Monday, July 25, 2011

Nitya Karma...

The word Nitya Karma means karma that recurs. It need not occur daily.
Of these things except the rituals concerning the manes others are done only by a few. We can see all those things and then discuss about the 40 samskaras.
Among the rituals concerning the manes most do the tharpana ritual on the new moon day . But there are 96 such dates on which the ritual is to be done. They are called shannavati tharpana.

Even the new moon day tharpana is in lieu of sradhdha. When the 96 tharpanas are rare what to say of 96th days of sradhdhda?
Any way let us list the ninety six days.
The first of the of the year – 1
(also known as yugadi)
The first day of Ayana. -2
(ayana are two; the northern sojourn of the sun is uththarayana, the southern sojourn of the sun is dhakshnayana.)
The First day of solar month - 12
The new moon days -12
manvathi -14
(These are days when the manvantharas started.)
First days of the four yugas. -4
(These are days when the yugas started mentioned as the lunar calendar days:
Vaikasi, shukla paksha 3rd day – krutha yuga started.
Karthika, shukla paksha ninth day – thretha yuga started.
Pathrapatha (Purattaasi) krisna paksha 13 th day dwapara yuga started.
Magha fullmoon day kali yuga started)

poorvedhyu, anvastaka, ashtaka – 12
(These are the eighth days of the waning moon, the days before and after that occurring in the hemantha and sisira ruthus.)
Mahalaya paksha – 15
Vytheepatha -12
Vaidhruthi -12
In addition to these two days in a year related to the parents. (the death anniversaries)
That makes it ninety six.

It is said that those who do the rituals on the yugadi and manvadi days satisfy the manes for 2000 years.

Some elders who know of things say that many of the problems that people face arise from the fact that the rituals concerning the manes is not done properly.

In these rituals there is a procedure that helps people who are barren. Not many people know of this.
Apart from these things are or what are called kamya sradhdhaa. These are done desiring something for which we are seeking the blessings of our ancestors.
The things desired can be swarga, progeny – boy or girl, ojas, lands, strength, something special, saubhagya, disease free life, growth of wealth etc.
These are listed by yagnavalkya. He also mentions the date, days and yoga etc. on which to do the rituals like these. Those who desire can search for it.
We are somehow slipped from daily rituals to rituals with desire.
In between there is something called naimithyakam. These arise in face of some special circumstances. For example if the hut of a agnihotri burns down a particular ishti is to be done.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

the evening and night.

Having having spent the afternoon looking after the affairs of the family we come to the evening rituals.Vyasa says that we should finish the evening surya upasana,(sandhya vandana) agni upasana and vaishvadevam. After supper one retires to bed.
The evening fire ritual -aupasanam- is equivalent to donating gold to that extent the several mountains; performing hundred Vajabeya yagna; or performing 10 million kanya dhana. Wow!

Some people do puja in the evening or night.

Before retiring to bed one should wash one's hands, feet and wipe them dry. Once should lie on the left side while sleeping. One should not lie with the head pointing north. Any other side is all right.
Those who sleep very well are agasthya, madhava, musukunta, kapila and astheeka. It is recommended that one thinks of these people while going to bed to ensure a good sleep. One should keep in a vessel of drinking water at the headend. One can also recite vedic mantra or garuda mantras to protect oneself.

If it is the proper season to get a good progeny one can visit the spouse. On other days if a natural urge prevails one can do so. It is said that no male can refuse a spouse if she desires sex. This is because they have been a boon from Indra. The Shastras prescribes certain things. Perhaps more appropriate to say proscribes - certain dates. If anybody observes this thing automatically only have a planned family!

Thus we come to the end of the karma is that one should be doing daily. It is said that one who observes all these things will obtain everything that he desires.

Friday, June 10, 2011

after food....

Having finished eating one should drink a little water and move away to wash hands (upto elbows), feet (upto knees) and mouth. One should rinse the mouth 18 times. (Do it; you will never get dental problems! My wisdom tooth was pulled out. The dentist asked me not to brush for four days but to gargle 18 times.) The water must be spit out to the left side.

Sage Gowthama advices to remember the King Saryati, his daughter Sukanya, the Risi Shyavana (yes, the shyavan prash is named after him as it is his formula) Lord Indra, aswins. (not the cricketer, but the celestial twins) and wet the eyes. Rubbing the eyes with the wet thumbs will prevent eye diseases. [All the above mentioned persons are linked by a story. I hope you know it!]

Good betle (piper betle) leaves along with a little lime and arecanut helps digestion. Taken on fridays it gives the benevolent looks of lakshmi!

On the other hand some people get into the habit of making a meal of it as well as snack out of it and they are sure to lose the longevity, intellect, strength, pragna and vitality. The tongue no longer can discriminate tastes.

One should walk 200 steps and then sit like a king and work.

The afternoon is the time for vedic recital (repetition),reading ithihasas, puranas and sastras.
Time can be taken off to attend to household works too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What can be eaten and what not?

What can be eaten and what not?

Some food items as a species are not good. Some are to be avoided as they do something bad to us. Some are time barred! Some are to be avoided due to their association. Some due to their inherent quality. Like this there are various ways why some food items are to be not partaken.

Onion, red 'drumsticks', garlic, (in short allium cepa family ) mushrooms, stem of lotus flower, suraikaay belong to the species of the plant kingdom that is to be avoided.
if someone with nasty thoughts look at food it becomes bad. Food cooked in oil and stored for a long time becomes bad.
'pazhaiya sORu' which is popular in tamil nadu is also objectionable.
Curd, honey don't become stale and fried eatables stay for a long time.
Food items cooked with alcohol and onion; milk from cow which delivered just within 10 days are bad due to association.
If a doubt arises whether a particular foodstuff can be eaten or not it is not to be eaten. This concept is called 'sahrulleham'.
Sage parasara proscribes white brinjal, resins from tress (the famous asofoetida is one such), milk of camel, goat; and 'temple properties' .
Food items from yava and wheat are not time barred ever. Except curd no food items gone sour can be consumed. (for emergencies such item can be washed and eaten)
At night time sour ginger, curd, cooked rice with gingely, gooseberry (amla) are to be avoided.
Some items are not to be brought together. Bronze vessel + coconut water / cane juice; copper vessel + curd/ milk; salt + milk, ghee.
Such combinations denature the food.
Ok, ok you say we don't want don'ts tell us do-s.
If a person has one of these in his stomach Lord Hari is near him: Tulsi, agaththi, gooseberry, soil (sundaikkaay).
He who eats anything uttering the words 'Narayana' reaches good worlds ultimately.

(I know that there will be a lot of objections to including onions and garlic in this list but what to do? It is said so in sastras! Personal tastes are health concerns (by western concepts) might clash with these ideas. Make your choice!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Food - do's and dont's

It is quite a while since i posted here and i sincerely apologise for it. I shall try to be more regular.
Usually one should not drink with a vessel from the left hand.. but here is an exception – while eating one can drink so while touching the plate with the right hand.
Salt, pickles, vegetables, ghee, oil, paayasam and rice should always be served with a ladle – not with hand. What has been fried in oil can be served with hand if need be. Fruits too can be served with hand. Any fruit or snacks must be served to children first and then to guests.
Ghee, honey, payasam, curd and fruits can be eaten with out leaving any remnants. Other things – a little at least must be left in the plates. (perhaps this was meant for the dogs and a few gypsy clans whose dharma it used to be to partake only the leftovers from the plates or leaves used to eat. Dogs exist still but the gypsies have taken another path of life.)
one should not eat while walking or standing. One should not be wearing a headdress; one should not sit facing south. In such cases the nourishment from the food will only go to the rakshashas.
While eating one does not touch the feet; one should not have the food in the hands and eat from it – I mean the entire food in hand; one does not sit on the cot and eat (the ants will visit?); one does not eat while in transit; one avoids eating with the footwear on the feet.
Fruits, semi fruits, roots, sugarcane are not to be eaten using teeth to tear them. (serve them pre split)
what slipped out from the plate is also not worth eating.
Of course one does not eat with a dirty hand, dirty body...when you sit and eat dont put out the lower limb straight. Dont let the mind wander on other things – like reading a book- while eating. One is supposed to enjoy eating!
When is one not supposed to eat? During the sandya (twilight time) pradosham, (daily evening from about an hour before sunset) after ten in the night, (of course assuming a sunset time of six o’clock,) in the dark without light.

