Showing 145 to 216 of 306 results
Showing 145 to 216 of 306 results
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
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
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
Who Wrote The Vedas? Are They Eternal?
The depth of the faith people have in the Vedas is amazing....There are six aspects in the musical structure of the Vedas....In the evening, going by the same way he heard the same woman's voice....What came first, the seed or the tree?....There are several other secrets of nature which have come to sight only recently....The Vedas are not only precisely accurate in the information they provide..... Vishwamitra, one of the seven Sapta-Rishis, is the seer of the famous Gayatri Mantra.
Published in Nov 2010
From Individual Soul to The Supreme: A Study in Identity
"During childhood the size of the body is small which grows larger in youth. How does the soul accommodate this change in size?...This will contradict our everyday experience that the whole body is conscious of a refreshing coolness when we bathe in the river Ganga....The Upanishads clearly mention the soul as residing in the heart....The whiteness of a piece of cloth remains in it and not beyond....When a person dies, even though his physical body is lying in front of us, it is inert...."
Published in Oct 2010
The Nature of God: Is There Contradiction in The Vedas?
"Hearing these contradictory statements, the man concluded that the woman was very impatient....We therefore see that the scriptures have described God in both ways....We must realize that even though a wound is harmful for the one possessing it, it is not so for the worm who finds shelter and nourishment....We go to somebody and ask him what is gold?....This is the only faultless theory....Here we see that these are not different mantras giving contradictory versions, but same mantras presenting apparently conflicting perceptions of God."
Published in Sep 2010
Filtering Out God from this World: A Study in the Method of Vedanta
"For the clear understanding of the nature of God, we have to filter out the camouflage....There are adjectives which qualify God using negative terms....God is Truth, Knowledge and Endless....., God, remains unchanged, even as the world changes every moment.....: When you eat food lacking in salt, you can immediately pinpoint its absence. What this means is that you can taste its absence....Prahlada the supreme bhakta had realized that the supreme God was present everywhere....We have now successfully filtered out God from this world."
Published in Aug 2010
Filtering Out God from this World: A Study in the Method of Vedanta
"For the clear understanding of the nature of God, we have to filter out the camouflage....There are adjectives which qualify God using negative terms....God is Truth, Knowledge and Endless....., God, remains unchanged, even as the world changes every moment.....: When you eat food lacking in salt, you can immediately pinpoint its absence. What this means is that you can taste its absence....Prahlada the supreme bhakta had realized that the supreme God was present everywhere....We have now successfully filtered out God from this world."
Published in Aug 2010
What is Maya? A Conceptual Analysis
"In the seventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna makes a promise to Arjuna....It is this Maya, which, during creation, takes on the form of the world....The Bhagavad Gita uses the word Maya four times, and its synonym Prakriti more than 20 times...... Inspired by these emotions, we perform more and more karma to bring that which we like near us, and push what we dislike away from us....Maya thus presents the cause as an effect having a nature different from the cause....Even if we have pondered on this question, have we still not failed to overcome our intense physical desires?....In India women are named after Maya, considering it to be sacred."
Published in Jul 2010
Creation of the World: Who, Why and How?
"According to the ancient scriptures, God is at once all the three causes of the world....This would amount to saying that Devadatta eats himself, which is obviously absurd....Therefore, your God is partial....When ornaments melt back into gold, their attributes do not contaminate it....For such skeptics, an example from modern science will suffice....Therefore, here we have an example where an effect doesn’t have a property existing in its cause..."
Published in Jun 2010
Doubting Krishna - Is He The All in All?
"Thus did the compassionate Lord grant the demon Moksha, exactly as He does to high-class yogis....Due to their intense love for Him, all the cowherds boys wanted to face Krishna.....Brahma is the master of intellect. That is why he is shown with a beard, which signifies his experience in worldly matters and wisdom.....Blessed are the ladies who taste the sweet nectar of His lips, the mere memories of which made the young gopis of Vrindavana faint with ecstasy....There is no use displaying one’s mathematical skills in front of a grammarian....Brahma jumped down from his royal chariot and rolled in the dust of Vrindavana, touching each of his four Vedic crowns one by one at Krishna’s feet.....The silence of the Lord speaks louder than His words."
Published in May 2010
What is Myth? Exploring A Sacred World and Its Inhabitants
"A myth is a broad truth in regard to an event or a set of beings, men, animals or others....This world does not accept dividers, those dividing man from woman, man from animal, or live from dead, nor accepts the scale of time fragmented into past, present and future....The legend of the Great Flood is a part of many other traditions of the ancient world....Virabhadra, Lord Shiva’s son born of his sublime wrath, and one of his guards and generals, is a rare character from Indian mythology in which a weakness, such as anger, sublimates into a divine form....Among traditions related to emergence of Devi a more popular one, perhaps as popular as the one that contends that Devi is beyond time and beyond form."
