Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Interesting Thought Experiment - Adwaita Vedanta

There are many complaints about Hinduism - It is unscientific, promotes idol worship, ritualistic, too many gods, not systematic etc. If we dig deeper, the people who complain such are those who have not spent anytime reading the scriptures (reading Devdutt Patnaik or Meluha series is not scriptural study)

While no one comments on quantum mechanics, theory of relativity (special / general) or heck even some basic Botany without studying theory, Hinduism is fun to comment about without any knowledge. [I know about God, it is an experience, it is a personal thing etc will be applied to Hinduism and not any other subject]

For those delusional people, my humble request is spend a couple of years reading scriptures under a proper Guru and then talk about Hinduism.

With that heavy rant off my chest, I would like to talk about Adwaita Vedanta. As much as I love Sri Sankara, He did not 'create' Adwaita - It was there before Him, and the Truth is eternal and hence is beyond time.

In its Highest Form, Adwaita propounds that God alone exists. And, nothing else Exists. (ekam eva adwitiyam - There is only one non-differentiated)

If God alone exists, am 'I' real? Why does the world that I experience appear real? I am able to read this blog in a computer / phone. I am able to feel my car, the chair, my things etc.

To explain this, Adwaita introduces a concept of Mitya - This is probably the most misunderstood word. Mitya means 'not absolutely real'

Vedanta says, we experience 3 different states - Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep states. That which is absolutely True should be True in all three states.

You go to sleep with a water bottle next to you. In the dream you feel thirsty. But, the water bottle next to you is useless. Only dream water can quench your thirst in dream. The water bottle next to your bed has reality only in waking state.

Suppose you cut your hand in the dream. You apply dream medicine. When you wake up, there is no cut in your body. Though it seemed real in dream, the cut in your hand is real only in your dream. The medicine you bought in the dream is not useful in waking state.

In the deep sleep state, there is no mind and hence no perception of space or time. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Mandukya Upanishad has some mind-blowing information in this space)

Since the world in waking state is real only in waking (since it cannot be accessed in dreams) and vice versa, we can conclude that these experiences are not *absolutely* real - They are real only within their reference states (and hence called Mitya)

Also, when we wake up, we say 'Oh I slept very well, like a log (or a dog :D )' - Which means there was a perceiving consciousness even in Deep Sleep state

If you carefully went over the above text above, you'll realise that the only thing that is 'real' or 'constant' in all three states is the feeling 'I' - Even your favourite God / Goddess can be experienced only in the first two states (waking / dreaming). In deep sleep state, they cannot be experienced.

So, the only truth is I and this I is not different the cosmic self. (Adi Sankara beautifully says, Brahma Satyam. Jagan Mitya. Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Para:  )

This gets confusing - Probably, we get that the experience of 'I' alone is constant in all three states. But how does it get to be the Supreme God? Isn't that blasphemous?

Now, enter the thought experiment :

Suppose you can get entry into your own dream! I.e., your dream body exists. But, you also enter your dream with the same waking personality. And you can also interact with your dream 'self'

In the dream you see your dream self in extreme poverty. The dream self  is crying out loud and is in extreme pain because he burnt his hand. What would you say to your dream self?

You would say that this whole thing is unreal. It is a creation of your mind. You are not actually burnt. You would say this is not your real identity.

Your dream self would obviously be pissed. He would ask who are you? You would say that the whole world is your creation. There is nothing which you did not create. (The dream is of course the projection of mind. Everything in the dream is projected by your mind)

You would also say that you are everywhere. And no fire can burn you (remember Bhagawat Gita?). You would then ask your dream self to 'wake up' to realise that all this is false.

There is a critical difference (important one too) between this example and Adwaita Vedanta. But, adding that would only add to confusion here. May be subject of a different post.

I want you to think more of what else you would say to your dream self (probably share it in comments)

I'll be back :)

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Lord Nataraja's favorite devotee - Alan!

Lord Nataraja is one of the most famous forms of the Supreme Lord. He is one of the beloved forms of Lord Shiva, in the form of the dancer. He is considered the most Gracious, Beautiful and with a form very endearing to His devotees.

The Glory of the Lord is best sung by His devotees - Vishnu Sahasranama is considered more sacred than Bhagawat Gita because the Lord listened to His glory from Lord Bhishma, while the Gita was told by Lord to Arjuna.

