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Newsletter Archive

Showing 1 to 72 of 209 results
Showing 1 to 72 of 209 results
Understanding Dharma: The Four Authentic Sources
"The sources of Dharma have been systematically divided into four simple categories....This desisting from the prohibition is what constitutes the karma, leading to Dharma.....There are many Vedic Karmas which do not find mention directly in the Vedas but are found only in the Smritis....The Agnihotra mentioned above can be performed at any one of the three times....Lord Shiva drank the deadliest poison easily. However, if anybody else did the same, he would be reduced to ashes....However, this is the weakest source of Dharma out of the four."
Published in Apr 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 May 2020
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
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 May 2019
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 Nov 2018
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 Jul 2018
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 Jun 2018
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 May 2018
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 Feb 2017
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
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 Sep 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
Dreams: Glimpsing the All Illuminating Illumination
"A baby dreams for about nine hours....Vedanta analyzes the dream state to bring out the nature of the light illuminating our dreams....That is why a sleeping body does not appear like inauspicious....However, they are only visible to the dreamer, not to others....Dreams are only a recall of the memory of what has happened in the waking world....The three texts give three different versions as to who is the creator of dreams....Suppose one eats too much and gets a stomach ache....The Vedas adopt the style of direct teaching from the Guru to disciple....In the waking state it is our eyes which serve as instruments to view the world....It is the one who is witnessing the absence of everything....It is through the dream state that we get introduced to the soul’s self-illuminating nature."
Published in Jul 2012
King, Deer and Brahmin: Tracing a Yogi’s Journey
Having performed his Dharma as a king for many years, and observing the graying of his hair....When he continued to perform this worship daily without fail, his heart melted with a surging, ever increasing love for God....Suddenly a lion roared, and the poor creature, frightened out of her wits, panicked....Even during the course of performing his religious duties, which required single minded devotion, he would rise up again and again to check on the young one....He had become so terrified of any attachment to anybody that he stayed all alone....The pious Brahmin was much worried about his son....Whenever somebody wanted him to do something, Bharata would ungrudgingly do whatever was asked of him..... Observing his excellent physique, they chose him to share the load....It seems as though a man is walking on it, but the foot of the man who walks on the earth is also made of the same earth.
Published in Jun 2012
Varnas: The Four Pillars of Dharma
All of man’s activity is directed towards attaining that what is pleasant to him and preventing that which makes him suffer....Even then the Vedic Karma could not be performed....This is how and why Dharma was created, the four Varnas being in a sense its four pillars....Consider the amount of virtues expected of a Brahmin performing sacrifices for others....The king, who, even though he takes taxes from his people, remains oblivious to their protection, is considered a great sinner....He is fully entitled to the knowledge of Vedanta....Karmas like Vedic sacrifices etc. destroy the negative residue of sins accumulated by us over our many births....This is called working like a servant under God.
Published in May 2012
Hyperbole in the Vedas: A Study in Arthavada
"Difficult to reconcile to some seemingly exaggerated statements, which cannot be substantiated by any means of knowledge....Any sentence can convey its meaning in either of two ways....During a Vedic sacrifice, a particular space is marked out for its performance....Hence an outlet for the smoke should be constructed....Taken by itself this Arthavada statement holds no meaning....When it is said ‘feed all Brahmins’, it does not mean that we feed all Brahmins in the world....Vedic Karma leads to fruits only if it has been fully completed....One should collect water holding a piece of gold in one’s hand....Enlightening in its method and inspirational in its impact."
Published in Apr 2012
Sannyasa the Highest Ashrama: Classification and Content
"It is the Vedas themselves which give us scope to leave Karma in a prescribed manner....If there is no reason for continuing with Karma he does leave it....The answer to this is that calling a house one’s own inevitably leads to affection and attachment....Continues to perform Karma for setting an example or even to hive of criticism....Karma has been delineated by the Vedas themselves, which we know are infallible....This is the Nishkama Karma done with a feeling of offering to God....However this does not lead to a consequent purification of the mind....Whatever is enjoined for one is his or her Dharma.....A householder cannot become celibate."
Published in Mar 2012
Way to Die: The Central Message of the Shrimad Bhagavatam
"Ramayana teaches us how to live, the Shrimad Bhagavatam instructs us on how to die....At that very moment there arrived a large number of saints, along with their disciples....What should a person do when confronted with death?....The search for the Guru is not a physical one....If the wife wants to stay with her children she can continue to live with them....The resulting surge of devotion totally cleansed their minds....After completing one’s education one has to get married and enjoy the material things in life....While the first two are stages where we acquire material things, the next two represent stages where we are taught how to leave things...."
Published in Feb 2012
The Four-Fold Spiritual Wealth: A Prerequisite for Vedanta
"Only a very few people are interested in Moksha, because the majority of us live under the illusion that happiness is the result of fulfilling worldly desires....How can a permanent state of happiness be derived from a non-permanent object?....Therefore, an aspirant should invoke the grace of God....Therefore, the seeker of Moksha should not strive for more than what is sufficient to sustain his life....The Vedas can be understood only with the help of a Guru....It is permanent, and should be obtained by discriminating between the permanent and the transient."
Published in Jan 2012
Upasana: The Vedic Path of Lifelong Meditation
"To help a aspirant, the Upanishads prescribe certain focused meditations known as Upasanas....This does not mean that there should be no movement in the mind at all and it should be fixed only on a given shape or sound....There are also Upasanas using a symbol, which are less difficult....There is gain in this thinking, just as the subordinate is treated as the chief....When one is standing or walking, the mind will have to pay attention to the body....For how many days should the Upasana be done?....It causes the mental form corresponding to the Upasana to emerge at the moment of death."
