection for her worship in Hindu temples as Vedas say Matru Deo Bhava.  Once the iconography of Bharat Mata is settled India may even pass a law to make the worship  of Bharat Mata and chanting Bharat Mata Ji  mantra compulsory in all religious institutions of Worship besides public Institutions within the provisions of secular state  similar to  the salute of  National Flag!
[Adapted from the article in a column Patriotism in India titled “Oh Mother—A nationalist slogan sends sectarian sparks” The Economist, April 9th—15th 2016]
--E-Mail sent on April 16, 2016

If we want  names of every town to be Desi why not  Change Hindu and Hinduism?
The Haryana government on Tuesday April 12, 2016 decided to rename Gurgaon district as Gurugram district. The decision was taken by the Manohar Lal Khattar government in view of demands by people of the area. The decision to change the name of Gurgaon to Gurugram has been taken on the basis of the representations received at several fora, an official spokesman said. Will they also change Punjab to Panchanadee Kshetra?
It is strange nobody wants to change the name Hindu and Hinduism which are wrongly pronounced names and has been given to us by Arabs while we want to change name of even small towns that had remained popular with crowds over  centuries of rule  by the British and Independence, none protesting. Suddenly Hindus have become Desa-premis.   These changes seem to be top priority of the present  government not other vital issues! May be that helps people to keep themselves busy with trivial many than focus  on important few. The name Hindu  given by Arabs constantly  reminds  Hindus as to the atrocities and ruthless rule of Arbas and Muslims over a long period.  We are also happy with  the names Mukherji and   Banerji as well as Iyengars also given by the British! India  recently changed  Calcutta to Kolkata, Benares to Varanasi, Baroda to Vadodara, Madura to Madurai etc., and getting it accepted by all Nations in the world protested by majority Hindus.   Based on the detailed  justification as elaborated in my discourse below  it would be proper to call ourselves as SINDHUS and our following SINDHUTATTVA (Sindhu Taattva) and India to SINDHU RAASHTRA. (We call international as Antar-raashtra already)  The word Sindhuraashtra is secular  unlike INDIA which comes from another wrong pronunciation of Hindu to Indu and India by Greeks. This should be acceptable to all religions in India as Sindhu means river which may mean Land of Many Rivers. It  would  bring back the sweet memories of our sages who   developed the riverbank  philosophy to us meditating on Supreme Being  in cool and calm atmosphere on River banks. At least Hindu Americans who lead a classless and caste-free society should call themselves Sanatanists or Sindhus. Please go through my detailed discourse for details:
India has struck a goldmine in launching on a  Guru's name to name one of its districts in  Haryana starting with Dronachrya. It can afford to name each street by a guru's name in all important towns for it is the Land of Gurus; Still  there will  be many Gurus left out. Of late you might have read about noodle selling Gurus in the Journal Economics that I  have also forwarded to you.

It is also worth going through brief life story of Guru Dronacharya summarized from Mahabharata as sent by IndiaDivine.Org in this regard taking away our attention from the fight for change of names in India given by foreigners.  Where is our pride if we console to wrong terms of Hindu and Hinduism given by ruthless rulers from Arab Countries?
--E-Mail sent on April16, 2016


Yoga, to a student of Vedanta, starts with and is continued in self-control. Therefore Upanishads  including Bhagavad Gita clearly say Yoga means in its practical application, the firm control of the sense organs. To yoga practitioner the extreme development of his powers of concentration through a successful achievement in the control of his sense-organs is the greatest Penance or Tapas (Aikaagrya paramam tapah).  Therefore Yoga practitioners start  with Pranayama  which  means not mere breath control but control of five Life's Vital forces. You may also notice that in all Hindu rituals Achamana, Pranayama and Dhyana are  important progressive steps--  purification, self-control and meditation. In fact  every Hindu is expected to start his day with the Nityakarma called Sandhyavandana which essentially focuses on these three progressive steps. Unfortunately this Pranayama is reduced to  Nasika-yama (Breath or Nose control) in modern practice of Yoga for the physical Benefit of body and Mind only. Control of the sense-organs does not mean merely the negative idea of taking our sense-organs away from their sense-objects. This is only half the battle.  Success can be achieved in self-control  only when our minds are fixed firmly in steady concentration and meditation upon the Atman(Self).  Please go through my earlier discourse on Meditation.  Mr. Chase of Yoga-well institute in California has special ways of explaining principles behind breathing techniques for healthy living based on his training with Desikachar. Please participate in the event this Sunday at Sri Ganesha Temple if you are in or around Nashville or   be guided by the wisdom thoughts of Swami Chidananda.  I wonder whether Regular practice of  SANDHYAVANDANA  in proper manner avoiding nasikayama and practicing Meditation after self purification   could be what Swami Chidananda has in mind when he says: "Moderation is the best policy. Without going to extremes, if we engage in activities and enjoyments with no excess anywhere, we will rise in Yoga". For this you may not need a Yoga Teacher if you learn the technique from  YOGA--WELL institute!"

--April  14, 2016)

Amazing Intelligence of Crows
You may kindly recall my note on Kanu Pongal on which day crows are fed with rice balls by  women folks in Tamil Nadu:
"On the next day of Pongal women visit their parent's house as a means of touching base with their roots.   That is why this day is called Kaanum pongal meaning  a  pongal day for visiting or seeing others. Kaanum got corrupted to kanu in usage. Young girls and women prepare various colored rice and head to the river banks or water tanks.  Rice balls are made and laid out on banana leaves with broken coconuts and bananas.  Cooked rice is fed to the fish and other creatures.  Birds appear and feed on the food that is set out in the open.  Crows appear in large numbers and part-take the food.  It is very interesting to note that before the crows eat, they call their mates to part-take the food that they are about to eat.  Valuable lessons can be learnt here, to share what one has with his near and dear and friends.  This bird spirit is reflected in celebrating Pongal. It is customary in Brahmin families for the women to offer these colored and prepared food (sweet, salty and spicy) rice balls to the elements of nature and pray for the welfare of all at their parent’s home, their husband's home and brothers: “kannu pidi vaithen kaakkaiku pidi vaithen Pukkam pongi  vaazha pirandaam tirandu vaazha udalpirandavaal usandu vaazha pongalo pongal”. Usually this worship takes place near the 'Brindavan' of Tulsi at home. These acts serve as 'Bhootayagna' an offering of food to the living creatures like ants, insects, birds, fish etc.  Brothers give gifts to the sisters, who pray for their well-being. This prayer is extended to all in the world who are considered as brothers. Generally Tamils address equals and bit older as anna (brother) and elders as maama (uncle)  even though not related.  Feasts are prepared and the whole family part-take in it. Vedas say whole world is one family and therefore these prayers are universal"
Hindus depend on crows to carry their food offerings to departed elders, leaving on roof tops,  who are believed to be enjoying their good Punyas  in Pituloka  or Svargsaloka  depending on the quality of life they led in their most recent life on Earth. I believe this  calls for not only  their  knowledge of all elders but also identify them with individual families.  I believe this belief should have inspired  Scentists to conduct research on the long memories of crows. it is also amazing how  Hindu Religious mind has picked upon crow and not Eagle (which is most venerated as Garuda), peacock, dove, swan,parrot etc which are all identified with divines. Also Pitruloka and  Svargaloka are believed to be at higher levels and therefore it needs a bird like crow which can fly to great heights like  Eagle and for long distances. Also crows are seen in abundance and  every day and almost a daily companion of humans watching all activities. Hence the  dependence  and trust on crows a for this  unbelievable Job. Also crows have similar feelings like men  jointly mourning when one dear and near departs. When any crow dies all crows fly from various spots and cry together! Is it not amazing!

Here is a study on crows with the religious back up of a Hindu mind:

Study Shows the Amazing Intelligence of Crows
Posted by The Editor | Mar 18, 2016 | 
In Hinduism crows play a very special role. They are considered the representatives of the forefathers, and offerings are made to the forefathers through the crows. For this reason it is recommended to feed various grains to the crows every day. Sani, the Lord of the planet Saturn, is depicted holding a crow. People who are suffering from negative effects of Saturn period are recommended to feed crows to appease Saturn.
In the Ramayana there is the story of a great rishi named Kakabhushundi who was blessed by Lord Rama to be immortal and live eternally as a crow. He later taught the Ramayana to Garuda, the vahana (mount) of Lord Vishnu. (For more info you can also read: The Life of Kaka Bhusundi the Crow Sage)
The scriptures are full of stories of the intelligence of crows and their special position and relation to humanity. It is said that the crows have their own language, and in previous yugas the humans could converse with them.
Today there is an interesting article in the news about research on the intelligence of crows. They have come to learn that crows can identify particular humans and can even teach this knowledge to their children, instructing them which humans are good and which are bad. Further crows are known to mourn for their dead and offer homage to them by placing offerings of twigs on their bodies. How the crows communicate such abstract concepts among  themselves may be beyond present science’s purview, but those who have studied scriptures such as Ramayana and Mahabharata will be well aware of such things.
Study Shows the Amazing Intelligence of Crows
(Article by Manuel Valdes)
For nearly every step of his almost 12-mile walk, Darryl Dyer has company. Flocks of crows follow him, signaling each other, because they all know that he’s the guy with the peanuts.
“They know your body type. The way you walk,” Dyer said. “They’ll take their young down and say: ‘You want to get to know this guy. He’s got the food.’ ”
Scientists for years have known that crows have great memories, that they can recognize a human face and behavior, and can pass that information onto their offspring.
Nowadays, researchers are trying to understand more about the crow’s brain and behavior, specifically what it does when the birds see one of their own die. They react loudly to the dead, but the reasons aren’t entirely known.
Among the guesses is that they are mourning; given that crows mate for life, losing a partner could be a significant moment for the social animals! There are anecdotes of crows placing sticks and other objects on dead birds — a funeral of sorts.
Using masks that look creepily human, researchers showed up at Seattle parks carrying a stuffed crow. They recorded the reactions. It takes one crow to signal an alarm, and then dozens show up. They all surround the dead crow, looking at it as they perch on trees or fly above it, a behavior called mobbing.
“Crows have evolved to have these complex social relationships, and they have a big brain,” said Kaeli Swift, a University of Washington graduate student who led the study.
How big of a brain? Crows are on par with smart mammals, like dolphins and primates, in brain-to-body proportion. They have been known to be problem solvers and are among the few animals recorded to use tools.
In another part of the experiment, using slightly radioactive tracers, researchers measured the brain activity of crows after they were shown a dead bird. The scans showed the section of the hippocampus — the part involved in memory formation — light up at the sight of death.
“In that particular situation at least, that crow was learning about a place, or a face, or a situation and associated it with that dead crow,” said John Marzluff, the lead researcher.
To Marzluff, this and upcoming research on crows highlight a special relationship humans have with a bird that has thrived in its cities and civilization.
 --March  19, 2016

Choose the Good (Sreyas) over the Pleasant (Preyas)
Here is an important message on which I have spoken from my limited knowledge of  Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita some time back.:
Kathopanishad says that every person is given the choice to tread the   path of that which is right & good called Sreyas   to attain  infinite Joy   or succumb to Preyas, the path of immediate pleasure. Those who choose the path of Sreyas will make the best of their lives,    spiritually elevated or attain Eternal Bliss if they are able to exhaust all their Karmas while those who succumb to the latter will have to pay the price in their repeated birth.

The path of Preyas is one of delusion & untruths.  Bhagvad Gita calls it Rajasic Joy. It says:    “Know that to be rajasic joy where there is pleasure in the beginning and lots of pains thereafter”.  The path of Sreyas is one of Sattvic Joy that spiritually elevates to achieve the goal of Eternal Bliss or Perennial Joy.
Please read through the wisdom thoughts from Swamiji sent  by courtesy Fowai forum. Any such message when received from a Guru attains the sacred status and Mantra as we all believe in.  


is there some simple advice that the Upanishads give us, which we could apply in daily life?

Yes, develop steady discrimination with regard to 'the good' and the 'pleasant'.

Calling the good 'shreya' and the pleasant 'preya', Katha Upanishad declares, "Those of us who opt for the 'shreya' and wisely reject the 'preya' are sure to move upwards."

The context is clearly such a situation when the 'good' and the 'pleasant' are opposed to each other. Such situations rise daily. We must agree, the pleasant can sometimes be good too. You may wish to listen to some classical music or watch the beautiful sunrise; these are good and pleasant. Another time, we may feel tempted to talk ill of a third party, which is not at all necessary; there is pleasure in such gossip but we know it is bad. There is clear opposition here between "preya" (gossip) and "shreya" (avoiding the unnecessary negative talk).

The 'good' and the 'pleasant' confront man.
shreyas cha, preyas cha manushyam etah.
श्रेयश्च प्रेयश्च मनुष्यम् एतः | Chapter 1, Valli 2, mantra 2

*Swami Chidananda

Manu in the Bible and History of Mankind
Here is a detailed write up by Abhaya Mudra Dasi linking sacred Bhagavata story to Holy Bible and Holy Koran with quotes from all these scriptures.  Hinduism also talks about the Biblical Armageddon (Revelation 16:16) as Pralaya (Great Deluge). According to Puranas such Pralayas take place at the end of each Manvantra called Kalpa Pralaya. Manvantara means “the Rule of Manu. We are currently under the jurisdiction of The Brahma, Vaivasvata Manu which we know from the Sankalpas we chant when taking religious resolutions.  Very descriptive details of Pralaya written in Bhagavatam has inspired the present author with the following write-up linking up with the Biblical and Koran stories to the current Vaivasvata Manvantara. The same story appearing in Bible and Koran simultaneously  with different names should not surprise us as they both sprang from Abraham who is their Manu. Lord Vishnu came as Matsya, the fish to save Sage Manu (Vaivasvata—the seventh Manu) from the floods and to recover Vedas from the demon Hayagrieva. Soon  I will send a discourse on this Puranic first Avatar. I strongly believe there should be one and only incident of Deluge and one  universal story on this great flood  that people who have moved into other beliefs and faiths from the Eternal Tradition (sanatana Dharma)  made it their own story with different names and descriptions.  However names like Raama and his sons linger on in their stories too which gives a clue as to the background original incidence and the story in spite of their repeated house-cleaning of their scriptures to delete all reference to Hinduism. Hinduism has no such plans and even tries to correct some mistakes  that have crept  in while copying by foreign authors resulting in  wrong interpretations.  We often feel the True History of India   is not what we  learn  in schools since   archaeological evidences researched today tell a different story, some of which I have brought to your notice. The write-up  below reveals   current European History is also  not correct.  For example, Bulgaria has a modern history of around 1300 years which today’s so-called scholarship considers as one of the oldest nations. Bulgaria has preserved its name throughout the ages, and according to the ancient verse quoted in the write-up, the histories of these areas are far, far more ancient. The Danuvi River mentioned is obviously the Danube which till today forms the northern boundary between Bulgaria and Romania.
Yahweh  (YHWH)   mentioned below is the national god of the ancient kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. Jehovah later Latiniztion of the word Yahweh is popular with English Authors of the Bible.  
A Texas man says recently that he has found fossils from NOAH's Flood!

 Manu in the Bible and the History of Mankind
Posted by Abhaya Mudra Dasi | Feb 29, 2016 | IndiaDivine.Org
“The Manu named King Satyavrata formerly saved himself by tying the small boat of the entire world to the horn of the Matsya avatara, the fish incarnation. By the grace of the Matsya avatara, Manu saved himself from the great danger of the flood. May that same fish incarnation save us from the great and fearful danger caused by the son of Tvashta.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.9.23)
A single event of the ancient world has been covered by a number of scriptures—even though some of these old historical texts are not generally considered as Vedic. Elements of the history of Vaivasvata Manu, our current Manu, can be found as the story of “Noah and the Flood” both in the Bible and in the Koran. The great flood is also described in some other scriptures including the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jasher. The inundation is also described in the Sumerian epic poem Gilgamesh. Manu, who is the progenitor of humanity, has made a significant mark on history. Therefore it is natural that he has been discussed in numerous scriptures from different periods throughout millennia. It would appear that the Noah we read about in the Bible is none other than the current Vaivasvata Manu.
The Book of Jasher, which is an apocryphal work (and which is twice mentioned in the Bible  says the following in 4.13-14 about the birth of Manu:
“And the wife of Lemech conceived and bore him a son at that time, at the revolution of the year. And Metushelach called his name Noach, saying, ‘The ground was in his days at rest and free from corruption.’ And Lamech his father called his name Menachem (Manu), saying, ‘This one shall comfort us in our works and miserable toil from the ground, which YHWH (God) had cursed.’”
In the book of Enoch—an ancient Jewish religious work that is mostly preserved in its original form in Ethiopia—Noah is described as a follower of God’s rule (dharma). It is written there that he lived during a period that had become degraded due to the intermingling of the demigods with human women and that this intermingling had produced giants of demonic nature. In time practically all humankind became corrupted. Foolish people began to worship mere inhabitant of the Earth as gods … a vice that continues till this day in our present Kali Yuga.
The different Manus are described in Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.13 and the flood is described later.
“O King Parikshit, at the end of the past millennium, at the end of Brahma’s day, because Lord Brahma sleeps during the night, annihilation took place and the three worlds became covered by the waters of the ocean. At the end of Brahma’s day, when Brahma felt sleepy and desired to lie down, the Vedas were emanating from his mouth, and the great demon named Hayagriva stole the Vedic knowledge. Understanding the acts of the great demon Hayagriva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who is full of all opulence, assumed the form of a fish and saved the Vedas by killing the demon.” (SB 8.24.7-9).
Shrila Prabhupada comments, “Because everything was inundated by water, to save the Vedas it was necessary for the Lord to assume the form of a fish.” (Note that this verse does not relate to the form of Matsya who saved Manu at the end of a certain millennia when only a partial annihilation takes place.)
At the end of each Manvantara (lit. “rule of one Manu”), and before the next progenitor of humankind Manu takes charge, a total dissolution of the Earth—a flood—occurs. This is obviously the same devastating flood that is also described in the Bible, in the Book of Enoch and in the Book of Jasher. As Noah was an enlightened personality, he was saved from the flood along with other sages and his sons. It is said that his ark, or huge boat, remained atop the Malaya Mountain after the flood.
 The Book of Jasher 5.13 discusses why Vaivasvata (Noah) was chosen as the present Manu:
And Noach was a just man, he was perfect in his generation, and YHWH chose him to rise up seed from his seed upon the face of all the earth.
The book describes the many long years during which the flood ravaged the Earth. It tells how all creatures had to endure being tossed from one side of the ark to the other. Despite the fear that Manu and the rest of the animals and sages endured in the boat, we know from Shrimad Bhagavatam that Lord Matsyadeva protected the ark throughout the flood’s duration.
After the flood Manu and his sons populated the Earth. The sons of Manu are mentioned as being three in number in the Book of Jasher, but the Vedic literature mentions at least ten among  whom Ikshvaku is prominent. Since the Book of Jasher was scribed in a mleccha tongue, it mentions only the facts that are considered more important for the people of that time and who spoke that language:
“And these are the names of the sons of Noach: Yafe (Ikshvaku), Ham and Shem; and children were born to them after the flood, for they had taken wives before the flood.” (Book of Jasher 7.1)
It is interesting that in the line concerning Noah, the name of Rama appears along with the name of Kush in the same paragraph, possibly an indirect reference to Lord Shri Ramachandra:
“And these are the sons of Ham; Kush, Mitzraim, Put and Kanaan, four sons; and the sons of Kush were Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raama and Satecha, and the sons of Raama were Sheba and Dedan.” (Book of Jasher 7.10)
After some years the children and descendants of Manu populated the entire Earth. Once again, in due course of time, the people again became irreligious. They built a city with the Tower of Babel that was supposed to reach for the heavens where they proposed to install human idols. According to the Bible, such misguided plans could not work and their skyscrapers were destroyed by the designs of the Lord. Assisted by His devotees (the demigods), the mouths of the inhabitants of the city were made to mispronounce their language, and thus Babel became the source of the English word “babble.” Since the citizens could no longer understand each other, conflicts arose and in this way they destroyed both the city and themselves. Thus different languages were created which now rendered the immoral citizens incapable of working together and considering competing with the demigods. Since this occurs at the end of Kali Yuga, we propose that this event this could have marked the end of another chatura-yuga cycle and the beginning of another Satya Yuga.
Manu is described in the Bhagavata as living for seventy-one yuga cycles. Our present Manu has already lived for twenty-eight yuga cycles. This means that already in his lifetime twenty-eight major destruction  must have occurred with the onset of each consecutive Satya Yugas.
In the Book of Jasher the nations that were born from the sons of Manu are mentioned and some of them, like Turkey and Bulgaria, are still recognizable today:
“And the sons of Yafet the son of Noach went and built themselves cities in the places where they were scattered, and they called all their cities after their names, and the sons of Yafet were divided upon the face of the earth into many divisions and languages. And these are the names of all their families according to all their cities which were built to them in those days after the tower.” (10.6)
“And the children of Tugarma are ten families, and these are their names: Kuzar, Partzinak, Bulgar, Elikanus, Ragvina, Turki, Buz, Zabuk, Ongar and Tilmatz; all these spread and rested in the north and built themselves cities. And they called their cities after their names, those are they who abide by the rivers Hital and Altak unto this day. But [the families of] Angoli, Bulgar and Partzinak, they dwell by the great river Danuvi; and the names of their cities are also according to their names.” (10.10)
As those nations were directly founded by different sons of Manu, it is obvious that their history—and thus the history of the world—is much older than the fairy tale that “historians” have been trying to wholesale us for the past many centuries. For example, Bulgaria has a modern history of around 1300 years which today’s so-called scholarship considers as one of the oldest nations. Bulgaria has preserved its name throughout the ages, and according to this ancient verse the histories of these areas are far, far more ancient. The Danuvi River mentioned is obviously the Danube which till today forms the northern boundary between Bulgaria and Romania.
All nations have one father and one culture which is the self, same Vedic culture that is rooted in the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Shri Krishna. 

Texas man says he found fossils from “Noah’s flood”
Texas man says he found fossils from “Noah’s flood,” and the director of an anti-science museum that claims evolution is “an old-fashioned theory” is supporting him.
Wayne Propst was helping his aunt out, laying dirt near her home in the town of Tyler when he found snail fossils, he told local news station KYTX. He and his aunt believe the fossils happened during the fabled worldwide flood described in the biblical book of Genesis.
“From Noah’s flood to my front yard, how much better can it get?” Propst said.
KYTX Wayne Propst shows the fossils to KYTX.
He sent photos to Joe Taylor, director and curator of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum in Crosbyton, Texas, for analysis. Taylor holds the positions that evolution is not real, that a worldwide flood occurred a few thousand years ago, and that Noah — the man that the Bible describes as building an ark large enough to save two of every animal species from the floodwaters — brought dinosaurs on his ark with him.
Taylor told KYTX that Propst’s fossils are indeed from the time of that purported flood.
However, James Sagebiel, the collections manager at the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that Propst’s fossils are actually millions of years old.
“The rocks there are about 35-40 million years old, and these little turret snails are commonly found in marine rocks of that age,” Sagebiel said.   “It I s not unusual.”
Millions of years ago, the place where Tyler, Texas, now stands would have been coastline, he added.
Though some researchers believe that the inspiration of the Noah’s ark story was a large-scale flood event in the Middle East, there is no scientific evidence that a flood covering the entire Earth occurred in human history. Plus the logistics of getting two of each animal — especially dinosaurs, as Taylor believes were present — on one boat, cared for by only Noah’s family would be downright impossible. (Huffington Post)
--E-Mail sent on 3/25/2006
Panguni Uttiram and World  Water Day--March 22, 2016
Tuesday 22, 2016 is Panguni Uttiram Day which is an Unique Day to celebrate many Divine weddings and births about which I have elaborately discussed a week before. Our friend from  Singapore has sent  this Vishnu Hymn
Sage Narada as attached above in your favorite language.
 By strange coincidence Tuesday 22 is the real World Water Day celebrated all over the world Though . To me all Devatas like Brahma, Vishnu, Siva are all sprung form Aapah, Verily Water that is Brahman. So don't forget to chant the  following Mantra which  I explained you in detail in my discourse;
"Aaapo vaa idam sarvam viswaa bhootaanyaapah  praanaa vaa aapah pasava aapo annam aapo amritam aapah samraad aapah svaraad aapah chchandsyaapah jyoteeshyaapo yajushyaapah satyamaapah  Sarva Devata aapo bhoorbhuvah suvaraapa OM"


This day was first formally proposed in
Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. In 1993, the first World Water Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and since, each year focuses on a different issue.
The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world's water resources. Additionally, a number of nongovernmental organizations promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Water Day as a time to focus attention on the critical issues of our era. Events such as theatrical and musical celebrations, educational events, and campaigns to raise money for access to clean and affordable water are held worldwide on World Water Day, or on convenient dates close to March 22.
The occasion of World Water Day is also used to highlight required improvements for access to WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) facilities in developing countries.
Vedas have given utmost importance to Water and mandates worship of Water as an Emanation (Vyaahriti) of Brahaman. Water was the first vital element that was revealed to the world by Saguna Brahman as Narayana who gave his audience to the world reclining on Adisesha. Planet Earth was still submerged  in water then. God in His avatar Varaha lifted the Earth submerged in water (uddhritna krishnena Satabahuna) and then Brahma started creation as directed by Him!
Here is a message sent by Muralidharan Iyengar from Singapore on this Auspicious Day:
“Greetings and Namaste. The full moon day in the month of Phalguna is of religious significance all over India in different contexts. In the south, it is celebrated as the wedding day of Lord Rama/Sita, Parvati/Parameshvara, Devasena/Kartikeya, Andal/Rangamannar, etc as well as the birth of Mahalakshmi. Phalguni/Uttara is considered to be very auspicious for marriages. There are also many festivals such as Holi that signify Phalguna/Pournami.

In this connection, I am happy to share a very rare and sweet hymn on Lord Vishnu by Sage Narada taken from Chapter 2 of Brihan Naradiya Puranam. This was sung by Sage Narada but retold by Sage Shaunaka in the Purana. The brief Phalashruti mentions that one who recites this hymn gets absolved of all sins and reaches the abode of Lord Vishnu.