A true devotee of the Lord brings out the nature of Lord, His Grace, Glory and mysterious ways of work much more than philosophical ramblings of any intellectual.

I have been focussing too much on my career, for the past many years - Money, fame were never the key motivators for me, but like all adventure seekers, I seek challenges and solving tough ones brings me a sense of satisfaction like no other aspects of life. In this, I miss connecting to the spiritual core, which I used to connect so often.

I have been yearning to spend some time in spiritually active places for a while now. So, when my brother-in-law, Deepak told me that the Maha Kumbhabishekam (sacred re-consectration) of the Chidambaram Temple, which houses Lord Nataraja was to be held on May 01, 2015, I jumped with joy (although only figuratively) and I decided to join him in Chidambaram.

When I started, little did I know that I'll get an opportunity to see Alan, a person so dear to Lord Nataraja that He called him from Australia! I was very curious to see a foreigner wearing Rudraksham around his neck, along with a small pendant of Lord Nataraja and I started talking to him, and what I learnt blew my mind!

Alan Croker, is an architect, and he lives in Australia. When he was around 21 years of age, he got an experience where he saw everything as One - As Vedas proclaim, 'Ekam eva Adwitiyam' (There is only non-divisible One) - Alan lost consciousness after this grand experience. He was completely transformed after this experience. The yearning to find what happened increased and His quest for Truth started.

God, is often referred to as Truth in Hinduism. Lord Shiva, is popularly attributed as Truth, Most Auspicious and (infinitely) Beautiful (Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram). Srimad Bhagawatam, by Sage Veda Vyasa opens as 'I bow to the Lord who is the ultimate Truth' (Satyam Param Dheemahi).

Ways of the Lord are mysterious - As an architect, Alan got interested in temple architecture. He planned a trip to India to understand temple architecture and to see 'what is the core of the structure' as he put it. The core of the temple is not just the architecture or the construction material or the way it is built, but some infinite power that makes temple, a temple.

He came to India in 1986 in December and visited a few temples. He could feel the power in temples, but still, the 'connect' was waiting to happen! I see similarity to Paul Brunton searching for His Guru, and the great Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati guiding him to go to Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Once Brunton reached Ramana, his wanderlust stopped, for he reached his final destination.

On the Christmas day of Dec 25, 1986 little did Alan know he was going to connect with the Lord of the entire Universe, the Lord of Lords, the immaculate, peerless and unparalleled, Sri Nataraja! Alan was a Christian, and when he entered the temple and saw the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbha Gruham), Alan did not see the idol. What he saw was blinding light inside and needless to say, Alan's inner search ended. Brahma sutra starts 'Athaatho Brahma Jignasa' - From then the yearning for Brahman starts. For Alan, the search ended in Chidambaram, when Lord out of His infinite mercy pulled Alan from across the globe, thousands of miles away, hugged him and took him back.

Addition: What Alan saw in his own words - "When I first entered the sanctum at Chidambaram, it was not the formless energy alone I experienced, but the form that arises directly from it - His Form, Lord Nataraja, and the two are only One.  I had been searching for many years for His form.  He brought me to Chidambaram to find him.  I also knew at that time that He takes the form that is appropriate for each of us, and each is different.  For reasons that I still do not understand, this dancing form of Lord Shiva is His form for me.  I know this is the form of the final doorway for me to the formless Absolute.  Others may have different doorways / forms / paths, and we are very fortunate if we can find our own in this lifetime. "

Vedantins say no experience is final and the Jnana is ultimate. For Alan, I believe Lord Nataraja is the Guru and He takes care of him more than any Guru without the constraints that one in human form has.

I was completely moved, humbled and at the same time overjoyed to hear this from Alan. I was staying in the house of Sri Parameshwar Aiyya Deekshitar (under whom my Brother In Law learnt Vedas). He is one of the Chief Deekshitars in Chidambaram (and was one of the two people who led the Kumbhabhishekam efforts this year and he was the one who performed Kumbhabishekam in 1987). It was His Guru, Sri Srividyananda Natha who did Kumbhabishekam in 1955. No words can describe the glory of Sri Parameshwara Aiyya. He is a living saint, whose only focus in life is to serve Lord Nataraja and has many many illustrious disciples. It was so heartening to see the entire family and students of Aiyya and Aiyya himself so happy to see Alan. Who can appreciate the devotees of Lord Nataraja than the Deekshitars, who descended from Heavens to earth to worship Lord Nataraja when His temple was established in earth by Sri Patanjali and Sri Vyagrapathar.