What of contaminants?
If any ant, hair, worm are found the food surrounding it immediately should be removed and thrown away. After sprinkling a little water on the food one can continue eating. In case one realises the contaminant after putting the food in the mouth, one spits it out rinses the mouth with water, takes a little ghee and then continues with the eating.

How much to eat?
Simple, guided by one's hunger!
Well if some guidance is needed – for sanyasin 8 mouthfuls; for vanaprasthan 16; for gruhastha 32.

how many times a day?
The saying goes – one who eats once is a yogi; twice is a bhogi 9one who enjoys); thrice is a rogi (sick man)
Exceptions are made for some people – a brahmacary, agnihotri, bull, one who is doing samaveda recitation. Such people need a lot of energy and so there is no restriction.

Why am I writing about eating this much? It is the only karma that everyone still keep doing!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

'echchcil' ...

Now I have to talk about a concept that has no parallel and therefore I don't find a term for it in English. The nearest term is 'defile'.
It is called uchchishtam in samskrit and echchil in Tamil.
Though echchcil means saliva in English the whole concept of echchil is not there. Also some people explain it saying this is just good hygiene, but it is not entirely true!
When you sip a glass of water as your mouth comes in contact with the cup the water in it becomes echchil. It is then unfit for others to drink.... mmmm … actually for you too! (That is because in the previous post we saw that “what remains when food is put in waster should not come back to the plate” - this is something like that.) This cup needs to be washed before it can be reused.
You are eating and wanting a food item from a vessel reach out for it on the table and serve yourself.... well that vessel just now became echchil. Others cant not consume it. In row of people eating you get up and leave and all the food items in that row in every plate... it just became echchil.
Till one goes and washes his hands, legs upto knee and fore limbs up-to elbow; then does acamana he is not pure. He is …. yes, you guessed it right, echchil. Till then anyone who touches him also becomes echchil; they will have to wash themselves and do acamana.

Monday, April 25, 2011


{ I find that this post written days ago has escaped publishing by the blogger demon! :-) hence.....}

After the rice is served some water is taken in the right palm and letting it leak through fingers the plate is circumambulated clockwise and the rice is sprinkles with the remnant. Doing what is called paricheshanam is kula acara -not applicable universally. In this case the water for the three circumambulations (pradakshina in samskrit) must be taken separately. Another person should pour a little water in your hand and you partake it. Taking little rice - mixed with ghee, if you are used to taking ghee with food- without touching the teeth the rice is swallowed five times one each for each prana. This is what is called prana agnihotram. Again a little water poured by another person is partaken. At last, is one free after this to eat the rest of the food? Just a minute, a little food is placed on the ground to the right side as bali for yama, chitragupta, and prethas. (chitra bali). This is done if vaishvadevam is not been practiced.
Ok, now you can eat, (at last!) but there are some do's and dont's. (I knew it!)

Food should not scattered on the ground around the plate. One should not comment on the food. 'Annam na nindhyath' says the upanishad. One should not talk while eating. If one does so his lifetime will be shortened. An exception has been made for the gruhasta who sits with others to eat. He has to see other's plates and give suitable instructions to the wife.

One should take just what his mouth will hold. Once food is put in the mouth it should not come back to the plate. Therefore one should not take something take a bite off it and return it to the plate. Sound should not be made while drinking or eating. While a group of persons are eating together one should not get up and leave. If anyone does so, all should leave says the sastras. If there is a compulsion to leave one can split the row with a little water and then leave.

Most of these are followed as etiquette.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ok, so can we now sit down to eat? One Might wonder how this becomes a karma. Eating food is called prana agnihotram. Agni is not just the fie that we can see. It is also present in several places in various subtle forms. The stomach is one such place. The food put there is digested and assimilated and one might stretch his imagination and call it fire!
One should always clean one's hands and feet and sit for eating. Ordinarily eating twice a day is in accordance with sastras. Eating more than that – one becomes a rogi- a diseased person. Once a day is fit for yogins.
One has to eat food with happiness. Eating when angry rather than when hungry spoils the digestion. And one should also avoid any arguments at this time. I have seen as a child in several homes the time for the house wife to make complaints is the food serving session! Pity those who had to put up with such things!
Having ensured all others have eaten one does acamana and sits for food alone (esp those who eat well!). The feet must be touching the ground. As you might know one should not sit directly on the ground. The seat should not be made of earth, iron or palasa wood. It should not be a broken one.
The place where the plate will be placed must be cleaned. (if possible with cow dung). The plate can be made of gold (Yes! there were a few those days!) , silver (fairly common) or bronze. Plantain leaves are the most suitable. The house holder can use other leaves excepting purasu and lotus. (the often seen “thaiyal ilai” is of purasu). Stainless steel and earthenware like ceramic must be avoided.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

more on aditi...

It is quite possible that this can be misused and sastras cover that eventuality too. A person living in the same village can not be an aditi. If a person comes on a day and then again on the next day he is not an aditi. A person staying in a village but keeps visiting nearby villages and poses as an aditi is condemned by sastras. Similarly one who quotes his lineage and gotra and demand food is like a person who, eats what he vomited (vanthaasee)! He will be born as a cow in the gruhasthas household in the next janma!

What of those who refuse to do aditi puja?
When a gruhastha refuses someone, the visitor takes all the punya of the gruhastha when he leaves. Whatever sins the aditi had is transferred to the gruhastha who refused. For fifteen years the pitrus won't visit his house. Even if he does homas with 100 pots of ghee no benefit will ensue.

Such are the values that our forefathers had. Even if things have changed a lot and this has become difficult to follow one needs to contemplate on this wonderful concept.
Ok, so can we now sit down to eat?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aditi Pooja

Sanyasins, brahmacaries, travelers, those who are in abject poverty are all qualified to take bhiksha. Sanyasins and brahmacaries are not not in a position to cook. Sanyasins have no right to use fire whereas the brahmacaries have no time as they are studying. So they must be given cooked rice. A gruhasta who is asking for bhiksha should be offered only uncooked rice.

The householder can eat only after checking that adities, elders in the house, married girls, pregnant ladies, sick persons, and the workers in the household have partaken their food.

Aditi Pooja

The person who comes at the end of vaishvadevam is a good Aditi, it is said that one need not inquire about his caste, his gotra, his acara, branch of veda he belongs to, or what Shastra he follows. We must do Aditi Pooja to this person. Many risis see him as Vyasa himself. To do such a Puja is equivalent to an yagna without the yupa (a staff planted in the yagna-shaalaa).

This Puja involves inviting the person, giving water to drink, washing the feet, offering water in the hand and giving pain relieving oil. He is offered a seat, fed and to rest a bed is offered.

A special offering can be what is called Madhu barga.
This is offered if the Aditi is one learnt bhrahmana, one's teacher, rthvik (one who does yagna for the person), the King, the father in law and the maternal uncle.(only if these people have not visited in the last one year they must be offered madhu barga.) This is prepared by mixing honey with milk or curd. With each action in this Puja, we please, a particular Devatha. Inviting pleases Soorya; Good words spoken pleases Sarasvati; well coming agni; offering a seat indra; washing feet pitrus; food prajapati; offering bed – bhrahma, vishnu and maheswara!!

This thing is to be done according to one's ability. Even if your resources does not allow, let your wife and children reduce their consumption but never neglect your aditis and workers – this is the rule. If you cant offer food offer water, if you cant offer bed offer a place to lie down and rest.

Sathathapar says that the worlds reached by people who do aditi puja is not reached even by people who do yagnas and thapas.

What of the evening? Even if a person does not arrive by the time of vaishvadeva he is to be taken care of. He is called 'Suryotan' and where would he go in the night? This person should never be refused- sastras say eight times sin accumulates if such a person is refused compared to refusing during the day.

It is quite possible that this can be misused and sastras cover that eventuality too.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Now we're going to see a fantastic concept which has no equal in any other place This is manusha yagna. For this very important person is the adity.

The sastras prescribe that before setting for lunch , one should go to the entrance of the house and watch for any guest who might take the food one has to watch for the duration of milking a cow. Someone comes along If you're lucky. If you are unlucky, nobody turns out. Then with a heavy heart that no one has blessed you with his presence that day, you go and eat your food.
It's amazing to see what sort of attitude people have had those days.

An aditi is not one who gives you a call and says that, “I am coming for dinner today. Can I have the potato fries?”. On the other hand, there a long list of criteria to determine an aditi starting from one who has walked a long way and is tired. In short aditi is a person who is not known to the gruhasta and qualifies certain criteria.

