Newsletter Archive

Showing 1 to 72 of 225 results
Showing 1 to 72 of 225 results
Warli Art – The Indigenous Tribal Artform that expresses Life through Geometry
There couldn’t be a more comprehensive summing up of the core emotion of Warli art. An art form that is driven by everyday life stories and these tales also in turn become a reminder of traditional values and cultures cherished by the tribe. The Warlis believe that without the ahankaar, there is no kahankar. They have an advanced notion of communication. A story is not just a story, it is the passing of energy from narrator to listener. Warli painting is a form of tribal mural art created by the tribal people from the North Sahyadri Range in Maharashtra, India. The Warlis or Varlis are an indigenous tribe living in mountainous as well as coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat. They speak an unwritten Varli language which belongs to the southern zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. The Warli Tribesmen and women are traditional storytellers; they follow the oral practice of passing down traditions, knowledge and culture. This oral tradition translates into beautifully painted elaborate tales on the wall of their houses, and other common areas of the community. These visual canvases capture their daily rhythms in life; the forces of nature they worship, their simplistic belief systems, their laughter, regret, victories and tears. Without even saying a single word, an uncountable world of tales exists on the wall, some depicting everyday activities like fishing, hunting, cooking, harvesting etc, while some others more nuanced- teaching many lessons in life. Contrary to popular perception, the Warli Paintings of Maharashtra are very different from other tribal and folk paintings in India but similar in many ways with the African Zulu Paintings. Their themes revolve around depiction of daily life activities rather than mythological themes. Unlike Madhubani paintings that use bright colours, these are painted on mud and cow dung-based surface using earth colours or rice paste in white.
Published in Sep 2021
The Numerous Mudras of Buddha – Where to Place Them and the Purpose Behind
For many centuries, Lord Buddha paintings and artefacts have brought in bliss, prosperity, and wealth. Both Hindus and Buddhists believe in this. Feng Shui and Vastu say that paintings of Lord Buddha have the power to increase the flow of Chi and this in turn brings prosperity and good fortune. Chi is the energy of life itself. One does not necessarily have to be a Buddhist to own a Buddhist painting. However, it’s good to follow these rules to ensure that you enjoy the flow of luck and prosperity. Peace, tranquillity, harmony and balance. Those are words often associated with the Buddhism, and thus the Buddha's likeness has become a popular presence in many homes as a centrepiece or accessory, even amongst non-believers. Buddhism has a range of different cultures and traditions on both a local and national level. But even though the style of Buddha statues might vary regionally, they can be recognised by their hand gestures, or mudras, which each convey a spiritual meaning. The Key Do’s and Don’ts for Placing Buddha at your home While sometimes controversial, in that Buddha’s likeness has been used in several items of merchandising which can be seen as disrespectful, most buyers seek to honour the founder of Buddhism and his teachings and beliefs by placing these statues in strategic locations around their home in order to spread positive energy and peace and tranquility. Now, before purchasing and placing a Buddha statue in the home, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Some of these are general principles that involve good taste and avoiding disrespect. A few have to do with using Buddha statues to enhance the balance of chi, or energy, in the home using the science of Feng Shui.
Published in Sep 2021
The Fine Art of Metal – The Right Way of Sculpting
Metal art often only considered as metal wall art covers many spheres of both functional and purely decorative artwork. Functional like metal clocks, cutlery, and sleek appliances, and decorative like picture-prints on metal sheets, bronze sculptures, exquisite chess pieces, and décor accents. From wire metal filigree works and cast metal sculptures made from bronze, to ancient hammered metal cups and fine gold Egyptian jewellery, the resilience of earth metals and their malleable nature has made them one of the best materials to make beautiful works of art and crafts. 1. Iron Ore Of all the known metals, iron is the most abundant of all and can be found in almost all elements; water, soil, and rocks.
Published in Sep 2021
Buddhism Culture
The world is full of very varied religions with unique characteristics. The believers of these beliefs often dedicate their lives to it, so much of the art, architecture and expressions revolve around their religion since religion is an important part of culture and in Buddhism, a religion of more than 500 millions of members is no exception. This religion founded between the 6th and 4th centuries BC in ancient India and that follows the teachings of Gautama Buddha is no exception, since it has shaped a large part of the Asian continent thanks to the knowledge, ideas, traditions and customs of this religion. In search of enlightenment Before knowing about the Buddhist culture, it is important to know about this religion and the precepts that make it up, because at all times the culture revolves around it. The origin of this religion takes place thanks to Gautama Buddha; “Buddha” is a term that literally means "the Awakened One" due to his enlightened condition. According to ancient texts, this master was born in Lumbini, a city located in Nepal that today is an important pilgrimage site.
Published in Sep 2021
What Should I Do: Dharma in the Mahabharata
The central question of human life has remained the same for as long as we have walked the earth. What should I do? As humans, we are able to think about our actions. We are able to ask ourselves about the meaning of these actions, understand likely outcomes, and grasp how our actions will affect others. That is an amazing power, but with it comes a tremendous burden of responsibility. And we seem to arrive on earth with no idea what to make of that responsibility. As if we were living life for the first time, we blunder about, learning hard lessons as we go, and rarely committing these lessons to memory. This confusion around what we should do is not new. And from the earliest moments of human existence, great thinkers have worked hard to understand the solution. The Indian subcontinent provides us with perhaps the clearest answer to our questions. It’s magnificent spiritual contribution to the human race includes in it the concepts and stories we need to resolve this confusion and move forward in our lives with clarity. It is in this tradition that we receive the concept of dharma, and we get a grand narrative that presents all the examples we will ever need to understand the role of dharma in our lives and the universe as a whole. We just need to listen.