Over the years, we have seen tons of citations from Puranas where the essence of Sanatana Dharma - ekam sat | viprAH bahudha vadanti || - is established beyond doubt even while extolling various deity forms. Sage Narada beautifully reiterates this point a couple of times in the attached prayer.

shiva-svarUpI shiva-bhAvitAnAM hari-svarUpI hari-bhAvitAnAM | 10 |
(Meaning: Lord Vishnu appears as Lord Shiva for those who are devoted to Lord Shiva and as Lord Hari for those who are devoted to Lord Hari).

brahmendra rudrA .anila vAyu martya gandharva yaxA .asura deva sa~NghaiH |
svamUrti-bhedaiH sthita eka Ishas taM AdiM AtmAnaM ahaM bhajAmi || 14 ||
(Meaning : The only Supreme Being takes different Murti forms such as Brahma, Indra, Rudra, Agni, Vayu, etc.)

So, it is needless to say that trying to zoom into non-existent bhedas among various forms of the Brahman is a fictitious and futile exercise which might temporarily give comfort to one's ego but zilch to spirituality.

The lives of real Mahatmas stand embodiment to this fact that religious fanaticism is an anathema to them. To give an example, Saint Thyagraja's devotion to Lord Rama and his divine vision of Lord Rama in his life need no introduction. Only one a billion/trillion can attain his divinity. It is true that he has sung innumerable songs on Lord Rama (rAma eva daivatam - balahamsa, rAma nI samAnamevaru - Karaharapriya, etc.) But the same Thyagaraja who sang "rAma nAmaM bhajare - Madhyamavati" also sang "Shiva Shiva Shiva yena rAdA - Pantuvarali". Sri Vadiraja was a great seer in the Dwaita tradition but he personally consecrated Lord Manjunathaswamy in Dharmasthala and did he need any lecture on being a staunch Vaishnavite?

To say the least, fanaticism is symptom of spiritual under-development or , more precisely, non-development. Spirituality is not a land of DMK/ADMK politics of Tamil Nadu - either you are with me or against me!

May We Pray to The Supreme Brahman with this beautiful prayer on Phalguna/Uttara day!”

--  E Mail sent for Panguni  Uttiram  March 22, 2016

I have talked a lot about Siddhar Sanyasis of Tamil Nadu. A true Sanyasi  is one who is alive to the problems of the world around him while his thoughts are focused on the Unknown  as some tall cliff  which is surrounded by storms and clouds round its breast but yearns for eternal sunshine on its top. Further please note how our Puranas are down-to-earth in their predictions. My only wonder is why the author speaks about USA where people  live happier healthier and not India while still poverty and illiteracy prevails to a large extent  after  many decades? Our Puranas always have a ready answer to the present day problems  and  Hindus always seek Gita for a solution! May be the have an answer for India! They may say still India is a Dharmabhumi and USA Karmabhumi!

 Present-day Siddhar’s Talk on Modern Day Slavery  
Posted by Jahnava Nitai Das | IndiaDivine.Org
The entire modern society is a giant scam to enslave the population.
For example, in 1913 the US income tax rate was 1%. You could keep 99% of your hard earned income.
Today, if you are self-employed in the United States you have to pay around 40% of your income in taxes (income tax + self-employment tax). It almost becomes impossible for people to earn a living through self-employment.
Instead they are forced to work for corporations, where they will not be directly charged self- employment tax (around 14% of total income). You are put in a situation where it is only possible to live working as a slave for a corporation.
On top of the 40% income tax and self-employment tax one has to pay, there are also state taxes which vary between 3% and 5% depending on the state. Then there is sales tax, so you are also paying every time you purchase anything, even the food you need to survive.
Don’t forget property tax, which the government perpetually charges you on land you already own, if you are lucky enough to own your own land. Basically the people have to pay rent on all the property in the country perpetually, even though it is their own land. Can there be a simpler scam then renting people’s own properties to them, forever?
Where would people be happier? In a country where you have to work like a slave and give 50% of your income to the government in the form of various taxes, or in a country where income tax was just 1%, like it was in 1913 in the United States?
Supposedly slavery was ended in the 1800’s, but in reality it was just transformed and expanded in the form of bonded laborers enslaved to corporations and the taxing governments. It is no coincidence that various unbearable taxes were created shortly after slavery was abolished. There has always been a class of elite who want to profit off of others’ labor.
In the Bhagavata Purana this is predicted as follows:
anavrishtya vinankshyanti
“Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they will become completely ruined.” – Bhagavata Purana 12.2.9
nityam udvigna-manaso
niranne bhū-tale rājan
“In the Age of Kali, people’s minds will always be agitated. They will become emaciated by famine and taxation, and will always be disturbed by fear of drought.” – Bhagavata Purana 12.3.39
Note: This gist of this topic was spoken to me last month by a Siddhar who stays in a garbage pile in Mettukuppam, next to Saint Vallalar’s disappearance temple. The Siddhar did not want his photo taken or for his name to be known, but he wanted this message to be spread. There are other points which he had given, which I will try to mention in later posts. Since we have never known his name, we have always referred to him as Vadalur Mauna Baba, as previously he went 12 years without speaking (observing mauna) due to intervention by higher siddhas.

Cosmic Dance at Sudekum Planetarium‏
https://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifThose of you who are my local participants may like to watch the Cosmic Dance of Siva at Sudekum Planetarium on Sunday March13, at 6 PM. Others may  enjoy my discourse on Cosmic Dance and Symbolism of Nataraja.  Mahasivaratri falls on next Sunday on March 7. Therefore the next Sunday should be March 13 which is the day on which Daylight Time Begins as Lord Siva   comes to our rescue to save us from dreadful Winter this year. It is not March 12  as Wagdevi  has e-mailed. Tamils herald Mahasivratri and celebrate it saying "Sivaratri vandal Kulir Kalam Siva siva enru Odidum,''--Dark Winter cold runs away chanting the name of Siva Siva!  Tamils are always scared of cold but not summer. You should only see them in Margazhi Bhajans! It is fun for us to watch! So Siva  receives overdosage of Bhakti  from Tamils! Besides cold it also drives our darkness(tamas) ignorance.

Kalam means Time. Siva is the custodian of Time whom you worship as "Kalaya Swaha". He is the emanation of Brahman whom you worship in visible form of endless column of fire on Sivaratri night. The UNKNOWN is beyond the column whom even Brahma could not find but could feel. It is the fire you recognize as you dance Sivathandava but can't see. It is the fire that consumes the Abhishekam Milk you consume which is burnt by Jataraagni (Stomach fire). The Unknown said in Gita  ''Aham Vaiswanaro bhootva"--I become fire or Siva. If you close your ears you can hear the Jataraagni burning. You can feel it as it maintains your body temperature to keep you functioning. You can't see it for Brahman is the  Unknown. That is why You offer Pranahuti Veda Mantra or Gita sloka Brahmaarpanam as a prayer before taking food to maintain  your body heat. Brahma here is Brahman. Its move either way is  a warning.

I would like to  remind you hear a Hindu mind is always preoccupied to associate TIME with the Supreme Brahman based on Vedas. Samvatsara (Year, a landmark of TIME) is meditated upon as Brahman  in Mantra Pushpa (Samvatsarovaa apaam Pushpam!) That is why we enjoy Mahasivaratri and celebrate it(as end of winter) all night keeping  vigil  looking at the Jyoti. When you light a wick it ends in a single point. At the end of  the glow  the  tip leads you to the Unknown.  I will talk about  "Uncommon Understanding of the Unknown" elaborately this week.  Do not postpone to read it and  forget  to send your comments as you normally do caught in your busy schedules.  It also helps you  to understand the significance Sivaratri. Bhagawan who is none other than Virat Purusha as revealed in Gita itself says "Rudraanaam aham Sankarah (Siva)" among my eleven controllers,  Rudras, I  am SIVA.  Rudra too  is only a Devata like Brahma and Vishnu. The unknown whom we address as Brahman(ever Growing) cannot be recognized by any name or form   or dance. But he can be heard as our inner voice  Om when you meditate "Om antascharti bhooteshu guhaayam viswamoorti" The Lord of the  Universe is the Inner Voice OM which vibrates in our spiritual heart as we dance and feel the heat generated that   destroys cold and darkness(tamas).
Meditate with Mindfulness on the known column of Fire (Siva)  to reach the Unknown, the ultimate goal.
-- E-Mail sent on March 11, 2016

17 Resolutions to Help You have A Spiritually Renewing 2016
(Antonia Blumberg Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post)
As the new year dawns, it's time to set some intentions for what you hope to accomplish in the months ahead. Instead of taking on daunting new diets or exercise regimens, start with some resolutions that will nourish your spirit, instead.
HuffPost Religion brainstormed 17 resolutions to help you have a mindful and renewing 2016. Let us know how they go!
1. Start Meditating
Whether you take 5 minutes or 50 minutes every day to sit and breathe deeply, you will thank yourself for beginning a meditation practice. Meditation offers countless benefits to our lives, including reducing stress and increasing self-awareness. Not sure where to start? Try our daily meditations, which feature songs, poems and guided exercises you can do in under 10 minutes.
2. Express gratitude.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve the immune system, help us sleep longer and deeper, and decrease feelings of loneliness, among many other benefits. Click here to discover nine ways to start practicing gratitude daily.

3. Connect with nature.
If you’ve ever experienced awe at the sight of a brilliant sunset or towering mountain peak, then you know the value of this resolution. Take time to connect with nature this year -- go on hikes, say a prayer for the environment, keep a plant on your desk to lovingly tend to every day.
4. Listen to your grandparents, elders and spiritual teachers.
The greatest spiritual wisdom may be hidden in your own home. Make a date to call or sit down with your parents and grandparents and ask them to share some life advice with you. What guiding philosophy has informed their lives? If you're daring, ask them their thoughts about death, God and the afterlife.  
5. Cultivate happiness.
As we learned from the Tao of Happiness, lasting joy is within our reach. But we may have to shift our relationship to happiness from one of cause and effect to a more sustainable mindset. Nurture positive thoughts, practice self-care and try to find the little pockets of joy in every moment.
 6. Make a record of your dreams.
Dreams can be powerful tools for self-reflection, and if we’re lucky, they can help guide us to exciting new territory in our lives. Here’s a tip: Keep a journal near your bed, and when you wake up write down everything you can remember from your dreams the previous night. Colors, impressions and images are fair game even if you can’t remember full sequences. Judith Orloff, M.D said the more we get in a habit of recording our dreams the better we’ll train our brains to remember them.
7. Unleash your creativity.
Many of the habits of highly creative people are essentially mindfulness practices in disguise, like making time for solitude and staying grounded in the present moment. Immerse yourself in creative activities on a regular basis, and let yourself get lost in the moment. Have no expectations or judgment about what you manifest.
8. Go on a retreat.
Sometimes the greatest revelations come to us in moments of solitude and reflection. Get perspective on your life by getting away -- take a solo trip or sign up for a meditation class. At the very least, take mini “retreats” regularly to a certain grove, library or house of worship where you can be still and check in with your spirit.

9. Practice forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is the ultimate spiritual practice,” said Rev. Adriene Thorne, executive minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. “All other spiritual offerings depend on it.” In 2016, liberate yourself from anger, resentment and grudges. In their place, fill your heart with compassion for yourself and others.
10. Speak your truth.
Don Miguel Ruiz’s iconic personal growth book, The Four Agreements, begins with the lesson: Be impeccable with your word. Ruiz goes on to explain the ways in which gossip and self-deprecation inhibit us from realizing our true selves. Consider the words you use to communicate and express yourself. Speak with clarity and integrity, and say what you mean.
 11. Laugh more.
Laughing feels good, but did you know it can also reduce stress, improve our immune system and relieve pain? For some, like laughter yoga instructor Jeannette Sanger, it’s a spiritual practice, too. “When you’re laughing you’re not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow," Sanger said. "You’re just totally joyful, the way children are.” Laugh heartily, as often as you can, in 2016.
12. Stay present.
“You can do a hundred things during the day,” said Larry Kasanoff, director of "Mindfulness: Be Happy Now," his new documentary. “Just do them one at a time and be present in the moment." Do everything with mindful awareness and always maintain your footing in present reality.
13. Donate your time, money and energy.
In his recent book, Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard outlines the life-changing potential of serving others. Consider the people and causes you’d like to better support in the upcoming year. Connect with your congregation or spiritual community to see if there are humanitarian projects already underway that you can contribute to.
14. Do little acts of kindness.
Related to #13, pay attention to the small, everyday opportunities to make someone smile.  It’s easier than you think. Compliment your coworkers on a project they’ve been working on, give your barista an extra tip, send a loved one an actual letter in the mail. Make a habit of doing something kind every day -- eventually it will become second nature.
15. Practice hospitality.
In these times of division and xenophobia, be a bastion of acceptance in your own community. Open your heart and your doors to strangers. Engage in interfaith dialogue; invite your neighbors over for dinner. Be generous with your love, as with your time and resources.
Astronaut Images via Getty Images
16. Honor the sacred.
People discover the divine in myriad places. A seed can be sacred; pregnancy can be sacred; even our daily lives are filled with opportunities to experience the divine. Develop rituals that help you honor the sacred on a regular basis. Build a shrine in your house with images you hold dear. Say a prayer of gratitude before you sip your morning coffee, honoring the farmers, roasters and delivery workers who made that steaming mug possible. Take nothing for granted and hold everything with reverence.
17. Set intentions.
Intentions are potent seeds we plant in order to affect change in our lives and in the world. In her book Living With Intent, author and meditation teacher Mallika Chopra wrote: “Intents are expressions of who we aspire to be as individuals -- physically, emotionally, spiritually -- as members of our families and communities, and even as citizens of Mother Earth.” Set some intentions for the year, and write them down to make them stick. Share them with your loved ones, and return to them often to re-calibrate and check your progress.
-- E-Mail sent on  January 1,2016

Hindu  Reflections—Yearly Review
I have talked enough about Hindu Reflections on Holiday Season and  about the other faiths that  are influenced by Hinduism  as well as the  effect on American Hinduism of  several cultures and faiths living in USA. My discourses often facilitate to promote interfaith dialogue to live in peace and harmony.  Let me also talk about my year long work on Hindu Reflections on Hindu  Religion, Science,  Spirituality and culture,  including its relation with other cultures. All religions draw their strength from Eternal Tradition (Sanatana Dharma). Therefore Hinduism conflates with world religions mostly and has  very few conflicts.  These little conflicts are inflated and infuriated with fanaticism  by a few, all in the name of One Supreme Being, disturbing world peace.
Search Engine of Hindu Reflections has been too busy throughout  last year  gathering and providing lot of information to those exclusively registered as active participants  (HRA) though I have not received many comments except from a handful. Though I  received almost triple the load I could digest only part of them and transmit to you  that  may or may not  have  directly interested all of you. If you read my general footnote to  my E-mails that I recently started posting you will understand why I walk away from Orthodox Hindu approach in my discourses.  But the seeking engine for the Blog has been moving fast and added another 50000 pages during the year. This is too fast compared to 100000 landmark  in four years.
Out of the 264 postings of my discourses on the Blog   10 are picked up by  the Google as the most popular among world readers. The   order of 10 top popular discourses has changed from my previous report.  Google reveals there is the thirst to know the meaning of mantras used in Hindu worship and their purport from  Blog visitors and Participants.  The next set of interest is in astrology, astrological deities and astrological beliefs. The most popular deity seems to be Vishwaksena whose  worship started first  as Ganapati of Vedas, in spite of my more concentration on Ganesha of Puranas as the popular deity pushed to the forefront.  Vishwaksena misses the fat belly, Modaka and the  rat of Ganesha. There is also keen interest   to know the hidden meaning of numbers in Chamakam and such mysteries sealed in mantras. These two topics are closely following the top ten.
It makes more sense for Hindu Temples in America to concentrate on these aspects particularly due to high level of education among the devotees. They can't be forced to blind faith as well as implicit obedience to elders as in India. Mantras contain deep meanings in capsule form.  Though I have been focusing on Hindu Americans, most readers are  Hindus  form India where many things are not explained in performing Hindu rituals and worships which they are often told to repeat after the priests or believe in astrologers  and   blindly follow. I am not therefore surprised  to  receive often  glowing comments by way of appreciation from India and occasionally from Americans who are interested in Interfaith Dialogues and are not Hindus.  Surprisingly there is not one negative comment but all appreciations from even those who are not Hindus.  The topics on Why I am a Hindu, Siddhas, Manglya Dharanam  and Smarta tradition are catching the eye  of every one.
I do not post all the subject matters of my E-mails on the Blog. Many of them are exclusively intended to active participants only and are not necessarily related to subjects posted on the blog. If related, I sometimes add them as appendices. I am glad blog is more frequently visited by readers  than before whose frequency is rapidly growing.  I often revise my postings on the Blog when I come across fresh information and so please visit Blog often at your convenience.

1)  Some Veda Mantras Used in Hindu Rituals and Worships                                11130
2) Hindu Reflections On Eclipses and Full Moon                                                       7606
3)  Sani Peyarchi—Saturn’s Transit Through our Birth Charts                                 5645
4) Navagraha Devatas—Nine Hindu Deities in the Solar system                            4294                    
5)  Hindu Rites for the Deceased Parents and Ancestors                                         3652
6) Hindu Views on Conception and Child Birth                                                          3457
7) Pradosham, Its Significance                                                                                       2778
8) Knowledge of Brahman                                                                                              2215
9) Homa Mantras from MNU                                                                                         2207
10) The Veda Hymn that Hypnotized the World Gathering                                     2044

The top ten countries in the rankings who follow my discourses are India, United Sates, Russia, Malaysia, United Kingdoms, France, Canada, Germany, Australia and Ukraine.  I do not know why Russia and Ukraine? Have more Hindus started moving to Russia now to learn another difficult language? Having lived in Germany and Russia for long I know how difficult it is  to live there with English alone. I started speaking their languages and digesting their culture too. I have spoken enough on Hindu Reflections; let me have your reflections as to how I can improve my performance to  serve you better  and continue beyond 2016. I have just enough topics to take care of the blog this year which I am planning to close by the end of the year.
--January 2, 2016
Happy Holidays in USA begins with Thanksgiving Day and ends on the midnight of January 1.   It is rather sad the Nation as a whole has forgotten The Bill of Rights Day, December 15 coming in between which is indeed the real Independence Day. This had  remained the  dream of FDR who wanted the day to be a National Holiday.  Winter Solstice Day, December 22 is left to celebration by Pagan Traditions although their tradition reflects throughout the spirit of Christmas Season in Yule logs, Christmas trees, Candle light and Christmas lighting. By coincidence  all these occur towards latter half of December only.
American  Hindu Temples  observe Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day as Special Religious Days   keeping their temples open all day and conducting special Homas and Abhishekas to their chosen deities and facilitating visitors to offer special prayers. This fulfills the desire of founding-fathers of the temple to please their children, their friends' and relatives’ children who are married to the major faith  of the land. But these  children can't forget Hindu Temples and the colorful celebrations by force of habit than reverence. Pope Gregory XIII after whom the Gregorian calendar is named agreed to January 1 named after Roman God Janus because it suited Christianity as an auspicious day which was subsequently forced on the world as International New Year Day.  Christian majority then ruled the world. Bill of Rights Day is virtually American Hindus Thanksgiving Day, without which Hindus would not have enjoyed such religious freedom in building so many temples and preserving their culture.  I wonder why USA has forgotten this memorable day in the Holiday Season! May be caught amid highly commercialized three holidays celebrated with grandeur they have ignored this day and FDR!
Winter Solstice (Uttarayana)  Day is the  appropriate auspicious  day to observe as New Year Day and make resolutions in Hindu Temples praying to their chosen deities which is  the astronomical  correct Uttarayana Punyakala Day.   Hindu astrologers   have been fooling the people without correcting their almanacs, like Gregorian calendar does, and therefore ignorant Hindus think Uttarayana   begins on January 14 or Tamil Month Thai. Tamils have also made this day more attractive saying “Thai pirnadaal Vazhi pirakkum”—with Thai begins the way to live.
It is strange all religions started only in the Northern Hemisphere with the progress of  civilization.   However people in Southern Hemisphere celebrate Summer solstice on December 22 but join New Year celebration on January 1. Probably it is their Thanksgiving Day as the long summer days come to an end which they enjoyed and long winter days begin their journey.
We are closing the year of battle of nerves and mass murder 2015;   fascination for destruction and killing lifted its head with jubilation in many countries kindled and nurtured by hatred.  The human thought that it takes to respect the image of God in another person reached its point to the lowest in 2015. As we prepare to leave2015 behind and turn the page, we can all strive to be better.  Powerful  fear  emotion   during 2015 has ruined our  quality of life. Anxiety became the= defining condition. Nature did not oblige Tamil Nadu and Chennai. Faith and the spiritual life should give us strength and courage to face our fears and fight anxiety.  We must  recognize that there are many things out of our control for which  we pray for divine intervention. He will listen only when we have the right attitude, mind and willingness to help others. The ball is in  our court.
TIME Magazine chose Angela Merkel as No.1 Woman of the year known for dignity, compassion  and humanity and the most dreaded World Terrorist Abu Bakar al Baghdadi with Quran on one hand and gun on the other as No.2, Man of the Year. Why these opposites and extremes are clubbed together?   Hindu Philosophy is no stranger to pairs of opposites as I  often discuss in my discourses! One need  to realize darkness for enjoying light. Probably TIME conveys Upanishad’s message of Da, Da, Da  (dama,  daana and Dayaa) to all Muslims  to keep Quran  in  one hand and raise the other  hand to Allah dropping the a sword  and  to follow the path of Constraints, Compassion and Charity  drawing  inspiration from the World’s leading Woman of the  Year. Follow the Christians and Muslims in Egypt who come together and pray to Mary or Mariam, another powerful woman in the Holy Bible and Quran.

Let us be guided  by the wisdom of Vedas and Upanishads  in the coming year.  Here is a Rigveda mantra  for you to   focus and know its  purport. Let us pray for Peace and Prosperity on Earth, the popular theme of Nativity Scenes.
pragnaye vachamiraya vrishabhaya kshitinam sa nah parshadati dvishah- Rig Veda 10.187.1
Word meaning: Kshitinam = lord showering blessings on the people; Agneya= in the form of Agni, used for lord of fire; vacham=our speech, pra eraya = inspired by insensitive; Vah Naha= us; Dvisha= beyond hatred; parshart= give us relief from.
What is the purport of this Mantra and what does it imply? Oh human being! Do you want that you should be relieved from hatred? Are you fed up hating your fellow brothers and obtaining the same in return? You have developed hatred towards other considering that they are obstacles in the way of your happiness; the more you hated them they have returned the same, has not the hatred increased in the same degree? The hatred and feeling of vengeance has increased so much that an ocean of hatred surround  you to-day. If now you are totally fed up and want to come out of the cycle of hatred then you wake up and extend your voice to the Lord of Agni (Supreme Spirit) present in the whole universe, the lord who fulfills the desires of all the people.
If hate is present in ourselves, we have yet to accept the truth about what is really going on within us. If we have hate in our heart for another, this is an expression of our own internal hate we have for ourselves. We do not punish our own hate and also forget  it after some time. But the hate in others we never forget and take revenge.  That is human nature.  So avoid hate from all angles.
Everyone should practice three C’s—Control of self (damam ); Charity (daanam); and Compassion (dayaa). In Sanskrit letters these are  Da,  Daa and Da or 3 Da.   The first letter "Da" means "damaa" and stands for self-control. The second “Daa” means “Daana” or Charity. The third letter  "Da" means "Dayaa" and  stands for Compassion. Brihadarnyaka Upanishad wants us to win over evil by all these three noble acts.
These are mandates of Vedas to burn the fire of hatred. After having burnt the hatred let us strive for   Peace on Earth and Happiness for all guided by the Shanti mantras—“prithvee santih; Sarvejanaah sukhino bhavantu”- - May there be Peace on Earth! May all people on Earth live happily! Our friend Dr. Ram Prasad has sent me a beautiful   poem for the Happy Holidays to be forwarded to you as attached which  I have taken the liberty of slightly modifying to suit my theme.  I would also like join him to Wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year on January 1, 2016 though I would  have preferred    December 23, Winter Solstice Day the most sacred  day.  We all agree January 1 is a social events day and not a religious day for temple visit and to  make  religious resolutions to improve our life-style. 
China leaps into Successful Hanuman Year in 2016. Let us leave behind  2015 the Year of Hate and Violence and leap into the Leap Year of 2016 to strive  for Success, Peace and Happiness!

Wish you all a Happy, Prosperous, Healthy and Peaceful New Year!
--January 1, 2016


New Year Blessings: Keep Moving Towards the Light – Grow Those Wings & Fly
 Swami Chidananda Saraswati 

At this beautiful time of the New Year, it is the time when most people pray that the New Year will be easier, better, more successful than the year which has passed. However, at this time when we pray and make our own resolutions, it is so important to remember the ultimately the purpose of our lives is not just to have things be as easy as possible, nor to be as successful and/or prosperous as possible. The point of our lives is to realize our own true divine nature, to awaken and unfold into the divinity of ourselves. In many cases, that process requires both inner struggle as well as patience.

There is a beautiful story of a man who noticed, on a tree outside his home, a beautifully woven cocoon. He carefully watched the cocoon every day in order to catch the first glimpse of the butterfly he knew would emerge. Finally, one day he saw a tiny hole in the cocoon which grew quickly as the hours passed. He sat watching the butterfly break her way out of the cocoon. However, suddenly he noticed that it seemed the butterfly had stopped making progress. The hole did not get any larger and the butterfly seemed to be stuck. The cocoon was bouncing up and down on the branch as the butterfly tried to squeeze herself, unsuccessfully, through the hole she had created.

The man watched in dismay as it seemed his butterfly would not be able to emerge. Finally, he went inside, took a small pair of scissors, and carefully cut the cocoon, allowing the butterfly to emerge easily. However, the butterfly immediately dropped to the ground instead of soaring gracefully into the sky as he imagined she would.

The man noticed that the butterfly's stomach was swollen and distended and her wings were small and shriveled, explaining her inability to fly. He assumed that after some time, the stomach would shrink and the wings would expand, and she would fly in her fullest glory. However, this was never to be.