To feed such a person his caste is NOT a criterion. If the aditi is a brahmin there will be aditi pujaa too. One may in accordance to one's household acaram choose the place of feeding like the pial but one should never refuse to feed the aditi. It follows that once there is no dearth of food and people need not worry about the next meal what sort of society will exist!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

bhootha yagna

Next comes bhootha yagnam. Bhoothas are all around our house. Don't get scared! They are all good spirits. They are in bodies that are not visible to us. We call them bhoothas.
There are a lot of variations in this, so we should do as prescribed by tradition. There are many Devathas which reside in water; the medicinal plants; the house; parts of the house; vasthu devatha; Indira; indra purusha; Yama purusha; varuna; varuna purusha; soma, soma purusha; brahma; brahma purusha; vishvedevaa; all other bhootha ganas; those who move about in the day, those who move about in the night; rakshashas in the north, manes in the south.... this is the list given by suanaka. Just an example.....

One might also add feeding the Crow and the dog in this list.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pancha maha yagna

One comes home after work for the noon rituals. It begins with the noon bath followed by surya upasana (maadhyaniham). If brahma yagnam has not been done in the morning now it is to be done followed by deva, risi, pitru tharpanam. This involves reciting mantras remembering
1. the devas from bhramhaa onwards – all devas, their consorts and there subordinates!
2. The risis who gave us the vedas mentioning each division of veda and their risis starting from veda vyasa, all risis, their consorts and there subordinates!
3. All the pitrus starting from soman and yama angiraswan all pitrus, their consorts and there subordinates!
Tharpanam means literally pleasing someone. This is done by remembering the person and pouring water on the hand in a prescribed way. It is best that the water is poured on the hand and it reaches the earth. If such a situation is not possible it can be collected in a vessel and later on poured on the earth.
If for some reason the daily puja has not taken place till now it is to be done.
Next comes the pancha maha yagna.
It is basically offering food to 1. devas, 2. pitrus, 3.mankind, 4. the rest of the living being from worms onwards! The brahmins have to do a ritual called vaishvadevam. There is a difference of opinion as to what pancha maha yagna; one school says what has been said above is what it is; another school says it is something more. Anyway....
To offer at least one twig (samith) in fire (agni) is deva yagna.
Feeding pitrus -usually offering to crows- is pitru yagna.
Offering to the non visible beings called boothas is bootha yagnam.
Offering food to people is manushya yagnam.
The concept of vaishvadevam comes from recognising that while we do our routine house hold work we unknowingly kill several things.
The fireplace, the pestle and mortar, grinding stone, winnowing fan, and the water vessel are places that it can happen. Though we normally don't use things much nowadays and they are out of fashion think of the gas/electrical stove, grinder, mixie and water purifier. When we use these things some insects microbes etc. Will die. As an atonement wee do this karma.
Why this is only for brahmins? That is because unlike other classes he is expected to have jeeva karunya (love for all life forms) as a primary attitude.
(more to come....)

Monday, April 4, 2011

earning a living...

Those who have learnt vedas must recite them after pooja. Though classically this should last an hour or so, hardly anyone do so. One should try to recite at least a chapter if not then at least a part of a chapter. Those who have not learnt the vedas properly should learn and recite at lest the beginning verses of the four vedas.
What of those who don't have a 'right' to vedas? They should recite verses from the divine books like Thiruvasakam, Bhagavat gita etc.
After this now one goes out to earn money for the sustenance of the family. If you have been wondering whether I will get around to this here is the answer. our shastras and kalpas or realistic. They know the plight of a family holder, so they have given the ways and means to earn a living. Of course, they lay down restrictions about who can do what work. All these things are discussed in detail in Dharma sastras.
One should earn money in a way that is not proscribed.
Classically teaching and other intellectual workis the job of Brahmins, The kshatriyas take up jobs that depend on the body strength like police, defense etc. The vaishyas are the traders. The shudras do much of the legwork, which has multiplied a lot nowadays. Such a division of labor was called varnasrama dharma.
This age-old system is in shambles now, and many people have taken up jobs that do not belong traditionally to that class. However, many new jobs have sprung up in one wonders where to put them up. Therefore, let us not go into the controversies.

One should work as much as the money received is worth. Just attending an office and pocketing money without doing any work is to be frowned upon.
Let us now see how to manage this money that has been earned. One sixth goes to the King - that is tax. Nowadays, since we don't trust the governments, we go about looking how to reduce the tax burden.
You'd have other one sixth goes to charity. The rest of the money is ours to spend as they see fit. Money earned and distributed thus is good money that does not carry any karma along with that.. one can boldly receive money from such people as donation. Otherwise money carries – sort of tainted – with ones karma and is transmitted.
what to say about the mass that hankers after the freebies announced by political parties and vote for them? One can only pity them. :-(

Sunday, April 3, 2011

why the puja is structured in a certain way.

let us see why the puja is structured in a certain way.
Let us think of a guest visiting us. He is a very respectable person. What we do first?
We welcome him. In the villages such a person will be taken in made to sit and water is to offered wash the feet and drink. Once he is refreshed . He bathes , depending on the weather and his physical condition in hot water or cool water from the well. Then he is given clothes to wear. While the food is getting ready we chat something that is warm to the heart. Then we eat. After that comes beetle leaves and areca nut. It is customary to offer dhakshina to one who has taken the food. Since this person is an elder of repute we prostrate before him and receive his blessings. When he wants to take leave we arrange a vehicle for him.
Now look at the puja. We think of God being in a particular picture or stone. That is Dyanam. We request Him to be in it till the puja is over. This is avahanam. Then we offer a seat – asanam. We pour water in his feet and hands- patha prakshalanam and argyam. Asamanam is offering water to drink. Then the bath. Samanam again. Wearing the sacreed thread and dress. Wearing the jewels. Arcana with flowers; showing the doopa and ghee lamp. Offering the food that has been prepared with love and care- nivedanam. Showing the burning camphor in front of him. Saying his praise by verses. Offering a golden flower. Circumnavigating and prostrating at his feet. Showing the mirror to him. Letting him ride an elephant or chariot. Finally submitting all the effects from puja acts to Him. Such a puja is called shodopasara puja.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Next on the list is doing Pooja to God. It is said that we should not eat anything that has not been offered to God. Offering food to God is an essential step in doing Pooja.
I'm not saying that you should do Pooja for an hour or two daily. We can choose how long we want to/ afford to spend doing the Pooja. Even if we are in tearing hurry to get on with our daily routine, like going to the office, we should plan to spend at least 5 min in pooja. We should find time at least to light a lamp near the picture or figurine of God, likes to doopa sticks, offer 2- 3 fresh flowers and offer 4 to 5 dry fruits or sugar candy, with a concentrated mind. Pray for the well being of all the life forms, fall in the h feet of god and be on our way. Those who have time in hand can do the Puja in an extensive manner as described in books. It all depends on how much time we can set aside for this they should make it a habit to do this daily. All this requires mainly is the mindset.
But what it takes is a well thought out plan. It should not become a stress. Instead the focusing our mind on God and making it quiet, we should not start getting angry and agitated because this is not ready or that is not available. There is no point in doing a puja in a hurry in such a way that the mind does not get quiet. If you find that time is not available, it is better to shorten the puja and do that at a quiet mind.
As seen in earlier the Puja must be done by the males while the ladies help that process. If we do like this, the entire family will benefit. But i we see that this puja is delegated to the ladies usually.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There was a boy who went to a Guru Kula seeking Vedic education. Looking at him the teacher had an intuition. He gave him the work of looking after the three fires in his household. He was teaching Vedic lessons for the other students, but this boy was left alone with the fire. Being a good student, the boy was not really bothered that he was not being instructed. Since he has been given a work to do, he diligently did that job.

Thus several days passed. Days became weeks and still, he was not called to any class. One day the boy was just leaving the fire place in the three agnis started talking among themselves. "This boy has been here for years but has not received any Vedic education. What shall we do?" "He has served us very well!" said another. "Let us impart him the knowledge!" said the third. The fires called out to the boy and he came in. He fell in front of them seeking the blessings which they duly gave. With the blessing of the Fires, Brahma vidya came to him in entirety.

The teacher who had gone out came back at this juncture and saw that the boy was shining with knowledge. He asked the boy what happened. The boy replied in all humility that the fire was talking to each other and when he entered and fell in front of them, they blessed him. The teacher immediately understood everything. And was immensely pleased that is initial assessment was right.. He blessed the boy and sent him home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

agni upasana.