Published in Sep 2021
Sri Balaji Venkateshwara ‘the King’ – The Deity of Miracles
Balaji, also called as ‘Venkateshwara the king’, is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Venkateshwara is known to be the only God who took birth to save the people from troubles of Kaliyuga. He will reside there in the temple till the end of Kaliyuga. At the end of Kaliyuga Lord Vishnu’s other incarnation Kalki will take birth and destroy everything on earth. This would happen when sins will reach its peak and there will be no humanity left. That would be an end of Kaliyuga and Kalki will destroy everything and formation of new Yuga will take place. For this reason, Tirupati Balaji temple is also known as Vaikuntha of Kaliyuga. Also known as ‘Kaliyuga Pratyaksh Daivam.’ Two stories are famous about Tirupati Balaji temple. One from Venkatachala Mahatyam and Varaha Purana. These two stories show that the land of Tirumala was pervaded by Lord Vishnu’s Incarnation. It is only after the 9th century that we see that the Tirupati worship has become big. Chola, Rashtrakuta, Chalukya, Hoysala and Pandya were at war but exchanging culturally. Kerala - on the other hand, was going culturally its separate ways. But the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Telangana ruled by these kings retained Tirupati worship in a big way. Incidentally, Sri Lanka of this period, which was influenced by Hindu kings, also came into the Tirupati orbit. Ramanuja came into scene in the 11th century and promoted Tirupati as a great Vaishnava center. But it was the Vijayanagara kings who propelled Tirupati into the giant pilgrimage center it later became. Purandara Dasa and Kanaka in Kannada and Annamacharya in Telugu sang praises of the lord there.
Published in Sep 2021
Diwali – The embodiment of joy, victory and harmony
The majestic Indian festival season has already begun. No matter where we reside in this vibrant country and what faith we adhere to, if there’s one festival that truly ties us together, it’s Diwali. While most other festivals are celebrated in certain regions or are specific to a certain zone in the country, Diwali is celebrated widely across the expanse of India. Certainly, being the variegated country India is, every community, every region, every culture has its unique manner of celebrating this festival of lights. Commonly, Diwali is marked as the celebration of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana, as described in the epic Ramayana. Alternatively, the basis of the festival is traced back to the Mahabharata, where Diwali is marked by the return of the five Pandavas from their exile in the forest. In a different tale from the mountains of Himachal, the great war of Mahabharata commenced on the first day of Diwali. Another story in the background of the festival symbolizes the day of Narak Chaturdashi, the 14th day of the second half of the month Ashwin (also known as Aswayuja, it is the seventh month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar) and the second day of Diwali. It is the day when Lord Krishna exterminated the devil Narakasur and liberated the 16,000 women he had held captive.
Published in Sep 2021
Latest 2021 Indian ethnic fashion trends for women
Fashion is one of the fastest-changing industries and that comes from the big consumers market demand. Through the years, fashion has changed a lot. It was influenced and dominated by different political, economic, and sociological events that would shape the consumers' opinions and expectations. This can greatly be seen through the traditional details and cultural motifs of different nations. Indian fashion, as part of the most colorful and interesting nations in the world, has experienced different fashion changes, that have changed and added to the consumer's demand. However, modern times and the modern approach to fashion have influenced changes, especially in the Indian style, making it available and suitable for all those who want to keep the cultural and traditional dose with the incorporation of some modern elements.
Published in Sep 2021
Tanjore Art – A Divine Legacy of Gold in South India’s Cradle of Arts
There’s more to golden art than jewellery. Venture south to the Tanjore district in Tamil Nadu and witness the splendid ‘Tanjore Paintings’. Thanjavur is known for being home to some of the most famous historic structures in Tamil Nadu, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Brihadeeswarar Temple. But this dormant town in the state’s centre has much more to offer than just architectural marvels. In fact, for anyone with an interest in South Indian art, music and dance forms, Thanjavur is nothing short of a pilgrimage and thoroughly deserves the title of being ‘South India’s Cradle of Arts’. Tanjore painting is a popular form of artwork that originated in Southern India. These paintings have been popular from the 16th century and have evolved under the reign of the Chola emperors and are famous for its use of gold. When the Marathas invaded Tanjore in Tamil Nadu many painters and artists migrated here and under their rule, this art form flourished. This form of painting is distinguished by its use of gold and semi-precious or precious stones which is used to accentuate the design. Each painting tells a story, usually revolving around Hindu gods, Goddesses or Saints. In olden days, Tanjore paintings were placed in dark temple shrines by emperors. In a dim place, the gold used to enhance the painting.
Published in Sep 2021
Thangka – The Instrumentality Of Storytelling, Meditation and Enlightenment
A Thangka, diversely referred to as Thangka, Tangka, Thanka, or Tanka, is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. Thangka is also known as scroll painting. Roughly translating to “recorded message” in Tibetan, it is an ancient form of Buddhist art that originated within Tibet around the 11th century. These are densely illustrative, and painstakingly detailed, and serve as a striking centrepiece that can be appreciated by all admirers of Asian art. Buddhist thangka paintings are visually captivating and impressive — but there is more to them than meets the eye. Thangkas often focus on a specific deity and scene, and their form and surrounding details are often rich with symbolism, turning them into a medium for religious storytelling. Because of this, extracting all the intricacies and meanings from the paintings requires training. Tibetan thangkas were originally created for the purpose of helping the viewer or Buddhist practitioner on his journey to enlightenment. A thangka's characteristics like organization and juxtaposition of figures, repetition of figures, and size contribute to the storytelling of the painting.
