Friday, September 10, 2010


First, I'd like to wish you all a very very happy Ganesh Chaturthi / Pillaiyar Chaturthi!

Ganananam Isha: -> Ganesha:
Ganapati is Lord of all Ganas!

Pillaiyar -> Revered Son
Pillai means son, and Pillaiyar is calling Him with respect.

Chaturthi: Fourth day of Waxing Moon (Shukla Paksham)

Ganapathi is one of the Primal Deities of the Hindu pantheon. He has been revered and celebrated by one and all (not just Hindus!)

He is one of the simplest deities who can be approached without any fear, and one of the Six main deities who can liberate His devotee and make him one with Himself.

Ganesha is found everywhere, esp in Tamil Nadu. Find a Arasa Maram (Peepal Tree) and you can find one nice fat Ganesha sitting below! He is absolutely easy to please - Just offer Him some arugam pul (a type of grass) - He gets ecstatic when he gets Kozhukkatai (Modhakam). We just have to remember is that He is just a kid with elephant's face. Just a mere sight or thought of Ganapathi should help us lose our sorrow and make us feel light and happy.

But, behind His child-like demeanor lies one of the Supreme Personalities of Divinity. He is One with the Parabrahman Himself. He is called 'Vinayaka' - Vi-Nayaka - One without Leader / Hero, because there is none superior to Him.

His Body is a reflection of Om / Pranavam - He is One with OM.

He is always invoked first before any effort to remove all the obstacles! When Bhandasuran, a nasty Asura created massive obstacles, Sri Lalitha (consort of Shiva) looked at Shiva, and Lord Ganesha jumped out from the Union of their sights. He removed all obstacles, and finally lead to triumph of Devi over Bhandasuran.

When Lord Shiva wanted to burn the Tripura (owned by Three Asuras), He forgot to invoke Ganesha. As a result, the axle of His chariot broke. Shiva then realized His folly and created a clay idol of Ganesha and worshipped. He then successfully proceeded to destroy Tripura. When Lord of the Lords Himself invoked Ganesha, we should always invoke Him. We should start our days with remembering Ganesha.

The following is a widely used prayer for Ganapathi (it is sometimes, interpreted as invocation to Sri Maha Vishnu, which IMO it is NOT) - It is always used before any activity is started, which is indirectly an indication that it is for invoking Ganapathi

Shukla-ambharadaram Vishnum
Shashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam
Prasanna Vadanam Dhyayeth
Sarva Vignopa Shanthaye!

Shukla -> White
Ambaram -> dress
Dharam - Wearing

Lord Ganesha is meditated as wearing pure white dress

Vishnum -> One who is all pervading

This is one of the main reasons why this is understood as invocation to Vishnu. The term Vishnu refers to all-pervasiveness. Even Sri Rudram ends as 'Om Namo Bhagawate, Rudraya Vishnave...' I bow down to Sri Rudra, who is *all pervading* - We need to understand that this indicates the OmniPresence of Ganesha

Shashi Varnam
Shashi -> Moon
Varnam -> Color

He is colored like the color of the Moon - This is an important reason to decide this shloka is for Ganesha and not Vishnu. Sri Vishnu is considered dark complexioned! Tirumantiram has the invocation which indicates the same thing too - Inthin ilam-pirai polum ayittrinai == Shashi varnam

Chatur Bhujam
Chatur -> Four
Bhujam -> Hands

Ganesha has four hands - In some verses, He is considered to have 5 hands (including his trunk with is called thuthikkai / thumbikkai in Tamil) - Thirumantiram starts as 'Ainthu karatthanai' (One with five hands) and Kandar Anubhuti's first stanza says 'pancha-kara aanai padam panivam' (bow to the elephant with five hands)- His four hands + His trunk are symbolism for the Five Main activities of God (Pancha Kruthyam) - Usually, the first three alone are known - Creation (Shrishti), Maintenance (Sthithi), Dissolution (Laya), Obfuscation (Dhirobhava) and Grace (Anugraha) - These are major topics themselves, so let's not delve deeper into them :-)

Prasanna Vadanam -> Pleasant countenance

As I said earlier, Ganapati's face is so pleasant to look at

Dhyayeth, sarva Vignopa shanthaye
Dhyayeth -> On Meditating
sarva -> all
Vigna -> Obstacles
Upa Shanthaye -> Will be resolved

Let us medidate on the pleasing face of Sri Ganesha, who wears white dress, all pervading, colored like the moon and Has four-hands, upon which all the obstacles are removed!

Let's start all our activities with this Shloka!

May Lord Ganesha shower us with His Grace!

PS:- In the image above, He is neither shuklambharadharam or shashi varnam :-) - Just liked this image!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Vishnu Sahasranamam - Part 4

After being delinquent from blogging duties :) due to unending work pressure, I thought I should make some time to continue the Vishnu Sahasranamam Series – Afterall, today we celebrate the birthday of one of the Highest Form of Divinity to have descended to human-accessible levels – Bhagawan Sri Krishna, who is Paramatman, Himself!

In the initial part of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, Sri Bhishma tells that the Supreme Person for whom the Thousand Names are addressed is standing right next to him!

The word Krishna is discussed by people in many ways –
(1) Krishna: Krishna: - Krishna is One Who is Dark Complexioned
(2) Aakarshna: Krishna: -Krishna is One Who is all Attractive

Krishna was a Purna Avataram – That is he came with unrestricted glory – For e.g., Sri Rama had to confine Himself to the capabilities of a human. But, with Krishna, there was no such thing! He killed monsters when he was a baby, danced on a snake, lifted mountains, gave liberation to devotees and what not!

In Vedas, lot of Karma (actions / duties) are prescribed – For e.g., Nitya Karmas (that need to be performed daily) like Sandhya Vandanam, and others like Yajnas, Homams etc – When we make mistakes while performing those Karmas, then we have to do Prayahschitta Karmas – To make amends for the mistakes. But, what do we do when we make mistakes while doing the Prayahschitta karmas? There is no end to the loop! So, Vedas say, the only way to stop this is by chanting ‘Krishna’ 12 times! That’s it!

Krishna can be adored as a baby, cherished as a friend, revered as a Master, prayed to as a God, loved like a spouse and what not! There is no restriction whatsoever to pray to Krishna – He is the most accessible one, who comes running on calling His name!

Scriptures say – ‘Ishwara: Parama: Krishna: - Sat-chit-ananda vigrah:
Anadir-adir Govinda: - Sarva Karana Karanam’

Lord Krishna is indeed the supreme (parama:) of all Gods (Ishwara:) – He is ‘Truth-Consciousness-Bliss’ which took Form (for us, it is our Karmas which give our form, made of pancha bhootas) – He is without an end (anadi:) or beginning (adi:) – He is a the Cause of all Causes (Primal Cause) (Sarva Karana Karanam)

Benefits of chanting entire Vishnu Sahasranamam, can be acquired by chanting the name of Sri Krishna alone!

Make use of the auspicious time of Sri Krishna Janmashtami, and pray to the Lord! Please do not queue up to God with requests on His birthday! Thank Him for all His Grace which sustains our breath, and helps us enjoy this marvelous gift of life

He has made few important promises (in Bhagawat Geeta:
(1) Ma-Sucha: - Do not Fear!
(2) Yoga-Kshemam-Vahamyaham – I’ll bring unto you what you don’t have and protect what you have!
(3) Sambhavami Yuge Yuge – I’ll come down in every Yuga!

Let us remember His Words, and follow His advice.

May all of us be fortunate enough to seek the blessings of Bhagawan Sri Krishna!

Sarvam Sri Krishnarpanamastu!