Published in Apr 2010
Ten Mahavidyas : Manifestations Of Cosmic Female Energy
"Too independent to be in a wife’s frame, besides gender they have in them little which is consort-like....They are individualistic in nature, yet their identity better reveals as a group....The broad meaning of the term ‘Mahavidya’ is ‘great knowledge’. In its wider sense the term might be taken to mean complete, supreme, absolute, or ultimate knowledge....Ten mantras are ten manifestations of the deity – the Divine Female....As regards the origin of Mahavidyas, the tradition has five myths in prevalence....Frightened Shiva tried to flee from one direction to other but a burst of laughter obstructed him on every side, and dismayed and frightened he submitted. To further ensure that he did not slip the woman, obviously Sati’s transform, filled all directions around him with ten different forms....Not merely in the Buddhist myths that portray Tara as the goddess of tempestuous seas helping the masses wade their path to safety and redemption, even in Hindu and Jain traditions she is revered as the goddess who guides out of troubles and all kinds of turmoil."
Published in Mar 2010
Ten Mahavidyas : Manifestations Of Cosmic Female Energy
"Too independent to be in a wife’s frame, besides gender they have in them little which is consort-like....They are individualistic in nature, yet their identity better reveals as a group....The broad meaning of the term ‘Mahavidya’ is ‘great knowledge’. In its wider sense the term might be taken to mean complete, supreme, absolute, or ultimate knowledge....Ten mantras are ten manifestations of the deity – the Divine Female....As regards the origin of Mahavidyas, the tradition has five myths in prevalence....Frightened Shiva tried to flee from one direction to other but a burst of laughter obstructed him on every side, and dismayed and frightened he submitted. To further ensure that he did not slip the woman, obviously Sati’s transform, filled all directions around him with ten different forms....Not merely in the Buddhist myths that portray Tara as the goddess of tempestuous seas helping the masses wade their path to safety and redemption, even in Hindu and Jain traditions she is revered as the goddess who guides out of troubles and all kinds of turmoil."
Published in Mar 2010
Dalai Lama: The Tradition And The Cult
"Dalai Lama, an epithet used for the first time in 1578 by the Mongol ruler Altan Khan for Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama....The Tibetan mind was thus naturally inclined to the bodhisattva-cult....The first four Dalai Lamas represented only the preparatory stage in the growth of the institution which manifested fully in the Fifth Dalai Lama....Three reincarnate Dalai Lamas died very early, the Ninth dying at the age of just nine....The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, a leader greater than the great, faced the ever gravest challenges posed mainly by Russia, China and Britain designing to grab Tibet.....Dalai Lama represents the continuous flow of the being that the Buddhist tradition identifies as Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara....In the scheme of this essay a brief account of the historic deeds and the life of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the One who benefits the world today with his divine presence, had to be its part."
Published in Feb 2010
Dalai Lama: The Tradition And The Cult
"Dalai Lama, an epithet used for the first time in 1578 by the Mongol ruler Altan Khan for Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama....The Tibetan mind was thus naturally inclined to the bodhisattva-cult....The first four Dalai Lamas represented only the preparatory stage in the growth of the institution which manifested fully in the Fifth Dalai Lama....Three reincarnate Dalai Lamas died very early, the Ninth dying at the age of just nine....The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, a leader greater than the great, faced the ever gravest challenges posed mainly by Russia, China and Britain designing to grab Tibet.....Dalai Lama represents the continuous flow of the being that the Buddhist tradition identifies as Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara....In the scheme of this essay a brief account of the historic deeds and the life of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the One who benefits the world today with his divine presence, had to be its part."
Published in Feb 2010
Lifting Mount Govardhana – The Crowning of Krishna as Govinda
"Rama instructed Hanuman to establish the mountain near the banks of the river Yamuna at Vrindavana, where in His Krishna avatara He would play with his bare feet....So than sprung from the feet of Govardhana, the river Ganga, known as Manasi Ganga....Krishna initiated one of the most fascinating of all His Lilas....Overflowing with emotion, the residents of Vrindavana rushed to Him. Many of them embraced Him....God’s Lila doesn’t fulfill only a single purpose....Krishna’s mother Yashoda too got wind of the conversation. Consequently, there started blowing in her mind winds of doubt....Krishna always lives in the eyes of the gopis of Vrindavana....God’s exceptional love for cows is made amply evident in this Lila."