Published in Sep 2021
Green Tara and White Tara: Feminine Ideals in Buddhist Art
"Goddess Tara, a female Buddha and meditational deity, is arguably the most popular goddess in the Buddhist pantheon. She is considered to be the goddess of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity. The word Tara itself is derived from the root 'tri' (to cross), hence the implied meaning:' the one who enables living beings to cross the Ocean of Existence and Suffering'. Her compassion for living beings, her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother's love for her children."
Published in Sep 2021
Ganesha Chaturthi – A symbol of Unmatched Devotion, Celebration and Immersion
Ganesha, revered and regarded all across the country as the “Lord of Beginnings” and the “Remover of Obstacles” – he is the facet of the Supreme Being, the ultimate in-command for the elimination of obstacles and impediments – both in a practical sense and in a spiritual capacity. On the spiritual route, our obstacles might be our foibles, weaknesses, arrogance or our ego. When we worship Lord Ganesha, we pray to him to help us eradicate those obstacles within the self. As beautifully captured by Adi Shankara, although Ganesha is widely regarded as the elephant-headed God, the Swaroop (embodiment or manifestation) is merely to denote the attributes of the Parabrahma Roopa (in Hindu philosophy, it is the divine deity that which is beyond all descriptions and perceptions.) The deity is 'Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam.' This implies that Ganesha is Ajam (unborn), he is Nirvikalpa (incomparable), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he represents the mindfulness which is omnipresent. Ganapati is also fondly known by the names "Surpakarna" and "Ekadanta." The meaning of Surpa is " winnowing basket," and Ekadanta signifies the one who is "one-toothed.
Published in Sep 2021
Hindu Goddesses - Lakshmi and Saraswati- Exotic India Art
The role of the goddess as one who fulfills wishes has remained one of enduring strength and consequence. In the ancient collection of sacred hymns known as the Veda, this aspect of the goddess already becomes manifest. The two most shining examples in this context are The Great Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Published in Sep 2021
Demystifying Chakras
The concept of Chakras is intimately tied to the Kundalini Yoga practices. Our understanding of these ideas has evolved greatly over the centuries but these practices find their first mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Yoga Upanishads. There are around twenty Yoga Upanishads believed to have been first codified over four millennia ago. The texts are contained within and form an integral part of the four Vedas. Kundalini Yoga, of which the chakras are a part, is a powerful yogic technique, and must be performed properly, to minimize unintended physical or mental side effects. Adverse effects are not uncommon when these techniques are performed in a manner disassociated from their true, original context. We must remember that a meditative technique is not a narcotic; neither is it a quick-fix to escape your reality. All yogic practices require an attunement of body and mind as a prerequisite. Kundalini Yoga even more so. The saying - a little knowledge is dangerous - holds especially true here. These techniques should only be performed under the guidance of an experienced guru.
Published in Sep 2021
The Hindu Moral Stories
Today, Hindu moral stories are available in books, DVDs, and (as they have always been) through telling. But no matter the medium you prefer, they continue to do what they have always done: teach us about how to live. All told, Hindu moral stories encompass an enormous number of fables. The vast amount of stories from the Hindu tradition give us a near endless supply. And the best part? The morals at the core never go out of date. In fact, reading through them reminds us just how little being a human has changed after thousands of years. We still must help those in need. We must honor our friendships. We must be honest with the good and cunning against our oppressors. We must be quick witted but not quick to judge. We must not hesitate to act but never become hasty. We must keep our heads, trust our hearts, and protect others. Hindu moral stories give us memorable tales that impart this wisdom over and over again. On top of that, when we read or watch these tales unfold, we are joining in an unbroken chain of people who have told and retold these exact same stories since the dawn of civilization. It’s a thrilling thought to join as a link in this chain. That’s why it is worth celebrating the Hindu moral story and to continue this legacy into the future.
Published in Aug 2021
Krishna's Rasa Lila: The Vedantic Perspective
"One uniqueness of our Vedic religion is that it allows for salvation not only through renunciation (nivritti) but also through the path of material happiness (pravritti).... If dharma makes it mandatory that conjugal pleasure be restricted to the life partner, how is it that Krishna indulged in the amorous sport of Rasa with others' wives?.... Some stopped cooking, some stopped feeding, some stopped eating, some stopped washing clothes etc. and ran away.... Upanishads call the jiva in waking state as Vishwa and the dreaming jiva as Taijasa (Mandukya Upanishad Mantras 3-4)."
Published in Aug 2021
Living According to Manu: God’s Manual of Instruction for Life
"A man receives a wife given by the gods... Where women are revered, there the gods rejoice; but where they are not, all efforts are unfruitful…. The husband, tradition says, is the wife, They can never be cut loose from one another. This is the dharma made by Brahma himself….he king who bears patiently when those in anguish insult him will be exalted in heaven…. If the driver of a vehicle injures a man, animal or property, he needs to be punished along with the owner of the vehicle…. This in a nutshell, is the definition of suffering and happiness."
Published in Aug 2021
Iconography of Vaishnava Deities: Goddess Lakshmi
"Her epithet in the Devi-Mahatmya is Mahalakshmi. She is the wrathful four-armed goddess of battlefield represented holding in them various weapons…. A form of Lakshmi seated over a lotus laid over a golden seat and a pair of white elephants…. Except in some classical forms in Lakshmi-Narayana imagery Lakshmi is ordinarily two-armed…. Incarnation theory is the crux of Vaishnavism. Vishnu incarnates alone but Lakshmi also incarnates in simultaneity…. Though very rare some enthused artists have conceived on Ardhanarishvara line also Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara images."