Lord gets His glory when sung by His devotees. Sri Arunachaleshwarar sent Ramana to sing about Him. I believe Alan's experience is very special.

I asked Alan if I can share his experience with other devotees through my blog. He said please do, and said that was because, he wants everyone to know the Lord is not just an idol. He is very much alive and in action to take back His devotees.

Another key trait I noticed about Alan is that he could talk freely only as long as he or I did not mention Lord Nataraja. The moment he mentioned the Lord's name or if I mentioned he completely chokes and tears drop from His eyes. This happened not the just first time he mentioned, but EVERYTIME he or I mentioned the name of Lord Nataraja.

I could understand the gratitude of the soul on receiving His Grace. In Kandhar Anubhuti verse #1, Invocation to Lord Ganapathi, Sri Arunagiri Nathar says, let this poem melt the hearts of all devotees, even those who have a stone cold heart. When the heart melts, it is seen externally from the tears that pour through the eyes.

I feel completely blessed to have seen and interacted with Sri Alan in Chidambaram. In these times where materialism is rampant, and people enter into transactional relationship with God, and convert to other faiths for money, and sometimes when I despair that Hinduism is on the wane, this incident is a reinforces my faith that (only) Truth always triumphs (Satyam eva Jayate) as proclaimed by Mundaka Upanishad.

I never do this, but I request you to share the story of Alan with as much devotees of the Lord as possible. Let the world know that God pulled his devotee from thousands of miles away to His fold, and with Grace, we can reach His feet too. Alan still lives in Australia and makes frequent trips to Chidamabaram.

Alan, thanks for sharing your experiences - You are very dear to Lord Nataraja, and I feel blessed to have met God's favorite devotee.

Addition: Alan's comment on my previous statement - "When I come to Chidambaram, I am with a large family of Shiva bhaktas who come together to celebrate Him.  Some are fortunate to directly serve Him, some live locally while others like myself have to travel some distance - but we are all the same.  He brings us all together.  We are all lovers / bhaktas of Him and we know each other and recognise each other through Him. "

Hari: Om

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Krodhakara Angushojwala

Lalitha Sahasranamam is one of the blessings that has been bestowed upon humans.

Bhagawat Geetha is said to be the 'Upanishad Sara' - The essence of all Upanishads. However, Lalitha Sahasranamam goes many steps beyond - But, the meanings it exposes are not for all.

The meanings are deeply personal, and also very deeply profound. LSN also bestows immense boons to people who read / chant / listen to it.

There are some truly aweful translations of LSN around, and I definitely don't want to add to that.

However, I am truly compelled to write this quick entry

According to Vedanta, bonds are pain - Bonds could be positive (a sense of attraction) or negative (repulsion, hate) - Irrespective of their adjectives, bonds are what they are - bonds. They tie the human to the cycle of samsara - Repeated births and deaths. (Remember Punarapi Jananam, Punarapi Maranam in Bhaja Govindam?)

It is funny that bonds are actually created by the Great Goddess Herself. (What else is there apart from Her?) - So, to be relieved of the bonds, we need to pray to Her - Name #8 in LSN says 'Raga Swaroopa Pashadya' - i.e., Ambal is in the form of bonds (Pasha), esp in the Raga form (positive attraction)

Positive bonds are toughest to break - Take any positive bond that you might have with any person (living or dead) - Are you ready to let go of the bond? I can already hear the answer - NO.

So, what happens after repeated births and deaths, the poor devotee is unable to let go of the bonds? Mother, because of Her infinite Grace cuts them! How does she cut the bond which is in form of a rope? She has a sharp and shiny (ujwala)  weapon (angusha). But, when She cuts, She cuts that with Anger (Krodhakara) [Name #9 - Krodhakara Angushojwala]

So, it takes a lot of effort to let go of the bonds (to things, people, concepts) - Pray to Mother Lalitha Maha Tripura Sundari to assist you in cutting the bonds. The truth is there is no feeling of real love (not the cinema types) unless the sense of ownership or attachment goes away. So, to express genuine love, again, ask Mother to cut your bonds with a great sense of urgency and anger!