The man didn't know that it was the very act of forcing her body through the tiny hole in the cocoon which pushed all the fluid from the butterfly's stomach into her wings. Without that external pressure, the stomach would always be swollen with fluid and the wings would always be small and shriveled. His butterfly would never be able to fly.

In life, so frequently, we avoid challenges, looking for an easy, quick way to the goal. We pray to God to remove our obstacles. We look for people who will "cut our cocoons," so that we do not have to work and push our way through. Ultimately the key in life is to realize, experience and manifest those wings so that we may BE the soaring, beautiful butterfly. We must realize that it is those times of difficulty which give us our wings. That difficulty has been placed in our path specifically because it is exactly what we need in order to take the next step of our own awakening, what we need to unfold another petal of the divine flower we are born to be. The obstacles in our path are God's way of showing us how to fly. With every bit of pushing and struggling, our wings become fuller and fuller and only then are we able to fly in our true glory.
So frequently, people come to me and say, "Oh, why has God given me so much strife? Why has He put so many obstacles in my path? Why is He punishing me? Please remove these obstacles from my path." We must realize that challenges and hurdles are not punishments. Yes, the law of karma plays a large role in what we receive in this lifetime, but even things which may seem like "bad" karma, are actually opportunities for growth. Through pushing and struggling our wings become fuller and we become able to soar. Even an extra small hole to squeeze through is actually an opportunity for our wings to expand to great lengths.

So, let us learn to take our challenges for what they are, rather than looking around for a "different" hole, or for someone with a pair of scissors. Let us appreciate and celebrate our challenges and realize that God has given them to us in order that we may truly recognize and then embody our divine fullness.

At this auspicious time of the New Year, I pray that, regardless of how small or big the hole in your cocoon seems, regardless of how quickly or slowly you seem to be pushing through it, and regardless of whether you can yet envision the glory of who YOU really are, you may all have the courage, patience, understanding and full faith in the Divine to keep moving toward the light. The world today needs all of YOU, in your fullest, most awake, most realized way. Our world is in the midst of such despair, such darkness, such rampant devastation. Only if each of us moves – with courage, fearlessness and dedication – toward the light, toward the truth of our Selves, toward our own divinity, can we serve as torchbearers of that light for the rest of the world.

His Holiness Sri Kanchi Mahaswami:
In all that you do, let love be the sole motive. Any need must be with reference to another. Let action be out of love. Passions such as desire and hatred, anger and malice must be totally eschewed. If love becomes the grounding principle of all deeds. then most of the ills of the world will vanish”.
[Does this sound very much like what I sent you quoting Rig Veda for New Year' day Message from Hindu Reflections?]
Please also read the  Twelve  Wisdom Thoughts from great authors and spiritual leaders:
We will open the books. Its pages are blank. We are going to put the words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day-- Edith Lovejoy Pierce
One resolution I have made and try always to keep is this: To rise above little things—John Burroughs

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering: “It will be happier”—Alfred Tennyson
Although the life of a person is  a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always the space in which the good seeds  can grow. You have to trust!—Pope Francis
We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we are harder—John Wolfgang von GoetheWhen something weighs on your conscience, give it up—Prophet Muhammad
You are never too old to set another goal to dream a new dream—C.S. Lewis
If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive—that you can touch the miracle of being alive—then that is a kind of enlightenment--Tich  Nhat Hanh
 The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it and go forward on their way; but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? We make our own destiny—Swami Vivekananda
 For last year’s words belong to last year’s language; and next year’s words await another voice --T. S. Eliot
Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world—Desmond Tutu
Yes, you must live life beautifully and not allow the spirit of the world that makes you gods out of power, riches and pleasure make you forget that you have been created for greater things—to love and to be loved—Mother Teresa
--January 1, 2016

Hindu life started on river banks as I have described at length in my discourse on "Why I am called Hindu and my  Religion Hinduism?" Rigveda contains mantras for the invocation of holy rivers in connection with purification rites. To the Vedic seers the great rivers mentioned in the mantra as well as the later verse represented divinity. They often expressed their devotion and gratitude to these life-sustaining and purifying rivers by appropriate invocation which practice is seen even today in all Hindu rituals. The holy waters are prayed to make their presence in the waters to purify one who takes a bath in it. This is expressively seen in the verse priests usually chant to consecrate the waters used in the worship of the lord by way of Kalasa: Gange cha Yamunaa chaiva Godavari Sarasawati Narmade Sindhu Kaveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru || Oh Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri please make your presence in these waters contained in the pot.  This modern verse has its origin in the Rigvedic mantra:
Imam me gange yamune sarasvati sutudri stoma sachataa | asakniyaa marudvridhe vitastaya-arjakeeye srinuhyaa sushomayaa ||
Oh Gangaa, Oh Yamunaa, Oh Sarasvatee, Oh Sutudree, Oh Marudvridha, Oh Aarjakeeya, come together and listen to this hymn of mine along with Parusni, Asikni, Vitastaa and Sushomaa. Having come upon here please listen to this praise offered by me. Sushomaa is the river that flows through a region where soma creepers used in Vedic sacrifices grow. Vitastaa never dried up. Sutudree has a fast current.
It is obvious that these are the rivers on the banks of which Rigvedic people settled at a very remote period. Sushomaa is identified with Sohan, Vitastaa with Jhelum, Asaknee with Chinab, Marudvridhaa with Maruwaardwaaan, Purushni with Rabi and Sutudree with Sutlej.
A recent article by IndiaDivine.Org replaces Sindhu river  mentioned in our usual mantras employed by priests to  invoke Seven holy rivers into the water pot (Kumbha) by Kshipra river. I wonder why they did not think of Brahmaputra or Alka. May be Brahmaputra is a male river and so not favored. Alka probably is the other name to Ganges. I wonder why Krishna is neglected? May be it is lost in South versus North controversy? May be  Ujjjain is favored as one of the Jyortirlinga  places situated on Kshipra River? All said and done Saivites are in majority and forceful!  I believe they gave up hope on  Indus which we have now lost to Pakistan. Anyhow, please go through the description and photographs of these seven sacred rivers as described and attached. It will take a long time to convince our conservative orthodox Brahman priests to convince to replace Sindhu by Kshipra. May be IndiaDivine.Org has taken Sindhu as adjective to mean river--Sindhu   Kaveri means River Kaveri and not Indus and Kaveri perhaps?
--January 8, 2016
Kaiwara, Historic Town in Karnataka
Kaiwara, a historic town in the Kolar District of Karnataka State was known as Kaiwara Nadu in the bygone ages. It was ruled by Nikirili Chola Mandala during the Chola era.
According to the local legends, Lord Ramachandra visited Kaiwara twice. Once with Vishwamitra when He was on a mission to protect the yajnas being performed by the rishis and the second time with Mother Sita and Lakshmana during Their exile. There is a cave known as Ramara Guhe in the temple of Amara Narayana.
In Dwapara-yuga, Kaiwara was known as Ekachakrapura and was the  dwelling of Pandavas during their exile. Pandavas lived here as poor Brahmanas in incognito. Kaiwara’s citizens were being constantly harassed and harmed by a demon named Bakasura. Kunti Devi requested Bhima to put an end to this menace. Bhima fought and slew Bakasura.
In the current days, Kaiwara is famous for Sri Yogi Narayana Yathindra popularly known as Kaiwara Thataiyya. Thataiyya lived between 1726 and 1836 and was a bilingual devotee poet of Lord Amara Narayana. He wrote in Telugu and Kannada languages. His most popular literary contribution is Kalajnana, a prophetic text.
The temple of Sri Amara Narayana is near the bus stand. It is a very beautiful temple. The pillars in the mukha-mantapa are intricately carved and are rich with architecture. This temple doesn’t have the Deities of Jaya and Vijaya unlike the other Vishnu temples. Perhaps this is the only temple not to have the dwara-palakas.
--January 10, 2016
Unakoti a mountain in  Tripura,   on the sides of which are carved out stone images and  a spring descending in the rivulet   makes it  an  archaeological wonder  unparalleled in Tripura. The hilly forests, the spring, chirping of birds, the carvings in stones and rocks, the leisurely – scattered idols and hearsay have given a special significance to Una-koti. Makara Sankranti Fair in Tripura  is Famous Tourist Attraction Day.
Thursday 14, 2016 is Makara Sankranti which happens to be Uttarayana Punyakala according to our misleading astrologers who refuse to correct their Panchangams in India which should be a religious observance day on December 22 Winter Solstice Day,. Thanks to our misleading astrologers we are celebrating this holiest day on a wrong day after 22 or 23 days. For Hindu Americans this does not matter as they often observe their religious days as per convenience  or on weekends following their Christian Brethren, for example Holy celebrations.  May be they are afraid of questioning the religious authorities in India?  Our temple in Nashville too mentions this day as Uttarayana Punyakala. However we want to please Tamils and support by celebrating Pongal, a welcome  hot dish in cold winter though it is celebrated by various traditions in different ways! My only wonder is why they did not postpone it to Sunday, 17? Thursday is not a convenient day to visit temple as Thanksgiving Thursday which is long week-end. North American Panchangam also  marks this day as Thai,1 and Uttarayana Punyakala, prepared by a famous astrologer from India. We do not follow this  Panchnga published by Council of North American Temples strictly and only publish it every year to show our astrological ability to India.  Anyhow it is a great day for Tamils being Pongal, a festival named after food. They draw their support from Vedas to name this festival after food as Vedas glorify food as Vyahriti of Braman (Supreme Spirit) in Taittareeya Upanishad. Please go through my detailed discourses on these subjects form the Blog which I have updated. Tamils  name another festival named after food --Karadiyan Nonbu. American Hindus wanted to add Kooda Arai Vellam festival , Sweetened Pongal with extra jaggery but Indian Tamils did not oblige and so they now call it correctly--Koodaarai Vellum (seer Govinda) festival.
A story revolves around one Kalu Kamar, the famous sculptor.  He was assigned the task to build a crore of the deities in his dream. But keeping the last idol unfinished Kalu created his own image. Thus ‘Koti’ could not be completed. So, the place got its name as Unakoti --One less crore.
The idols here were worked out in different periods of time and, therefore, these were influenced by different religious sects. Some archaeologists opine that these were of the period of Pal dynasty, as a Shaiva Tirtha, others have traced it as a Buddhist meditation center.  Hence, Unakoti is also seen as a symbol of religious unity.  American Hindu temples are  also motivated to install deities from various traditions and religions in their confused complex but often they are confused as to how to attract people by proper religious observances and also please all deities! So they go by the logic where you cannot convince Confuse! Every year during Ashokastami and Makar Sankranti big fairs are held at Unakoti. Peoples from far and near come there for a holy dip in Sitakund.
Unakoti has been included in the tourism map of Tripura and the North-East as a remarkable tourists’ resort. Common pilgrims frequent the place. Tourists from far and wide also converge in Unakoti with much enthusiasm. One can have a trip to Unakoti via Kailashahar or Dharmanagar. The journey takes 20 minutes from Kailashahar and 45 minutes from Dharmanagar.
--January 11, 2016
January 14 is our astrologers' projected Uttarayana Punyakala beginning day,  supposed to be the  most  sacred day when the Sun is presumed to start its  Northward journey. Bheeshma waited for this day on bed of Arrows to ascend to Heaven! We have   been misguided by astrologers for centuries! No Sankaracharya  seem to come to our rescue. We try to prove Puranas are true and not mythology  and fix  holy spots of birth like Ramajanma Bhoomi   but not this day or Hanuman's Birthday! I have talked enough about this day in my discourses on “Makara Sankranti” and  “Pongal,  A Festival of Tamils named after Food”. Tamils attach more importance to "Teertham  and Prasadam" than God! The actual astronomical Uttarayana  Punyakala started on December 22 in 2015 which was celebrated in many traditions,  and is not special  to Hindus alone, as Winter Solstice Day in the Northern Hemisphere.
The winter solstice is celebrated by many people around the world as the beginning of the return of the sun, and darkness turning into light. The Talmud recognizes the winter solstice as "Tekufat Tevet." In China, the Dongzhi Festival is celebrated on the Winter Solstice by families getting together and eating special festive food.
I often wonder why  New year  is celebrated on January 1, an insignificant day based on Roman Calendar and named after Roman God Janus. We rush to Hindu Temples to perform Special Abhishekams. Yet we do not accept we are belief  oriented? Pope Gregory jumped into the arena and accepted the date as according to him January 1 happens to be the circumcision day of Jesus Christ. But Catholics celebrate January 6th as Epiphany Day and it is believed by many  that  the three wise men  arrived in Bethlehem on this day when Mary delivered Jesus. So, the birthday of Jesus Christ remains a mystery like Hanuman’s Birthday!
The most logical and acceptable day to start the New Year in the Northern Hemisphere would have been Winter Solstice day on December 22 (USA)and in the Southern Hemisphere in June on Winter  solstice day for them. The June solstice is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in  the Southern Hemisphere. The date varies between June 20 and June 22.  These two are the most significant days astronomically to start the New Year's day which would have been acceptable to all humanity which could have avoided all confusion as to the various religious and traditional calendars all over the world. I wonder why divine wisdom did not guide humanity on this aspect! I wonder why Hindus do neglect celebration of these most significant astronomical  auspicious days in Hindu Temples but observe  them on wrong days? Yet  Hindus  boast that they  go by Sastric injunctions as told by Lord Krishna In Bhagavad Gita! Anyhow I am no Sankaracharya or Jagad Guru.   This year I would like to draw your attention to  Winter solstice day Celebrations of 2015 all over the globe  except in India  and few countries, provided by courtesy Huff-post: 

Winter solstice Celebrations in 2015 in Global Traditions
In 2015, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Dec. 22 at 4:48 a.m. UTC.  Your turning point may be different depending on where you are located like the New Year celebrations. 
Officially the first day of winter, the winter solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. This is the longest night of the year, meaning that despite the cold winter, the days get progressively longer after the winter solstice until the summer solstice in 2016.
The winter solstice is celebrated by many people around the world as the beginning of the return of the sun, and darkness turning into light. The Talmud recognizes the winter solstice as "Tekufat Tevet." In China, the Dongzhi Festival is celebrated on the Winter Solstice by families getting together and eating special festive food.
Until the 16th century, the winter months were a time of famine in northern Europe. Most cattle were slaughtered so that they wouldn't have to be fed during the winter, making the solstice a time when fresh meat was plentiful. Most celebrations of the winter solstice in Europe involved merriment and feasting. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun god and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log.
In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the Feast of Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the god of agricultural bounty. Lasting about a week, Saturnalia was characterized by feasting, debauchery and gift-giving. With Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity, many of these customs were later absorbed into Christmas celebrations.
One of the most famous celebrations of the winter solstice in the world today takes place in the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, England. Thousands of druids and pagans gather there to chant, dance and sing while waiting to see the spectacular sunrise.
Pagan author T. Thorn Coyle wrote in a 2012 HuffPost article that for many contemporary celebrants, solstices "are a chance to still ourselves inside, to behold the glory of the cosmos, and to take a breath with the Sacred."
In the Northern hemisphere, friends gather to celebrate the longest night. We may light candles, or dance around bonfires. We may share festive meals, or sing, or pray. Some of us tell stories and keep vigil as a way of making certain that the sun will rise again. Something in us needs to know that at the end of the longest night, there will be light.
In connecting with the natural world in a way that honors the sacred immanent in all things, we establish a resonance with the seasons. Ritual helps to shift our consciousness to reflect the outer world inside our inner landscape: the sun stands still within us, and time changes. After the longest night, we sing up the dawn. There is a rejoicing that, even in the darkest time, the sun is not vanquished. Sol Invictus -- the Unconquered Sun -- is seen once again, staining the horizon with the promise of hope and brilliance.
last December  the Circle Sanctuary, a prominent U.S.Pagan organization headed by Selena Fox,   observed the solstice with an all-ages Yule celebration on Saturday Dec. 19 complete with music, crafts and storytelling. 
--From Courtesy HuffPost:
--E Mail to HRA participants on Makara Sankranti Day

It is quite revealing to know about the origin and growth of Brahmins particularly in the South who culturally developed   themselves as intellectuals, priests and scholars in Tamil Nadu or more correctly in the Madras Presidency of British India coming from or converted by Brahmins of Aryan Caste System. Later with the regional demarcation of Madras Presidency to four main States, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, we find a number of these Brahmin pockets all over these four States. They are called by different names and some carry their surnames indicating these Brahmin sub-sects. They are so numerous and it is difficult to enlist all of them. Of all the Brahmin  in India,  Tamil Nadu Brahmins were pushed to  the forefront thanks to EVR Periyar who tried his hands to eradicate Brahmins. His first slogan in Murasoli was "if   you see a Brahmin and Cobra together kill the Brahmin first" and "Ariyane! veliyeru"--Get out Arya. He conveniently quoted :"Go! Brahmanebhyah" in his slogans.  Tamils can't help mixing English and Tamil often! They make love in English if you watch Tamil movie. His mission failed and many migrated to greener pasture like me. His mission to kill Ganesha too miserably failed causing traffic damage today for every street corner in Chennai has a Ganesha idol. It is unfortunate other Brahmins elsewhere lost their popularity in the fight.  I have however collected few names from the attached article as follows:
Group 1.  Nambootharies of different Vedic groups who are  glorify  Parasurama along with their North Indian counterparts Bhumihar, Chitpawan and Sarasvat Brahmins.
Group 2.  Pushpaka Brahmins of Kerala who show attributes of both Brahmins and Kshatriyas   called Ambalavasis who include  Konkanstha Brahmins, Iyers etc.  They also include many sub  castes like Nambisan, Unni, Mittatu, Nambidu etc. There are similar Brahmins all over India—Chittapawan of Maharashtera,   Bhumihara of Bihar, Mohyal of Punjab and Tyagis of Uttar Pradesh to name a few. Also most of them belong to Viswamitra Gotra. Puranas say Viswamitra was a Kshatriya by birth but rose to Brahmarishi Brahmin status  by his personal efforts.
It is also interesting to learn about their contributions to Fine Arts of India.
Group 3. Tuluva Brahmins have their own long story and long list as mobile and migrant community. Historically they can be grouped as three: Haige or Haive (North Kannada); Taulava (Dakshina Kannada) and Kerala.
When Parasurama found no Brahmins in the land, he is said to have elevated the fishermen class to the upper class of Brahmins. This confirms why some Brahmins believe in eating fish and still claim to be vegetarians  and call themselves Brahmins.
In Tulu Nad Nadu  we can find many migrant Brahmins—Chitpavana, Karada, Konkanastha, Sarasvata and Gowd Sarsvata. Sarasvatas originally hailed from Punjab. Nairor Nayyar is a surname,  still used by Punjabis which is   popular in Kerala. Many are Janardhana worshipers and it  is a popular name for many.
Hebbars who are Panchgramis originally hailed from Tamil Nadu and followed Ramanuja when he migrated to Karnataka. Some Hebbars embraced Saivism.  Vaishnava Hebbars converted Sudraas to Gowdas making them followers of Venkataramana of Tirupati.
I have also attached a text which explains why there is a taboo for foreign travel for Brahmins. I was hesitant to reveal my foreign travel plans to my orthodox family  in those days knowing the treatment meted out to a distant relative of mine who sailed to England in my younger days though superficially they were nice to him. They did not like his style or changed manners. I landed in Germany to take up a scholarship program for three years and then only informed my family. I am a product of British India.
I am sure you will enjoy the attached detailed text.  If  Udupi Brahmins,  Uttara kannadigas Dakshina Kanndigas, Sarasvats, Sivalli Brahmins, Kerala Brahmins, Hebbars,  Smartas  as well as Nairs, Wariors, Unnis, Nambeesans, Gowdas and others  want to know their Background and tradition  please go through the attached text. I know my background as a Srivaishnava follower of Ramanuja which helped me to describe my family background in my Memoirs. It is good to convey your background of the past to enjoy  the present and leave behind your memoirs for your children.

Benefits of Walking Barefoot
I grew up in an orthodox family as a young kid. My parents and grand-parents never felt that I needed a footwear and I never questioned their wisdom or frugality.  I started my life as a villager in Karnataka and walked almost 4 miles to my school on mud roads with barefoot. Even when I moved to Chennai at the age of 9 I never  had a footwear  till I finished my B.Sc. Only when I went to graduate technological studies I was forced to wear foot-ware  due to workshop and lab rules.  I walked almost 3 miles to my school and 4 miles to my college for four years bare foot. I walked to temple everyday  about a Km. I had my first pair of leather shoes for the graduation ceremony. Incidentally all  leather sandals, are of natural  three dimensional fiber and still breathe  and simulate somewhat conditions of walking with  barefoot keeping touch with Mother Earth. I started wearing  plastic footwear even at home after my long stay in Germany where I had my post –graduate research and factory training. What a change! I always felt bad about my school and college days full of struggle and discrimination  as the unfortunate days of my life comparing others.  Now I feel how lucky I was after going through the article below and being among few fortunate nature blessed in life having reaped the  benevolences of Mother Earth. Probably that adds to the secret of my long, healthy and active life at 86!  I also feel how wise our temples are unlike churches and mosques in not allowing footwear and spending long hours in prayers and Circum-ambulation. Please enjoy the benefits from the medical studies.
Do you notice you feel better when you walk barefoot on the Earth? Recent research has explained why this happens.
Your immune system functions optimally when your body has an adequate supply of electrons, which are easily and naturally obtained by barefoot contact with the Earth.
Research indicates that electrons from the Earth have antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation and its many well-documented health consequences. For most of our evolutionary history, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth.
It is only recently that substances such as asphalt, wood, rugs, and plastics have separated us from this contact.
It is known that the Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. When you are in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electro-physiological changes that promote optimum health.
There is an emerging science documenting how conductive contact with the Earth, which has is also known as Earthing or grounding, is highly beneficial to your health and completely safe. Earthing appears to minimize the consequences of exposure to potentially disruptive fields like “electromagnetic pollution” or “dirty electricity.”
Some of the recent evidence supporting this approach involves multiple studies documenting Earthing’s improvement in blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, sleep, autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance, and reduced effects of stress.
The Ultimate Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Grounding or Earthing is defined as placing one’s bare feet on the ground whether it be dirt, grass, sand or concrete (especially when humid or wet). When you ground to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs.
The Earth is a natural source of electrons and subtle electrical fields, which are essential for proper functioning of immune systems, circulation, synchronization of biorhythms and other physiological processes and may actually be the most effective, essential, least expensive, and easiest to attain antioxidant.
 Modern science has thoroughly documented the connection between inflammation and all of the chronic diseases, including the diseases of aging and the aging process itself. It is important to understand that inflammation is a condition that can be reduced or prevented by grounding your body to the Earth, the way virtually all of your ancestors have done for hundreds if not thousands of generations.
How the Modern Running Shoe May be Destroying Your Health
Materials such as metals are electrical conductors. They contain free or mobile electrons that can carry electrical energy from place to place.
Your body is somewhat conductive because it contains a large number of charged ions (called electrolytes) dissolved in water. Your blood and other body fluids are therefore good conductors. Free or mobile electrons can also move about within your body
Other materials, called insulators, have very few free or mobile electrons. Plastic and rubber are good insulators and are used to cover electrical wires to keep the conductors from touching each other and from touching your skin, which could otherwise give you a shock.
Traditionally shoes were made of leather, which actually conducts electrons and therefore maintains a conductive contact between the Earth and your feet. However modern day rubber and plastics are electrical insulators and therefore block the beneficial flow of electrons from the Earth to your body.
How the Different Types of Electricity Impact Grounding
There are three different forms of electricity:
  1. Direct current (DC) electricity
  2. Alternating current (AC) electricity, and
  3. Static electricity
All of these forms of electricity are present in the environment and can affect the way you feel.
Direct Current--consider an ordinary flashlight with two type D batteries. When the light is switched on, a current created by chemical reactions in the batteries causes electrons to flow to the bulb, which converts the electrical energy into light. The electric field travels to the bulb virtually instantaneously, while the electrons move slowly – about three inches per hour.
Alternating Current or AC is the type of electricity that is delivered to homes and businesses. Alternating current is produced by electric generators and is distributed throughout a community via wires that are overhead or buried under the ground.
In contrast to direct current electricity, the actual flow of electrons in an alternating current circuit is virtually zero, as the electrons mainly go back and forth (60 times per second in North America and 50 times in Europe) without actually progressing along the wire. Therefore, for an AC current in a typical lamp cord, the electrons do not actually “flow.” Instead they vibrate back and forth by a distance of about a hundred-thousandth of an inch.
This means that the electrons in your household wiring are probably the same ones present when your house was built. In contrast to direct current, the electrons excited by a generator do not flow to your home and then return to the generator after delivering energy to your lights or appliances. The electrical energy flows at about the speed of light; the electrons only vibrate back and forth.
This point is important because of confusion about the subject from statements such as this: “Every time an electron leaves a power plant to create electricity for our homes, schools and offices it must return to create more electricity – fundamental law of physics.” This statement is completely incorrect.
There is absolutely no fundamental law of physics that requires the electron sent out from an alternating current generator to return to the generator to create more electricity.
It has also been asserted that power companies have begun using the Earth as one part of the alternating current circuit to save on the expense of wire needed to meet increasing demands for electricity. Again, this statement is completely inaccurate and misleading. It is a statement that leads some to believe that walking barefoot or using grounding devices will connect people to the electrical distribution system and thereby electrify their bodies with alternating current electricity.
In fact, the U.S. National Electrical Code does not permit connecting an electrical system directly to the Earth. In other words the Earth does not carry a return current back to the generator. Instead electrical systems are grounded to protect from lightening and other extraordinary events.
How Your Home Electrical Connections Can Zap Your Health
The wiring in homes and buildings and the power distribution system acts as an antenna that can transmit and receive both natural and man-made electromagnetic fields. Many technologies add significantly to our electromagnetic environment: cell phone towers, Wi-Fi, wireless routers, satellite TV and cordless telephones. And a variety of devices introduce spikes or transients that distort the 60 cycle electric field in the wiring, particularly when appliances are switched on or off.
--E-mail sent to HRA participants on January  14, 2016
Sai Baba is worshiped  as  a spiritual  Guru by people around the world though Some Hindus have deified him.  He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. It is clear he did not claim himself to be God or Son of God but his followers made him God and an Avatar. He gave no distinction based on religion or caste. Sai Baba's teaching combined elements of Islam and Hinduism. He  gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived,  and  practiced  Muslim Namaz. I often wonder why he is not called  SAIKRISHNA?  He also said, "Trust in me and your prayer shall be answered".  This made him God in the eyes of  his followers. Lord Krishna also said  “Mamekam saranam vraja aham tvam mokshayishyaami” in Bhagavad Gita—Take refuge in me! I shall liberate you. He always uttered “God is King" – Allah Malik.  This saying has entered into Hindu Bhajans as Indian  Hindus fear  threat of Islam more  than any other religion and have  to live in peace with them.
The word Sai in Sufi faith means Saint. In Banjara language Sai means “The Good” or “Truth”, Banjaras are International nomads. They  originated from Rajasthan and spread their culture all over. They are in Andhra to significantly. A locale in Hyderabad is called Banjara Hills.  Many in Andhra are Sai followers influenced by Satya Saibaba who was born in  Andhra. Proud with their national spirit subsequently  they raised Satya Saibaba to Parabrahman. It is true all elevated souls have to merge with the source so did Satya Saibaba!This goes  with theory "Aham Brahmasmi"--I am Brahman.  We have to only  wait for our time and chance.
I have pleasure in reproducing a Telugu Sai Bhajan which reflects Sai Philosophy which his followers may like. He is raised  to the status of Parabrahman.   I was reminded of this when I got invited to Sai Bhajan congregation though I planned to be a silent observer.  I am not a Bahajan person. My dealings are one-to-one basis with the Supreme Spirit in silent meditation looking inwards. Even though I am a follower of Vishishtadvaita Philosophy I do not cry for the help of Ramanuja in my meditations. I have all my respects to Saibaba as he preached about Universal Oneness and one God as in Sanatana Dharma.  America is One Nation with Many Gods.  As an American Hindu I believe in One God Many Religions. Gita also said world needs many religions. Obviously civilized world can’t follow Banjara Philosophy for to the world they are not civilized.  Sai followers may enjoy the following Sai Bhajan in Telugu and may like to practice the deep philosophy involved in it. To me Supreme Spirit is not identifiable by any name neither can be found in closed walls nor substituted by any human being but can be found everywhere or no-where!
 Allah Yesus Buddha Deva Antaru Neevae 
Moula Sai Mahavira Nanaku Neevae
Rama Krishna Shiva Rupa Dhaariyu Neevae
Vedha Gita Grantha Mula Saramu Neevae
Madhamulanni Poojinchu Daivamu Neevae
Sarva Dharma Priya Satya Sai Neevae
Sairam Sairam Sairam Satya Sairam (2)