Published in Jan 2010
The Indian Concept Of Beauty: Dimensions And Contexts
"Beauty in context to art is a vision of the mind that the artist translates into a form, or rather into a transform beyond such form’s actual dimensions....The Indian maxim ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ perceives beauty as the manifestation of the ultimate truth and the highest good, and at the same time conjointly all three are the attributes of the Supreme....Indian vision of beauty combining aestheticism with theology deifies beauty and perceives it enshrining all forms, divine or ephemeral, live or dead, or even those that common mind considers awful or ugly....The peacock’s legend is one of its best examples....This magnification of the cult of adornment is obviously metaphoric....Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra gave to the Indian art, especially temple-sculptures, across the land for many centuries its timeless imagery thriving with the vigour of life."
Published in Dec 2009
The Indian Concept Of Beauty: Dimensions And Contexts
"Beauty in context to art is a vision of the mind that the artist translates into a form, or rather into a transform beyond such form’s actual dimensions....The Indian maxim ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ perceives beauty as the manifestation of the ultimate truth and the highest good, and at the same time conjointly all three are the attributes of the Supreme....Indian vision of beauty combining aestheticism with theology deifies beauty and perceives it enshrining all forms, divine or ephemeral, live or dead, or even those that common mind considers awful or ugly....The peacock’s legend is one of its best examples....This magnification of the cult of adornment is obviously metaphoric....Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra gave to the Indian art, especially temple-sculptures, across the land for many centuries its timeless imagery thriving with the vigour of life."
Published in Dec 2009
Sita – The Personification of Divine Womanhood
"The factum of Vishnu’s incarnation as Rama has been interpreted in terms of Rama’s act of eliminating Ravana....She has not only kept to the right track Indian womanhood, affording it the most perfect model....Sita, the term literally meaning ‘furrow’, the line made by plough, is the Vedic name of the goddess associated with the ploughed fields....It was for her emergence from fire that Sita is sometimes alluded to as Agnija....This gives Sita her name Raktaja, one born of blood.....Sita represents absolute devotion, unshakable faith, chastity, service, constant companionship and a desire to help accomplish his cause, besides her unique divinity with which blends the highest kind of womanhood....When Rama feared that the forest life, and that too for fourteen years, would be difficult for Sita, she relieves him of his reluctance by telling him that astrologers, considering the position of planets at the time of her birth, had predicted that she would pass a part of her life in the forest."
Published in Nov 2009
Sita – The Personification of Divine Womanhood
"The factum of Vishnu’s incarnation as Rama has been interpreted in terms of Rama’s act of eliminating Ravana....She has not only kept to the right track Indian womanhood, affording it the most perfect model....Sita, the term literally meaning ‘furrow’, the line made by plough, is the Vedic name of the goddess associated with the ploughed fields....It was for her emergence from fire that Sita is sometimes alluded to as Agnija....This gives Sita her name Raktaja, one born of blood.....Sita represents absolute devotion, unshakable faith, chastity, service, constant companionship and a desire to help accomplish his cause, besides her unique divinity with which blends the highest kind of womanhood....When Rama feared that the forest life, and that too for fourteen years, would be difficult for Sita, she relieves him of his reluctance by telling him that astrologers, considering the position of planets at the time of her birth, had predicted that she would pass a part of her life in the forest."
Published in Nov 2009
Deepawali: The Indian Festival of Light
"Light is the endless celebration, the man’s as also nature’s....The so far known earliest text that alludes to celebrating a night with multitudinous lights – a kind of the festival of light, is the Kama-Sutra by sage Vatsyayana....Some astrological studies have established that the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya was the same as the one on which Dipawali is celebrated....The Skanda Purana links Dipawali celebrations with the destruction of the demon king Bali and Vishnu’s incarnation as Vamana, the Dwarf....celebrations stretch into a group of at least five minor festivals and thus Dipawali is a festival of composite nature. The first of them is Dhana-Terasa....Lakshmi is unanimously revered as the presiding deity of Dipawali.... Dipawali begins its rituals with the joint worship of Lakshmi and Ganesh, one representing the primordial energy and the other who channeled it into creative process by controlling detriments."
Published in Oct 2009
Barahmasa: Songs Of Twelve Months
"Barahmasa, is the ‘songs of twelve months'....Inter-action-reaction of nature’s phenomena and human emotions.... The classification of the annual cycle into six ritus was more sensitive and minute. It was around then that a kind of inter-relationship between the changes of nature and man’s emotional world was first recorded.....Whatever their source, the Great Epics are the earliest reported poetry to comprise season descriptions....The passage begins with the description of the river’s beauty to which is added the description of Basant and Rama’s love-longings....Nature description is the core of many of Kalidasa’s works – Kumarasambhava, Meghdoot, Raghuvansa among others; however it evolves in its fullest accomplished form in the Ritu-samhara.....Not only literature, miniature painting and even music have resorted to the Barahmasa model for seeking in it narrative continuity, vivid imagery, intense emotions."