Published in Aug 2021
50 Characteristics of Kaliyuga
"Both the Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagavatam give a vivid description of how things are like in Kaliyuga…. The following is a list of features typical to Kaliyuga…. A man will consider only those people to be his relatives who are related to him through….The ashrams will be full of show-offs who are experts in the art of living off the food of others….. We can save ourselves from Kaliyuga."
Published in Aug 2021
Bronze Icons of Swamimalai: The Last Bastion of an Ancient Craft
Swamimalai is believed to be one of the six sacred abodes of Karthikeya, the eldest son of Shiva... Apart from being a center for pilgrimage and tourism in South India, it is also the de facto bronze icon capital of India. The skillfully crafted Swamimalai bronze idols are some of the most sought after artifacts by art lovers and connoisseurs throughout the world. Swamimalai bronze icons embody a characteristic grace and precision, bringing together in a perfect combination, the skill of an expert craftsman, the imagination of an artist, and the sensibilities of a poet... Because of the use of the ancient method of madhuchishtavidhana (lost-wax method) the original wax cast is lost during the crafting and no duplication is possible. A fact that renders the Swamimalai artifacts truly unique and one of the most sought after metal icons in the modern world.
Published in Aug 2021
Living the Full Life: 50 Instructions from the Mahabharata
"Bhishma undoubtedly is one of the central figures of the Mahabharata.…. One should not venture out too early in the morning…. But one should not go to sleep with wet feet….A person who desires to live long should never irritate the following three…. One must shun company of people who criticize the Vedas…. If we are traveling, one must find shelter inside a house…."
Published in Aug 2021
Durga Puja - Worshipping the Wife of Shiva, Daughter of Bengal
"Durga Puja is more than the periodically observed navratra in the subcontinent..The akaal bodhon Durga Puja has evolved into great socio-cultural significance in the Eastern Delta region, and is the lifeblood of Bengalis everywhere...On dashami the next day, one could sense the pall that descends upon the delta...Ma Durga's time in Her girlhood home draws to a close. Now is the final throes of festive exuberance."
Published in Aug 2021
The Heritage Behind Jamdani Silk
Jamdani silk is a muslin cloth that dates back as far as 300 AD. It’s characterized by its loom weaving with grey and white thread, occasionally incorporating gold. The craftsmanship of jamdani silk has been passed down through the generations, continuing the tradition of floral and figurine motifs within the fabric. At Exotic India, we incorporate Jamdani Silk into our sarees with a vibrant spectrum of earth-tone and jewel-toned textiles. If you’re interested in finding out more about jamdani silk and other textiles, we offer several books on traditional fabrics. We’re taking a deep dive into the world of jamdani silk, looking at its fascinating heritage and the craftsmanship behind it.
Published in Aug 2021
Shiva as Nataraja - Dance and Destruction In Indian Art
"Shiva the Hindu god of destruction is also known as Nataraja, the Lord of Dancers (In Sanskrit Nata means dance and raja means Lord). The visual image of Nataraja achieved canonical form in the bronzes cast under the Chola dynasty in the tenth century AD, and then continued to be reproduced in metal, stone and other substances right up to the present times. The Chola Nataraja is often said to be the supreme statement of Hindu art."
Published in Aug 2021
On This Path, Effort: Reading the Bhagavad Gita in Quarantine
At first, quarantine had a certain excitement. The news feed was apocalyptic. We reached out to our loved ones. We reconnected with far flung friends over video chat. We were all drinking at night and catching up on movies and reading. We made resolutions. We set ourselves to the task of cooking great meals, investing time in long neglected hobbies, and enrolled on unemployment insurance. There was terror but also the opportunity for the ultimate staycation. There was purpose to our isolation and a cultural sense that what we were doing was important. 
 But time moved on. The excesses of drink and streaming video began to weigh on our days. The confusion of at home work spaces and workout spaces and needing alone time from our families while desperately needing social interaction all bubbled and boiled like a slow cook witches brew. And at some point, the shared energy of it all seemed to break down. The news became a rolling, desensitizing mantra of COVID-19 — devoted more to the personalities of the daily press conferences than the pandemic itself.
Published in Aug 2021
Shiva, the Nataraja
"Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Published in Aug 2021
Sita - The Silent Power of Suffering and Sacrifice
"people all over India will say approvingly for someone: "He is a Rama like son, a Rama like brother, or a Rama like king. " It is rare however to hear the following as a compliment "Rama like husband or son-in-law."... All of Sita's miseries in the confinement of Ravana pale in comparison...to the emotional trauma and humiliation she was subjected to by Rama himself. In a bitter irony, what was to be her moment of deliverance, turned out to be the beginning of another trial... Sita sets a high standard as an ideal wife who stays unswerving in her loyalty and righteousness, no matter how undesirable her husband's response... She emerges as a woman that even Agni - who has the power to reduce to ashes everything he touches - dare not touch or harm..."
Published in Aug 2021
Dharma: The Only Remedy for Modern Man
"No one spends even a single moment without doing some action or the other....We generally notice in history that almost all civilizations acquire a lot of material affluence in the beginning and after sometime they go into oblivion....We very well know that it is only the work based on well thought plan that solves problems and not our worry.....The success of any action depends not only on visible parameters but also invisible one....We are carried by the slogans of the times and move in the turbulent waters of life in a rudderless boat.....Want to give us a state of pleasure which is constant and never ending."