O Sairam! You are Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Mahavira and Guru Nanak.
You took the forms of Rama, Krishna and Shiva. You are the essence of the
Vedas, the Gita and the Granth Saheb (Sacred Book of the Sikhs). You are the
One Lord worshiped by all the religions. You are Sathya Sai who loves all
religions. We chant your name repeatedly.
--E-Mail sent on January 15, 2016

NAMAKKAL, A TEMPLE City around mountains
Namakkal is situated 52 kms south of Salem in the state of Tamil Nadu in India.  As soon as one enters the city of Namakkal, one sees a beautiful mountain situated right in the heart of the city. This is the only mountain in this area but  surprisingly unlike the other cities and towns in India  the whole city of Namakkal is built around this mountain. Here is a Puranic story connected with the place:
Lakshmi Devi desired to have  a vision  of Narasimha Avatara.   Narasimha  did not take Lakshmi Devi and Garuda along with Him then. Hence Lakshmi Devi missed to witness the pastimes of Lord Narasimha. She   visited Kamalalaya  Lake in this area and performed penances on the bank of the sacred Lake. When Lakshamana had regained his consciousness and was cured, Hanuman placed the Sanjeevani Mountain back in the Himalayas from where he had uprooted it. On the way back, he went to Gandaki River to bathe in its sacred waters. There he found a  Narasimha Saaligrama sila which he carried along on his way to Srilanka. When Hanuman was flying over this area, it was the time of performing the sandhya-vandana (daily prayers).   He  spotted Mother Lakshmi and approached Her with his request of holding the stone deity  till he performed his daily prayer as it could not be left on the ground. In the meantime, the saaligrama stone deity started growing until it became heavier for Mother Lakshmi to hold. Unable to bear the weight, she kept the stone  down and it grew into a huge mountain.   No matter how much Hanuman  tried, he could not move the stone. Suddenly there was a bright light atop the mountain. It was the effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of Lord Narasimha who had appeared to  present  his  vision to Lakshmi Devi and Hanuman, fulfilling their desires. Since Mother Lakshmi chanted the holy names of the Lord near this hill, he named this hill as Namagiri. ‘Nama’ means Lord’s holy name and ‘giri’ means the hill. Later this place came to be known as Namakkal. In Tamil language ‘kal’ means stone. Lord Narasimha blessed Lakshmi Devi and gave Her the name as Namagiri Thayar or Namakirti Thayar.

Siva purana has its own story to tell: "All the deities went to Lord Shiva and requested to him to cool down Narasimha’s  anger after killing Hiranyakasipu.  Then Lord Siva appeared in his most devastating form as Sarabha.  Lord  to overcome the anxiety  and fear of   Devas cut off  of the neck  of ferocious  Narasimha,    wore the head of Nrisimha with the garland of skull in his neck. The remaining body was carried by Veerbhadra and abandoned at a mountain".  Thus ended the Nrisimha avatar as desired by Devas. We do not know which one to believe.    Saivites needed a story to justify Sarabha Avatara and establish Supremacy of Siva! Listening to the story of Ramesvara  Linga of Rameswaram,  we have   to believe  Namakkal  story too   for  here is an archaeological proof and ancient deities. As usual Narasimha faces West to oblige Lakshmi who faces East. You may recall my description of Parthasarathy temple in Chennai. Probably   Narasimha does not need to face  light of the Sun rising in the East. He has his own Light!
 There are three main temples in Namakkal – Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Sri Ranganathar Temple and Sri Anjaneyar Temple. These temples are beautifully decorated with mantaps of intricately carved pillars. Atop Namagiri Mountain is the Namakkal fort. But an interesting thing to note is this place is also called  Trimurti Sthalam (place). On the right side of Lord Narasimha is Lord Siva and on his left side is Lord Brahma offering him prayers  a rarity in Hindu sectarian temple worship. In the altar, on the surrounding walls, one can also have the sacred view  of Sri Vaikuntha Narayana, Sri Ugra Narasimha, Sri Varaha and Sri Vamana. Amusingly there is no Gopuram (Tower) atop this temple since the Lord is in the cave and the Gopura could not be constructed for such a huge saligrama mountain.  Namakkal  inspires ever quarreling Vaishanvites and Saivites   to have Siva-Vishnu and also  Brahma icons  together  for worship which leaves no room for a quarrel. Hindus have problems in newly created Gods too--Shirdi and  Satya  Saibabas. They have not yet planned temples for Satya Saibaba. Soon there may be one in Andhra!. Shirdi Saibaba idols have found their place in Hindu American Temples as well as exclusive temples. If we have Swami Narayan temples why not Saibaaba Temples? More the merrier. Sectarian worship  quarrels are not specific to Hinduism alone. We are witnessing the fights between Protestants and Catholics and Shias  and Sunnis. Many religions sprung out of disagreements and  quarrels. Religion is the last refuge  for scoundrels say some.  I wonder  why there should  be fight if one claims to be religious? America  believes in One Nation; Many Gods. Sanatana Dharma says One God; Many Religions, Many names.Each name needs a temple they feel often. Hinduism also believes in One Father Many children and not divorce and remarriage as per convenience. Namakkal  has inspired Hindu  Americans to have their Siva-Vishnu complexes all over USA. I wonder why they have not taken bold steps to have the Brahma deity also equally poised  like Namakkal but  dump him in  the Northern wall hiding place while invoking him in worship Mantras? Probably they are afraid of Siva Purana.In Namakkal both Siva and Brahma eulogize Lord Narasimha which contradicts Siva Purana. May be Namakkal is Vaishnava dominated in  later periods  as it happened in  Puri Jagannath to-day.
Please enjoy the scenic beauty of the temple  and the full story. Here is a temple without borders: No Gopuram above; No walls around.
--E-mail sent on January 16, 2016

My parents believed in Balaji and named me SRINIVASAN and I believe in OM.  Recently Obama said USA is "one Nation, many Gods". Hindu American Temples have implemented his new-found policy long before his existence and the name! You see in Hindu Temples besides cluster of Hindu divines and avatars, Buddha, Mahavir, Guru Nanak, Saibaba, Swami Narayan and Serpent God of pagan belief too.  They respect Christians and Muslims who do not like idols and added the names of Allah and Jesus in their bhjans unlike Cartoon Charlie. Sai Baba believers have richly drawn from   World book of Prayers which is in my library too though I am not a bhajan Singer in crowds.   Hinduism believes in One God, many names, many religions and many ways of worship too. In USA they need not fear Sankaracharyas or many conservative Gurus or go by agama or Tantric worships.  They are encouraged by its bold Constitution and amendment No.1, Bill of Rights.
Ganges worship in India demonstrates this philosophy as revealed by the article below by the editor IndiaDivine.Org. People of all religions visit Varanasi out of curiosity or faith as people do in America in visiting Hindu temples. only they do not follow what goes on and indulge in side talks. Ganges water carries all burnt sins and worships to its source of One Ocean of Earth called by many names as it encompasses a particular nation or spot on Earth. I often think of all these and retire to solitude to meditate on Gayatri Mantra and OM.
Materialistic India Bares its Soul to the Ganges
Posted by The Editor  
It is a scene which has repeated itself every day for more than three thousand years in this holiest of India’s cities – a place as ancient as Babylon or Thebes – which Hindus consider to be the beating heart of their religion.
While modern India rushes headlong to embrace many of the material aspects of Western capitalism – even Varanasi has an outlet of McDonald’s – standing on the ‘ghats’ of Varanasi at dawn, it seems as if time is standing still.
All strands of society are on show – from an aged scholar who stands motionless up to his neck in the water chanting mantras to two young fisherman’s boys who, oblivious to the old man’s prayers, are noisily trading splashes just a few feet away.
For all the material changes of the last decade, India remains a deeply religious country, with more than 93 per cent of Indians believing in God according a major survey conducted this year by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi.
However to speak to India’s new urban elite, like the young mobile phone company executives we met a week ago on the upper reaches of the Ganges, is to wonder whether India will follow Europe into Godlessness in the century to come.
When asked to talk about or explain their pujas and
interaction with Mother Ganga, several could only
shrug and answer “Well, that’s what we do”
It is a debate which pre-occupies many in India as old social structures are broken down by children who earn more than their parents and increasingly absorb the attitudes and mores of Western culture.
However Saurabh Sharma, a 49-year-old IT specialist who spent several years living in California before retiring to Varanasi, is among those who believe that the battle for India’s soul is far from a foregone conclusion.
“The Hindu religion will endure because of its capacity to reinvent itself and to assimilate new cultures and traditions,” he says, “Hinduism has shown over the centuries that it is a philosophy that can adapt to the times, but remain true to its heart.
“In Europe Christianity has become irrelevant because it is a fixed system, instead the West has embraced the ‘philosophy of more’ – more cars, more houses, more holidays – but India has no desire to succumb to the European way.”
The interest in religion is not confined to the elderly. Among the devotees standing on the ghats is 18-year-old Abishekh Srivasta, a medical student at Varanasi’s university, who has been sent by his mother to cast an offering of flowers and sugar into the Ganges. Does he see any contradiction between his ancient religious faith and his modern scientific training?
“I believe in both equally,” he says, “I believe there has to be a balance between the rational world and the religious world.”
So does he believe, as per Hindu tradition, that a dip in Mother Ganga will wash away his sins?
“No, I believe that you have to be a good person. That if you have a pure soul by your words and deeds, then you will attain ‘moksha’ [enlightenment],” he adds. “My parents believe in [the Goddess] Durga but I believe only in ‘Om’ the infinite truth that lies behind everything in the world – we are both religious, but perhaps in different ways.”
The inclusiveness of the Hindu religion is everywhere on display in Varanasi where people come to ‘Ganga Ma’ for everything from saying their praying and cremating the dead to washing their underpants and pestering a living off the tourists.
As we walk the ghat in the morning sun, a holy man invites us (for a fee, of course) to join him in prayer. Is it right, we ask the Pandit, that a Christian-born foreigner should join his ceremony which promises to deliver peace to our families?
“It makes no difference because to us God is one,” he says applying a crimson dot to our foreheads, “people of all faiths come to worship here because they believe in the centrality of God that will endure for eternity.”
After reciting his mantra, including several of Ma Ganga’s 108 names such as ‘destroyer of poverty’ and a ‘staircase to heaven’ we ask the old man whether he worries about the gathering forces of materialism in the new, urban India.
“I am not worried because every human being is created differently,” he says, “Some men want cars and money, others do not. A lamp may be a thousand watts or a single watt, but it is true, is it not, that both give off light?”
--E-Mail sent on January18, 2016
Thinking of the International Year of Pulses I am reminded of a Hindu ritual included in Upanayana and  and Vivaha (Wedding) ceremonies called Palikaa ceremony.  Seeds of rice, black gram, green gram, sesame and mustard (a group of plants for  balanced food) are soaked in milk and sown in the five different pots by five Suhaasanees (young girls). On the fourth day of marriage (in the five-days’ marriage of ancient tradition) or at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony when the seeds have germinated the pots are immersed in a sacred river or pond. This custom, called, Pancha-paalika, is meant for the protection and prosperity of the family for whom the function is performed. Incidentally this is asking for peace through flora and fauna awakening once duty towards environmental protection and prosperity; Recall the mantras we chant in daily prayers—Oshadhayah saantih; vanaspatayah saantih  It is also symbolic of fertility   praying for good progeny. It is also the Mantra addressed to Goddess of Fertility seeking for good progeny.
The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP).  United Nations has obliged India with Yoga last year. This year it supports India's Dhal Roti Chawal Dharma (Vegetarianism) based on the wisdom of Bhagavad Gita though not in favor of Go-Samrakshna Dharma(Save the Cow--Calm the Hindus). Bhagavad Gita and Vedas are against animal protein except Ghee and Milk which are  in the sacred list though depriving the calf of its due share from its mother.  So they are  not sure about the Holy Cow war for the have Asvamedha, goat and Bull sacrifice of the Vedic culture which they gave up after food research!  Madhva stopped goat (Aja) sacrifice. The IYP  2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. The Year will create a unique opportunity to encourage connections throughout the food chain that would better utilize pulse-based proteins, further global production of pulses, better utilize crop rotations and address the challenges in the trade of pulses .
Pulses have double the proteins found in wheat and triple the amount found in rice. They are also rich in micro nutrients, amino acids and B-vitamins and  they are vital parts of a healthy diet. Pulses  are the key ingredients in many signature regional and national dishes across the world – from Falafel to Dhal to Chilly  and baked beans. Pulses are affordable alternative to more expensive animal-based protein, pulses are ideal for improving diets in poorer parts of the world, where protein sources from milk if often five time more expensive than protein from plant sources.
Pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals.  Pulses are leguminous plants that have nitrogen-fixing properties which can contribute to increasing soil fertility and have a positive impact on the environment. Pulses as part of a healthy diet to address obesity, as well as to prevent and help manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary conditions and cancer. Global production of pulses, better utilizes crop rotations and addresses the challenges in the trade of pulses.
“This is the greatest opportunity in a century to give pulses the attention they deserve.  Pulses can help to increase food security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes.  Plus, they improve cropping systems and are good for farmers,” says Hakan Bahceci, Chairman of CICILS.  “The International Year of Pulses will give pulses additional research attention and nutritional programming, which will lead to dietary uptake.  Increased pulse consumption will grow both healthier people and a healthier planet.  We deeply appreciate the United Nation's dedication to the task.”
Pulses are annual leguminous crops yielding between one and 12 grains or seeds of variable size, shape and color within a pod, used for both food and feed.  The term “pulses” is limited to crops harvested solely for dry grain, thereby excluding crops harvested green for food, which are classified as vegetable crops, as well as those crops used mainly for oil extraction and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (based on the definition of "Pulses and Derived Products" of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). India is the largest producer of pulses and also consume. India Pulses and Grains Association will host a three day mega event for the global pulses trade and industry   in Jaipur in February. Over 800 delegates from India and across 24 countries including Australia, USA, Canada, Russia, Spain, Pakistan, Kenya, Myanmar are expected to participate in the Conclave. 
Bhagavad Gita has the following to say on Sattvic  type of Food:
Aayuh sattvabalaarogya sukha-preeti-vivardhanaah | Rasyaah snighdhaah sthiraa hridayaa aahaaraah saatvikapriyaah ||”— Foods that promote longevity, virtue, strength, health, happiness and joy are juicy, smooth, substantial and nutritious. Such foods are liked by persons in the mode of goodness (saatvictype).
One should eat Saatvic food for protecting and sustaining life like a patient who takes medicine for protection from diseases, says Mahabharata (12-212-14). Persons in the mode of goodness like Saatvic foods. One can also become noble person by taking Saatvic food, because one becomes what one eats.
Please go through my discourse:
--E-Mail sent on January 17, 2016
Some Brahmins of South India
It is quite revealing to know about the origin and growth of Brahmins particularly in the South who culturally developed   themselves as intellectuals, priests and scholars in Tamil Nadu or more correctly in the Madras Presidency of British India coming from or converted by Brahmins of Aryan Caste System. Later with the regional demarcation of Madras Presidency to four main States, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, we find a number of these Brahmin pockets all over these four States. They are called by different names and some carry their surnames indicating these Brahmin sub-sects. They are so numerous and it is difficult to enlist all of them. Of all the Brahmins  in India Tamil Nadu Brahmins were pushed to forefront thanks to EVR Periyar who tried his hands to eradicate Brahmins. His first slogan in Murasoli was "if   you see a Brahmin and Cobra together kill the Brahmin first" and "Ariyane! veliyeru"--Get out Arya. He conveniently quoted :"Go! Brahmanebhyah" in his slogans Tamils can't help mixing English and Tamil often! They nmake love in English if you watch Tamil movie. His mission failed and many migrated to greener pasture like me. His mission to kill Ganesha too miserably failed causing traffic damage today for every street corner in Chennai has a Ganesha idol. It is unfortunate other Brahmins  elsewhere lost their popularity in the fight.  I have however collected few names from the attached article  as follows:
Group 1.  Nambootharies of different Vedic groups who are  glorify  Parasurama along with their North Indian counterparts Bhumihar, Chitpawan and Sarasvat Brahmins.
Group 2.  Pushpaka Brahmins of Kerala who show attributes of both Brahmins and Kshatriyas   called Ambalavasis who include  Konkanstha Brahmins, Iyers etc.  They also include many sub  castes like Nambisan, Unni, Mittatu, Nambidu etc. There are similar Brahmins all over India—Chittapawan of Maharashtera,   Bhumihara of Bihar, Mohyal of Punjab and Tyagis of Uttar Pradesh to name a few. Also most of them belong to Viswamitra Gotra. Puranas say Viswamitra was a Kshatriya by birth but rose to Brahmarishi Brahmin status  by his personal efforts.
It is also interesting to learn about their contributions to Fine Arts of India.
Group 3. Tuluva Brahmins have their own long story and long list as mobile and migrant community. Historically they can be grouped as three: Haige or Haive (North Kannada); Taulava (Dakshina Kannada) and Kerala.
When Parasurama found no Brahmins in the land, he is said to have elevated the fishermen class to the upper class of Brahmins. This confirms why some Brahmins believe in eating fish and still claim to be vegetarians  and call themselves Brahmins.
In Tulu Nad Nadu  we can find many migrant Brahmins—Chitpavana, Karada, Konkanastha, Sarasvata and Gowd Sarsvata. Sarasvatas originally hailed from Punjab. Nairor Nayyar is a surname,  still used by Punjabis which is   popular in Kerala. Many are Janardhana worshipers and it  is a popular name for many.
Hebbars who are Panchgramis originally hailed from Tamil Nadu and followed Ramanuja when he migrated to Karnataka. Some Hebbars embraced Saivism.  Vaishnava Hebbars converted Sudraas to Gowdas making them followers of Venkataramana of Tirupati.
I have also attached a text which explains why there is a taboo for foreign travel for Brahmins. I was hesitant to reveal my foreign travel plans to my orthodox family  in those days knowing the treatment meted out to a distant relative of mine who sailed to England in my younger days though superficially they were nice to him. They did not like his style or changed manners. I landed in Germany to take up a scholarship program for three years and then only informed my family. I am a product of British India.
I am sure you will enjoy the attached detailed text.  If  Udupi Brahmins,  Uttara kannadigas Dakshina Kanndigas,  Sarasvats,  Sivalli Brahmins, Kerala Brahmins, Hebbars,  Smartas  as well as Nairs, Warriors, Unnis, Nambeesans, Gowdas and others  want to know their Background and tradition  please go through the attached text. I know my background as a Srivaishnava follower of Ramanuja which helped me to describe my family background in my Memoirs. It is good to convey your background of the past to enjoy  the present and leave behind your memoirs for your children.
--E-Mail sent on January 14, 2016
Hanuman’s figurine in Obama’s Pocket
I have talked enough about Hanuman over several years. In fact I talk too much on too many subjects. Some e-mails fall on rocky soils and some on fertile soil too. I go on  with my mission in life.   Coming from Our President   or a Sadguru or  Swamiji  and walking with Rudraksha and Tulasi beads and saffron robes  makes  the subject more attentive and  interesting as well as religious for Hindus. I may be rather late in the arena.  Church well water is always holy.  So Puranic  Hanuman becomes central figure. It goes well  with International Yoga day.  I will soon talk about another poor Vedic animal Garuda. I am not sure Garudi  (A gym) in Karanatka comes from Garuda! Anyhow one day Obama or his successor may take a fancy for this divine eagle which is also the symbol of USA  and also declare Hanuman Jayanti  a Holiday. But Hindus  have to decide as to one date for his Jayanti. I believe the photo below with the Hindu priest, chosen man of wisdomand priest  for the occasion,  is about  Diwali or deepavali. Diwali may sooner be declared as National  Religious day if Hindus multiply. I believe "Diw" in Diwali means to shine. Deepa in Deepavali means  light. North Indian chose "to shine" and South Indians chose "Deepam" as in every religious celebration they like to light the lamp particularly by a celebrity, especially people from Kerala with surrounding Rangoli. I am sure Hindutva people would take the subject to UN  to make it International Hanuman Day.  This  year they manged with  PULSES (IYP)  about which I talked about. Hanuman likes pulses and  South Indian Hanuman  in particular " Milagu   Vadai", a hard crispy made out of Black gram pulses and pepper. It goes well with International Year of Pulses, IYP. With this South Indians easily get a passport to Heaven! They know how to please Gods with Prasadams. Sometimes Prsaadams are more important than prayers or meditation. You are familiar with Satya Narayana Vrata! Enjoy the presidential presentation of  Ashtasiddhi Hanuman and Rama Bhakta.

“Hanuman Figurine is President Obama’s Lucky Charm
A statuette of Lord Hanuman is among few items that US President Barack Obama always carries in his pocket and seeks inspiration from whenever he feels tired or discouraged.

President Obama disclosed this on a YouTube interview which the White House scheduled as a way to reach younger audiences as it promotes Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Asked to show off an item of personal significance during the interview with YouTube creator Nilsen yesterday, 54-year-old Obama pulled from his pockets a series of small totems, each of which he said reminded him “of all the different people I’ve met along the way.”

 It included rosary beads given to him from Pope Francis, who he met at the White House this fall; a tiny Buddha statue procured upon him by a monk; a silver poker chip that was once the lucky charm of a bald, mustachioed biker in Iowa; a figurine of the Hindu monkey God Hanuman; and a Coptic cross from Ethiopia, where he visited in July, CNN reported.

“I carry these around all the time. I’m not that superstitious, so it’s not like I think I necessarily have to have them on me at all times,” Obama said.

But he said they do provide some reminders of the long path of his presidency.

“If I feel tired, or I feel discouraged sometimes, I can kind of reach into my pocket and say yeah, that’s something

I can overcome, because somebody gave me the privilege to work on these issues that are going to affect them,” he said.