This is an intro to my next entry which talks in detail about anger and being angry (a great deal of difference)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Kandhar Anubhuti

"ஆடும் பரி, வேல், அணிசேவல் எனப்
பாடும் பணியே பணியா அருள்வாய்"

This should be prayer for devout Hindus who pray Sri Subrahmanya! Kandhar Anubhuti is truly one of the BEST works in Tamil Literature. I was blessed enough to learn this when I was in US in early 2000s from Meena gave me a cassette with recording of Sri TKS (who was no more then) and I used to listen this continuously till I memorized it.

I have been fascinated by how it is even possible for humans to bring out something as beautiful as this. It is only the direct Grace of Lord Subrahmanya which enabled Sri Arunagirinathar  to create Kandhar Anubhuti - This is evident verse 17:

யாம் ஓதிய கல்வியும், எம் அறிவும்
தாமே பெற, வேலவர் தந்ததனால்

All the knowledge and intelligence is granted to one by Lord Subrahmanya in His own volition (ZERO credits for any other reason)

If there is ONE work that alone is enough to take a person to liberation, give health, wealth and in the end give final Union (Anubhuti) the Supreme Lord, it is Kandhar Anubhuti.

Lord Subrahmanya is always with Meena, Sankar and family for they are some of the most beautiful souls who come to share joy and peace in this world. I am so happy Meena is uploading Periappa's (Shri TKS') Thiruppugazh renderings. This page needs to be bookmarked, subscribed to, and regularly consumed by all devotees of the Lord.


And, this is the link for the Kandhar Anubhuti recording: - கந்தர் அநுபூதி

[Edit: 16/02 - Started a blog on Kandhar Anubhuti. Please check it out - http://kandhar-anubhuti.blogspot.in]

PS:- (Long Footnote)
Sahana (Sankar / Meena's second daughter) was about year old then, and once was crying when I was in their California residence. Meena carried her and sang something very beautiful. Sahana stopped crying! After Meena put Sahana back in the cradle, we walked away, and I asked Meena what that song was - My knowledge of scriptures was (is) severely lacking. Meena said it was Kandhar Anubhuti. I requested her to teach that to me, and she did. She also gave me the cassette with the recording of this by Sri TKS.

Ironically (for me), I used to stay 200m from where Shri TKS, Shri Lakshmanan (Meena's father) stayed, and TKS used to conduct Thiruppugazh classes when I was a kid. Never did it strike me that I could have learnt from the Genius himself. One should have accrued a lot of Good Karma for such ideas to strike :-)

After Meena gave me the cassette, I listened to the song in a Sony Walkman (ha ha ha - Remember those?) continuously for a couple of weeks till I memorized the 51 stanzas.

From then on, the song is quite famous at least with people with new born kids who cry :-) It has a magical effect of controlling kids who tend to turn quiet and sleep esp if they are cranky.

That's my story of learning Kandhar Anubhuti, and is one of the best things to happen to me.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Contradictory to popular opinion, my Sanskrit knowledge is abysmal. I somehow manage to figure out the meanings of verses / songs with great difficulty after consulting many sources. Sometimes, I feel I shouldn't write much because, I have no intent of misleading anyone. 

Secondly, the scripture Lalitha Sahasranamam (1000 Names of the Lalitha, the Goddess Supreme) is called the 'Guhya' Sahasranamam - The 'Secret' Sahasranamam. It is secret because, without the initiation of a particular Mantra (called Panchadashi) this scripture will remain closed for exploration. (For some pure souls, who know this mantra in previous births, the effect may continue in this one, but it is the word of the great Rishis that anyone who wants to read this scripture must be initiated into this Mantra from a Guru)

The Names in this Saharanamam cannot be discussed in public or used for vanity purposes. However, this name - Aprameya brings a very very beautiful aspect of the Goddess that I am unable to resist sharing with rest of the world :-) (Thankfully, my readership is typically in single digits, and that limits the damage done :-) )

The word Aprameya is also a name  of Vishnu in mentioned in Vishnu Sahasranamam. Needless to say, at the Highest Level, there is no differentiation. 