Published in Apr 2020
Ananda: Analysis of Happiness in the Upanishads
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Published in Mar 2020
Iconography of Vaishnava Images: Vishnu
"There is Rama, the son of Ayodhya's king Dasharatha in his human birth, and there is Rama's divinity, his divine aura that overwhelms the Tulasi's entire Ramacharit-manas, one manifest - with attributes, and the other, unmanifest - without attributes. With main emphasis on his majesty in South Indian tradition this crown is taller than usual. His 'khadgasana' images are usually in three modes; one with his right foot moved forward represents him in a commander's disposition ready to rush for protecting a devotee in crisis or redeem him from some calamity. Harihara, a form in which he shares with Shiva half of the body. Basically a bird Garuda is seen for ages as Vishnu's ardent devotee, a learned human being and an auspicious presence, and in iconographic tradition often conceived with a man's face, anatomy, ornaments and ensemble. The Puranas are replete with tales of Garuda's divine exploits."
Published in Dec 2016
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Published in Jul 2016
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
Published in Jun 2016
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Published in Mar 2016
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Published in Nov 2015
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries."
Published in Sep 2015
Ananda: Understanding the True Nature of Happiness
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Published in Aug 2015
Shiva and Vishnu: A Unique Aspect of Their Worship
"Actually, the one who worships Bhagwan Vishnu should get rich and the one who worships Shiva should become an avadhuta like Him…. Then he works hard again to acquire wealth. I render all his efforts futile…. However, Bhagawan Vishnu is not like that, it takes longer to please Him…. As a consequence, they later harassed the great God Himself…. On the seventh day, he bathed in the holy waters of Kedarnath and began to cut his head with an axe to offer into the fire…. The boy bowed respectfully before the demon and asked…. No one who commits sin against a great person can be safe and happy in this world."
Published in Jul 2015
The Qualities of a Guru and How to Find One
"But to pull this statement out of context and give it as an advice for anyone is far from correct…. But how is one to recognise the guru? Obviously, he will be able to understand the difficulties of the disciples and clarify to them the meaning of the scriptures on the basis of logic and experience…. They will have to search in their own neighbourhood only….The guru chosen by him should be at least better than himself!…. Of course, if the ideal guru whose features have been enumerated in the beginning is available, then the sadhaka should immediately go and surrender to him…. It is just like going to another teacher for higher education, after completing the education in a school."
Published in Jun 2015
Theory and Practice of Karma: Some Salient Features
"Only a certain fraction of this karma is chosen by God in order to form the blueprint of our next birth…. The fruit that one experiences in this birth is due to prarabdha and a portion of the present agami…. Similarly, a fish in the Ganga does not accrue punya because of always living in Ganga…. A good karma can be annulled by a bad karma and a bad one by a good one…. Sometimes we also hear that prarabdha cannot be got rid of. It has to be spent through…. Bhagawan Vyasa says that for the full result of the karma to manifest, three things are necessary…. Then how to understand the statement that prarabdha should unavoidably be experienced?"
Published in May 2015
Varnashrama Dharma: A Logical View
"It concedes that for an orderly social life a division into four groups based on the principle of varnadharma is necessary…. Each individual sometimes acts in a sattvika manner while at other times he may act in rajasic or tamasic manner, which means that the manifestation of a particular guna depends on circumstances…. Though all the three gunas are present in everyone, different persons are driven to act differently…. The karma that I have to perform should depend on my inherent gunas and should have the ability to regulate these gunas…. There is no instant transition to moksha…. An individual has to make his way towards moksha only through worldly life."
Published in Apr 2015
Nine Teachings from Nine Yogis: The Essence of Bhagavat Dharma
"During one such sacrifice, nine spiritually charged men entered the sacrificial hall….As for Bhagavat Dharma, it is the dharma spoken by God directly from his own mouth…. Like a person eating food finds himself gratified simultaneously in three ways…. We are all constantly taught by spiritual texts to offer or dedicate all our actions to God. However, the question remains as to how to practically carry out this injunction…..The only fruit of wealth is dharma... Therefore, there is no need for the Vedas to enjoin us to these things for which we already have a tendency….The real intention of the Vedic injunctions in these matters is to make a person abstain from them…”
Published in Mar 2015
Moksha of Gajendra: Liberation by The Formless God
"Once as he was engaged in puja, a saint came to visit him….Like a true householder attached to his family, Gajendra sported in the water with his wives, children and friends…. Understanding that his end was imminent, they all slowly withdrew, till Gajendra was left alone…. If we reflect on it calmly, we will realise that there is no house in the world where the story of Gajendra does not play out…. The one who is careful towards the end is able to reform his death…. Gajendra’s hymn of praise is one of the greatest philosophical poems in the annals of world literature."
Published in Feb 2015
Devi Draupadi: Resolving the Paradox
"Vyasa Ji explained through a story how it came to be that the Pandava's marriage with a single wife was in conformity with dharma….The gods, along with their king Indra, were sitting on the bank of a river when they saw a beautiful golden lotus floating on its waters…. Both were playing a game of dice…. On hearing Shiva’s words, Indra started shaking with fear… Without death, the burden on the earth becomes too much…. Her birth had the sanction of all the three Gods - Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu."