Obama, whose father was a Kenyan and mother a white woman from Kansas, spent initial days of his life in Indonesia where Hinduism is a popular religion.”
I was  very much moved  with my spiritual bent of mind to go through the article published by Huff-post  and the spirit of sacrifice that is reproduced below focusing on the word Sraddha appearing at several places in Bhagavad Gita by a Western couple. There are many such words in Bhagavad Gita on some of which I too have focused my attention.  Please go through my forthcoming discourse on Sthitaprajna.  Coming from a Western couple makes it more interesting and seriouness in  thinking.  Such words cannot be dismissed by a simple translation and should be read with the context. Zack Braunstein and his girl-friend  have conducted 62 interviews around the country  for a project they  are calling "Searching for Sraddha." They've met with teachers, writers, Hindu yogis, orthodox Jews, Buddhist monks, interfaith priests, activists, lawyers, as well as people they've randomly encountered on the street.  I do not know how many  countries and  interviews will be needed to go through my 265 discourses  and exclusive  E-mails to  make an ABC of Hinduism,  Hindu Culture, Hindu philosophy and Spirituality and convert it to a book format. I know the limitations of a Blog as  the poor means for propagation. But I am helpless with my limited Computer skills that I learned only few years ago.
I had occasions to attend Bhagavad Gita classes at Ganesha Temple and listen to various   knowledgeable participants. In spite of so much discussion taking place   and wisdom  generated by these Gita devotees  and scholars the knowledge that is generated during these discussions is buried within four walls of the class room limited to few participants who come and go. I am at the same time surprised how this one word SHRADDHA made these Western couple so serious? They decided to quit their jobs and explore what shraddha means to different people around the country. They embarked on a cross-country journey in September. I do not know how many of   us can do such kind of sacrifice and dwell into unfathomable depth of Hindu Scriptures?    I wish  our Gita Class participants  take their discussions  seriously, consolidate them and spread the wisdom generated  to   people at large.     A short pencil is better than long memory confined to few intellectuals.  That had been the motivation and purpose in my publication of 265 discourses to American Hindu community so far, in the Blog in spite of being criticized for  too many E-mails. By some of my active participants.  I have walked them through   a panoramic view of Hinduism.  I am not at fault.   Sanatana dharma is  the culprit with its vast ocean of Vedic wisdom.  Wherever I look,  I see its reflection only. I have also added the wisdom thoughts from others when situation warranted."Yo maam pasyati sarvatra mayi eva saha pasyati"--one who sees me everywhere sees me only  says  the Gita Philosphy.  Those who are interested may register with my Blog and derive the benfit or enroll as active participants.
 "Krinvanto Viswamaaryam"-Let us ennoble the whole world! "Uttishthata Jagrata Charibeti charaibeti":--Arise! Awake! Move Forward! 
 What Is The One Thing That Makes You Who You Are?
Antonia Blumberg Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post
"Braunstein and Sam  Wrigglesworth interviewed Sri Dharma M. in New York, NY.
Zack Braunstein was reading the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu scripture, several months back when he stumbled upon a compelling term: Shraddha, a Sanskrit word that translates loosely as "faith" or "devotion" but can more broadly reflect the driving force within a person's being. The word seemed to capture something Braunstein had searched for in his own life -- and he imagined it might resonate with others, as well.
Shortly after Braunstein, a writer and meditator, and his girlfriend, photographer Sam Wrigglesworth, decided to quit their jobs and explore what shraddha means to different people around the country. They embarked on a cross-country journey in September to ask people:
"What is the thing at the center of your being that if you woke up without you would be a totally different person living a different life?"
“It’s the hardest question I could think to ask,” Braunstein told The Huffington Post.
The pair has conducted 62 interviews around the country, Braunstein said, for a project they're calling "Searching for Shraddha." They've met with teachers, writers, Hindu yogis, orthodox Jews, Buddhist monks, interfaith priests, activists, lawyers, as well as people they've randomly encountered on the street.
Hindu chaplain Gadadhara Pandit Das said faith is key to what shraddha represents.
"It is upon this faith that we can move forward in our lives," Das told HuffPost. "For example, we can't know for sure whether God exists. However, if we choose to have faith then we can move forward to investigate whether or not there is a God."
It's that inner spark that Braunstein hoped to uncover in each of his interview subjects.
Sam Wrigglesworth The pair met up with Grandpa W. for an interview in Woodstock, New York.
“I was curious about the things other people had as far as convictions or beliefs that were so central to them that the idea of living without them was unthinkable,” Braunstein said.
Interviews average around 45 minutes to an hour, Braunstein said, and often go remarkably deep.
“There comes a point when language fails us and we start to approach the ineffable," Braunstein said. "Eventually, it’s almost like I’m not in the room anymore. They’re focusing that inner lens so intensely."
One interviewee depicted on the website works for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace organization. (Braunste and Wrigglesworth are keeping the subjects semi-anonymous to respect their privacy.) Reflecting on his work for racial justice and nonviolence, the reverend said:
I get up every day and I do what I was born to do. Every day. It’s life-giving, it’s holy, it’s sacred. I get joy out of it. In the midst of facing tanks and tear gas, I still get joy.
Another man spoke of being raised in a conservative Mennonite community but later encountering non-Christians when he went to work with refugees in Vietnam. Many of these people, he said, were "better pacifists" than some of the Mennonites he knew -- and the revelation turned his sense of the world on its head.
I had to either say, Life is lying to me, or I had to say, What I have been taught as to who are the good people and who are the bad people–I have to go back and relook at that. I think the God that created this world can’t lie to us through life.
Many of Braunstein's interviews eventually reach similar conclusions, he said, despite the fact that the subjects come from a wide variety of faiths and background.
“People talk of this sense of expansiveness, of love," he said. "People talk about communities in which they’re not the central figure, of charity and giving. Some people talk about God.”
Sam Wrigglesworth Braunstein and Wrigglesworth interviewed Connie H. in Beacon, New York.
The pair hopes to end their project in Oregon by mid-March. Braunstein is planning to write a book based on the interviews and Wrigglesworth aims to compile a photo book  before they wrap up the project, though, there will be two final interviews to conduct, Braunstein said. For those, he and Wrigglesworth will have a chance to get in the hot seat and turn the camera back on themselves".
--January 26, 2016
Garuda Purana
Vedic Sages who cried to the Unknown  with the mantra "Mrityor maa Amritam gamaya" (Lead me from Death to Immortality!) as well as faithful followers of Puranas who feared God of Death, Yama were bogged down with the fear of death. Both treated the subject in their own style. Much of the Garuda Purana deals with issues connected with death, particularly funeral rites and the metaphysics of reincarnation. Portions of the Garuda Purana are typically given a holy reading as funeral liturgy, and those who believe in Puranas  will only read this text as part of funeral rites. Others chant relevant portions from Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads during funeral rites.  For the  faithful devotee of Bhakti Marga (Path of Devotion), however, the workings of death and the administration of Yamaraja is of relevance to the living as well,  and so Garuda Purana is read as a holy text like  meditating on Mrityunjaya Mantra or praying for the soul  or "Ram nam Satya Hai! Satya bholo Mukti Hai!", chant the name of Lord Sri Rama (or God to reach heaven as other religions think) to attain salvation!
In Jaimaniya Braahmana (an early Upanishadic Thought) the deceased are met by a guardian who asks them a question. If they answer the question correctly they go to an immortal world; if not, they fall down and stay in an  apparently intermediate world in which re-death eventually reaches them.  In both cases, re-death takes place in higher world, not here on earth. Thus the Braahmana speaks of Punarmrityu (re-death) in other worlds and not about Punarjanma (re-birth) on Earth which idea caught up other religions who  dwell upon as One time death on Earth, based on the Decision on the Day of Judgment. This only confirms how other religions  are benefited by Eternal Tradition (Sanatana Dharma) as to  "Life after Death" which have started later heavily criticizing Hinduism that has adopted later Upanishadic thoughts on Karma and Punar-janma (Reincarnation) based on further thinking by wise sages.  Science always comes with its latest findings based on research, so are Upanishads. It is for you to pick the right one appealing to you.
The various subjects covered in Garuda Purana are:

Table of Contents
1. The Miseries of the Sinful in this World and the Other
2. The Way of Yama
3. The Torments of Yama
4. The Kinds of Sins which lead to Hell
5. The Signs of Sins
6. The Miseries of Birth of the Sinful
7. Babhruvâhana’s Sacrament for the Departed One
8. The Gifts for the Dying
9. The Rites for the Dying
10. The Collecting of the Bones from the Fire
11. The Ten-Days’ Ceremonies
12. The Eleventh-Day Rite
13. The Ceremony for all the Ancestors
14. The City of the King of Justice
15 The Coming to Birth of People who have done Good
16. The Law for Liberation
I wonder whether  Garuda   Paruna is an exaggerated text as for as its description of  hell is concerned? One who goes through the portion relating to Crime and  Punishment  as revealed in Garuda Purana,one would be more inclined to go with the wisdom of Vedas and Upanishads. I was once accused when I used the word Mythology to translate the word Purana. After going though Garuda Purana and  Siva Purana, I may not be wrong  in calling  Puranas as Mythology! Somehow Garuda Purana reading has been confined only to the period of obsequies. I believe there are many portions in   Garuda Purana which would build in us comfort and not fear and wisdom not mere stories. I have not come across them.   I would much rather recite Bhagavad Gita than this portion of Garuda Purana for the holy reading during funeral liturgy.
Please read the attached text and store it for your reference, as well as my discourse on Naraka,  Svarga and Liberation as ensured by Upanishads.  This topic is very popular with   Global Readers and so I draw your particular attention if you have missed it.  Sanatana Dharma guarantees  salvation for all; it is only question of time and depends on the individuals for the final exhaustion of all Karmas and attaining  the status of Jeevan-mukta to ultimately merge with the source, Supreme Spirit which I have discussed often unlike so called religions. Hinduism with its elaborate rituals and   blind  worships of late has become more a religion than Dharma where Dharma roughly translates to Manava Dharma or Human Values.
--January 27, 2016

Hindus often talk of Chidambara Rahasyam   and Westerners talk about Bermuda Triangle when they have no convincing reasons  to explain a mystery that puzzles  them.  They both  believe in sea monsters and devils.

Bermuda Triangle or the Devil’s Triangle, is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircrafts and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.  The area referred to as the Bermuda Triangle, or Devil’s Triangle, covers about 500,000 square miles of ocean off the southeastern tip of Florida.  When Columbus sailed through the area on his first voyage to the New World, he reported that a great flame of fire (probably a meteor) crashed into the sea one night and that a strange light appeared in the distance a few weeks later. He also wrote about erratic compass readings, perhaps because at that time a sliver of the Bermuda Triangle was one of the few places on Earth where true north and magnetic north lined up. William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest,” which some scholars claim was based on a real-life Bermuda shipwreck, may have enhanced the area’s aura of mystery.   An especially infamous tragedy occurred in March 1918 when the USS Cyclops, a 542-foot-long Navy cargo ship with over 300 men and 10,000 tons of manganese ore onboard, sank somewhere between Barbados and the Chesapeake Bay. The Cyclops never sent out an SOS distress call despite being equipped to do so, and an extensive search found no wreckage. “Only God and the sea know what happened to the great ship,” U.S. President  Woodrow  Wilson later said.    In 1941 two of the Cyclops’ sister ships similarly vanished without a trace along nearly the same route.
Many myths and beliefs surround Bermuda mystery. There is no single theory that solves the mystery.   Although storms, reefs and the Gulf Stream can cause navigational challenges there, maritime insurance leader Lloyd’s of London does not recognize the Bermuda Triangle as an especially hazardous place. Neither does the U.S. Coast Guard, which says: “In a review of many aircraft and vessel losses in the area over the years, there has been nothing discovered that would indicate that casualties were the result of anything other than physical causes. No extraordinary factors have ever been identified.”
While you find no  logical reasoning or proper explanation  in science for the existence and the calamities associated with it, Rigveda seems to have the answer.  Asya Vamasya Sukta in Rig Veda states :”When Earth gave birth to Mars, and Mars separated from his mother, her thigh got injured and she became imbalanced (Earth rotated in its axis) and to stop it Godly doctors, Aswini Kumars poured iron into the triangular shaped injury and Earth got fixed in her current position. That is why Earth’s axis is bent at a particular angle. That  triangular shaped injury on our planet which was filled with iron went onto become Bermuda Triangle. Iron stored inside earth for years becomes natural magnet and Bermuda disappearances, fog, high and low temperature water streams colliding are a result of this.  Simhika, the gigantic demon had the power to attract object's  shadow flying over ocean and pull it into the waters and devour them.  Many Westerners also have   a belief that calamity in Bermuda Traiangle zone   is a devilish act.   However,  Ramayana speaks of the Sea  on the way to Lanka.    The devil Simhika in  Ramayana is not linked to Bermuda Triangle Mystery  though Hindus exaggerate it  saying over millions of years these positions of changed. They also say world was all one piece  at one  time and America was Aindra kanda.  Sankaracharya refers to California as Kapilaaranya (apabrahmsa-distorted word) citing nearby Ash island  and  Horse Island linking it to Sagara and Bhagirata story.  Brahmanda Purana (composed more than 5000 years ago) and Rig Veda (written more than 23000 years ago) clearly state that the planet Mars was born out of Earth. That is why he is called as Bhauma (‘son of Bhumi’) or Kuja (Ku = Earth + Ja = Born out of) in Sanskrit. 
Astonishingly in Tantric practices Mars  Yantra (Amulet)   for Kuja-dosha Parihara (bad effects due to planet Mars) prescribed by astrologers is triangle (tilted) shaped. In that logic, inhabitants in  Mars are siblings  of all humans born on planet Earth. Mars also controls all land related issues in human lives like Real Estate Business, Agriculture, Sibling etc. according to astrologers.
--E-Mail sent on January 30, 2016
What is Real Happiness?
Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose in life? How then I shall live?--these are the questions for which we try to find answers in our religious faith and spiritual pursuits. With our materialistic approach we all strive to be happy all the time. “There is more to Life than being happy. Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed, or  even selfish life in which things go well,  needs and desires are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing estrangements are avoided” says a Western journalist Emily Smith. That kind of Happiness comes and goes but Meaningful Happiness has longevity.  Some of the things that give us happiness in life are sacrifice, friendship, sustaining  career, raising children and family that require commitment;  these are also  not easy.  But Meaningful Happiness to our life is much deeper and difficult.  Being human always points, and is directed to do something or someone other than oneself. The more one forgets himself by giving himself a cause to serve or another person, the more human he becomes. This is well described in Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita as Pravritti.   Material Happiness is associated with taking but Pravritti Marga teaches both taking and giving. It makes happiness more meaningful.  Here stops the   Western philosophy of a Meaningful Happiness.  
Western Religions believe in one time punishment or reward and says humans have “One life to live; Make it more meaningful”. It also believes that all their sins are taken care of if they lead a Meaningful Life. Those who do not believe in it are permanently doomed.  But Upanishads say humans go through   cycle of births and deaths and it is an opportunity given in each birth to reduce the number of births and deaths and reach the final reward of Perennial Joy by combining with  the source from which it came.   They also say everyone can be saved without being permanently condemned.  Based on one’s good  performance one can move faster towards this goal. Otherwise this cycle is  a long and winding path . This calls for judicious combination of Pravritti Marga and Nivritti Marga to spiritually elevate oneself in each life and ultimately attain perfection. Thus we find in life few rare births, who pursue only Nivritti Marga to reach the final goal. But majority needs to lead a  life of Pravritti and Nivriitti, more focused on Nivritti  in their latter part of life after achieving success in  Material Happiness as well as Meaningful Happiness. This Nivritti may be roughly defined as spiritual aspiration in life. Meaningful Happiness is happiness based on Manava (human) Dharma in Hindu Concept which Western philosophy defines as Human Values.
Please watch for my forth coming  discourse: "Judicious blending of Pravritti and Nivritti leads to Sreyas(Perennial Joy)
--E-Mail sent on February 2016

Nine Interfaith Weddings bring religions together
Please find below nine Interfaith Weddings. Though Hindus and the religions sprung out of it   are only 2 to 3% they seem to be the most progressive group among religions who are promoting mostly Inter-faith weddings. In due course the Hindu Religion as practiced by them today will vanish and Hinduism in its present form will be wiped out   including temple worship   from US soil after few generations.   Hindu Americans more often than not find their partners in Christianity which is the major religion of the country because of major attractions of easiness, color, beauty and majority group of affluence and prosperity rather than religious attraction. They initially undergo both type of weddings and take several oaths but soon forget them. Soon they become uninterested in both the religions they come form and look more towards Atheism which is alarmingly growing in USA. US Courts say Atheism is a Religion as I have discussed in one of my topics. The children born out of Inter-faith weddings are more likely to join this group and enjoy life and privileges rather than submitting to rigid ritualistic religions.  Hindus often pride in saying Hinduism is Not a Religion but not in their practice. This will not buy the love of their children to sustain Hinduism. You have seen what happened to European Cultures in America over 300 years or so? American Hindus who are Hindutva sympathizers cry wolf and are worried about forceful conversion of the poor and low castes in India to Christianity as if they are the guardians of Hindus in India. They missed the bus when vast  numbers were converted by force to Islam whom they could not buy back! Instead they promoted  Casteism and continuing still to gain political advantage. They are having all the trouble because of this. Hindus in India should know what is best for them.
Hindu Americans have come a long way in removing the caste and traditional barriers and have welcomed Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism etc., which sprung out of it to their fold. It also welcomes several cult based groups into its fold to call them all as Hindu Americans and also provide facilities for worship within their One Temple for Many Traditions. Abrahamic religions are not yet ready. Unfortunately American Hindus are marching and merging in it.  This will not save Hinduism unless they revive the original concept of Sanatana Dharma, practice it and lead others. Is it time to start Inter-faith dialogue and work our way through spirituality to Universal Oneness? Your views on the subject are invited.

 For interfaith couples, marriage ceremonies represent so much more than tying the knot.
01/29/2016 01:34 pm ET

Carol Kuruvilla Religion Associate Editor, The Huffington Post
Noor al-mosawi

Planning a wedding is notoriously stressful. But for the growing number of people who are falling in love with a partner of a different faith, a wedding can come with the added challenge of trying to decide how to honor their two (or more) religions.
Should couples have one ceremony that brings their faiths together, or two separate events? Who will officiate? How much say should the parents have?
The Huffington Post reached out to nine interfaith couples who spent weeks thinking about these questions. From using a Muslim peace greeting during a Catholic ceremony to reading poems by the Sufi mystic Rumi in both Persian and English, here are some of the creative ways these couples celebrated their religious identities on their big day. 
1) Hardik and Michelle's Hindu and Jewish Wedding
As we started planning our interfaith wedding, we discovered many similarities between Hindu and Jewish customs. We therefore decided to integrate both of our traditions into one fusion ceremony that was co-officiated by the Maharaj and the Rabbi. To us, this symbolized the joining of our cultures going forward."
2) Harneet and Rouella's Sikh and Catholic Wedding
We decided that since both of our religions are a key part of our identities, we would honor them both. As such, we had both a Sikh and a Catholic ceremony. The Sikh ceremony was in the morning in a Gurudwara and the Catholic ceremony in the afternoon in a church. Leading up to the wedding, we also had a number of cultural traditions that we did, including a Mangalorean Roce, Punjabi Haldi and Mehendi. During the reception following the ceremonies, we had a combination of Mangalorean and Punjabi traditions included in the reception."
-- Harneet Singh and Rouella Joan Mendonca, Seattle, Washington
3) Shannon and Seema's Hindu and Christian Wedding
Since Seema is Hindu and I am Christian, it took a lot of time, discussion and planning to figure out the right way to honor both of our faiths. For the wedding we chose to have a Pandit (a Hindu priest) to honor the traditions and ceremony of the Hindu culture... To honor the Christian faith we chose to get married in front of our family and loved ones, exchange vows and rings... The only thing we didn't have was Scripture from the Bible."
--Shannon and Seema Paul, Long Beach, California
4) Medina and Frank's Christian and Muslim Wedding
Medina Fredericks :"Frank and I chose to have a civil ceremony officiated by our friend, Rabbi Joshua Stanton. Although a rabbi married us, we did honor both our faith traditions. Frank’s two older sisters read verses from the Bible, and my uncle read a passage from the Qur’an. Since my mother is from Afghanistan, my two older brothers read a marriage poem by Rumi in both Persian and English. We also included elements from an Afghan Wedding Ceremony later during the reception such as putting mehndi on the hand, drinking sweet juice and eating Afghan sweets to bless the marriage."
-- Medina and Frank Fredericks, Queens, New York
 5) Lena and Buzz's Buddhist and Christian Wedding
Leo Druker: "On our wedding day in Leesburg, VA, we integrated the foundations of love and peace from both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. We had a Vietnamese Buddhist monk from my mother's temple come to bless us with chanting while my father's Presbyterian pastor provided a message on authentic, unconditional love. The ceremony was a powerful example of acceptance, as we witnessed the monk and my pastor stand side-by-side overlooking the Potomac River. As a couple, we wholeheartedly believe that the common denominator of any religion is the transformative power of love."
--  Lena Linh Franklin & Buzz Wehunt, Atlanta, Georgia
6) Venay and Kristi's Christian and Hindu Wedding
We chose to honor both of our faiths in our wedding by having a dual ceremony. As guests arrived the scene was set for a traditional Indian ceremony. We had a dear family friend of the groom's father, Uncle Madhu, lead us through the rituals of a Hindu marriage ceremony as we paid respect to our families, exchanged a mangalya (wedding necklace) and performed the sapthapadi (seven steps around the fire). After a short intermission where chai and samosas were served to guests, we gathered everyone again for a traditional 'American' ceremony. The groom's uncle and godfather was ordained and married us in a very traditional format including scripture, poetry, a ring exchange and blessings."
-- Venay and Kristi Nyamathi, San Francisco, California
7) Katie and Shaan's Catholic and Muslim Wedding
We actually had two interfaith wedding ceremonies. It was important to us that both ceremonies be a fusion of our two faiths and cultural backgrounds, to fully represent the unity of joining our lives together in marriage.   The religious ceremony (held 9/11/11) was officiated by a Catholic priest and a Muslim imam, and held in the University of Chicago chapel used both for Catholic services and Muslim Friday prayer. We had readings from the Bible and a Muslim devotional poem. The ceremony included both the traditional Catholic Rite of Marriage and a Nikah, traditional Islamic marriage contract signing. We were also aware of the significance of the date and felt like our ceremony was a symbolic counter to the horrific acts a decade prior.

legal marriage ceremony (held the day before, on 9/10/11) was officiated by an interfaith minister. She spoke of the commonalities between our two faiths (both Abrahamic, worship the same God, similar values, recognition of Jesus, deference of Mary). We began the ceremony by passing the sign of peace (an important Catholic ritual) that tied in the Muslim greeting of 'As-salaamu Alaikum,' meaning 'Peace be with you.' This ceremony also included some sayings from the Prophet and scripture from the Bible.  Processional music was performed by strings (cello, violin) and a tabla and sitar (nod to Shaan's Pakistani heritage, which was also celebrated the night prior in a henna party)."
-- Katie McHugh Akbar and Shaan Akbar, Pasadena, California
8) Rhowena and Veeren's Hindu and Catholic Wedding
Noor Al-Mosawi:  "We honored our two faiths in many ways on our wedding day. First, we made the choice to both wear, including our entire wedding party, fully traditional (with a bit of a modern twist) attire for each ceremony. We had all our outfits made in India and the Philippines. Did we mention that we performed BOTH ceremonies on the same day?  This way our guests and family members could enjoy the full experience of our faiths and cultures at the same time. For the Hindu ceremony, we chose Pundit Sharma, who spoke perfect English and Sanskrit so he could explain/translate the entire ceremony to everyone. This gave everyone (including ourselves) the opportunity to be connected with what was happening and be able to relate to the different aspects of the Hindu ceremony. For our Catholic wedding, Father Ben of Our Lady of the Assumption Church embraced our Hindu guests and made it a point to verbally welcome them at the commencement of our ceremony. We also served our guests with authentic Indian and Philippine dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
-- Rhowena Adolfo and Veeren Patel, Toronto, Canada
9) Jessica and Neil's Hindu, Christian and Jewish Wedding
We tried to incorporate both mine and my husband’s religious and cultural backgrounds in our wedding day by holding two separate ceremonies in one day. A 'western' ceremony, where I wore a white wedding dress, which incorporated both Christian and Jewish elements to represent my family,  ending in the Jewish tradition of breaking the glass to a chorus of 'Mazel Tov!' We followed this with a traditional Hindu ceremony officiated by a Hindu Pandit where my husband rode up on a horse to meet my family, and we walked around a fire. We both wore traditional Indian outfits; him in a sherwani and me in a colorful lehenga. During the reception we continued with the Jewish traditions by dancing the hora and getting lifted up on chairs, while later we were entertained by an Indian dance group. Our Canadian and Indian influence even carried into the meal, where guests had a choice of North American cuisine, or fusion Indian dishes.  It was a long day with two ceremonies and a lot of things to do and see, but well worth it as it was a memorable day for not only us but also our guests."
-- Jessica and Neil Bhasin, Toronto, Canada
--E -Mail sent on february2, 2016
 Simple Living High Thinking
Spiritually inclined Hindus struggle hard to lead a life of “Simple Living and High Thinking” unlike the materialistic thinking majority. Both Simple Living and High Thinking are aimed at leading a life of Happiness. But people devoted to spiritual pursuits look for different kind of superior happiness unlike the materialistic majority and those who focus only on simple living. This happiness is the Perennial Joy to merge with the source called Moksha or Liberation. This needs Nivritti Marga.
We all need happiness in life but Hinduism says this happiness should be acquired with Dharma in focus. Hinduism has four wonderful goals in life called Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (enjoy life) and Moksha (Liberation). Here you see Dharma comes first. It only means we should enjoy wealth and pleasures with focus on Dharma on which we talked about in the past.  Hindu way of simple living is Pravritti Marga (a life focused with selfless service while enjoying happiness).   High Thinking is leading a Pravritti Marga with more focus on Nivritti Marga (towards spiritual uplift and progress towards Liberation while leading simple living).  We will talk about Pravritti and Nivritti tomorrow. Please enjoy the topic below more detailed on Simple Living and High Thinking as received from India.Divine.Org:
"If one is truly serious about achieving the ultimate goal of human life by perfecting his spiritual inquiry, he must adopt a life style that is conducive to the cultivation of self-realizing knowledge. This life style can be beautifully summarized in the phrase ‘simple living and high thinking’. Here simple living is in relation to maintenance of the body, and high thinking is in relation to the aim of one’s intellectual pursuits.
In order to exist in this world it is necessary to maintain one’s bodily existence, but as will be shown later, maintenance of the body is not progress towards the goal of life. Maintenance just allows one to perform the activity of existing in a particular body, which does not denote any accomplishment of a goal. This maintenance of the body involving mainly our activities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending is not in itself any great feat or achievement. Even the animals are engaging in these activities of bodily maintenance. The cows also eat, the birds also mate, the hogs also sleep and the dogs also defend. Simply engaging in these activities of maintenance does not actually make one human. For this reason, one who is interested in achieving the real, permanent goal of life does not focus solely on these activities of bodily maintenance, but he rather focuses primarily on the path of perfection. This is why he adopts the process of simple living.
The basic principle of simple living is accepting whatever is necessary for maintaining the body, so that we can use the energized body for higher philosophical pursuits directed towards our pure self-identity. One only accepts that which is necessary for existence and does not take anything that is an unnecessary complication to life. In this way, by the process of living simply, one will be able to, if properly directed, arrive at the point of ‘high thinking’, the actual human essence.
What exactly is the meaning of ‘high thinking’? High thinking entails the comprehension of the self as distinct from the temporary material body. Why should such an understanding be considered high? The first reason is because it is the factual reality of existence. Secondly, one’s vision is not focused simply on the low activities of bodily maintenance but on the higher realm of the eternal self. The soul is the actual energy source of the entire body. The soul is constitutionally superior to the dull, unconscious matter. Thus, the understanding of the superior energy, the conscious soul, is higher than the understanding of the inferior energy, the unconscious matter.
This body that we generally identify with is exactly like a vehicle being driven by a conscious driver. A car by itself is nothing but dead matter, but when a driver operates the vehicle, it appears to produce life symptoms (movement, production of by-products, signs of intellectual control, etc.) In the same manner, when the conscious soul makes contact with the material vehicle known as the body, the body appears to be possessing life. Factually, it is the soul within the body that is producing the life-symptoms. In the Gita this is stated as follows:
yatha prakashayaty ekah kritsnam lokam imam ravih
kshetram kshetri tatha kritsnam prakashayati bharata
“Just as the sun alone illuminates the universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness! ”
As the sun is present everywhere in the form of its energy, light, in the same way, the soul is experienced throughout the entire body in the form of its energy, consciousness. Thus consciousness is the symptom of the soul.
This consciousness is the eternal companion of the soul. As one cannot separate heat from fire, one also cannot separate consciousness from the soul. The soul, along with its consciousness, is eternal. They do not cease to exist even after the body has come to an end.
At this point one may wonder, “What happens to the soul when the body is finished?”
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old and useless ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up old and useless ones. Throughout one’s life the body is slowly but surely deteriorating, coming closer and closer to its end. When that body is no longer able to accommodate the soul, the nature provides the soul with another suitable body according to his previous actions. As the embodied soul continuously passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at the time of death. One who understands this fundamental truth of the self – that the eternal soul is separate and distinct from the temporary material body – becomes a self-realized soul. This stage of self-realization is the culmination of the process of high thinking backed by a dedicated life style of simple living directed towards the aim of life.
--Posted by Jahnava Nitai Das | May 10, 2013" 
 Saraswati Stuti
Vasant Panchami is associated with Devi Saraswati worship.  A very rare Saraswati Stuti from Skanda Purana, Nagara Khanda, Chapter 46 titled Sarasvati Tirtha Mahatmyam  appears as part of Hatakeshvara Mahatmyam which  is circulated.