Next comes the agni upasana.

While the sun is helping us indirectly the fire helps us directly in several ways. The physical fire that we see is influenced by its own Devata and is called Agni. The fire worship is of various forms. The basic form is aupasanam. The ritual itself takes about 5 min in the morning and the evening. Preparing this fire takes anywhere from 5 to 10 min. After the marriage through a ritual this worship is started. This fire is maintained continuously as long as one lives. It is in this agni that several rituals are performed later.

One might be hesitant as this which will inevitably produces smoke. But the sastras have defined which smoke is good and which is bad. Any smoke from ritual fires is good for health.

This upasana is not just for Brahmins. Others can also do with a small change in the mantra, namaha replacing swaha.

Generally, it is said that these rituals are to be performed by the males and female have no right. Here is one glaring exception. Up to 7 times (3 1/2 days) consecutively, the ladies can do this aupasana homam if the husband is away. It doesn't matter if the husband is not in the house . The Agni Devatha will remain alive in the physical fire. But if the wife is not in the house when the ritual is to be performed the devatha will not be present in the physical fire. One will have to do a small procedure again to make it alive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

from sunrise to...1

Our forefathers have linked each and every action that we perform to God.
As soon as you're awake in the morning we should recite the names of Lord Vishnu who is the God protecting us. After clearing our bladder and gut we should brush our teeth.
Taking the sunrise as six o'clock the best time for any mantra japa or meditation is four o'clock in the morning. More on this later.
The time for the morning bath is when you see the reddish sky in the East. This is called Arunodaya time. If you're wondering whether bathing is a karma, it certainly is. This becomes all the more important if we are taking bath in a river or in any holy waters. There are even special sankalpas for them.
Next comes the worship of the Sun. Though most important for the Brahmins, it should be done by one and all, including ladies. The only difference is how it is done.
Here I give the methods and mantras that is applicable universally.

Take a little water in your right hand and drink it. Stand facing east.
Make a cup with both your hands take water in it and having recited the sloka end it by throwing the water towards the sun. (So better choose the place where you're doing this). The best place would be a water body or a clean ground. If you're forced to do it in doors that a water drop in a clean vessel; you can dispose of the water later.

Gaṇādhipa surādhyakṣa cintāmaṇi Gaṇēc\'vara
siddhidāyaka vighṉēca\' gru\'hāṇārghyam namōstutē.

Gaṇapatayē nama: idamarghyam.
Gaṇapatayē nama: idamarghyam.
Gaṇapatayē nama: idamarghyam.

rajju-vētra-kacā\'pāṇē kāc\'yapē Garudāgraja
arkka-sūtāruṇa-svāmiṉ gru\'hāṇārghyam namōstutē.

aruṇāya nama: idamarghyam.
aruṇāya nama: idamarghyam.
aruṇāya nama: idamarghyam.

ēhi sūrya sahasrāmcō\' tējōrācē\' jakatpatē
aṉukampaya mām bhaktyā gru\'hāṇārghyam namōstutē.

sūryāya nama: idamarghyam.
sūryāya nama: idamarghyam.
sūryāya nama: idamarghyam.

Having done this, we offer our namaskaras .

1) mitrāya nama: , 2) ravayē nama:, 3) sūryāya nama:
4) bhaṉavē nama:, 5) khagāya nama:, 6) pūṣṇē nama:
7) hiraṇyaGarbhāya nama:, 8) marīcayē nama:, 9) ādityāya nama:
10) savitrē nama:, 11) arkkāya nama:, 12) bhaskarāya nama:

After this is our prayer. The meaning of which is, “Oh Sun, remove my sins, grant me a long life, health and an end to my illnesses. Grant me wealth, intellect and moksha.”

kāma-krōdhadi bhir-mūDā pātakam nu karōmyaham
sarva-pāpa-kṣayam\' kru\'tvā rakṣa mām dyumaṇē prabhō
āyur-ārōgyam aic\'varyam\' jñāṉam vittam prayaccha mē
svarGam apyapavarGañca jaGatīc\'vara bhāskara

PS: Ladies should avoid doing this when they are having the periods.
The sun is the ultimate source of energy. Even if we are eating non-vegetarian food, that animal ate a plant source. The plants make food directly from the Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the sunlight – for we are thankful to the sun, who gives the energy that we need.

Monday, March 14, 2011

If I do all these what do I get?

Looking at the lengthy list, one might start wondering how all these things are going to help us go towards God or any spiritual elevation.
Performing these ceremonies in one's lifetime will give one what is called atma gunas. This means virtues that qualify an elevated soul. All karmas lead to the purification of mind and intellect such a mind is capable of receiving godliness. This will lead to revelation of the true nature of the man.
We are all born with three runas -debts. Runam a something like money borrowed, which needs to be returned.
The first is what we owe to devas. According to the legends God created devas and mankind and told them to help each other. The devas hold control over the natural forces like sunshine, rain. They make rains and we reap the harvest. This food sustains us. So we need to pay back the devas. This we do by performing rituals which please them like Pooja homa etc.
The second is what we owe to the risis. The risis obtained the Vedic mantras and gave them to us. We are using this mantras in conducting rituals mentioned above. Therefore we owe them. This we can pay back by helping the sustenance of Vedas. We can do this by reciting the Vedas if we qualify for that, or by helping those who are learning, teaching Vedas. This help can also be by bodily effort or by donation of money or kind to vedic schools.
The third is what you owe to our forefathers. I want to stress this here as we see many people suffering a lot, not knowing what the cause is. Almost throughout the world there are rituals to appropriate the Manes. Agnihotram thathacaryar has complied a huge book on this subject that is yet to see the print..
We must strive to pay back these debts in our lifetime.

Okay. Enough of preamble . Let us get to the classification of karma.
There are actions which need to be done daily, and these are called nitya karma. The examples are the daily bath, Pooja, et cetera.
There are actions which need to be done on occasions and these are called naimitya karma. Examples are rituals concerned with our birthday, marriage anniversary, et cetera.
The actions that may be done to get something that we desire and these are called kaamya karma. Examples are plenty right from the need to get out of debts to desiring a progeny.
The list of daily actions is a long one, starting from early morning, eight o'clock. We will see them on by one in the coming posts.

Friday, March 11, 2011

karma of husband and wife.... what is the difference?

A genuine doubt could be that this list looks male oriented.
And you would be right.. Karma is mainly centered around the male. The husband is expected to carry out the karma with the help of the wife.
Don't let this fool you into thinking that the female is unimportant for any karma.
As long as the person is not married, there is no restriction in what he has to do. But once he is married, the rest of the rich ones can be carried out only when the wife is present. Actually the sankalpa is done along with her. In some rituals like srouta karma the wife also does the sankalpa. Once the wife is dead, the person can no longer carry out most of the rituals.
So that for the bias.

One may ask how the ladies benefit from, karma yoga.
They benefit by carrying out that part of the duty by getting things ready for the rituals. Since they have a lot of household duty to look after at the same time, they are not burdened with any duties during the rituals.

The sastras are loaded against the males.

When the husband does any good karma, 50% of the punya goes to the wife. On the other hand if he does anything bad hundred percent of the papa remains with him.
One might expect, the wife to be treated similarly. But it is not so. Through any good karma, if any, punya arises hundred percent of that remains with her. If by chance she does anything wrong. 50% of the papa goes to the husband. Isn't that strange?
So let us not fool anybody claiming that the ladies are discriminated wrongly, they are discriminated, Yes, but see how!

Now back to the 40 purification rituals.
Of all these 40, the one and only karma that is done with any enthusiasm is the first one. Alas! It is done with enthusiasm for the wrong reasons. It is no longer a serious business with a view to get a good progeny, but carried out for fun.
The rest of the rituals have been slowly disappearing and taking a different form.
Ever since the invasion by the moguls, the kshatriyas have been fighting wars and slowly they have deviated from the vedic traditions. The vaisyas have been traveling to all corners of the world in search of wealth and have naturally deviated from the traditions and rituals. These two classes on account of these, learn and practice the Vedas no more.
Actually the fourth class, that of workers were not expected to follow the Vedic tradition, but follow the family traditions which they do admirably even today.

The Brahmins had departed from the Vedic tradition to a large extent, and have gone on to seek money, position and power. When they did that they lost the respect of the society. So many reasons are cited for this deviation right from lack of support of the society for vedic studies to active antagonism. Much debate has arisen as to who is a Brahmin. Going by strict definitions we can hardly count any. Still there are a lot of people who have the potential to be a Brahmin.