Published in Jan 2015
God’s Lila, Understanding the Collective Impact of Avatara
"Who would not satisfy his wife who is but his better half?…. Later, he took a bath, performed pranayama and meditating silently on the pure, eternal light, repeated internally the Gayatri Mantra…. Once it so happened that goddess Lakshmi was out of Vaikuntha…. Despite being older, they always maintain the appearance of five-year olds…. Seeing the great saints he welcomed them with reverence…. It is never for one single purpose but to fulfil many functions at the same time…. He ensured for them a glorious death."
Published in Dec 2014
Narrating Dharma - Story of Shakuntala in the Mahabharata
"The primary thrust in the Mahabharata is to teach us the nuances of dharma through the poignant love story…. I have full control over my mind, even then it is attracted towards you…. You think you are alone with your own self. But don’t you know that the all-knowing God dwells in every heart…. Those who have wives are the ones who have Lakshmi…. I tell you that truth is equal to studying all the Vedas and bathing in all the pilgrimages…. The immortal dialogue between Shakuntala and her husband is one of the greatest…."
Published in Nov 2014
Means of Knowledge From the Eyes to the Vedas
"Even though there are infinite objects in the world, they all fall into one of the following categories…. When we see smoke on a far off mountain top, we infer that that place is on fire…. For example, in the Ramayana, when looking for Sita, Rama found a small bundle containing her gold jewels…. Not all features of the two animals are identical…. Otherwise, it is not at all possible to remain healthy and active as he appears to all….We are fortunate to be governed by the Vedas."
Published in Oct 2014
Beginning Bhakti Early: The Inspiring Life of Dhruva
"A king should walk the ethical path….. So what if you are also the son of the king?…..It is a fact that you have taken birth from an unfortunate woman, on whose milk you have grown up…..Narada was impressed with Dhruva’s resolution and set out to guide him…. Dhruva was stunned by the beauty of God….. Bhagawan Vishnu’s conch has a two-fold symbolism…. Dhruva was given everything he had hoped for and every need of his was fulfilled. Yet, his heart was filled with regret as he returned home….. Here we see that the satsang of mahatmas like Manu can achieve what even a vision of God cannot achieve."
Published in Sep 2014
Kapila’s Teachings to His Mother: The Essence of Bhakti and Detachment
"As she matured he started looking for a suitable husband…. Those were wonderful times when high character and not material wealth were the factors in selecting a husband….The purpose of marriage is unification…. It would be nice if I had a son with me…. Such is the greatness of sadhus….The symptoms of a saint are as follows…. One who worships Me in the temples but does not know that I am situated in everybody’s heart…. Man too finds satisfaction in his deep-rooted attraction for his house, wealth, children, wife….His movements slow down but he still stays in the house like a dog…. As a consequence her curly black hair gradually became brown and matted."
Published in Aug 2014
King Bali, Vaman Avatar and the Dharma of Giving
"It is to show us that whenever one wants something from somebody, one is reduced in stature…. Anyone coming to me to ask for something never again has to ask for anything in his whole life…. Money in any case deserts us after death….After washing Bhagwan’s Vishnu’s foot fell down to the earth and became the river Ganga….Punishment given by exalted persons like Yourself is nothing but a worthy reward in itself…. If he, as a human, is not affected by pride of his lineage, achievements, youth, beauty, learning, power…."
Published in Jul 2014
The Devotee and the Angry Saint - Study in the Inner Workings of God
"Undoubtedly these are all precious things difficult for an ordinary human being to obtain…. In this manner had he converted his karma into a yajna….With a trembling body and frowning brows he furiously admonished the king, who stood all the time with folded hands…. The Chakra is the weapon of the Supreme Ruler of the universe…. I love them and they Me…. Today I have witnessed the glory of a true devotee of the Lord…. He sacrifices his own reputation in order to show the greatness of the Lord’s devotees."
Published in Jun 2014
Krishna’s Avatar: A Source of Joyous Symbolism
"Now the question is: Why did Brahma Ji take Lord Shiva also with them to Lord Vishnu?….When he was Lakshmana, being the younger he couldn’t stop Rama from going to the forest and thought that in this incarnation, by becoming the elder brother, he would be better able to serve his Lord….Now with impending arrival of Lord Krishna they were sure to be soon reunited with their loving husbands… Actually, even though many avatars before had graced the Earth, none had given her the level of happiness that Krishna was going to give….The wind god Vayu was extremely happy at the service his son Hanuman had provided to Rama in the previous avatar of the Lord….This realisation enraptured her to no end and she wept with joy."
Published in May 2014
Autobiography of Sage Narada
"She was extremely fond of me and used to tenderly shower me with affection…. I had developed two favourable qualities since childhood…. The love given by this world is selfish…. The mistake we make is that we love this world more than we love God….. She says that I should first study to clear my exams… The son who serves his mother is the one who is dear to God… He also instructed that I should first pull Krishna into my mind and then chant His name… Following his instructions, I stayed at home for twelve more years…. In the dark she stepped on a snake who bit her…. Whenever I was hungry, God would inspire somebody to come and offer me food."
Published in Apr 2014
Friendship with God: A Case Study of Krishna and Sudama
"Sudama never asked anybody for anything…. His wife, extremely devoted to her husband, lived in the same condition….There was no restriction on saints and Brahmins who had free access to Krishna’s residence… Then Lord Krishna washed Sudama’s hands and feet with His tears…Next morning, when it was time for Sudama to leave, Shri Krishna thought to Himself….When food is offered to Lord Krishna with love and devotion, He is pleased with it and accepts it…He remained detached all his life, and used all his possessions as if actually belonging to God."