Published in Dec 2011
Understanding the Vedas: Methodology of Interpretation - Exotic India
"The Vedas unfold their mysteries....While this mantra speaks metaphorically, the very next mantra spells this out clearly....How can a sane person address a plant, or call out to a piece of stone to hear what he is saying?....It is mentioned in the Mahabharata that a yogi, who has acquired supernatural powers....It is this unknown fact which the Vedas acquaint us with....Such a method seeks to reconcile apparently conflicting statements, not discarding even a single Vedic sentence."
Published in Sep 2011
Even Before Birth: The Purifying World of Hindu Samskaras
"All the scriptures, whether it be the Gita or the Upanishads, are there to give us Samskara....Samskaras begin even before the birth of the individual, since it is believed that the state of the parent’s mind during conception affects the well-being and ‘quality’ of the offspring....To gain this ascendance we need to rein our base instincts through Samskaras....In comparing the married couple to the earth and the sky, the Vedas recognize the inherent nature and necessity of this union....A husband should always keep his wife happy, giving her whatever she wants....This Samskara strengthens the bond between husband and wife....It is definitely geared to keep the woman in good cheer, and to show her that she is special."
Published in Aug 2011
Is There a Rebirth? The Vedological Approach
"What was the need for this immense universe of unimaginable complexity? You need practice for even simple activities like cycling, singing or swimming.....A lizard can dexterously catch the flying flies the moment it comes out of the egg.....Judged solely on the basis of the mere action only, charity leads to a loss of money....In the view of such people, accepting heaven and hell is sufficient enough to explain our present Karma, and there is no need for rebirth in this world....Can we not say that these activities are just instinctive? You can certainly notice a monkey’s instinct in man also…"
Published in Jul 2011
Altering Fate: The Transforming Power of Karma
"Can we alter the fruits of a particular karma through another karma?....If one cannot sit on the floor, he or she can sit on the chair; and if even that is not possible one may lie down....This amounts to undergoing pain voluntarily for a higher cause....One should grow a new forest and stay in it for the rest of one’s life....All the mental thoughts which we get can be classified into two groups.....Baked in the fire of this grief, he recognizes its connection with mundane things....The cause of anything, which cannot be traced to an act done wantonly in this life should be deemed as destiny...."
Published in Jun 2011
The Three Bodies: Going Beyond Them
"The Bhagavad Gita says: “Like a man discards his worn out clothes and wears new ones, so does the soul discard this body and acquire a new one” (2.22). This makes it clear that the individual soul or jiva is different from this body....Inside the gross there is another body, known as the ‘sukshma sharira’. It is not visible to any of the sense organs....The subtle body does not die....Therefore, the jiva is different from both the subtle and gross bodies. Indeed, Avidya is the causal body since it is the cause of our falling continuously into the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, it is through overcoming our Avidya, the root cause of all our miseries, that we can ensure of never again falling into the clutches of the gross and subtle bodies..."
Published in May 2011
Durga: The Adi-Shakti
"Durga is the ultimate of divine power capable of eradicating every evil and every wrong, and nurturing and sustaining life in whichever form it exists....Durga is an entity beyond time....She is with absolute clarity the goddess of battlefield....With a thunderous roar that rocked the earth from one end to other she proceeded to battlefield.....The notorious demons wanted to kill Brahma and destroy Vedas....In India’s most parts her sanctum images are either operative as when killing demon Mahisha or static, as seated on her lion, though in both cases she is represented as carrying her essential weapons...."
Published in Apr 2011
What is Puja? The Philosophical Foundations of Worship
"The source of all activity in an inert body is an animate free will....But why should one worship gods?....Can you spell out clearly what exactly is the mechanism between our puja and the fulfillment of our desires?....There is also confusion regarding the gods.....However, Rama and Krishna did not face any such situation.....Majority of the people indulge in idol worship; but some do not agree with it. Is idol worship right or wrong?....Suppose you bring home a person for whom you have great love and respect.....Such doubts may appear when we one worships God out of fear."
Published in Mar 2011
Who is a Guru? The Traditional, Scriptural View
"Due to our deep-rooted ignorance, there is a wide gap between what we believe ourselves to be and what we actually are....What are the qualities in a guru which make us seek the science of salvation from him? How should we approach such a guru?....The primary reason why we are unable to obtain a guru like this is our inability to understand that there is no other path to Moksha than the one delineated in the scriptures....The service we are able to offer to our guru is the sincerest reflection of the genuineness of our commitment."
Published in Feb 2011
Tales of Ganga, The River Goddess
"Immense is Ganga’s mystique and sanctifying power....Ganga makes every Indian feel her presence in his ears....Represents Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva working as one unit in Ganga’s emergence on the earth....The world would be washed off if her current fell direct on the earth and asked him to persuade Shiva to hold her upon his head when she descended ....After Ganga emerged on the earth, her banks were penance-doers’ most favoured resort...... Towards the end of his life, when hit by Arjuna’s arrows Bhishma lay on the bed of arrows awaiting the sun to move to Uttarayana – auspicious period for relinquishing ‘prana’ – life....Ganga is often revered as Vira-mata, the mother of brave and mighty sons."
Published in Jan 2011
Karttikeya: The Celibate Warrior
"He is known for observing complete celibacy so much so that the popular tradition in some parts of the country barred women from visiting his shrines....Brahma appeared and granted him the boon that he would not be killed by anyone exceeding the age of seven days....Filled with fresh hopes only the other day gods challenged demons for war....Once Indra received reports of the birth of a child who was as effulgent as the rising sun....She infused herself in all women with the result that in every woman’s face Karttikeya saw the face of his mother."
Published in Dec 2010
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