Let us not get into any debate as most of them are non-productive or counter-productive. Let each of us present question ourselves what our duties are and try to do that. The problems arise when you start deciding what others duties are. Let us not get into that trap.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

40 purification ceremonies

For the Hindus 40 purification ceremonies have been described. They are called samskaras.
Let us see a table listing all these.
The first is garbha dhana – this one is to ensure the progeny.
Pumsavanam -
seemanthonayanam – these two are meant to ensure the birth of a good child.
Jatakarma – this is done after the child is born.
Namakaranam – this is the naming ceremony.
Anna prasanam- in this ceremony child is is given the first solid food
chaulam – in this ceremony.. The boy is ceremoniously given a tuft as his hair style.
Upanayanam – this ceremony is to take the child near a teacher to learn Vedas.
Praajapatya vratam
Saumya vratam.
Aagneya vratam
Vaishvadeva vratam. - all these four are karmas which are done before and after learning the particular section of vedas.
Samavartanam – is the ceremony by which one leaves the stage of brahmacarya and is ready to take up the responsibilities of the house holder.
Vivaha – the marriage.
Deva yagna, Pitru yagna, Manushya yagna, Bootha yagna and Brahma yagna – these are primary responsibilities of a householder. We can see what these are later.
Paka yagna are seven in number and in all cooking the food and offering it to the God.
Havir yagna what also seven in number involve offering a different item to God.
Soma yagna are again seven in number and involve offering juice of a plant to gods.
The last one is called antiyeshti and is the final ceremony involved with the body.
So that is a total of 40.
Quite a lengthy one right? So that ends this post.
Something does not  look right?
More on this later....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

karma route

Karma route
As I look at the old Tamil blog writings on karma, I see that I've had an unique opportunity and introduction. The particular post starts with saying that my friend from Pondicherry and had just called and asked how I knew that it was going to rain today. I had replied that it was really no surprise. We had just then completed a gayatri japa yagna. The conclusion was a gayatri homam. The program goes like this. Each person does one thousand and eight Gayatri everyday for the prescribed period. They keep an account of the number of japa in an prescribed card. After the four months period on a fixed day we do homam. We had started the program around nine o'clock in the morning and finished the program around one o'clock. After settling everything and a return home it was nearly 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
The night came and started getting cloudy. When we had real heavy rains for about half an hour. My Pondicherry friend had been a witness to the homam and when we're chatting I mention that it will rain that day. That is why he asked how I knew. I replied that it usually rains on the day of homam.
We checked with the meteorological Department and found that 4 cm of rain fell that night in half an hour.
We do our duty we are bound to get the result. It is as simple as that.
We start our posts with this little anecdote.

We need to understand karma a little bit. It differs a lot from Bhakti. Bhakti is common to all while karma is not. There is no bhakti for King that is different from the common man. This is because the most important factor in bhakti is the mind which everybody has.

But karma is not like that. Here actions are important. For action you need the knowledge, effort, money, which differs from person to person. Therefore, our forefathers have divided the actions in large chunks and codified who has two to do what. This is mainly a division of labour among the society. This is akin to the temple car being fooled by the entire village. It is important that the temple car comes back to the stage. It's not really important who is to doing what. The workforce. The way that according to the capacity of the class of persons. This was called varnasrama dharma. When the work was carried out by the same family for generations, there was an expertise that was developed and people took pride in what they were doing. We have come a long way from the days of codification and it is very difficult to judge whether this is classification is to be persisted with. One has to decide what one needs to do himself. If we stop dictating to others what they must be doing and do our duty we will go a long way in avoiding unnecessary clashes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

a nice little story to end -2

Well, the boy knew to whom he can turn to! Duly an appeal was made to his 'brother' while going to school that day. "Dont worry boy, I shall give you something.” Reassured the boy went to school happily. On the day of Guru poornima kannan was given a mud pot containing a little butter. Seeing the boy's disappointed face Gopalan said, “Give this to your Guru and he will receive it happily.”

When kannan reached the school there was already a small crowd of parents and students. The materials brought by them filled the courtyard. Kannan went ahead and presenting the mud pot prostrated before the teacher. All the boys laughed at the “present”. Silencing them the teacher blessed the boy and asked “Dear boy, who gave this to you?”
“My brother!” came the answer.
But the teacher knew of the family. Certainly there was no brother! The pot was handed over to the wife of the teacher and their little boy came and put out his hand. The wife gave that boy part of the butter. Naturally this triggered an avalanche of hands being put out in front and she went on putting some butter in each hand that was put out before her. When all the children had had a share, she started wondering how so little could have been sufficient to all the children. She looked around and roughly some thirty children were licking their hands! This is amazing! Now all the children came for a second helping saying the butter tasted so nice! How can this be sufficient for another round? But another round was over and still there was some butter left! By now all adults around knew that they were witness to something miraculous!
The entire village started to turn up for the butter. When everyone had had their share finally the pot was empty! Of course no one had any idea how this could happen!
The entire village moved to meet the mother of the boy. They asked her, “who is the brother of this boy”? She could not understand what they were talking about. The miracle was narrated to her. She in turn asked the boy who replied, “Oh mother, he is the same one you told me about, who is engaged as a cowherd!”
“Where did you meet him, my child?”
“In the forest!”
“Let us go to the forest.”
The crowd moved to the middle of the forest and kannan started calling out “gopalaa, gopalaa!”
No one came!
The people started murmuring among themselves that the boy must be bluffing.
Now kannan called out “Oh brother! Come to my rescue! People call me a liar!”
Presently a sweet melody played on flute was heard. The people could not see anyone though the flute sounded so near but the boy started jumping up and down saying “I knew you would come! Tell these people who you are!”
The boy pointed to empty space and cried “This is my brother!”
Soon people knew who it was!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a nice little story to end ...

We end this section on Bhakti for the present with a nice little story.
Kannan was a six year old boy. His father had passed on when he was three. His mother earned a little working long hours helping with odds and ends. A six year old needed to be sent to school but there was no school in that village. The nearest was in the next village reached only through traveling dense forest. Well there was no other way. If one wanted to educate the boy that had to be done. If the mother had to take him to school daily that would take a lot of time and then how can she find work? It logically followed that there will be no food if there is no work.
She told the boy,” oh Kanna, aren't you a good boy? Mother can’t take you to school everyday. You have to go yourself. Being a good boy he said, “ oh mother if you so, ok!” he set out with a stout heart but in the middle of the forest his courage deserted him and he started crying! Who cares if you cry in the middle of the forest? He ran all the way to school crying in fear. The teacher seeing him come in crying understood the problem and pacified him.
That day's lesson got over and the students set out for their home. The teacher sent Kannan home with a man in company saying, “ oh, boy! Without some one to accompany dont travel in the forest.”
The next morning it was time to leave for the school. Kannan told his mother, “Mother! though I am afraid of the forest, since you say so, I shall go through to school. But my teacher has forbidden traveling with out an escort. What can I do? Now this was a dilemma! Such a good boy who is ready to face fear of the forest to study! Can he be denied education for want of an escort? To whom can I turn to in adversity except the God! Thinking thus, she said, “ dear child! Don't worry, go to school. If you are afraid call out to your brother. He will come and help you.”
“ I have a brother! I did not know. Why does not he stay with us?”
“ Oh he has a lot to do. Always busy. But he will help you if you really need him!”
“What is his name?”
“His name is gopalan.”
Enthused the boy set out to the school and reached to middle of the forest where his courage once again deserted him. But now he knew wha to do! He called out, “ Gopalaa! Gopalaa!”
nothing happened!
Now the boy was nearly terrified. He called out in desperation. “Oh Gopalaa, I am your little brother! I need to go to school but I am afraid of this dense forest. Please come at once and take me to school.”
Still nothing happened.
Now kannan was really afraid. “ I knew you are angry with me. That is why you have not seen me so far. Mother told me that you will take care of me! Did I do anything wrong? If so please forgive me. I surrender to you!”
Now a flute was heard and soon a cowherd appeared playing it. A little calf followed him. He stopped on seeing kannan.
“Are you my brother Gopalan?”
“Yes, I am!”
“Would you take me across this forest?”
“Yes, I would. Let us go!”
On the way kannan plied him with questions. Why was he not known so long? Was he angry with mother and himself? No he was working hard and had no vacations. What was his job? Oh pretty much everything; mainly taking care of cows. What took him so long to appear before him? Oh he was on the other side of the forest. Soon and on. Soon they came to the edge of the forest.
“I take leave of you dear younger brother, I have much work to do.”
“Oh fine, now on I can take care of myself. I can go tot the school. No problem!”
“Bye then study well!”
“Oh I need your help to get back too. Will you come every morning and evening and take me across this forest?”
“Sure I will. See you.”
The teacher saw that the boy was composed and assuming that some arrangement has been made, inquired no further. The mother saw that the boy did not complain but reported meeting his brother who accompanied him. Surely this is a figment of imagination on the part of the boy. Well as long as he could go to school without complaining, it was fine.
From that day on kannan had an enjoyable time. Gopalan taught him many things about the forest, the animals and birds in it, the plants, trees etc. they also sang and danced all the way through the forest. The daily stories the boy narrated to his other was heard with much amusement! What an imagination this boy had!
Things went on smoothly till guru poornima arrived. That is the day the students paid their respects to the teacher with what ever little money/ material they could afford. The boys were discussing what each one will bring. One said, my father has the granary full and so I shall bring a bog of rice. Another said he would bring oil. Another talked of a lot of vegetables. Kannan was asked what he would bring.
“ oh I don't know. Whatever mother gives me.”
The peer pressure made the boy appeal to his mother for something to submit to his teacher.
“What can we afford dear? What comes out of work is just enough to make the two ends meet! Dont worry too much. The teacher knows about our family and will understand you can not give him any money or material. Just pick some flowers on the way to school and put them at his feet and prostrate before him.”
Kannan was upset! Is this all he can do?...
(to continue)