Published in Mar 2014
Facing Vritra – The Greatest Adventure of Indra
"Even though Indra saw his guru he turned away his gaze as if he had missed seeing him….So, during the performance of sacrifices, he would pour offerings not only on behalf of the gods, but also secretly give offerings on behalf of the demons…he entire world was filled with a feeling of forgiveness towards him… The gods felt helpless not knowing what to do, until they took refuge with the Lord Narayana dwelling in their hearts…The fact is that everyone in this world is engrossed in his selfish interests…. Whenever people like us make an effort for achieving material objects like power and money He renders these efforts fruitless…How was he able to recall the Supreme Lord in his last moments this being difficult for even the most accomplished of yogis?"
Published in Feb 2014
Way of the Avadhuta, The Phase of Ultimate Detachment
"Stepping out of the house, Rishabha took a vow of absolute silence and stopped replying even when spoken to…. Physically he was perfect. He had a broad chest, lissome limbs and a beautiful face made all the more charming by the natural smile…. Therefore he started to live like a python….Why then did he have to send them away?....One should never make friends with one’s mind…. He now kept a piece of stone in his mouth. Thus, at the end of his life, Rishabha gave trouble to no one for performing even his last rites."
Published in Jan 2014
A Householder’s Life, Lord Vishnu Shows the Way
"It was the learned Brahmin’s performing the sacrifice who answered on the king’s behalf.... Along with his wife left for the sacred site of Badrinath.... He spent the student days of his life at the house of his teacher (gurukula), where he studies the Vedas and also learned other worldly sciences.... By his actions he laid down, for the sake of the ignorant, the righteous way of life, known as Dharma.... They feel no attraction whatsoever for a house teeming with wife, children and wealth.... f they do not abide with these instructions one should get angry with them.... This is the true worship of God."
Published in Dec 2013
Yuddhishtara and the Crane: Essence of Dharma in the Mahabharata
"When he did not return even after a long interval, another of the brothers went after him.... Who makes the sun rise?.... Nilakantha, the most ancient and authoritative commentator on the Mahabharata has clarified the meaning of this verse.... Who is the friend of a dying man?.... His wife is the friend given to him by the gods.... With whom does one’s friendship last forever?.... What is the greatest wonder in this world?.... Thus did end this story on a happy note."
Published in Nov 2013
The Story of Savitri: The True Essence of Love and Friendship
"Every day he would pour offerings into the sacred fires, accompanied by a hundred thousand chantings of the Gayatri mantra.... She stood before him with folded hands.... The princess, though bashful, did not even for a moment doubt her father’s words.... From there he proceeded on foot to where the hut of the blind king was..... After her father had gone, Savitri removed all her ornaments and rich clothes and donned clothes made of barks and leaves as befitting forest-dwellers.... Outwardly she seemed normal and happy but inside she was burning in the fire of torment.... Seeing him, she gently placed her husband’s head on the ground.... Your words are as soothing to me as water is to a thirsty man."
Published in Oct 2013
A Woman’s Dharma: Some Significant Aspects
"The amount of hardship she undergoes to bring up the child, that too with pleasure, is astounding.... Make their stay pleasant while they are in your house.... Remember that you are at the root of the future of the family.... So, the choice is ours – will we believe the publicity generated by a selfish media, or listen to our ancient selfless Rishis?.... Indeed, Dharma is protected at the grass roots by women only."
Published in Sep 2013
From Student to Retiree: Relevance of Dharma Today
It should also be remembered that it is not only one’s parents but the whole society that helps him to grow.... This does not mean that one should stop eating.... Infatuation for a certain thing goes only by developing infatuation for a higher thing.... Never praise them in so many words when they achieve something.... The issue is this: ‘Life survives on life’....The desire to live and the desire to develop compassion are opposed to each other.... By this age one will have surely done the best one could do for one’s family. Now it is the time to turn inwards and work for one’s own spiritual good.
Published in Aug 2013
Did Krishna Follow Dharma? Doubts and Resolutions
"There are serious reservations about Lord Krishna’s actions in the Mahabharata war.... There were many veterans sitting in the assembly while the above ignominy was taking place.... His Dharma is towards the greater good.... A criminal is speeding away in a car after committing heinous crimes.... How then did Lord Krishna indulge in amorous sports with the gopis of Vrindavana?.... They bent their heads without answering Him.... Nobody will be washing clothes or doing cooking etc in the dead of night."
Published in Jul 2013
Moments Before Death: Transfer of Karma from One Birth to Another
"Finally, when the moment of death approaches, the person lies down and all his activities cease....Then people around the dying person say: ‘His speech has stopped; nevertheless, he still understands things. He can recognize us’.... They then bring the sacred water of river Ganga and pour a bit of it into his mouth.... Anyhow, while coming to the earth, he enters into rain and through it into food grains.... The conditions however may not yet be suitable for the father to have him right away."
Published in Jun 2013
From Karma to Dhyana: Meditation According to the Gita
"Meditation is often interpreted as a translation of the Sanskrit word ‘dhyana’.... In particular, it is the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita which dedicates itself exclusively to answer all our queries regarding mediation.....not indulging in what we think is right, but doing what God knows is right, by unquestionably obeying His commands like a dutiful servant....This verse is not speaking of two different people.... The phrase ‘look at the tip of the nose’ is not to be taken literally to mean that one should direct one’s eyeballs towards the tip of one’s nose.... Next the Gita speaks of how a meditator should eat.... Meditation is not done to calm the mind."