Thanks to my non-existent Sanskrit knowledge, coupled with seeing some Hollywood flicks like 'Ajab Prem Ki Gazhab Kahani...', the word 'aprameya' used to remind of the word love. But, that's no where related to what the word means

The question comes, how is anything revealed? One can say by 'senses' - For e.g., you can see something, hear something, touch something etc. For eg., in TN you can still hear people say 'Pratyakshama paathen!' - Which is 'I witnessed it with my own eyes' - Prati in Sanskrit meaning 'Via' or 'Using' and Aksham meaning 'Eye' - So together it become Pratyaksham. 

(There are funny uses in Tamil where people say 'pratyakshama ketten' which translates to I listened with my eyes, but the intent is 'I heard with my own ears')

So, the first way of how things can be revealed is 'Pratyaksha Pramanam' - Revealing through Eyes (in general, senses)

The second way is by 'Logic' or 'Extrapolation' - You see a ball being hit, and after sometime you hear a crashing sound of a window. Just because you did not see the ball breaking the window, you can still guess that the ball travelled towards the window, and then it broke the window. This is by Logic or Extrapolation - Called 'Anumana Pramana' - Revealing through Logic

The mighty truths beyond the realms of mind and senses cannot be revealed, except by the Vedas - Called 'Shruti Pramana' - Revealing through ('Holy') Words (of Vedas) - These truths cannot be known any other way. There is no questioning of Shruti Pramanam. It is perfect. (There was one useless lady anchor in NDTV who wanted the Acharyas of modern days to re-write Purusha Sukta - The great Acharyas won't change even the intonation of a single syllable revealed by Shruti)

Now we can see that there are three types of Pramanams - Pratyaksha, Anumana and Shruti Pramanam - Three ways of 'Revealing'. The funny thing is that I know this for a very long time. Now came the twist - If pramanam is the word for the 'way of the revealing', what is the meaning for the one that is revealed? It is 'prameya'! 

I then realized that why is Ambal, the Greatest One, The Supreme Goddess called 'Aprameya'? Because, EVEN Vedas, cannot reveal Her! There is nothing known by humans, Rishis, Gods that can reveal Her. She is the PERFECT HIDDEN ONE. 

Words, Metaphors, Logic, Vedas expose their weakness and shy in front of the Glory of the Goddess, Sri Lalitha Maha Tripura Sundari! 

So, now you know why Ambal is called Aprameya. If you have anyways of knowing Her, you can drop all attempts. She cannot be Revealed, by ANYTHING known or Unknown, since She is defined as One who cannot be Revealed. (It is like trying to measure something less than Planck's constant - It is not possible!)

Did I lead you to despair? Just read the next Name in the Sahasranama. (This will show why this is Boss of all Sahasranamas!)

The next name is 'Sva Prakasha' - One Who Reveals / Shines Herself (of Her own volition) - So, when Ambal is pleased, She will reveal Herself. This name is even more dear to me, and I'll save you from my ramblings on this name. (It can be reflected upon in many many ways). 

So, next time you listen / chant Sahasranama, and you get to this Name, bow to Her in all Humility that She is the One beyond all realms and let the ego get squashed. Pray to Her fervently when you get to the next Name for Her to Reveal Herself. 

Bye for now! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Identifying and Reaching Goals

I always used to think - 'Only if this major problem in my life was solved, then.. [a list of actions that would be done, that would bring me glory, eternal life or whatever]'

I am 34 now, and will soon be 35 - In all my life I have found the status to be the same. All the big crises for which I waited to be solved have tided by, and I am still short of executing the list that would make me happy. 

That is because, when one problem was solved, another one (or more) took its place. 

The Structure of Mind

Sri Eckhart Tolle is one of the modern Masters who analyzes this issue with clinical precision. If you have to read just one book on spirituality this life, please read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose 

In Yoga Vaashishta, Lord Rama says that trying to satisfy the mind is like trying to fill a sieve with water. How much ever we try to fill it, water will not stay. 