Monday, January 31, 2011

The attitude of a lover.

We have seen many attitude of the bhaktas. People can see God as a love/ lover too. Manikkavasakar was one such person, he saw his god like that. He assumed an attitude of a maiden and sang many songs withthe attitude of a lover. The alwars also composed many with that attitude.

Maha kavi Bharati was essentially a poet. He also had flashes of gnana and sang quite a few songs in that state. He saw godhood as Shakti and as Kannan. He saw Kannan as the mother, a father, a child, a teacher and the servent. Later, he saw him as his lover and started writing songs in that attitude.
At first, he says, that his mind became as restless as a lamp kept outside in the wind. He felt like a caged bird, his mind started disliking all that he used to like....

தூண்டிற் புழுவினைப்போல் - வெளியே
சுடர் விளக்கினைப்போல்
நீண்ட பொழுதாக - எனது
நெஞ்சம் துடித்ததடீ
கூண்டுக்கிளியினை போல் - தனிமை
கொண்டு மிகவும் நொந்தேன்
வேண்டும் பொருளை எல்லாம்-
மனது வெறுத்து விட்டதடீ.........

tūṇṭiṟ puḻuviṉaippōl - veḷiyē
cuṭar viḷakkiṉaippōl
nīṇṭa poḻutāka - eṉatu
neñcam tuṭittataṭī
kūṇṭukkiḷiyiṉai pōl - taṉimai
koṇṭu mikavum nontēṉ
vēṇṭum poruḷai ellām-
maṉatu veṟuttu viṭṭataṭī.........

Suddenly one day, he realises what the problem was. Someone had touched his inner mind....

கனவு கண்டதிலே - ஒரு நாள்
கண்ணுக்கு தோன்றாமல்
இனம் விளங்கவில்லை - எவனோ
என்னகம் தொட்டுவிட்டான்....

kaṉavu kaṇṭatilē - oru nāḷ
kaṇṇukku tōṉṟāmal
iṉam viḷaṅkavillai - evaṉō
eṉṉakam toṭṭuviṭṭāṉ....

As I dreamt , one day
unknowingly someone touched my heart
I just could not
fathom the feelings....

He wonders who that could be...
எண்ணி எண்ணி பார்த்தேன்: - அவன்தான்
யாரெனச் சிந்தை செய்தேன்
கண்ணன் திருவுருவம் - அங்ஙனே
கண்ணின் முன் நின்றதடீ!

eṇṇi eṇṇi pārttēṉ: - avaṉtāṉ
yāreṉac cintai ceytēṉ
kaṇṇaṉ tiruvuruvam - aṅṅaṉē
kaṇṇiṉ muṉ niṉṟataṭī!

I kept thinking who that could be
wondering whose face it was
then I found it! A shape floats
in front of my eyes and that belongs kannan.

Then he realises that it is all kannan's doings. Whether he is sleep or awake only the thought of Kannan remains.
.....நானும் பல தினங்கள் பொறுத்திருந்தேன் - இது
நாளுக்கு நாள் அதிகமாகிவிட்டதே
கூன னொருவன் வந்திந் நாணி பின்னலைக்
கொண்டை மலர் சிதற நின்றிழுத்தும்....

.....nāṉum pala tiṉaṅkaḷ poṟuttiruntēṉ - itu
nāḷukku nāḷ atikamākiviṭṭatē
kūṉa ṉoruvaṉ vantin nāṇi piṉṉalaik
koṇṭai malar citaṟa niṉṟiḻuttum....

… I bore it with patience for a long time
but this keeps increasing day by day
a hunch back comes along and pulls
my hair so that the flowers scatter …..

The problem becomes acute! Listening to his stories one loses one's sleep! He starts searching for Kannan every where, even in the forest!

.....திக்குத்தெரியாத காட்டில்- உனைத்
தேடித் தேடி இளைத்தேனே!...

....tikkutteriyāta kāṭṭil- uṉait
tēṭit tēṭi iḷaittēṉē!... the forest where even directions are lost
I keep searching for you in vain....

A hunter comes across this 'maiden' and longs for her. Bharati turns down the advances.

"அண்ணா உனதடியில் வீழ்வேன் - எனை
அஞ்சக்கொடுமை சொல்ல வேண்டா - பிறன்
கண்ணலஞ் செய்துவிட்ட பெண்ணே - எந்தன்
கண்ணற் பார்த்திடவுந் தகுமோ?”

"aṇṇā uṉataṭiyil vīḻvēṉ - eṉai
añcakkoṭumai colla vēṇṭā - piṟaṉ
kaṇṇalañ ceytuviṭṭa peṇṇē - entaṉ
kaṇṇaṟ pārttiṭavun takumō?”

oh brother, I shall fall at your feet
dont utter words that frighten me
when someone else has married a girl
can kannan even look at them?

But the hunter is insistent. Bharati swoons crying "kanna". When he awakes he sees no one!

Then he sends someone to gain the intelligence report as to what is in Kannan's mind.....

கண்ணன் மனநிலையைத் - தங்கமே தங்கம்
கண்டு வர வேணுமடி தங்கமே தங்கம்

kaṇṇaṉ maṉanilaiyait - taṅkamē taṅkam
kaṇṭu vara vēṇumaṭi taṅkamē taṅkam

“oh dear please find out what is in the mind of kannan”

“நேர முழுவதிலுமப் பாவி தன்னையே - உள்ளம்
நினைத்து மறுகுதடி தங்கமே தங்கம்
தீர ஒரு சொலின்று கேட்டு வந்திட்டால் - பின்பு
தெய்வம் இருக்குதடி தங்கமே தங்கம்"

“nēra muḻuvatilumap pāvi taṉṉaiyē - uḷḷam
niṉaittu maṟukutaṭi taṅkamē taṅkam
tīra oru coliṉṟu kēṭṭu vantiṭṭāl - piṉpu
teyvam irukkutaṭi taṅkamē taṅkam"

“oh dear, through out the day
the mind keeps pining for him
if you can ascertain what he really thinks
then I shall leave it to God to take care”

Thus in vexation he almost gives up hopes!

When a person pines like this, can he forget the face of Kannan? But even that happens! Now he blames himself...

"கண்கள் புரிந்துவிட்ட பாவம் -உயிர்க்
கண்ணனுரு மறக்கலாச்சு!
பெண்களினிடத்திலிது போலே - ஒரு
பேதையை முன்புகண்ட துண்டோ?”

"kaṇkaḷ purintuviṭṭa pāvam -uyirk
kaṇṇaṉuru maṟakkalāccu!
peṇkaḷiṉiṭattilitu pōlē - oru
pētaiyai muṉpukaṇṭa tuṇṭō?”

The eyes committed sin and hence
Dear kannan's face was forgotten!
Have you ever seen such a dunce
Among the women of this world?

Well loves knows no rhymes or reasons! Bharati brings in full the essence of such attitude. Read the original passages for the full story!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friendship ... continued...