Published in May 2013
Navadha Bhakti – The Nine Ways of Connecting with God
"How does this love towards the divine manifest itself?.... Kirtana consists of chanting aloud God’s divine name and glories of His form.... Smarana means the constant remembrance of God.... The obvious example of this kind of Bhakti is our mother goddess Lakshmi.... Consists of the physical worship of God in the form of an idol etc, using the correct rituals.... He was overcome with emotion and the consequent surge of affection for Krishna made his hair stand on its end and the overflowing eyes began to shed tears....No wonder that Shri Rama embraced him.... Stories about the friendship of Krishna and Arjuna abound in the Mahabharata.... One whose each and every action can be deemed as Bhakti."
Published in Apr 2013
The Non Dual state: Is It in Our Experience?
"Their activities include not only performing karma, but also experiencing its fruits.... In the waking and dream states, we do not know anything about what another person is experiencing.... . In dreams however, the sense organs are inactive and only the mind functions....An Ananda in which grief is totally destroyed.... One who had lost kingship becomes king again.... We have always been accustomed to obtaining sukha only through an effort.... Why should happiness terminate when still in contact with the object? It is known that the first thing he would seek would be sleep, then food and then the pleasures from outside objects....The all compassionate God is everyday giving us an experience to understand our oneness with Him."
Published in Mar 2013
Moksha: What the Vedas Say About Liberation
"There are different opinions regarding the nature of Moksha.... Arjuna could not avoid grief in the battlefield.... what exactly is meant by ‘without a body’?.... When we say that “He is singing standing”, there is no interval between his standing and singing.... This goes on till one is satisfied with what one has heard.... Needs listening, logic and experience.... There is no other way to generate the fruit of a Karma.... Moksha is not produced because it is eternal."
Published in Feb 2013
From Helpless to Wise: The Evolution of a Devotee
"At some juncture in his life, he undergoes a tremendous amount of suffering....As this happens, his suffering too loses momentum and starts decreasing.....Observing that God is doing him well, he is emboldened to ask for more....Now that he has all he wanted, there seems to be no need for God, and he forgets Him..... This happens again and again, and he continues to oscillate....Once he is at this level, there is no going back or falling down for the Bhakta....God, who is seated inside his heart, draws him back, inspiring him to reflect....Like the small child, whose exclusive devotion to her compels his mother to forever keep him under her protective arms."
Published in Jan 2013
Inactive or Active: Karma According to the Bhagavad Gita
"The Gita says that the subject of Karma is extremely mysterious....We need to first understand the three types of Karma....However, it is exactly the opposite for a householder....This defines most of what goes on in the name of meditation today....Just like the sky, which remains unaffected by the coming and going of clouds....him to remain a mere detached spectator....believing himself to be happy because he is free from Karma....However, a true and intelligent man can discover in himself that even in physical inaction there can be intense mental and intellectual activity."
Published in Dec 2012
Shri Rama: What Constitutes His True Worship
"Can a flower said to be the creation of human hands?...It is at this stage, when we delve into what the ancient scriptures like Valmiki Ramayana say about Him....This is in fact the crucial difference between Shri Rama and Lord Krishna....His tongue could never utter those terrible and tragic words....During His childhood, while playing with His brothers, Rama never attempted to defeat them....At times we see someone ready to share their wealth with others, but not his own brother....Shri Rama unfailingly used to get up before dawn....Towards the end of the Ramayana, when Shri Rama had killed Ravana....Thus it constituted Dharma."
Published in Nov 2012
Navaratri: A Festival of Austerities
"Rigorous fasts, temples thronged by crowds of devotees....assimilates two widely different facets, though both, positive and creative: one, purely spiritual in which reflects man’s desire for achieving ends beyond this birth, and the other, a desire to seek in this birth itself world’s all colours, freedom from ills and good for all....The Mahabharata, the great epic, is considered as the earliest to allude to the Devi with absolute specificity....Revered as the ultimate divine power capable of destroying every evil and every wrong, nurturing good and sustaining life in whichever form it exists....The Divine Female, and perhaps she alone, has the power to choose any form as her vehicle and conduct her powers through it....The major role of the Devi consists in leading to light out of darkness; the festival is hence Nava-Ratri: nine nights, not days."
Published in Oct 2012
Uma Sutam Ganesha: His Mother's Son
"No epithet, even any contextual to his father Shiva, defines him so completely as does ‘the son of Parvati’....Ganesha himself is the manifest cosmos, duality diluting into his very form – an entirety, a presence beyond act.... Ganesha only assures that ‘Shri’ or Lakshmi, the goddess of riches, shall precede him when his presence is invoked....The innocent looking Ganesha ever remains, essentially and exclusively, the mother-born, the product of an innocent playful mind filled with positive energy desiring creation and effecting it.....Brahma was ordained to create a world of numbers, measurable, subject to rule and that which decayed and had an end....Full of zeal, energy, sportiveness, mischievousness in eyes, carefree disposition, cool, soft, simple, benign, child-like innocent looking Ganesha is essentially the mother’s son – Uma-sutam."
Published in Sep 2012
I am Yours: A Love Letter to God
"Like a loving mother, she guides us to the supreme and purest form of love....The only sister of five brothers, she was obviously much loved and the center of attraction at home....She would send a message to Krishna, professing her single-minded affection for him....Having once heard of Lord Krishna, one starts losing his heart to him....If so happened this would be in clear violation of the promise made by God himself in the Ramayana....How do we know that we are following our Dharma properly?....She then proceeds to ask him a question, answering it herself...."
Published in Aug 2012
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