Sri Tolle says that 'Mind wants to want, more than it wants to have' - i.e., when you give it something that it wants, it just moves on and wants someother thing. It doesn't matter what the mind wants - Money, power, friendship, love WHATEVER! As long as mind gets something, it moves on wants some other thing. 

We need to understand that this is the nature of the mind. So, never attach much meaning to what the mind wants. [A mind might want a Ducati if you have Hyosung, but the mind forgets that the Hyosung was its dream when it was having a 150cc Suzuki]

Waiting for some event in future

I am sure everyone is eagerly waiting for some problem to be solved, something to happen, lady luck to shine, some illness to be cured, waiting for your 15 kg weight-loss etc. The only thing true is the present. 

Waiting to start something good and linking it with some event in future is a sure-shot way of not doing it. Tom Cruise, in Knight and Day delivers a profound dialog - "Someday is a dangerous word. It's really just code for never."

As Master Oogway says in Kungfu Panda - "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present "


While there is a chance that what we plan for doesn't happen, the chance of something happening is close to ZERO if we don't plan for it. 

Goals are meaningless if we don't plan for it. A goal without a date, is a goal that is unlikely to happen. 

Goals sometimes need not be things that have be 'externally' acquired. Goals can be internal -  To achieve some sort of behavioral transformation. I have identified a list of transformations, that have been pending since time immemorial since I have not associated timelines with them

What you don't measure, you don't provide

Goals with timelines need to be tracked, on a periodic basis - Want weight loss? Measure your weight every day! Want to run 10K ? Run everyday, and log the distance in your journal. 

Want higher quality code? Measure the defects [compiler warnings, lint's analysis etc]


As I get older, I realize how precious time is! There are too many good ideas to pursue, too many great places to visit, too many skills to acquire. The key to be great is to say no to many of those good stuff. It is rather easy to say no to bad stuff (I struggle even with that). But, it is a test of character and discipline to say no to good stuff. 

For e.g., given my career goals are related to Wireless Networks and Cloud computing (yes, they go together :-) ), I am not going to do great research in Graphics, Hardware related stuff or say, mathematical computing (I love the last subject)

I would love to learn Carnatic music - I used to play the violin, and used to dabble in singing. I realize that I might have NO time for this ever, in my life (To go to a class, study under a master) - I'll continue to listen and sing, but will never make it big in this. This is sad, but at the same time, it is important to give up things without regret. An iota of guilt / regret is enough to drag down performances across multiple other domains.

We all have finite time, and to become great in something (if you want to be so), do not be afraid to say no to even insanely good stuff. Always trust your heart/gut over the brain in these decisions. 


Anger is a reality distortion field (Actually any strong emotion be positive or negative is a reality distortion field) - The quote 'Love is Blind' is often used. This quote is used to point out that none of the concerned parties are able to see the flaws in other, which the rest of the world can see. 

I wish the term 'Anger is Blind' is used more often. People will remember its implications better. Sri Tolle describes beautifully in his book 'A New Earth'. Anger makes us blind to reason, diminshes / alters powers of perception and is a primal force which can only cause harm - There are uses for Anger, but on the long run, it is indeed bad. If you are angry, walk out of the room, type that email and save it in draft and just postpone reacting till you are out of anger. Like all emotions, anger will subside over time - a few mins to few hours. Then when you recollect, you'll thank yourself for not saying what you were about to say, not sending out that email etc. 

Anger alters the perception of reality like no other emotion. Sri Tolle says that the 'Pain Body' takes over. (Pain body is the collection of all the pains stored in our consciousness over many many births). The worse thing about it is that anger will usually be redirected esp to the loved ones in the closest ring since they are most vulnerable. (The pain body wants to extract maximum pain out of the situation not just others' but yours too!) - The worst part is not yet over - The WORST thing is that the pain body knows the weaknesses or pain points of the closest ones and then will literally devastate the closest ones by using this knowledge most often leaving a very deep scar that takes time to heal, and making you miserable for days / weeks / months together for having done / said something. 

Next time when you get angry, please create a space around yourself, and just escape the situation. When the anger subsides, then take control of the situation. 

PS:- This doesn't mean if there is any injustice on the road, you just walk away. As I said earlier, anger has its uses! 