Devi Saraswati mentions that one who prays to Her on 8th/14th Lunar days (Ashtami/ Chaturdashi) after due holy dip at River Sarasvati (which is now extinct) gets all wishes fulfilled with Her grace!

May we pray to Goddess Saraswati on Vasant Panchami with this rare hymn!

sūta uvāca -

|| dhyānam ||

cakāra bhāratīṁ devīṁ svayameva caturbhujām || 1 ||
dadhatīṁ dakṣiṇe haste kamalaṁ sumanoharam |
akṣamālāṁ tathā 'nyasmiñ jita-tāraka-varcasam || 2 ||
kamaṇḍaluṁ tathā 'nyasmin divya-vāri-prapūritam |
pustakaṁ ca tathā vāme sarva-vidyā-samudbhavam || 3 ||

|| stotram ||

sadasad devī yatkiñcid bandha mokṣātmakaṁ padam |
tatsarvaṁ guptayā vyāptaṁ tvayā kāṣṭhaṁ yathā 'gninā || 4 ||
sarvasya-siddhi-rūpeṇa tvaṁ-janasya-hṛdi-sthitā |
vācā-rūpeṇa-jihvāyāṁ jyotī-rūpeṇa-cakṣuṣī || 5 ||
bhakti-grāhyāsi deveśī tvamekā bhuvana-traye |
śaraṇāgata dīnārta paritrāṇa parāyaṇe || 6 ||
tvaṁ-kīrtis tvaṁ-dhṛtir medhā-tvaṁ bhaktis-tvaṁ prabhā-smṛtā |
tvaṁ-nidrā tvaṁ-kṣudhā kīrtiḥ sarva-bhūta-nivāsinī || 7 ||
tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭir vapuḥ prītiḥ svadhā svāhā vibhāvarī |
ratiḥ prītiḥ kṣitir gaṅgā satyaṁ dharmo manasvinī || 8 ||
lajjā śāntiḥ smṛtir dakṣā kṣamā gaurī ca rohiṇī |
sinīvālī kuhū rākā devamātā ditis tathā || 9 ||
brahmāṇī vinatā lakṣmīḥ kadrūr dākṣāyaṇī śivā |
gāyatrī cā'tha sāvitrī kṛṣir vṛṣṭiḥ śrutiḥ kalā || 10 ||
balānāḍī tuṣṭi kāṣṭhā rasanā ca sarasvatī |
yatkiñcit triṣu lokeṣu bahutvādyatra kīrtitam || 11 ||
gandharvāḥ kinnarā devāḥ siddha-vidyādharoragāḥ || 12 ||
yakṣa guhyaka bhūtāśca daityā ye ca vināyakāḥ |
tvat-prasādena te sarvaṁ saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ || 13 ||
tathā'nye'pi bahutvādye na mayā parikīrtitāḥ |
ārādhitāstu kṛcchreṇa pūjitāśca suvistaraiḥ || 14 ||
harantu devatāḥ pāpaṁ anye tvaṁ kīrtitā 'pi ca || 15 ||
sarasvatyuvāca -
yo māṁ atra sthitāṁ nityaṁ snātvā 'tra salile śubhe |
aṣṭamyāṁ ca caturdaśyāṁ pūjayiṣyati mānavaḥ |
tasyā'haṁ vāñchitān kāmān saṁpradāsyāmi pārthiva || 16 ||

|| iti śrīskānde mahāpurāṇe nāgara-khaṇḍe hāṭakeśvara-kṣetramāhātmye sarasvatī-tīrtha-māhātmya-varṇanaṁ-nāmā'dhyāye śrīsarasvatī stutiḥ sampūrṇam ||
--E-mail sent on February 10, 2016

Know all Faiths and Traditions of Society You Live-in

Today is Ash Wednesday. Yesterday was Mardi Gras. Do you know what they are? Do you know why I talk about them? Whatever it is, it is good to know all traditions of   the Society we live in. It may sometimes come to your help when your tradition is criticized! You may be wondering what Hindu Reflections has to do with it?
I attended Christian School all through   my school days. I was teased  or abused for wearing Namam on the forehead all the time.  But both by my Christian friend including teachers, and Hindus who did not fail to pay their salute to Ganesha in front of our school and take Vibhuti Prasad did not mind Vibhuti on the forehead if any had it.   I thought probably Ganesha was more powerful! I then  did not know about Brhaman or Atman and Ganesha was  the boosted deity of Puranas neglecting Subhramanya hailed in Ramayana? In order to avoid criticism I wiped out Namam from my forehead everyday  on leaving the house and  before entering the school. Hindus  were also forced to attend Christian prayers to begin the day. If we did not attend the prayer to start the day we were given a tardy note. We were often criticized for our Pagan practices if they did not like!  EVR Periyar had started his Dravidian Movement just then.   Both Christian and my Non-Brahmin friends were also up against my Pigtail or Choti =which I could not avoid.  They did not bother Sardarjis as they were afraid of their strengrth to fight back! My grandfather who was   very religious managed with his turban  in the University.  I was caught between Periyavals at home and Periyar Followers, Christian teachers and friends in the Public!      I did not know then why Vibhuti was tolerated  for I did not know  significance of Ash Wednesday then being in Protestant School?
Probably many of you know that Hindus who are Non-vegetarians do not eat meat on Fridays like Catholics and also on specific religious days. Christians and Muslims also observe Fasting on certain religious days. Only thing is  Hinduism is well organized with its periodic Ekadasi  and Amavasya and specific religious  days   to do fasting. This periodic fasting on regular basis is more advantageous health-wise(recommended by Ayurveda) unlike Christian and Muslim fasting  and feasting which is done at a stretch for 40 days or a month in the year. They believe in get it  all out  at one time and please the Lord!
Christians  also have specific religious  days for atonement of their sins. Hindus atone for their sins every day and in all prayers. "Sarvaparadham kshamasva" (forgive all my sins) and "Narayana iti samarpayami", Krishnarpanamastu" (I surrender everything at the feet of the Lord" are the usual favorite ending of prayers. Probably Christians are too busy to atone each day and in all prayers.
This year, Mardi Gras falls on February 9, 2016. As it is commonly understood, Mardi Gras is a raucous celebratory affair that serves as a final shebang before the 40-day abstinence of Lent. But there are several key characteristics of this holiday that may have gotten lost in transition.
1. Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," is the culmination of Carnival, which by its Latin roots means the "removal of flesh/meat."   Christians often abstained from dairy and meat products altogether during this period -- which of course would make for much leaner Carnival season than people today celebrate. Pope Gregory XIII made Mardi Gras an official holiday in 1582.
2. Mardi Gras only became a holiday in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII placed it on the Gregorian calendar on the day before Ash Wednesday. The holiday arrived in North America in the late 17th century with the LeMoyne brothers who had come to defend France's claim on Louisiana.
3. That said, Mardi Gras may have roots in pagan spring festivals that date back thousands of years. The ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia both included traditions of feasting and masquerades, which are components of the modern Mardi Gras festival, too.
4. In some countries Mardi Gras is called "Shrove Tuesday" after the term shrive, which means "to confess." This refers to the unofficial custom of going to confession on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday as a way of shedding sin and guilt before the spiritual journey of Lent.
5. Perhaps most famously celebrated in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro, Mardi Gras is a highly international holiday. Some of the other major celebrations take place in Germany (as "Karneval"), Italy (as "Martedi Grasso"), Trinidad (as "J'Ouvert"), and Mexico (as "Martes de Carnaval").
Ash Wednesday is the first day of the Lenten season, a period of 40-some days focused on spiritual purification and repentance. It is a day of fasting for Catholic and Anglican churches. Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of the distribution of ashes upon the foreheads of Christians.
If we are criticized for Pagan practices please watch what the so called advanced religions believe in. It is good to know  other cultures when we live in a multi-cultured and multi- religious society. You are better equipped to face criticism.
--E Maiol sent on Ash Wednesday
Why are Indian gurus selling noodles?
Follow the Modern Gurus. Enter their Gurukulas. It may cost a lot! But it is worth the trouble. You will soon be double rich--Material wealth and Modern Spirituality to freely travel round the Globe with saffron robes and Rudrakshi Mala.  You may even build as Ashrams in as many countries as you can! If not convinced by what I say please go through the BBC News column from Soutik Biswas Delhi correspondent reproduced below:
 “Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Baba Ramdev's Patanjali is one of India's fastest-growing consumer goods companies
Why do Indian gurus sell noodles - and much more?
Popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev is behind one of India's fastest-growing consumer goods companies. Forbes magazine calls his Patanjali empire the "Indian version of Body Shop".
The saffron-robed, bearded Mr Ramdev sells honey, health drinks, fruit juices, sweets, cookies, spices, tea, flour, muesli, pickles, soap, balms, shampoos - and noodles.
An avid supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has taken on Nestle's hugely popular Maggi instant noodles. Despite early concerns about the quality of his noodles, he is promoting the brand as a healthy alternative to similar food products. The guru's noodles are cooking well in the market.
Thriving business: Encouraged by Mr Ramdev's commercial success, another guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has unveiled his own line of food products.
Better known for his bling and for tacky performances on stage and cinema as a rotund rock star and bike-riding hero, the guru will now also sell pickles, honey, bottled water, and yes, noodles.
The guru, who runs a thriving sect, wants the "nation to become healthier" by consuming "organic products". The controversial leader lists 117 "humanitarian activities" on his website, including efforts to eliminate homosexuality, running an international blood bank, promoting vegetarianism and feeding birds.
Down in southern India, Sri Sri Ravishankar, a guru popular with the middle and upper classes, has a line of ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) products, including toothpaste, protein shampoos, herbal tea, anti-diabetic tablets, balms and syrups, produced out of a "world-class" facility in Bangalore.
The country's most famous woman guru Mata Amritanandamayi runs hospitals, a TV channel, engineering colleges and business schools, among other things.
Meanwhile, Sri Satya Sai Baba, an orange-robed guru with an afro hairstyle, left behind a multi-billion dollar empire, straddling hospitals, clinics and universities, when he died in 2011.
Image caption Baba Ramdev's noodles posed a challenge to better-known multinational brands Image copyright AFP Image caption Gurus have shown remarkable political nous
Indian gurus have long leveraged their mass followings and networks - political and business - for commercial gain.
In the early days, they made money mediating between the east and west. Mahesh Yogi, for example, sold yoga and meditation to millions of foreigners. But times have changed, and the gurus - living gods to the legions of their supporters - have adapted nimbly.
Key Role: With more than a little help from politicians, the gurus have gone from strength to strength.  It obviously helps that their followers easily translate into captive markets for the products they want to make and sell. Their home-grown marketing savvy helps them build modern-day consumer goods empires. Most make Ayurvedic and organic products, tapping into the country's ancient heritage.
Most of the successful gurus are known to be supporters of the incumbent governments, and display remarkable political nous.
"Gurus - spurious or genuine - are key players in the business and politics of spirituality," says Lise McKean, anthropologist and author of Divine Enterprise, a book that examines the business side of the Hindu religion.
"The activities of many gurus and their organzations in the 1980s and 1990s are related to the simultaneous expansion of transnational capitalism in India and abroad."
Image copyright AFP Image caption Mata Amritanandamayi runs hospitals, a TV channel, engineering colleges and business schools. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has unveiled his own line of products.
So selling yoga to foreigners is almost passé. The new-age - and often brash - gurus have set their sights beyond their followers and are reaching out to India's growing domestic market, a move that must be making a number of multinational companies skittish. So, their products are now finding buyers even among the non-believers.
'Health is spirituality': One of them is sociologist Shiv Visvanathan, who has visited some 20 shops selling Mr Ramdev's products. He says he is impressed by the quality of some of his wares.
"The flour is top quality, the shampoo is good. The biscuit, which dissolves quickly when dipped in tea, is bad," he says.
But more seriously, he says, Mr. Ramdev is catering to the virtuous cycle of the Indian household - "health, medicine and cosmetics".
"The gurus like Mr. Ramdev are telling us is that health is spirituality," says Mr. Visvanathan.
Clearly, spiritual capitalism is alive and well in India. The empires of devotion are flourishing. One guru famously said that wealth followed worship.
His message was meant for his devotees who were shunning their charitable obligations. It could have been aimed at the gurus themselves”
 --E-Mail sent on February 10, 2016
Ujjain, Strolling in the City of Time
 Please recall my discourse Why am I a Hindu? My analysis had been the word Hindu comes from sindhu with its Vedic Sanskrit meaning River. Basically we are all riverine people or originated from river valley philosophy and not historic people originating from Indus valley. This article by IndiaDivine.Org reproduced below goes further to support Harappan People are riverine people. This in turn  proves that historic Aryan Invasion theory is wrong. It all started with Harappan-Dravidian culture which later was called "Aryan" meaning those who are noble.  It is likely that from these migrating Harappan riverine people from Sarasvati Valley the present Indus River got its name   Sindhu.  These Harappa-Dravidian people became more refined and cultured to start Vedic culture and were called Aryans when they moved from Sarasvati valley  further seeking river valleys like Indus, Ganges etc.

Sarasvati, Ganges    and Indus   were all   addressed as sindhavas or  rivers and the people were also called Sindhus  or Hindus.  Recently I sent you an E-mail indicating   how Kshipra  River of late has been included among seven sacred rivers replacing SINDHU.    This is because of Ujjain  through which Kshipra  flows which is also famous for many other things besides Jyotirlinga. Ujjain also conducts river Aarti worship every evening.  This ancient tradition of devotional waving of lamps to the river is inspired by  the  riverine people and we derive our name HINDU from River valley philosophy from our ancient sages who  spent their whole  time on river banks  performing  fire sacrifice(yajna), meditating  and teaching in Gurukulas.
 I lived for a long time in Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh means Middle Region.  I always enjoyed visiting Ujjain frequently.  Here people always strolled on the middle of the road! Perhaps that is why the author calls  it  a strolling city of Middle Region! Every time I went I came across an interesting story about this ancient city of Kalidasa. I often made fun of local  people that Kalidasa took away all intelligence from the land  getting irritated seeing people driving all the time in the middle of the road and the illiteracy prevailing.  Kalidasa   as a wood cutter was sitting at the edge of the  branch  and  was cutting the root of the branch dangerously who  later became a genius blessed by Devi like Vaklmiki! What has befallen this ancient city of Wisdom?   The roads were unsafe, lorries often   went turtle when moved to sides. I worked then  as the Project Chief for Tatas. You can guess the sad state of this ancient city and temples today. UNESCO has not brought it under its protective  royal umbella. Please enjoy the  following text from IndiaDivine.Org:
 “Masters of tens of millions of lives live here. They rule from a barrack-like building, set in grounds holding huge masonry structures that look like enormous versions of a child’s geometry set. And, in a way, that is what those edifices are. They were constructed over 275 years ago by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur, governor of Ujjain.
Using these instruments today, as their predecessors had done, traditional astronomers and mathematicians like Pandits Bharat Tiwari and Giriwap Prasad Sharma write an annual ephemeris giving the predicted positions of nine celestial bodies for a whole year.
These meticulously accurate charts are printed, widely circulated, and referred to by astrologers all over India to prepare horoscopes governing the lives of crores of believers. Ujjain’s Vedha Shala is, undoubtedly, a most unusual but also, clearly, the most influential Observatory in the world. This, however, is only one of this ancient city’s fabled attractions.

History class
Reputedly colonized by migrants from the Harappan civilisation in 2015 BC, Ujjain has been a center of scholarship, trade and pilgrimage for a reputed four millennia. Scholarship established the Prime Meridian of Hindu cartography through Ujjain. Trade routes linking the Mauryan capital of Pataliputra with the ports of the west coast ensured continuing prosperity for the town. And pilgrims homed into the famed temple of Mahakal, the Lord of Time, now the focal point of Ujjain.
In today’s troubled age, the great temple is ringed by barbed wire and bristling with security personnel and queue fences. But pilgrims still pour in, still worship in the small sanctum and then, ascending a few steps, whisper their requests into the silver ear of Nandi gazing down at his all-powerful Lord.
Haven of temples
Holy Ujjain is dotted with temples and you would have to be here for a busy month if you planned to worship in all of them. The Harsiddhi Ma Temple was installed by the Marathas when they ruled Ujjain. This temple of the Mother Goddess stands on an elevated plinth and its interiors have been richly decorated, with its ceiling holding the powerful Sri Yantra, prime emblem of the Mother.
In front of this temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet and Sri Lanka. Devotees cannot enter this sunken temple, but may view the idol through the three viewing holes cut into its ceiling. These important temples are located in town.
Leaving them behind we drove out through scrub and farm-land to the greatly revered Sandipani Ashram. This small complex of buildings, set in a garden, is of particular interest to Krishna-bhaktas.
Legend says…
Here, apparently, the sage Sandipani taught Lord Krishna, Balaram and Sudama. The original ashram has been rebuilt as a temple enshrining the idol of Sandipani. The head priest here is Rupam Vyas who informed us that he was the 202nd direct descendant of the guru.
The shiva lingam installed in the temple in front of the Sandipani Temple represents Harihara, a pujari assured us. He also explained that as the Vishnu aspect of Harihara incorporates Krishna, the Nandi in front of this idol stands … and does not sit as he is usually depicted … in honor of the Cowherd Prince.
It is believed that the tank in the complex was created by Lord Krishna by causing the River Gomti to bubble up here so that his guru, who was from Mathura, could bathe in its sacred waters. Krishna also washed his slate in this tank and so it is known as both Gomti Kund and Ankpat.
We drove westwards from here through more truly rural terrain and parked outside the walled grounds of the Godkalika Mandir. A descriptive board at the entrance of the walled complex said that the great poet Kalidas had worshiped here and that the temple showed evidence of repairs and renovations from the first century BC to the modern reign of the Scindias. The single-celled temple sits on a plinth in the center of a small courtyard with rooms all around. The idol of Kalika is a red head wearing a silver crown.
It is simple, unsophisticated, and clearly represents a very primal Deity, possibly worshiped from those very early days when this area was populated by tribal communities.
It is said that Kalidas’ genius blossomed only after he had worshiped here and many of the most important verses in his Meghdooth describe the glories of Ujjain.
Wish-fulfilling tree
Another shrine of legendary antiquity is the Siddhavat. At the edge of a terrace rising from the banks of the Kshipra River rises the reputedly immortal Siddhavat Tree. It was, apparently planted by Sita and its roots go down to the nether world.
This is possibly why devotees come here to perform rituals for the repose of the departed souls of their near and dear ones. It is also, however, a Kalpavriksh, a wish-fulfilling tree and threads are tied to it, milk poured on its branches and coconuts offered.
As sunset approached, we drove across a bridge spanning the Kshipra River and went to the west bank ghats below the Monastery of Dutta Akhada. In the evening, Ram Ghat, rising out of the far bank, shimmered atop its reflections as if they had been embossed on watered silk. A small percussion band and a devotee with a conch assembled near us.
And then, at sunset, just as the lights winked on like fireflies all over Ujjain, a lone young pujari on our side began the evocative fire ritual of aarti. The drums beat, the cymbals crashed, the conch called, the moving lights spun swift, luminous, webs in the water capturing our minds in a spell that bridged countless centuries.
The Harappans had been a riverine people so they, too, had probably had such river-worshiping rituals. We had beamed back four thousand years to the time when those civilized people of the Indus Valley had fled from northern, equestrian invaders and laid the ancient foundations of the City of Ujjain.
(Posted by The Editor | Feb 18, 2012 | IndiaDivine.Org)"
     --E-mail sent on February 12, 2016

*      https://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gifhttps://col129.mail.live.com/ol/clear.gif
From today, we can hear the cosmos. We can see the unseen!

This is the most profound explanation I've heard of what it means to detect gravitational waves
The scientific world is still reeling over the first-ever detection of ripples in the fabric of space-time, called gravitational waves.
Albert Einstein predicted their existence 100 years ago but never believed we'd actually detect the waves. So right now if you hang around physicists, who can't contain their excitement, you're bound to hear some profound scientific poetry.
One scientist from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment, which announced the detection of gravitational waves on February 11, shared what is perhaps the most beautiful and poignant description Tech Insider has heard so far.
Physicist Szabi Marka, a LIGO collaborator based at Columbia University, gushed about the coming scientific revolution to a crowded Columbia lecture hall in New York.
"The skies will never be the same," Marka told the audience, mainly physics students. "Gravitational waves will let us listen to the music of the cosmos."
Marka's use of the word "listen" is no accident.
Sound travels as waves, and so does a gravitational wave. Except instead of air or water or some other matter, gravitational waves move through a medium that permits everything in it — you, me, the Earth, the stars — to exist at all.
What's more, when something calamitous happens in outer space, like the truly awesome collision of two black holes, the waves warp space as they pass by. Until September 2015, when LIGO first recorded this "music," it was entirely out of reach of humankind.
No telescope that detects light of any wavelength — radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, X-ray, or gamma — could have detected such an event.
"Imagine that you can touch, you can smell, you can taste, you can see, and one day, one day you can hear. That day is a glorious day," Marka said. "You can appreciate Beethoven … Your life will never be the same again. This is what happened to us. This is what happened to us as a community."
Marka finished: "From today, we can hear the cosmos. We can see the unseen."
Many researchers, like Marka, told us the discovery of gravitational waves is just the beginning of a revolution in science. It's such a radically new paradigm that the detection itself brought with it a (growing) list of firsts.
"We're humans, we're curious, and on a quest to understand such weird things that are a big part of our universe," Kip Thorne, a physicist at Caltech and a cofounder of LIGO, told Tech Insider. "It's a quest that's part of dream of humanity that goes back to a child's earliest days."
Read the original article on Tech Insider. Follow Tech Insider on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2016.
 Does this mean we can see Brahman?  I don't think so. Yet it is a  land mark in Paravidya. We need Aparvidya to see the unseen. Our sages had the knowledge of Paravidya and Aparavidya and so could  communicate personally with the unseen. That is where I am struggling hard with you. Please go through the details sent by our active participant Balasubrahmaniyan. I  extend my sincere thanks to Bala on your behalf.
     --E-Mail sent on February 12, 2016

Indus Valley Civilization  and Its Links
Please refer to my earlier talks on the subject.  The Vedas  however speak of the Sarasvati as a very large and flowing river. If the dating of the Vedic literature is correct, then there is a discrepancy because the Sarasvati river dried up before the Vedas were supposed to have been written. This is an interesting situation. It might seem possible then, that with other evidence showing that there was no influx of an invading people, that the Vedas were then written by the people of the Indus Valley.
Another point that speaks  against  Aryan Invasion Theory  is  finding of Altars at several Indus  Valley Civilization sites. Fire rituals and sacrifice were an important part of Vedic religious practices. But what was significant about these alters, is that they were aligned and constructed in the same manner as later discovered altars were. The fire altars were then Vedic in construction indicating that the Harappan's were a Vedic culture.
The idea that there wasn't in fact an Aryan invasion is supported on many levels, including the  present day legacy of these Indus cities in the traditional arts and crafts, and in the layout of houses and settlements in India. Please go through the new Discovery in Oman which has links to Indus Valley Civilization:

"Newly Discovered Tomb in Oman has Links to Indus Valley Civilization
Posted by The Editor | Jun 27, 2014 | IndiaDivine.Org
\Archaeologists have unearthed a site near Sinaw that could reveal India’s ancient Indus Valley civilization’s far reaching influence on the Omani society thousands of years ago, according to officials of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. During an excavation, archaeologists have found a tomb from 2,300 years ago of a man who was buried with sword and daggers made of iron and steel from the Indus Valley civilization. It has been scientifically proven that iron and steel arms were first made in the Indus Valley civilization.
Sultan Bensaif Al Bakri, director of Excavations and Archaeological Studies of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has said that this finding may prove the influence of the Indian civilization on Oman during that period. However, he said that further studies would be carried out on this regard.
Al Bakri has said that a 2,300 year-old underground chamber was found during excavations 22 km south of Sinaw. This was the burial chamber of a man in his 50’s, buried along with his personal arms. Near his grave, two male and female camels were also buried. They were slaughtered after the death of the man. The walls of the graves of these camels were erected with stones.
He said that the man was buried separately, on the right side of the camels’ graves, with his 88cm sword in front of him. In addition, two daggers were tied on the right and left sides of his waist. A robe and woolen cap was also buried along with him. According to the descriptions provided by the archaeologists, the sword and daggers were made of iron and steel which was first made in the Indian civilization from where it spread to the neighboring civilizations, including Oman, said Al Bakri.
He said that the sword was kept in front of the man as the handle of the sword was facing him. Its handle was partly covered with textured ivory shaped like an eagle’s beak. It is believed that the man was a chieftain of a tribe, as is evident from the sword and the robe. He was buried as his head was on a pillow and his hat was kept near his head. He was wearing leather shoes.
The Ministry of Heritage and Culture will restore these arms and will display these models in the proposed national museum scheduled to open at the end of this year.
This finding was made during an excavation carried out by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture in coordination with the ministry of transport and communications that was working on the project of Sinaw-Mahout-Duqm road. While digging, the Ministry of Transport and Communications found a graveyard spread across 100 sq m. This major archaeological finding was made when the ministry excavated 35 graves that came in the way of the proposed road. Archaeologists have concluded that these graves were of two different periods. One is of third century BC while the second is of the first century BC, which included various tombs, potteries and utensils."
--E Mail sent on February13, 2016
Vasant Panchami
Yesterday we celebrated Vasanta Panchami. All of you might have gone through my detailed discourse on the subject.  I believe many of you might not have gone through the added appendices which contains interesting educative information on Vasanta Panchami. Please go through the same  reproduced below:

Significance of  Vasant Panchami
Posted by The Editor | Feb 05, 2014 |  IndiaDivine.Org
Vasant Panchami is an important Indian festival celebrated every year in the month of Magh according to the Hindu calendar. Celebrated on the fifth day of Magh, the day falls somewhere in the months of February or March according to the Gregorian calendar. The significance of the day lies in the worship of Goddess Saraswati, symbol of wisdom and also the onset of spring season.
According to the popular belief, the origins of this festival lie in Aryan period. Aryans came and settled in India through Khyber Pass, crossing the Saraswati River among many others. Being a primitive civilization, most of their development took place along the banks of the River Saraswati. Thus, River Saraswati began to be associated with fertility and knowledge. It is then that the day began to be celebrated.
According to mythology, a popular associated with this day is connected with poet Kalidasa. After he was married off to a beautiful princess through trickery, the princess kicked him out of her bed as she learned that he was foolish. Following this, Kalidasa went to commit suicide, upon which Saraswati emerged from the waters and asked him to take a dip there. After taking a dip in the holy waters, Kalidasa became knowledgeable and began writing poetry. Thus, Vasant Panchami is celebrated to venerate Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of education and learning.
In today’s times, the festival is celebrated by farmers as the on-coming of the spring season. The day is largely celebrated in Northern Parts of India. Here, people offer food to the Brahmins and organize rituals in the name of Goddess Saraswati.
The colour yellow is the predominant colour associated with the festival, the origins of which are supposed to be the fields of mustard which can be seen in Punjab and Haryana during this period. Kite flying is also commonly associated with this festival. Children as well as adults fly kites on this day to celebrate freedom and enjoyment.
Another tradition associated with this day is that of initiating studies in the young. Young children often begin learning on this day, which is believed to be the reason why the school sessions start in the month of March. Sweets with a yellow hue are also distributed on this day and people can also be seen donating books and other literary material to the poor.
What do people do?
Vasant Panchami is a famous festival that marks the end of the winter season and ushers in the springtime. Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of the Vasant Panchami festival. Young girls wear bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities. The color yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life. The whole place bursts with yellow during the festival.
People dress in yellow and they offer yellow flowers to others and to the gods and goddesses. They also prepare and feast on a special pastry called kesar halwa orkesar halva, which is made from flour, sugar, nuts, and cardamom powder. This dish also includes saffron strands, which gives it a vibrant yellow colour and mild fragrance. During the Vasant Panchami festival, India’s crop fields are filled with the colour yellow, as the yellow mustard flowers bloom at this time of the year. Pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess Devi’s feet to be blessed before they are used by students.
Public Life
Vasant Panchami is a public holiday. Government offices, schools, colleges do not operate on the day. However, at the same time, private offices are operational. Public transport also operates throughout the day but there is heavy traffic congestion during to processions at various places.
The celebration of the Vasant Panchami is centered on the Hindu goddess Sarasvati. Sarasvati is the goddess of wisdom. She embodies the different facets of learning such as the sciences, arts, crafts and skills. She is said to be calm and collected. She is often pictured seated on a lotus or a peacock, wearing a white dress.
Hindus believe that Saraswati bestows the greatest wealth to humanity, the wealth of knowledge. In the Vedas the prayer forSaraswati depicts her as a white lady in white dress bedecked with white flowers and white pearls, sitting on a white lotus, which is blooming in a wide stretch of water. She holds Veena, a string-instrument, like Sitar, for playing music. The prayer finally concludes, “Oh Mother Saraswati remove the darkness (ignorance) of my mind and bless me with the eternal knowledge.”
As I gave you the significance of symbols associated with the Goddess of wealth, Ma Lakshmi during the Diwali celebration, I would like to acquaint you with the important symbols associated with Ma Saraswati on the eve of Basant Panchami.
White dress, white flowers, white pearls, white lotus :- All these signify absolute purity, true knowledge of the purest kind. For acquisition of supreme knowledge, one has to perform activities founded on purity and divine wisdom.
Lotus in water: Water here symbolizes the ocean of life indicating that one has to attain supreme knowledge living in the world and not running away from it. As we know lotus makes its way through water and rises above its surface with glory. It remains in water but is not incapacitated by it. These are two important characteristics on which knowledge must rest.
Veena: Veena symbolizes the music of life. The collective sound of all our thoughts and actions in the cosmic forms operates as music in the universe.
The Book: Ordinarily a book is a means of acquiring knowledge. But in the hand of Saraswati it symbolizes total knowledge. Saraswati is the Goddess of all knowledge-worldly as well as spiritual.
Hamsa (Swan): At times Saraswati is shown sitting on a white hamsa (swan). The swan is known to have a tremendous amount of discriminating power. It has a very sensitive beak through which it can discriminate the right and the wrong. It can discriminate between the real and unreal. It can separate the milk from water.
In ordinary sense, a white swan represents purity and the capacity to discriminate between right and wrong and the will to accept the right.
The Peacock: The peacock represents ordinary worldly knowledge. As most of you know peacock’s moods keep on changing. It is overly influenced by weather conditions; sometimes dancing in ecstasy and when in the agony of separation, weeping for long, likes most of us.
Now look at the picture above, the peacock is placed on the right side anxiously waiting to be used by Saraswati as her carrier, whereas the swan is on the left side, completely relaxed. This represents the desired balance between head and heart. Men of knowledge must possess this quality.
In the final analysis all the symbols associated with the image of Goddess of learning are reminders to the seeker of worldly or spiritual knowledge that he or she must possess the power of discrimination while maintaining purity and peace. On Vasant Panchami I pray to Mata Saraswati to kindle the light of true knowledge in you and your children and eliminate the dullness of intellect.

The Symbolism of Goddess Saraswati’s Veena
Posted by Sachidanand Das | Feb 12, 2016 |  IndiaDivine.Org
Goddess Saraswati (Saraswatee) is a revered and popular household name among the Hindus of India. She is the personification of knowledge and purity. The well-known Sanskrit writer Dandin refers to her as sarvashukla saraswate (all-white Saraswati).
In many parts of India, the annual worship of Saraswati (Saraswati Puja) in the months of February/March is an important festival, especially in the educational institutions where she occupies the pride of place over any other deity. The pot-bellied elephant god Ganesh also is worshipped on Ganesh Chaturthi, but more as the prime remover of obstacles (vighneshwara) than anything else. In certain states of western India, Ganapati is the more popular of the two deities.
When you look at any image of Saraswati, an idol or a picture, the thing – apart from the white Saraswati herself – that comes to the notice immediately and prominently, is the musical instrument Veena. The sage Yajnavalkya has said, ‘One who is skilled in veena-play attains salvation without effort.’ This Veena in the hands of Saraswati stands for a number of things in a number of ways. What are they? Here is a list.
1) Veena is not an ordinary lute, it stands for jnaana veena, the icon of all knowledge (religious and secular, spiritual and worldly). When theVeena is played and the musical notes are produced, it is as though knowledge is radiating out in all directions.
2) Saraswati holds the upper side of Veena with her left hand and the lower side of Veena with her right hand. This signifies her full command over all branches of knowledge as well as her ability to play any part (branch of learning) with dexterity.
3) Veena is seen as the abode of divinity with each of its physical part signifying the seat of some subtle aspect of god or goddess. The instrument’s neck is Shiva, the strings are Parvati, the bridge is Lakshmi, the secondary gourd is Brahma, the dragon head is Vishnu, and the resonating body is Saraswati. Thus Veena can be said to be the source of all happiness.
4) Veena represents the entire system of Indian music and is the generic name for all stringed instruments. There is one Sruti Veena on which 22 srutis can be produced simultaneously.
5) Veena (music) symbolizes life and the strings represent the various feelings. The musical sound of veena is closest to human voice (female).
6) The sound of veena stands for the primordial sound of creation. This sound filled the universe with vital energy Praana. Naarada, the mind-born son (maanasa putra) of Brahma, always carries a veena with him. In fact, Veena is Narada’s signature.
7) The sound of Veena represents the melody of mantras (the laws or formulas) that brought order to the initial chaos at the time of creation.
8) Vibration of veena is divine knowledge that flows like the water of a river when the instrument is played.
9) The veena placed in the hands of Saraswati is the most evolved string instrument in a given age.
10) The strings of veena stand for the physical organs of action and control over strings means control over senses.
11) Knowledge should be imparted skillfully and artistically similar to the manner of playing a veena.
12) Divine name of Veena is ‘kachchapi‘, a female tortoise. Just as a tortoise withdraws its sense organs when not in action, so also one desirous of attaining spiritual knowledge should have introversion. Only one who is withdrawn from the sense objects like a tortoise can attain excellence in playing veena and enjoy its music fully.
13) The reason why some artists make the upper hand of veena in the form of tortoise is as follows. A female tortoise, after laying her eggs, covers them with sand and then goes about doing her other duties while keeping watch on them. In a similar manner, Saraswati, after giving spiritual birth to many of us through Veena, protects and nurtures us.
14) Veena is also called Muktchandi that means multi-rhythmic potential.
--E Mail sent on February 2016
Training of Body, Mind and spirit through Yoga, Meditation and Bhakti
I had an opportunity to attend a seminar on Meditation and Bhakti on Sunday 14, 2016 at Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN, USA. The topics on which lectures were given by specialists in the field were: Scriptural basis for meditation practices in Hinduism:
Practice of yoga in preparation for meditation; Yoga as a Healing Art; Art of happy living through meditation practice: Bhakti and Surrender in Meditation Practice;  Inner Engineering: Technologies for Wellbeing .  I was quite educated by these lectures and I left the hall   gaining wisdom though    I have spoken on these subjects in detail in the past and as posted on the Blog Hindu Reflections.
Swami Chinmayanada once said when we pray we speak and He (Atman) listens and when we meditate He (Brahman) speaks and we listen. What he conveys by this is Yoga, meditation and contemplation prepares us for Bhakti Vedanta which in turn takes us to direct dialogue with Him and leads us to Liberation. One learned speaker talked about Dhyana. As you all know every deity we worship has a Dhyana sloka and Gayatri Mantra specific to the deity. Dhyana Sloka is meant for Bhajans and Prayers while Mantra are  for Meditation (mananaat traayate iti mantrah), meditating on which one who comes into direct  communion with the Atman contained within.  Every Gayatri Mantra has a Rishi and meter.   Yoga helps in progressive building of Body, Mind and Spirit to elevate one self. A healthy body and mind is part of the game and a pre-requisite on which the expert spoke. As we are born we pass through a short period of care-free life, happiness and no worries and then when we pass on to bachelorhood we go after   desires,   ambitions, ego, anxiety etc. This stage needs yoga and meditation says the speaker from ISHA Foundation. This is the age of eight at   which   Hinduism prescribes Upanayana or Vedic studies.  Here don’t go by what our religious Pundits say that this should be restricted to Brahmin boys only though in the past it was also applicable to Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and girls too. Vedas have no reservation on this except to say seek a good and knowledgeable Guru.
If you seriously go through my discourses on Prologue to Sandhyavandana and the three times Sandhyavandana discourses, they only prescribe guidelines and mantras for Yoga, Meditation and contemplation by turning inwards. These are the simplest rituals and easier to follow by all which the authors above have explained in a complicated way. This also keeps your body, mind and spirit properly directed to the Supreme.  We often think we are doing Pranayaama but what we are doing   is only Nasikayama (breathe control) without spiritual thought in modern Yoga Schools. Another speaker quoted 10 slokas from chapter 6 of Bhagavd Gita, Dhyana Yoga--the  Way of Contemplation. In fact Lord Krishna, to whom Vedavyasa has shifted his authorship out of his modesty, used to spend his early hours in meditation on Brahman as mentioned in Gita Kosha of Sankar Math.  Gita was initially   called Yogopanishad and in fact is a compendium of all Upanishads.  One of the speakers mentioned of 20 Upanishads which can be called Yogopanisahads. Of these five are called Bindu Upanishads—Tejo, Naada, Dhyaana, Brahma and Amrita. Of the twenty such Upanishads  I have talked about Kaivalya Upanishad in the past and will be talking about Amrita Bindu Upanishad next week. Those of you who have missed these lectures will not be lost if you go through my various discourses given at different times. As far as the   healing powers are concerned I have collected lot of information which is contained in my Yoga Digest sent to you.
ISHA Member also talked about the merits of meditation on the river banks in cool and calm atmosphere. Here again please go through my discourse "Why am I called  Hindu and my Religion Hinduism". My conclusion was the word Hindu comes from sindhu in Sanskrit which means river and not modern Indus which is mistakenly ascribed to us while describing  us as Hindus. Our origin goes back to Sarasvati Valley as evinced by Harappa and Mohenjadoro and hence our philosophy is Riverine Philosophy. or  Saras  which again means flow. Our sages were known for flow of thoughts and therefore children of Sarasvati.  My name nadipuram also refers to Kaveri River (river-town) near Mysore. It is no surprise Sadguru who is also from Karnataka suggests river banks for meditation.  He should have known about   Vedic Scholars Settlement (Agrahara) near Mysore  on the river bank as patronized by the  then rulers to which heritage I belong to be called Nadipuram Srinivasan.
I was looking forward to a moderation summary of all the speeches for our education but that did not come due to lack of time.  This was an unique event and first of its kind  probably inspired by the Seminar on Jagannatha of Puri by Jagannatha Society of USA in the same temple and the importance given to Yoga Practice and Research by United Nations last year declaring Dakhinayana Punyakala Day  as The International Day of Yoga(IDY). I am confident wisdom will prevail on Ganesha temple to celebrate IDY as a Special Religious Events Day and Meditation Day every year since this is the day on which all spiritually inclined people begin their study of Vedas
One of the misconceptions one needs to try to prevent from happening when modern meditation movements (Such as Art of Living or ISHA foundation) teach quick fix breathing techniques to an effective meditation. It is a misconception that meditation is easy and results are quick. Practice of Yoga is a lifelong discipline and as one of the speakers spoke    the practice of Yama and Niyama are the prerequisites and so meditation calls for sustained practice.     Lifelong humility and surrender are critical (Saatveeka Bhaava and Saranaagati) - so that your self-improvement efforts don't become an end in itself but a means to and end of self-purification."
--E-Mail sent on February 15, 2016

Pradyumna’s City  Por  Bajin Siberia
Both Dwarka and Rama Setu have a deep connection  with Hindu mythology. While the submerged city of Dwarka in the west is believed by some to be the lost city of Krishna, Rama Setu, or Adam's Bridge, the limestone shoals from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to the northern coast of Sri Lanka, is taken by a section of Hindu devotees to be the bridge that Rama crossed to bring Sita back from the clutches of the demon king Ravana. 
The marine archaeology has found proof of Krishna´s Dwarka. But the work on further excavation has met a formidable roadblock in the form of academic indifference and government apathy. Dr. S.R. Rao  a renowned marine archaeologist  led the underwater cultural heritage project of India. He had submitted a proposal for further  excavations  of Dwarka and also promoting it as a pilgrimage-tourism center.  It is clear that for almost a decade the   Government of India had not shown much interest in the Gulf of Cam bay.  The National Institute of Ocean Technology established carbon-14 date of 7,500 years for the wood samples excavated from under the sea and the existence of a civilization dating to that period. This study is not directly connected with Krishna´s Dwarka.  But Dr. Rao strongly believes Krishna’s Dwaraka existed 4000 years ago.
Please find another report on Pradyumn'a City Por Bajin in Siberi  as attached. Someday all these loose ends will be tied together to show Lord Krishna was a historic figure like Buddha. Unlike Rama, who Puranas say ruled over Ayodhya for 10000 years,  they say Krishna lived  only for 128 years   which is possible for a human being. Planetary software studies by Dr. Narahari of Memphis have also proved Mahabarata War was an historic event and its date has also been confirmed as I explained to you before. “In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna is mostly represented as a teacher of great wisdom and erudition; he figures as a Yogi. Gita records that Krishna sat  up every morning for meditation ‘merging with the transcendental Self’. We read  in the Mahabharata also that Krishna was in the habit of meditating on Brahman in the hours before sun-rise. Krishna in all probability was historical in character, and was a philosopher who harmonized the Sankhya yoga with the Brahmavada of the Upanishads” says Prof S. K. Ramachandra Rao of Kalpataru Research Academy,  Sringeri Sarada Peetham, Shankarmutt.
Puranas have elevated Buddha to be an Avatar of Vishnu for his outstanding contributions to Hindu Philosophy. Buddha had been silent on Brahman and stopped at Nirvana. Krishna in this context went far beyond and expounded Brahman consolidating all Upanishads and also  merging  Sankhya Philosophy with it for an united approach for salvation through Yoga and Meditation. That is why he is regarded as Poorna avatar by Puranas and Jayadeva has raised him to the status of Parabrahman based on Bhaktivedanta in his Dasvatara stotra. Have we not to-day raised  Siababas, Swaminarayana, Sankara, Andal etc., to the status of Gods and part of Parabrahman? If you closely observe Krishna also felt that we should not focus on even Vedic deities like Indra who are only controllers in the administration of Brahman looking after certain functions in Brahman’s administration of the Universe.  That is why he stopped traditional  Indra worship and resorted to Govardhana Puja which is the worship directed to Panchbhutas.  Today we worship Siva in Panchbhuta (five Elemental) forms describing him as none other than Brahman following the teachings of Gita!
Here is a verse  from Brahma Samhita:
Isvarah paramah krishnah sac-cid-ananda vigrahah |
anadir adir govinda sarva karana-karanam
“The Supreme Controller is Krishna. He possesses a spiritual body composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss. He has no beginning, yet He is the first. He is the cause of all causes”. Here Krishna does not refer to avatar of Vushnu but refers to Parabrahman. MNU also refers to Krishna in the Mantra “Krishnena Satabahuna” which text precedes  Bhagavata which I have discussed. It is clear we should take the words “devata”, “Isvara” etc. as referring to only controllers under the administration of Brahaman.  Puranas mention 330 million such controllers need-based as the Universe started growing. The word "Brahman" comes from the root   "brih" to grow,  and the universe is still growing. To me Ganesha is only a controller of obstacles in this Manvantara and that is why he is not mentioned in Ramayana along with Kumara in Ramayana who is celebrated in an exclusive Sarga. We are adding further controllers like Saibaba and Swami Narayan, Andal, Kali, Mariammn etc whose temples are multiplying.
 In higher planes of spiritual world marriage is one of relationship called Rasa  where no physical sex act is involved.   We are now thinking of recognizing  perverted same-sex marriages where reproduction is not possible without divine power of creation but physical sex acts as sensual pleasures are  involved.  Urvasi was created by a male sage by a divine act.  That is how we can explain the births of Ganesha, Subhramanya and others as Ayonijas (not womb born). On the planet earth, however, human beings do become pregnant, although the tendency is to avoid having children. Many Incarnations took place on Earth. That is why we are making lot of research to prove Rama and Krishna are historic figures like Buddha. Why are we not claiming other Avatars as Historic?  I believe they did not take place on earth! If you see Dasavatars only from Parasurama onward we have earthly  Avatars and  have their legally wedded wives who are also earth born. Of the  earlier avatars,  we sometimes worship Narasimha with Lakshmi  alone and Vamana also with Lakshmi as  Sakti aspects.  Lakshmi is the Sakti aspect of Vishnu as well as Narayana.
Krishna’s son Pradyumna Established a Kingdom in Siberia. It is believed that a Palace built by him is in Por Bajin. This has a striking resemblance to Krishna’s Dwaraka, now excavated off the coast of Gujarat, India. ‘Por-Bajin is legally treated as one of the most mysterious archaeological monuments of Russia,’ says the official website for the complex, about 3,800km from Moscow.
Please go through the detailed text as attached on Krishna's son Pradyumana's City Por Bajin Siberia.
--E-Mail sent on 2/20/2016
From the beginning of times humans believed in a higher power, something bigger and more powerful than themselves. They needed to believe in someone who had inconceivable powers and was so much bigger than themselves and also to answer the big mysteries of the world. So they worshiped the sun, the moon, fire and even created gods of the seas. Anything explainable was considered an extension of the holiness of God; even love and beauty intrigued humans and they made goddesses of love and beauty. Being oldest,  the followers of Sanatana Dharma mis-intrerpreting the meaning of KOTI  created innumerable number of gods of the Mysterious (330 millions whose tribe is increasing), worshiped them and remained happy and contented. Vedas refer to One Supreme God (Iswara)  TADEKAM and 33 Koti Devatas. Koti in Veda means  kind.  Puranas converted them to numbers (330 million) and independent  Gods. Today in Houston (USA) there are 100 Indian Associations for a population of 120000. The other day 60   and odd associations  in Nashville went to welcome the Indian  Councillor. Hindus pride in Unity in Diversity! "If there are two Malayalees there are three associations" they say in India too. I would only say Hindus in America are Confused Desis who  do not  know how to meditate on Brahman to-day  and how to live with one another  also. We need Unity with our Diversity. Please refer to the details  as  given in the context  of  33 Koti Devatas in the enclosed text. Do we need so many temples for such small population in  small cities? Why can't they  build  one Vedic Spiritual Education Center and one temple  and spread the message  of  Sanatana Dharma  and complete the task begun by Swami Vivekananda?  We can hardly support our cultural activity with our indifference and diversity! Joint Family system  once the pride of the country is shrinking.  You should only visit Vrindavan once remembered for the childhood pranks of Krishna is today the world's City of Deserted Widows! We are in search of retirement homes for elderly to dump them to loneliness! He has been kind to me! I enjoy life with my daughter at 86 in USA!
Anyhow, here is an interesting study from Katharyn Snowdon to pride on and  worth going through. What makes Hinduism so strong? Although Hinduism has  changed a lot over thousands of years it has the solid   foundation of Sanatana  Dharma which  taught all people in the world  “Eko Viprah bahuda vadanti”, “sarve janah sukhino bvhavantu”. “”atmavat sarvabhooteshu” and “Krinvanto viswamaryam”—The one the Pundits call by many names; May all people live happily! See the same Self in All Beings! and, Let us ennoble the whole world! Hinduism has aligned itself today with world religions to be recognized as world religion but  it has not deviated from its basic principles derived from Sanatana Dharma which suits all religions.  That is why it has withstood all tsunamis over thousands of years; it not only survives but also leads in Happiness wherever it has moved and in whatever cultures it lives. One day it can be the Lodestar of all Religions  based on UNIVOICE  Vedanta.  A century before Vivekananda boldly pronounced on American soil "Vedanta is the Religion of the Future". Here  only Hindus alone are capable of starting the dialogue:
“Religious people from all different faiths are happier than those who have “no religion”, official data released on Tuesday revealed. Of all the faiths in the UK, Hindus are the happiest, scoring well above the national average and just under the demographic of people who consider themselves to be “in very good health”, according to data compiled by the Office for National Statistics.
Christians – of all denominations – were the second happiest, followed by Sikhs and Buddhists. Those who followed these religions were happier than the average person, who scored a happiness rating of 7.38 out of 10.
On average, Hindus scored a rating of 7.57 for happiness, followed by Christians at 7.47, Sikhs with 7.45 and Buddhist at 7.41.
Happiness among  Jews fell below the national average, with a rating of 7.37.
Muslims had the lowest happiness ranking of the religions listed, with a score of 7.33.
Those who follow “any other religion” came in at 7.26. And people who belonged to “no religion” were the unhappiest, scoring just 7.22.
The ONS report analyzed personal well-being data for more than 300,000 adults in the UK. The samples were collected over three years, between 2012 and 2015.
Four areas of a person’s well-being were assessed.
In addition to “happiness”, “life satisfaction”, “worthwhile” and “anxiety” were also ranked.
The average measure nationally for “life satisfaction” was 7.5.
For “feeling that what you do in life is worthwhile”, the average was 7.8 and for “anxiety” it was 2.9.
Results were also broken down by age (see graphs below).
The main findings from the graphs showed that those aged between 65 and 79 tended to report the highest average levels of personal well-being.
In average, ratings of life satisfaction and happiness were at their lowest for those aged between 45 and 59.
 Well-being ratings fell among  the oldest age groups (those aged 75 and over) – this fall was steepest for feelings that activities they do in life are worthwhile.
Those aged 90 and over reported higher life satisfaction and happiness compared with people in their middle years. (I am waiting for the day!)
Average anxiety ratings increased through early and middle years, peaking between 45 to 59 years, but then falling and remaining relatively unchanged for those aged 65 and over.
--Posted by Kathryn Snowdon | IndiaDivine.Org”
 But a word of Caution!  If migrant Hindus are not focused on Sanatana Dharma and Spirituality,  who are in negligent minority, there  is a danger  of they moving into major religious group and losing  their very identity. Hindu Americans can   successfully lead the country towards Spiritualism with their background and culture if they plan well.  The multi-cultured country like USA is moving towards atheism having been fed up with walled religions,  beliefs and pagan practices. Here the major religious  group of Christianity leads all others, almost  one third among  them being atheists. Hindu attraction in wed-locks  is to this major religion. This is a very interesting turn which gives scope for Hindu Americans to lead them  Spiritually.  Otherwise progressively Hindu Americans too are more likely to join this group and turn atheists. First generation Hindus  as well as others forget their mother tongue. By second generation, they forget their culture. By third generation they forget their religion. By fourth generation they are rootless and feel like rudderless ships. Since their parents also neglect most of their language and culture they are unable to help their children".  This   will be very much  true and valid for Kaliyuga  as predicted in Purans to wait for its  doom.  But  it may not  be an immediate  threat in India for some more  time  where they are almost 90%. Caste system may vanish in due course in India but along with it Sanatana Dharma too can  vanish. Original caste system (VARNA) was    society  welfare oriented  and faith in wise men called Gotra-patis  to guide the society. There were no kings or political systems  to rule then! See what has happened   in India today!We can't even keep track of castes and  the number of castes brought under scheduled and backward castes for political gains! We pride being  secular and firm believers in Unity in Diversity.  We have   found a good phrase to harp on and  say we are happy!
--E-Mail sent on February 21, 2016
Mahaa    Sivaratri
Mahasivaratri is celebrated this year on March 7 this year   on Monday. It is necessary to know  the significance of this ritual, whom we are worshiping and for what we are praying for about which I have dealt in detail in the past.   In the Epic Mahabharata, the Rudras are eleven in number and are named Mrgavadha, Sarpa, Nirriti, Ajaikapad, Ahi Budhnya, Pinakin, Dahana, Ishvara, Kapalin, Sthanu and Bhaga. While Kapalin is described the foremost of Rudras here in the Bhagavad Gita (Rudraanaam Sankaraschaasmi) it is Sankara who is considered the greatest of the Rudras.  Both Kapalin and Sankara are epithets of Siva. In any Hindu Religious Following we should go by the Vedic dictum “Vedokhilam dharmamoolam”—Vedas are the ultimate authority. Vedas define  Saguna Brahman as Deva and his controllers as Devatas. Veda mantras refer to Him as  Deva Ekah”” or “Tadekam”.  Rudra is therefore a Devata like Brahma and Vishnu. Veda mantra also says: “tvam Rudrastvam, Vishnustvam, Brahma tavam Prajapatih” Brahma or Prajapati or Manu, Vishnu and Rudra are Vyahrirtis(Emanations) of Brahman. In Christianity Holy Spirit is the equivalent of Brahman, Holy Father, The God and   Holy Son the Devata
 Puranas later elevated Brahma, Rudra, Siva and many others to Deva status glorifying  in each Purana a Devata as Deva and sometimes even downgrading or condemning other Devatas.  For example in Siva Purana Siva curses Brama and throws him out of circulation  in Temple worship with Sarsavati sharing the fate of her husband and  Vishnu is  reduced in status oftenpardoned or blessed by Siva. Vedavyasa who is the editor and compiler of all Puraanas is also the editor of Siva Purana. Out of modesty and respect to the authors of Puranas he reproduced what they said but often included in the Puranas describing Siva and Vishnu are one and the same. Still there is constant rivalry between Saivitesa and  Vaishanvites.  Looking at the then practices, Bhagawan who is Nirguna Brahman or Satchitananda or Pure Consciousness   says in Bhagavad Gita: “Devavrataa Devaan Yanti …..yaanti madyaag jinopi vaa”—Worshipers of Gods go to Gods  and those who worship Me alone, they surely come to Me”. This one statement has led us to worship 330 million Gods giving the impression of being polytheistic.
So, the Jyoti you worship on Mahasivaratri   is none other than that Supreme Light (tasya bhaasaa sarvamidam Vibhati)--The source of Light for all that shines after Him, from which Light Moses  received his Ten Commandments and The Three stars that led the source the three Wisemen(May be Brahma, Vishnu, Siva). Please do not  be frugle and settle down for less as the Mantra advises: “yad bhadram tanma aasuva”—He knows what is good for you; Leave it to Him. Chant the Mantra: “Mrityor Moksheeyaa maamrutaat”—Save me from repeated deaths but not from Immortality! Remember the  Mritunjaya Mantra: “Namo Rudraaya  Vishnave Mrityurme Pahi” – Salutations to Rudra and  to Vishnu; Guard me from death. On this night you are praying to Vishnu and  Rudra only as you have   already thanked  Brahma for the opportunity given to you to elevate yourself  if you are leading a Sattvic loaded life or cursed by him for  having  accumulated more sins by your Rajasic or Tamasic loaded life in your own indifference and neglect. Vishnu is still looking after you and will handover  you to Rudra according to your accumulated Karmas. There is yet a chance to avoid temporary Naraka or Hell and enjoy life for a short time in Sivaloka or Vishnuloka which are the names of Swarga only  from where you will return back to earth to continue to  struggle to get final word for Liberation when you will reach Brahamloka or Parmapada. In Brahmaloka you get drawn to the very source you came from. Vedas talk about it as “Tadvishnoh Paramam padam”, the Loka to which Vishnu will lead direct to Paramapada avoiding Rudra  if  you have crossed  the last  death at that final stage. Upanishads also mention them as Brahmaloka, the abode of Brahma—“Brahmalokam gamishyate”—They reach Brahmaloka, our final destiny. Recall the Mantra I spoke about long back which says such liberated souls reach their final  destination—“Te Brahmaloke tu paraantakale paraamrittaat parimuchyanti sarve”—They get themselves released into the region of Brahman (Brahmaloka) at the dissolution of their Body.
Here is the  Unique Veda mantra which should be meditated upon at the end of all prayers. It is addressed   to the UNKNOWN recognized in our Consciousness by the sound of OM only whom we recognize as  Brahman or Ever Growing (brih means to Grow). This Mantra is sandwiched between  two OMs to mean everything is enclosed in that Unknown.
"OM antaschariti Bhootshu guhaayaam viswamoortishu | tum yajnastvam vashatkaarastvam indrastvam rudrastvam vishnutsvam  brahma tvam Prajaapatih|| Tvam tvadaapoe jyoti raso amritam brahma bhoor buvah suvah OM"--That Supreme Being moves inside the spiritual heart  of created beings possessing manifold forms. O Supreme!Thou art The Sacrifice;Thou art the expression Vashat we chant while offering oblations;Thou art Indra; Thou art Rudra; Thou art Vishnu; Thou art Brahma; Thou art Prajapati; Thou art THAT; Thou art Water in the rivers and the ocean; Though art the Sun or Jyoti; Thou art the flavor,  Thou art the Ambrosia (Amrita)Though art the body of the Vedas; Though art the Threefold World and Thou art OM. 
-- E-Mail sent on February 27, 2016
Ancient Indian  mandala Found In Peru