Sundara was at a loss! What could he do?....

He went to the temple and talked to the Lord. Oh Lord, you know my plight! Only you can solve this problem. Please do so.
Shiva asked him what was needed. Sundara told him to go to paravai nachchiyar and talk on his behalf, console her and make her accept him again.
Shiva took the form of a temple priest and went paravai's house.
She welcomed him in the proper manner. And asked what he needed as he had come at an improper hour. The conversation went awry!
“Amma, I heard that you have quarreled with Sundara. You must large heartedly forgive him and allow him back to the house.”
“ why should I?”
“Well he married again due to a emotional disturbance. Now he is always thinking about you!”
“ I am not a person he can simply ignore like that and came back to his liking. He can go back to her.”
“ But to forgive is divine and...”
“That matter is over. Ask me anything else if you want!”
“You must consider...”
“If you keep talking about this again you will be given respect no more!”

Lord Shiva could do nothing more. He returned to the temple.
Shiva briefed Sundara. Sundara got angry and scolded Shiva!
“Why, are you not concerned with my welfare? Is this the way you go on a mission like this?”
“What did I do wrong?”
“You went in the form of some other person. You should have gone in your own form!”

Shiva agreed to go again. This time he went in his own form with a retinue of yogins, shadhus.

Meanwhile though paravai scolded the priest and sent him back she could not help wondering if she did the right thing. The person who visited her did not seem to be any ordinary priest. His face had such a thejas! There was an aura about him. She even suspected that there was some vedic recitation and music in the background! A strange sweet smell lingered still. She suddenly had a crazy idea. Was it the Lord Shiva himself who came?! She became a bit restless.

The door bell rang now and she hastened to open the door. Hoping against hope that the person was back! To her surprise she saw the Lord himself surrounded by yogins and munis. She had no second thought now about the proposal to accept Sundara.

What wont the God do to his dear devotee!

Monday, January 17, 2011


The relationship between a bhakta and his God is manifest in strange ways! While some have considered him their master others have a much different relationship.
What Arjuna had to Krishna was friendship.
Krishan did so many things to Arjuna that no other relationship can do! When arjuna was besotted with shubadra it was Krishna who gave Arjuna the idea to fulfill his desire. This relationship continued till Krishan started his upadesa to Arjuna in the battle field and showed his true nature by viswa roopa dharshan. Then Arjuna's attitude changed totally and he came to the mind set of carrying out whatever Krishan told him. Till then he had been arguing.
Sundara, the nayanmar, had a very unique relationship with Shiva. While others were ready to give their life for Shiva Sundara commanded him and extracted work from him often scolding him in that process.
Sundara had a wife anmed parava nachchiyar. The family life was running smoothly. Sundara visited Thiruvotriyur to worship Shive there. There he developed a relationship with a lady named sangili nachchiyar. He promised her that he will never desert her in front of the local Shiva temple and married her. (it is a different story why and how). Well, it is said that desire lasts sixty days and lust 30 days. He also felt guilty about deserting his wife and remarrying. Moreover the spring celebrations of Thigaraja was nearing and Sundara pined for his dharsan. Overcome with this desire he set out to Thiruvaroor. After several incidences of losing vision and regaining it etc he reached Thiruvaroor.
Having had dharsan of the Lord to his heart's content he went to 'his' house but paravai nachchiyar wont allow him in. she shut the doors on him scolded him for deserting her.
Returing from the house he contemplated on his next step. Dont wee usually send some elders with dimplomatic skills to hold talks with the aggreived parties? So he sent some elders but paravai was merciless she said that what Sundara did to her was not at all worth forgiving and sent them back.
Sundara was at a loss! What could he do? (to continue)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thiaga brahmam on Bhakti:

Thiaga brahmam on Bhakti:
We have been seeing how true bhaktas behave. An exemplary perrson who lived in Tamilnad is Thiagaraja who is popularly known as Thiaga brahmam. Shall we see what he says?

Raga: pyakadai
Thaala: aadi

bhaktuṉi cāritramu viṉavē
maṉasā sītā rāma

aṉu pallavi

āsakti kēla tārukōcujī
vaṉmuktuṭai yānantamu nontu


japatapamulutā jēciti nanarātu atikākamari
kapaṭāt muṭu manamai palkarātu
upamatanaku lēkayuṇṭa vale nani
ūrayūra tiruka karātu
capala cittuṭai yālusu tulapai
sāreku prama kārāta nēhari - (bhaktuṉi)

pava vipa vamunija maniyemca karātu atikākamari
civa mātava pēta mucēyaka rātu
puvanamantu tānē yōk yuṭa nani
pomki poṭṭa sāka rātu
pavanāt majatrutamau sītāpati
pāta muluyē mararātanu hari - (bhaktuṉi)

rājasa tāmasa kuṇamulu kārātu atikākanucu
vyāja munanu rālēta nakārātu
rājayōka mārkamunī cittamu
rājū cuṭa viṭa vakarātu
rājacikā maṇiyai natyāka
rāja sakuni maravarāta nēhari - (bhaktuṉi)

(if you find transliteration mistakes, kindly let me know)

oh, mind listen to the history and qualities of the bhakta of Sitaram.
A bhakta does the Dharma prescribed for him as far as possible; he is content with whatever comes his way naturally. He is in bliss that is equal to a jeevan mukta.
He might be doing much of japa or observe penance but he does not tell anyone about it. His mind is pure void of deceit. He never boasts that there is no one equal to him. He lacks a petty mind that craves for wealth and abode. He is not fooled by what he sees in this mundane world. He does not see any differences between Shiva and Vishnu. He does not while away time saying in this world only I am the most deserving person for anything. He will not forget to do bhakti at the feet of Sitapati who is always worshiped by Anjaneya. He will forsake the rajasa thaamasa gunas; he realises that one gets what one deserves according to karma. Keeping this Raja yoga path in mind, he will always remember Rama who is the friend of the King of Kings – Thiagaraja of thiruvaroor.
{This compilation comes from the serial thiakopanishad which appeared in vaidika samvardhani.}

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Archana, vanthana:

By some quirks of the blogger this post got into the draft mode. Should have comeout long back!
My apologies!
The bhakta who kept thinking of the Lord always might want to do pooja to him. He cleans the lotus feet of the lord with pure water specially brought for that purpose and offers flowers that he himself specially picked. With this attitude that the lord's feet are the most venerable as he does pooja day by day the ego starts waning. The “I” and “mine” are lost more and more. Only His memories linger. He is ready to offer himself fully – his body, mind and intellect - to Him. This is called arcanam.

If one has come thus far one develops the attitude that he needs to do nothing except fall at His feet and remain there! This is vandanam. This reinforces the feeling that we are so small in front of His might. The ego almost totally disappears.

When kamsa came to know where Krishna and Balarama were, he wanted to bring them to his place and destroy them. So he sent akruura for that purpose. Akruura was nandan's relative. So when akruura asked Krishna to accompany him Krishna readily agreed. Of course he would as so many jobs awaited his attention and he had to finish one of the main jobs for which he came to this world.

On their way to kamsa's place they entered the River Yamuna to bathe and perform the evening rituals. Leaving Krishna and Balarama in the banks akruura entered the river. He was astounded to find them there already! He turned to the banks and saw them doing japa. He looked back to the river and still saw them there. After this unique experience wherever he looked akruura saw the two. He realised that they were no ordinary beings. They were divine. With this realisation he started seeing krishna everywhere. He started falling at his feet and do vandana. Doing thus his mind got set on the form of the Lord.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

worship of the Feet of the Lord..

Patha sevanam – worship of the Feet of the Lord:
in the bhakti route there is always a special place for the Feet of the Lord. Normally we consider the feet very low in the order of pecking things. We go out walk run, go to several places and it is the feet that mainly get dirty. We go out and come home and the first thing to do is wash our feet.
While we consider the feet dirty if they belong to the Lord we consider them Holy! Just like wee touch the feet of elders while paying respects to them devotees wont even hesitate to bear the feet of the lord on their heads! In fact we go to the vishnu temple and having performed the pooja the arcaka brings out the holy basil water along with kunkum and bail. But before handing over them prasad he brings out the satari that looks like a crown and places it on our head. Since our head is beneath it we are not usually aware of what is on top of it. If we take our next chance to inspect it we can find a pair of feet engraved on it. They belong to the Lord presiding in that temple.
Vedanta Desika who spent his entire life in the service of the Lord wrote a book titled “pathuka sahasram” singing the praise of His lotus feet through out the book.
In Ramayana we find that Bharata asked for and got Rama's footwear and placing them on the throne, ruled the nation as Rama's representative. Ahalya too got rid of her curse as Rama's feet came in contact with her. Seeing this Viswamaitra exclaimed,

mai vaṇṇattu arakki pōril
maḻai vaṇṇattu aṇṇalē uṉ
kai vaṇṇam aṅku kaṇṭēṉ
kāl vaṇṇam iṅku kaṇṭēṉ

[மை வண்ணத்து அரக்கி போரில் மழை வண்ணத்து அண்ணலே உன் கை வண்ணம் அங்கு கண்டேன் கால் வண்ணம் இங்கு கண்டேன் ]

meaning "Oh! The one who has the complexion of the rain bearing cloud, I saw the power of your shoulders when you fought the dark she-demon and the power of your feet here and now!!”