Giving Up

The word giving up is usually filled with negative connotation. At the same time, it is related to the concept of saying 'No' and 'Time' - I'll start by saying that one should never give up on things / people which matter the most, and would be crucial to meaning of your life. 

To let go, is sometimes the only way to go. Whenever I have to let go of something / someone [physical or logical entity] it usually hurts despite me being one whom I consider as 'stoic'. I usually overcome that by remembering the verse 2 of Arunachala Pancharatnam. 'Oh Arunachala, everything comes into being in You, exists in You and finally dissolves in You' - This doesn't mean that the person has die, or something is lost. If a person moves away from your view of the world, that is a 'logical' death. This verse gives me great peace, relieves the pain of loss, and makes me actually grateful for the experience that thing / person brought to you however transitory it may be. If this doesn't work, I repeat the verse till it works :-P

I compare this to the branches of a Coconut tree that fall off. The tree will not be able to grow and yield fruits if every branch sticks to it. It is extremely important that the branches fall off. However, each branch contributes to the growth of the tree by falling off, and they also leave a permanent mark on the tree. [I have a friend who absolutely hates this simile!] 

And giving up, and moving on is a very important aspect one has to master. I wish I master this sooner than later!  

I am making my list of things that I absolutely have to accomplish this life, things to say no to and I just shared my thoughts that came up while I am doing this activity. Hopefully, it helps some of you! Expect more in these lines this week. (You have been warned!)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meenakshi Me Mudam Dehi! (Part 2)

I decided not to delay this further and finish the remaining part of Anu Pallavi and Charanam - (I am sorry if this is not as detailed as Part 1)

Anupallavi (Continued from Part 1)

One who is Noble. Sri Meenakshi is Raja Mathangi, and the Head of all Administration. She has a sense of 'Queen' like Nobility to Her. It is impossible to express this feeling well in English. For e.g., when Lord Nataraja comes out in Chidambaram, He exudes an air of Nobility like a King. Similarly, Sri Meenakshi carries an air of Nobility.  

Kadamba Vana Vaasini
One who resides in the Forest of Kadamba (a type of tree) - Apparently, Her temple in Madurai was once surrounded by a forest of Kandamba trees


Mathurapuri Nilaye
Goddess Meenakshi in her full splendor can be seen in the Madurai Temple - So, Sri Dikshitar calls her a resident (Nilaye) of Mathurapuri

Mani Valaiye
Mani is the tamil word for precious stones - And, Valai is the tamil word for bangles (bracelets) - In the pallavi, Sri Dikshitar calls Her as One wearing Golden Ornaments (mechakangi) - In Charanam, he calls her as wearing bangles with precious stones embedded

Malayadwaja Pandya Raja Thanaye
When the Greatest One decided to come down to earth, She decided to be born as daughter of Malayadwaja Pandya (King of Madurai), who was very pious. His name actually translates to one who has Hill / Mountain in his flag

Vidhu Vidambana Vadane 
The word Vadanam means face - How glorious is Meenakshi’s face? (Full) Moon (Vidhu) is considered cool, pleasing and lustrous - However, Ambal’s face clearly outshines the moon. [‘One who has a face that outshines the moon’]

One who’s is ALWAYS successful - Whatever her Sankalpam (will) is, that will happen. For all that happens is Her will. Devotees of Ambal will also win in all their endeavors. 

Veena Gaana Dasha Gamakakriye
One who plays music (Gaana) in Veena (stringed musical instrument) and who created (Kriye) the ten (Dasha) different kind of gamaka music 

Madhu-madha moditha 
It is actually impossible to understand what Dikshitar felt while composing - I interpret the verse as: Ambal delights (modhita) the devotee with the bliss likened to the sweetness (madha) of honey (madhu). 

In Tantra, there is a mention of Amrutha nadi in the head which when activated fills the body with Amrita, which is so sweet that every pore of the body oozes out with bliss and sweetness. The devotee then feels One with the Goddess. Ambal is the One who is capable of of delighting Her devotees such.

The word Hrudaya simply means ‘Heart’ - However, Indian scriptures often talk of two hearts - The Physical one which is typically situated in the left side of the body, and the spiritual that is located in the right side, according to Bhagawan Sri Ramana. 