The drawing of the square Vastumandala is a ritual pre-requisite to the making of the temple.  Vastumandala contains 81 squares based on   Smarangansutrdara and Tantrasamuchekaya.  The central square is Brahmasthana. It is the vital center, a place assigned to  Brahma, the Lord of Creation and the  place for realization of Brahman. In Puranic tradition this position  is assigned to  the Major Hindu Gods Vishnu and Siva who were only Devatas in Vedic worship while Brahma became subordinated as you have read in Siva Purana today.  Both these deities who are Vedic  Devatas  before   are made to represent Universal Brahman in their respective system  of belief and worship. Vedas Speak of 33 Koti Devatas. Here Koti in Vedic Sanskrit  is kind and in classical  Sanskrit Crore (karod) representing huge number. So 33 Koti devatas mean 33 varieties of devatas and not 330 million  of which we are accused  of.  This only needs proper understanding and explanation.  I will talk about it a lot next week. Don't miss to read as it is very vital to our practice and propagation of Hinduism. In Vatsumandala the rest 32 Devatas are accommodated as Padadevatas.They are the Gods of Vedic pantheon and are assigned subsidiary position in the Mandala as regents. They  include eight Dikpalas Indra, Agni, Yama, Niriti, Varuna, Vayu, Soma and Isana whom you can see in Kanchipuram and Tanjavur temples. Thus our temple worship is based on beliefs and the designation Hindu religion  is apt  word today  as we go by beliefs and faiths aligning with all other belief-based religions. Since 32 deities are all around the Vatsumandala we do not prostrate within the mandala eight parts touching the floor where these deities are residing as regents. We finish this near Flagpost Garudagambha. We are expected to do only circum-ambulation and Atma pradikshina only near sanctum and within Mandala. Even our priests violate this rule because of ignorance!
 Here is an interesting dispatch from IndiaDivine.Org. Unfortunately I could not send you actual  pictures  taken as E-mail won't take it. I have stored it in my collection of Ancient Hindu Temples. It is huge. If you need let me know. Peru speaks in terms of circles  for Mandalas which is an ancient concept. We talk of Suryamandala and Chandramandala.  Mandalapuja consists of 48  rounds.  Vastumandala in squares is a later development  and goes with temple architecture though it retains the word Mandala.It also gives a clue as to how old is thePeru cuture is --long before Temple architecture started.  Convince yoursaelf how Incan tradition grew up from Vedic Tradition.  Also they speak of Viracoacha, the great  teacher God of Andes.  In Chandogya Upanishad both Indra, King of Gods and Virochana, King of Demons approach  Brahma  to know about Atman. Does the name Viracoacha sound similar? Draw your own conclusions.

Unexplainable Discovery: Ancient Indian Mandala Found at Peru’s Nazca Lines
Posted by Ancient Code
The Nazca lines of Peru are, without a doubt, the most enigmatic and mysterious geo-glyphs ever discovered on the planet, but the discovery of an Ancient Indian Mandala makes the Nazca lines, even more, mysterious.
Many of us have wondered, together with countless scholars, what the exact purpose of the mysterious lines is… yet no one has been able to fully understand, nor answer, the exact purpose of these mysterious lines. Were these giant figures meant to be seen from above? Do hey mimic constellations in the sky? What were the ancient’s trying to say to future generations? Were the Nazca lines mere ancient art? If so… why would ancient mankind create art that cannot be fully appreciated from the ground?
These are some of the questions that have been asked for decades, yet no one has been able to answer them. There are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs also called bio-morphs. The largest figure found at Nazca stretches about 200 meters across. Interestingly, thelglyph found at Nazca goes for 9 miles.
There are some scholars that have discovered curious patterns in the numerous designs and they suggest that the Nazca might be one of the earliest known examples of applied geometry. According to some claims, scientists from the University of Dresden researched the Nazca lines, measuring the magnetic field and electric conductivity and discovering that electric conductivity was 8000 higher on the Nazca lines than next to them.
But perhaps one of the most enigmatic depictions of Nazca is what is known as the Mandala. Depicted in an extremely remote area, it sits atop an arid mountain plateau, causing confusion among those who have been able to observe it directly.
The Mandala is considered a ritual symbol in Indian religions and represents the universe. Today, the mandala has become a generic term used to describe any diagram, chart or geometrical pattern that represents the cosmos. The Mandala also symbolizes the notion that life is, in fact, a never ending cycle. But what is it doing in Peru? Who created it… and for what purpose?
The Mandala at Nazca seems to have been carved with extreme precision and detail, created on the ground measuring around 180 feet across, with an inner circle of the same diameter. In addition, several other smaller circles, approximately 20 feet in diameter are etched in the landscape along with a series of strategically placed holes.
The Ancient Hindus were among the first people on the planet to use a Mandala spiritually, but the most famous Mandala most of us know are in fact made by Buddhists. In Ancient Sanskrit, mandala means ‘circle’, even though the depiction of the symbol may be dominated by a set of squares or triangles, the mandala as a whole is a concentric creation.
Archeologists today have failed to understand, or even ask, how an ancient symbol, that originated half-way around the world, got to a remote, arid mountain near Nazca.
Interestingly, according to some local legends, the mysterious Incan creator god Viracocha, commissioned the Nazca Lines and glyphs in the past. These lines are said to be created by the Viracocha himself. He was the great teacher God of the Andes.
Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon and seen as the creator of all things or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea. According to the myth recorded by Juan de Betanzos, Viracocha rose from Lake Titicaca (or sometimes the cave of Pacaritambo) during the time of darkness to bring forth light.
--E-Mail sent  on February 28, 2016.

Who do we worship on Mahasivaratri Night?
Here is the synopsis of  Swamiji Chidananda’s talk on Web-Air:
"How does Shivaratri Connect to the Upanishads?--The Upanishads speak mainly of Brahman, the Impersonal Reality. Employing a strong language, the Kena (1:4) points out that the highest truth is NOT what people (usually, popularly) worship! (na idam yad idam upasate)! That may seem to put away all names and forms of God, including Vishnu, Shiva and Devi! However when we see Kaivalya Upanishad (1:7), we find the sacred revelations encouraging us to meditate on the "Three-eyed Lord, the Companion of Uma..."! (uma-sahayam parameshvaram...). Thus Shivaratri, the Holy Night of Shiva, is very much accommodated in the scheme of things! The vision thus is to go from "form" to the "formless" and from "name" to the "nameless “
 Please go through the wisdom words above from Swamiji Chidananda expressing his views on whom do we worship on Sivaratri Night.  In this connection please go through my detailed discourse on the subject.  It istrue that we worship on Sivaratri Night Siva in  the formless and nameless form as Vyahriri of   Parabrahman.   But that is not the Linga,   the Vyakata-avyakta form which the Vaishnavites  also worship as Salagrama. This is the Jyothi that is celebrated in Puranas as the story goes. This is the Annamali Deepm worshiped by Tamils as Fire Element on Aridra darsanam Night and  again mentioned as Brahman in Ten Cardinal Upanishads. Earliest  wisdom thoughts in Vedas had a clear distintinciton among Deva,  Devaa and Devata. Thus we come across terms Deva Ekah, Vaisvadeva, Aditir Devaa and Aapph Devata and Sarva Devataah. My understanding is Deva is singular and refers to one and only Parabrhman in his manifested form or Saguna Brahman.  Simlarly Devaa is also feminine singular, the Sakti aspect of Saguna Brahman. He is worshiped in his visible form as Vaisvadeva and Aditir Devaa; so the suffix DEVA is applied only to Agni and Earth only. But later there was a mix up in Rishis hearing Vedas and these terms were indiscriminately used and caused confusion making followers Sanatana Dharma looking polytheistic and not followers of Monoism.  So the Jyoti we worship is the nameless Parabrahman. This is the Jyoti in which Moses could not see the Holy spirit being blindfolded by the dazzling Light but could hear as ITS inner Voice and receive the Ten Commandments. It    is the column of Fire or Jyothi which is celebrated in Ten Cardinal Upanishads on which Sankara, Sayana and other Gurus   have commented also. These Upanishds describe Parabrahman in the following words. Deva Ekah, Tadekam, “tasya Bhaasa sarvamidam vibhaati”. The same is described in Geeta as “Divi Soorya Sahasra”   I may not be wrong if I conclude Nirguna Brahman  presents Himself/Hereself/Itself as Saguna Brahman in  the form of fire whom we worship as Nature and not in any other conceivable man-made or natural occurring form like stone or Linga.That may be the origin of Agni worship? If we look at the  Jyothi that emerges out of lamp it is in the conical form of a sphere pointing to Tadekam which  later got  tied up in Linga worship concept.  Who are the 32 deities   in 81 squares first invoked in Vastusastra in Bhoomipuja for temple consteruction? These are 33 Vedic devatas in which Brahma and Prajapati are taken as different entities to make 33 but they or perhaps one Devta. 33 Koti means 33 kinds in Vedic Sanskrit and not 33 Crores of later Classical Sanskrit. Hence the confusion that puranas project as 330 million gods. This is clarified in BAU. These are the 33 controllers of Parabrahman.
I also strongly believe that we should go by the 10 Cardinal Upanishads and not later self-styled Upanishads which even elaborate on lot of Phalasrutis as in Ganapati Atharvaseersha Upanishad and Narayanopanishad. The later authors styled their bhakti out-pouring as Upanishads to give the same status as 10 cardinal Upanishads. Kaivalya Upanidhad is a later  Yogaopanishad strongly promoted by the author who is  follower of Puranic Siva or    Rudra the devata, the Vyahriti of Brhaman hailed in Upanishads.  Puranas speak of Sivaloka and Vishnuloka.  There are no Devilokas? Vedas speak of Bramhaloka (bramhalokam gamishyate; tadvishnoh paramam padam). So our highest goal is to reach the Loka of Parabrhaman. The blessed few Nityasuris, Parameshthis  or Pramahmsas reach Brahmaloka or Parmapada  direct. They too have for some time enjoyed their Punya in Sivaloka or Vishnuloka mentioned in Puranas   which are nothing but Swarga, an intermediary station of enjoyment (its opposite is Naraka). They exhaust all their Punya karmas there come back to earth, clear the balance sheet of karma, turn Gunateetas and reach Brhamloka. By the time Bhagavadgita was presented to us by Vedavyasa who refers to Parabrahman (Naryana) as Bhagawan throughout speaking to Nara, Puranas  had made their way into Bhagavadgita.  Therefore Gita says “Devavrataah Devaan yanti mahyeva Maam”-- Worshippers of Devas (that includes Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) go to Devas and those who worship Bhagawan come to Bhagawan who showed his manifested form Viraatpurusha in Viswaroopam in Gita itself.  So it is clear our prayers on Mahasivaratri Night is focused on the Nameless in its manifested form as Jyothi alone and our Abhishekam on Linga pouring tons of Milk on stone  Moorti Linga without focus on Him is meaningless. It can be symbolically done and the Milk sent to feed the poor which will please Brahman  more who asked us to practice three D’s—Daya, Dama and Daana.
Please go through my following published discourses and also wait for my exciting  draft discourse next week titled "Uncommon Understanding of the Unknown".  Please help me with your  inputs to improve or correct my misunderstandings for its final posting on the Blog. You have one month's time to critically go through.
--E-Mail sent on March 1, 2016
International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016”
Here is a song released  yesterday on IWD by a gospel  singer.  Hindus worship the power aspect of Brahman as Parasakti  (God is Woman  as Saguna Brahman).  For a Hindu this song appeals nothing unusual for he starts the day with  Matru Devo bhaa, Pitru devo Bhava and Aachaarya devo Bhava before even turning his eyes to Sun and God for his morning prayers:

It isn't every day popular music extols the feminine virtues of the divine  in Christian sermons.

God Is A Woman," gospel singer CeeLo Green in his new song;

The singer, best known for his 2006 hit "Crazy,"
released the track on March 8 in honor of International Women's Day. Beneath the track on his Sound-cloud page, Green also wrote a short "manifesto of thought and intention," praising the "mother of the moon and stars."
In the song, Green sings:
God is a woman
Although this idea’s non-traditional
I think God is a woman
Making each one of her children original
I stare at the sky until the stars start to fall
If there’s a God at all
It’s a woman
 You might be wondering why I sent Happy Mother’s day Greetings to-day? For Devi  is the Mother of all Mothers for us. Mother earth has been celebrated so in the Upanishads. Why don’t we celebrate International Women’s Day as International Mothers’ Day in our Hindu Temples?  We as Hindu   Americans and Citizens of Indian Origin have double loyalty.   Our President, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and UN Secretary-General have glorified this Day   more than Mother’s Day to be celebrated on   Sunday, the May 8 this year. What inspired me with this thought was the message from Swami Chidananda. From my discourse indicated below Hindus were the earliest to initiate Devi worship Concept and also offer   first worship to Mother, followed by father and then Guru after worshiping their chosen deity.  Hindu women enjoy equal status in pay and work; of course there is also abuse particularly among low castes,  male chauvinists, uneducated as well as  dowry minded.   For a  cultured  Hindu, Mother worship  is  for all times and all days.  Why then  we cannot  join the others in the world making it a day of Special Religious Events Day?  We do have a Special Day for Sister too—Rakhi. Here is the message from Swami Chidananda:
  “On this International Women’s Day, we express love and respect to all women of the world. One of the major roles that a woman plays in her life is that of a mother.

The Taittiriya Upanishad exhorts all of us to look at our mother as the ‘special gift’ from God.

मातृ देवो भव - तैत्तिरीय उपनिषद् 1.20 mātru-devo bhava = Let your mother be (a representative of) God for you!

The vision of the Upanishads is that divinity resides in every one of us. To see God in our mother is a great beginning towards the realization that sees God everywhere.

The mother in turn sees her child as a gift from God. After mentioning the mother first, the Upanishad urges us to see God in the father, in the teacher and in our guests.

Swami Chidananda
International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year--In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women for women's economic, political, and social achievements.   In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for people to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.  
The official United Nations theme for International Women's Day in 2016 is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality. The UN observance on 8 March will reflect on how to accelerate and build momentum for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights. UN Women's initiative Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality Step It Up asks governments to make and follow through with national commitments to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential. As of February 2016, more than 90 concrete government commitments and firm pledges have been made to overcome gender equality gaps at, and since, a historic event — the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action co-hosted by UN Women and the People’s Republic of China — in September 2015.
The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.
This great push for gender parity may be challenged by men in isolated pockets! Though not that popular as IWD, IMD is also celebrated in some countries.
International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 24 November. Inaugurated in 1992 on 7 February by Prof Thomas Oaster the project was re-initialized in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago since 7 February 1994.
Here are two messages on IWD:
"Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future."— UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
"Saluting the accomplishments of all women on International Women's Day & gratitude for their indispensable role in our society--From 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' to better health & education facilities, our Govt's efforts towards women-led development are unwavering. Our financial inclusion efforts, skill development initiatives & MUDRA Bank will empower our Nari Shakti to contribute to India's growth-- Narendra Modi".
 Lot of research work is going on to prove incidences in Ramayana and Mahabharata are historic and not mythological stories. To me Mahabharata is more convincing being historic  than Ramayana. Ramayana War deals with two humans and the rest with bears and Monkeys who had all Human instincts which gives the clue that  it was a period of transition   in which humans came out of animals and co-existed and had contacts with the other worlds.  It also deals with Rakshas who are aliens to Earth. Ramayana speaks of Devas, Rakshasas, Sadhyas, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Gandharvas etc., besides humans. During Ramayana period travel between planets was a reality and normal  further confirmed by the Kubera Vahana of  Pushpaka and Narada's frequent visits`. This possibility came to almost an end during the Mahabharata period as the Mahabharata War was  among humans only except for Ghatotkacha who was a Rakshas the last traces of the Raksha race that lingered on  planet earth.  There are many facts to prove that Krishna was a historic figure like Buddha for he lived only  for 128 years on planet Earth while Rama ruled in Ayodhya for 100000 years, which is not possible for a human. At the same time Krishna showed he is an avatar on many instances wielding his powerful weapon Sudarsana, killing Rakshasas, reviving the dead embryo and showing his Universal form which his later Avatar could not do. There is no one incidence to know Buddha is an Avatar of Vishnu. He led a life of Sanyasi and died as Sanyasi. Knowing what is happening today making Saibaba, Andal, Swami  Narayan etc. as Gods, I believe this trend started with Buddha and inferring 99% of Krishna’s life as normal human being. Rama walked to  heaven with his human body while Krishna faced an accidental human death before his ascension.  Thus there is also down-to-earth policy adopted by the Unknown progressively starting from Kritayuga to Kaliyuga.
I am more convinced Mahabharata to be a historic document but not Ramayana. But time and again we come with fresh historic evidences or concoctions to argue Ramayana was a reality and happened in Ayodhya. Who knows what historic facts or concoctions newer Ramayanas will bring forth? You all know there are many Ramayanas including Jaina Ramayana. Researcher are trying to  prove Rama was more human than God like Krishna and ultimately say he was also a historic figure like Krishna and Buddha. In that context   Parusurama can also be included in this History-Club being a contemporary of Rama. Please go through this exciting new discovery which says Rama  was  more human and   deals more with Rama's married life and attitude towards married life as frustrated and vexed husband:
--E  Mail sent on International Women’s day
New Ramayana Discovery Stuns Scholars in Kolkata
Posted by Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey | Dec 18, 2015  India Divine.Org
It’s one of those rare discoveries that send ripples across time and space zones. A sixth century manuscript of Ramayana – that focuses on the separation of Rama and Sita and portrays them more as humans – has been found tucked inside a Purana at a little known Sanskrit library in Kolkata.
The Eureka moment came purely by chance. Scholars working on the Sixth Century Vanhi Purana at the Asiatic Society library were puzzled to find that the manuscript seemed incomplete. They started looking through the Catalogus Catalogorum -a global repository of Sanskrit manuscripts compiled by German scholar Aufrecht -and realized two more identical manuscripts existed. One was preserved at the India Office Library at London and the second at the Kolkata-based Samskrita Sahitya Parishad, a 100-year-old research institution partly funded by the HRD ministry. Their curiosity whetted, the scholars scoured the archives and found the complete version of the Vanhi Purana manuscript. When they were analyzing it, they stumbled upon the Dasa Griba Rakshash Charitram Vadha, which did not have any bearing with the Vanhi (fire) Purana.
For some time they could not understand why the slokas of the purana suddenly started telling another story. But they did feel that the story was extremely familiar because the predominant characters were Rama, Sita and Ravana. Before long, the scholars realized that they were reading a Sixth Century version of the Ramayana with many interpolations. It is markedly different from the more accepted 4 BC Valmiki Ramayana.
“Interestingly in this version, there are just five kandas (sections) instead of the accepted seven. There is no Balkanda – the part that deals with Rama’s childhood – or Uttarkanda. This Ramayana ends with the return of Rama and Sita from exile and his ascension to the Ayodhya throne,” said Anasuya Bhowmick, lead scholar of the Asiatic Society for the project, who is working with the manuscript. This Ramayana does not begin with the curse that drove Dasarath to send his son to exile. Instead, it begins with a curse that befell goddess Lakshmi when rakshash guru Shukracharya got angry with Lord Narayan for killing Shukracharya’s wife, who would bring dead rakshashas to life in a war between Gods and demons.
The other curse falls on both Lakshmi and Narayan when Dharitri cannot bear the pain of the constant battle between Gods and demons. In both cases, Laxmi and Narayan are told that they will have to bear the pain of separation.
“This version of the Ramayana focuses more on the separation of the husband and wife rather than that of father and son. Again, Ram here is more human than God, with follies like anger and failure. Some interesting details -like the ages of Sita and Rama at the time of marriage and the date when Sita was abducted by Ravana are in this version,” said Sanskrit scholar Manabendu Bandyopadhyay, president of the Parishad and general secretary of Asiatic Society. “We will take about a year to complete the reading and interpretation of this version of the Ramayana and it will be published as a book by Asiatic Society" Bhowmick said.
                                                                                                                     E-Mail sent on March 11, 2016