Battles between the asuras and devas was a common occurrence. Once lead by MahaBali the asuras won the battle and ruled the world including the heavens. Atiti, the mother of the devas observed a austere ritual called “payo vrat” and got a boon from Vishnu to restore the rights of the devas.
Vishnu took the form of a midget brahmacari and came to MahaBali.
Bali was so pleased to see a brahmacari with a shining countenance and welcoming him asked what he desired.
Vishnu replied that just three feet – measured by his own legs- of space was enough for him. Bali was surprised. “ I am the Lord of the three worlds and all you desire is just three feet, that too with your little feet, of land?”
“sure, that would suffice!” said Vishnu.
The guru of the asuras – sukracarya – divined what would happen. He told Bali not to grant that request.
“What can this midget do?”
“Oh, king, don't be fooled. The one who seeks is no ordinary person. He is Vishnu himself. He will always support the devas. So if you grant the request it will not do you any good.”
But Bali wont be put off.
“If the Lord Vishnu himself should seek alms from me, how fortunate I must be?” saying thus he lifted the vessel with water to give dhana.
Sukra could not bear it any more. Thinking, “How I have toiled to expand the kingdom to this extent. This fool will lose them all in a few seconds” he took the form of a beetle and flying to the water vessel blocked the outlet.
Vamana laughed. He took a dharba grass and poked at the outlet. Sukara's eye was punctured and he flew off in pain.
As the water poured out Bali offered the boon and vamana took it.
As the King asked Vamana to measured out the land Vamana started growing and to the astonishment of everyone around kept growing to enormous proportions. With his first step he measured the whole earth. With his second he measured out the heavens. Then he looked at Bali and said,”Well, where can I place the third step?”
Bali in all humbleness said, “ Swami, the only place left is my head. Please place your foot on it. With a smile Vamana put his foot on the head and pushed him to the sutha loka – the place underneath the earth. He made him the ruler of that place and gave him all the good things one would desire.
In Srimad Bhagavatham it is written that the bhagavan said, “ if I want to save someone I take away all his wealth. For it is due to the pride of wealth that man does not think of the rest of the world or me.” having taken away all the wealth of Bali and when he became humble, his ego as well, the Lord gave him all that one would desire.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


But it is said that nama sankeertan will put in hell those who abuse it!
So what is the abuse?
There is a long list … well may be ten points. Some are: talking ill of sadhus; seeing a difference between Shiva and Vishnu (in essence between various deities); thinking as one has the strength of nama sankeertan one can do acts proscribed. For more information have a look at Narada bhakti sutra.

It is not even essential to “sing”! (Wow, that saves a lot of people nearby!) It is enough to utter His name. A story that illustrates this is the story of Ajamila. He was a first rate sinner. There was no sin that he had not committed. In death bed he called to his son to give him a final word. It so happened that the son's came was Narayanan. As he uttered the word Narayana his life ended. The yama dhootas (servants of the death lord) came to take him away. But they were intercepted by the Lord Narayana's servants. Claiming since uttering the word narayana qualified him to be among the Vishnu bhaktas he was taken to vaikuntha – the abode of Sri Narayana.
That does not mean wee can utter his name just once and be saved forever!
A disciple of Sri Ramakrishana asked him once: If one bathes in the Ganges one's sins are washed away. I see so many bathe in Ganges everyday and still see no change in them!
To this jokingly Ramakrishna replied: as one approaches the ganges the wind carries the droplets and that chases away the sins. But where will they go? They take refuge in the trees and other plants nearby. Having bathed one returns and on the way there are so many shops. As soon as one sees them the mind starts craving for things and having found the weakness his sins come back to him!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

singing his praises...

The next is singing his praises.
Singing his various names and famous deeds from the heart is what it involves. If it can be melodious it is good for others :-) If not, it is good for the singer! The involvement of heart is what is important. As one keeps singing the mind gets near the Lord more and more. Exemplary satakas who followed this way are meera, aandal, soordas, the alwars, the and nayanamars. Count less other people have also followed this way. Actually no bhakta can ignore this way. Does not matter what the form of Lord one relates to, he has said that recite my names and that will please me.
When a group of people get together and do this, there is a satsang. The members of a satsang draw strength from each other and the bhakti will get firm.
The spiritual leader who did gave so much of importance tot his technique and spread it is Srimat Bhodendra Saraswati. Brahmanda purana says no one needs any instructions to do Hari sankeertan. There is nothing superior to it.

ஹரி சங்கீர்தனஸ்யாஸ்ய நோபதேச: கதஞ்சன
when the mahabharata war ended Krishna told Dharmaputra, “Go and get instructions fro Bheeshma who is in the bed of arrows, waiting for his death. There are few persons with his knowledge of Dharma and there is no one more qualified to give instructions on that subject.”
So he went ahead and a lively discussion ensued. After thrashing pout several points Dharmaputra asked, ”which dharma is the best of them all?”
Bheeshma replied, “ what is to be told is superior to all other dharmas. If one will sing the praises of the vasudeva who resides in the lotus of heart with most devotion always – that is the most superior.
"கோதர்ம: ஸர்வ தர்மாணாம் பரம பவத: மத:?
“ [எந்த தர்மம் எல்லாவற்றிலும் உயர்ந்ததாக கருதப்படுகிறது?]
அதுக்கு பீஷ்மர் சொன்னார்:
"ஏஷ மே ஸர்வ தர்மாணாம் தர்மோதிகதமோ மத:
யத் பக்த்யா புண்டரீகாக்ஷம் ஸ்தவைர் அர்சேத் நரஸ்ஸதா"

Why is this considered so great?
Mainly because it does not cause any harm to anyone. (I can hear somebody say that it depends on those who listen to it! :) One need not even pick a flower. Or pick fruits to do “nivedanam”. One need not try and procure anything for that matter.
It does not require any qualification. Anyone can do it; whether you are male, female, adult. Child... there is no restriction. Caste is not a restriction. There is no restriction of the place. Night or day – it does not matter. There is no restriction as to the order. In short NO RESTRICTIONS!
But it is said that nama sankeertan will put in hell those who abuse it!
So what is the abuse?....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

contemplation - Smaranam

Smaranam is thinking constantly about God. This is the second of the types of bhakti. This does not mean thinking of Him now and then. It is thinking of him all the time possible. It is recollecting whatever we have heard of Him. His virtues, fame, beauty, valour, compassion... we must think of all. As we contemplate on them the dirt in our mind gets washed away and our mind becomes clear.
It is said that what we contemplate constantly, we become the same. One who keeps thinking of lustful things will get immersed in it and become animal like. One who keeps thinking of God and His virtues naturally become god like and we will also obtain those virtues.
There was a spiritual master in Tibet and he had a lot of disciples. A new entrant kept pestering him for instructions. The master asked him to be patient till he determined what was suitable for him. It was found that he was not of body strength or mental strength required for sataka. So he asked him what he loved most. The boy said that he liked his yak most. The master asked,” can you keep thinking of it always?”
“Sir, of course.”
“Do that” said the master.
The disciples around could barely control their laughter.
Days went by and and someone noticed that the boy did not turn up for his meals. Nor was he seen at other times outside his room. Since people wont be disturbed during the satana period no one took action for four days.
On the fourth day the master was informed.
He went to the room and standing outside called out, “ Oh disciple, are you there?”
“yes, master, I am here.”
“Want to come out?”
“ Sure, I do! I am hungry”.
“ So why don't you?”
“ Oh, master, the entrance is too small. As my horns won't go through, I am unable to come out.”
Even if you don’t get to this level of concentration, smaranam will get you to the higher stages.