Hruth-sthalam, which translates to the location of the heart, in spiritual sense is where the Self sits. In the basic Kundalini literature, the Sahasrara or the thousand petalled lotus chakra situated in the head is considered final. But Ramana goes ahead and says, that the Kundalini that traverses the 7 major chakras unites in Sahasrara and finally abides in Heart. 

The importance of the Heart is dealt in many places in Ramana literature:

[Ramana Gita, verse 1]
Hrudaya Guhara Madhye (In the cave of the heart)
Kevalam Brahma Matram (The Supreme Self alone)
Aham-aham iti (As the feeling of ‘I’ - ‘I’)
Sakshat Atma Rupena Bhati (shines as Atma Itself) 

[What we call as Supreme God (Brahman) is the One that Shines as the feeling of Self (‘I’) in the cave of the Heart (Hrudaya)]

[Arunachala Pancha Ratnam, Verse #2]
[…..] Te Vadanti Hrudayam Nama - Oh Arunachala, your are the Supreme Self. You Reside in the Heart and you are called as the Heart itself! 

Meenakshi is the Supreme Self (Paramatman) shining in the devotee’s Heart. 

One who is Compassionate. There is none who is more compassionate than Meenakshi. All other Gods only channel Her Grace, since She is Supreme. 

The Supreme Lord Shiva, who is considered the God of Gods (Maha Deva) cannot do anything without the Will of the Goddess. In Saundarya Lahari, Adi Sankara points out that it appears that Shiva is able to do great deeds only because He has Ambal as His Consort. For, without Her, He cannot even move a bit (spandhitumapi - not even a pulsation is possible by Shiva on His own)

Mahadeva Sundaresha Priye
One who is Loved (Priye) by the Greatest God (Mahadeva) and incidentally, the Most Beautiful Lord (Sundaresha)

Madhu Muraripu Sodhari 
Ambal is considered the sister (Sodhari) of Maha Vishnu. In all Meenakshi Kalyanam images, you can see Vishnu giving the hand of Ambal Meenakshi to Shiva as the brother of the bride. Maha Vishnu is the enemy (ripu) of two dangerous demons Madhu and Mura - Since Vishnu vanquished Madhu, He is also referred to as Madhusudhana. 

Hear Sri Dikshitar calls Ambal as the Sister of the One who is the Enemy of the demons Madhu and Mura

Ambal has a slender waist (Saatha-udari) - Her son is somehow has a BIG waist and a belly (Lamba-udaran - Lambodaran, meaning Ganesha)

Vidhi Guruguha Vashankari
Lord Brahma made the rules (Vidhi) of the Universe and Time and dishes them out - So he is usually called Vidhata - Here, Sri Dikshitar refers to Brahma as Vidhi
Guruguha is the name of Her son, Skanda Subrahmanyan. Also it is the mudra (signature) of Sri Dikshitar in His songs. The word Vashankari means, ‘One who captivates’

Lord Brahma and Lord Skanda and captivated by the Glory of Ambal

Sri Dikshitar ends the song with a punch - This word is so potent - Shankari - One who Creates Auspiciousness. 

Ambal, is the ONLY source of all Auspiciousness. She creates Auspiciousness wherever She is (Which is everywhere) - If you can detect something good, you can always trace it back to Ambal.

Sri Adi Sankara took His name as Sankara because He wanted to create auspiciousness throughout the country. This is only possible with the Grace of Sankari! 

The other name for this term is Shiva - Shiva is auspiciousness . How did the Lord get that name or attribute? Because He is the consort of Sri Shivaa (998th name in Lalitha Saharanamam). Sri Dikshitar invoked this name by telling (Shive Pahi - Oh Auspicious One, Protect me) and then breathed His last! What a noble soul! Needless to say, He would be shining in the Lotus feet of Ambal. 

May Ambal, the Supreme One, whom we can see with our eyes as Meenakshi, create Auspiciousness everywhere. 

Om Shri Matre Nama:

Wrongly wrote Maanini as Malini - Thanks to Ram's comment below for correcting.

Malini -  One who wears a Necklace [Not related to this song, but Hema means Gold and Hema Malini means one who wears a Gold Necklace - For people who might want to draw a Bollywood reference, the one and only Hemamalini I like is Goddess Lakshmi who is referred by this name in Sri Suktam]