Published in Sep 2009
Sati and Shiva: Attachment to the Unattached
"One should never cultivate the habit of receiving too much respect or honor....It was with reluctance that I gave away my delicate young daughter to him in marriage....Sati Devi, the wife of Shiva, observed numerous airplanes carrying heavily ornamented beautiful women along with their spouses....One should never go the houses of those who look upon the visitor with a frown and angry looks....She burst out into copious tears and with her body trembling looked askance at Shiva as if to burn him down....Concentrating on the lotus feet of her beloved Lord Shiva, she became completely absorbed and lost track of everything else....However the gods and sages were still fearful of facing Shiva....It will find rest only on the shore of absolute faith."
Published in Aug 2009
Sati and Shiva: Attachment to the Unattached
"One should never cultivate the habit of receiving too much respect or honor....It was with reluctance that I gave away my delicate young daughter to him in marriage....Sati Devi, the wife of Shiva, observed numerous airplanes carrying heavily ornamented beautiful women along with their spouses....One should never go the houses of those who look upon the visitor with a frown and angry looks....She burst out into copious tears and with her body trembling looked askance at Shiva as if to burn him down....Concentrating on the lotus feet of her beloved Lord Shiva, she became completely absorbed and lost track of everything else....However the gods and sages were still fearful of facing Shiva....It will find rest only on the shore of absolute faith."
Published in Aug 2009
Concept Of Incarnation And Vishnu's Ten Avataras
"Elevation of the humblest, the fish, the most ignored, the tortoise, and the man's headstrong antagonist, the boar, first three of Vishnu's ten incarnations, to the status of the Supreme Being, not only generated reverence for all beings but also helped cosmic unity and equilibrium....The concept of incarnation has its origin in the Rig-Vedic mysticism....Texts have classified incarnations into three types....Significantly, world literature, to include Greek, Latin, European, Babylonian, and South Asian among others, abounds in tales of Great Flood with someone like Manu escaping it under Divine commandment. The Holy Bible (Genesis, Chapters 6, 7 and 8) in Noah's episode seems to recount an identical flood and emergence of God instructing Noah to make an ark....In his Buddhavatara Vishnu adopts an altogether different path to uphold 'dharma' - righteousness...."
Published in Jul 2009
Vishnu: Cosmic Magnification Of The Divine Being
"The dark waters of the child Vishnu’s myth transform into the grown-up Vishnu’s ocean of milk abounding in unique radiance..... Hence, Vishnu is not a mere sanctum deity or worshippers’ idol but also a deep cosmo-metaphysical principle that defines on one hand the principle of evolution, and on the other, manifests the Rig-Vedic theory of God’s oneness and unity of the cosmos....He is the only divinity whom the Rig-Veda seeks to personalise....His seated postures are rare except sometimes as in his manifestation as Yoga-Narayana, or in shrines like one at Badrinatha....Vishnu is believed to have abandoned Baikuntha and migrated to Tirumala, a hill-range in south India."
Published in Jun 2009
Vishnu: Cosmic Magnification Of The Divine Being
"The dark waters of the child Vishnu’s myth transform into the grown-up Vishnu’s ocean of milk abounding in unique radiance..... Hence, Vishnu is not a mere sanctum deity or worshippers’ idol but also a deep cosmo-metaphysical principle that defines on one hand the principle of evolution, and on the other, manifests the Rig-Vedic theory of God’s oneness and unity of the cosmos....He is the only divinity whom the Rig-Veda seeks to personalise....His seated postures are rare except sometimes as in his manifestation as Yoga-Narayana, or in shrines like one at Badrinatha....Vishnu is believed to have abandoned Baikuntha and migrated to Tirumala, a hill-range in south India."
Published in Jun 2009
Clinging To The Divine Name: The Purest, Highest Dharma
"Even after having atoned for a sin, and knowing very well that committing a sin is against our interest, we commit those very sins again and again....Many rivers cannot purify a pot of wine....Even after performing the atonements prescribed in the Vedic Scriptures, our mind again runs to towards sin....Thus the messengers of Shri Narayana convincingly explained to the Yamadutas the essence of 'Param-Dharma', meaning the 'Higher-Dharma'.....An extreme sinner is unable to fulfill the stipulated time allotted to him...Paramhamsas (ascetics of the highest order) are exalted people who have no taste for material enjoyment, but constantly drink the sweet fragrant honey of the Lord's lotus feet....The purpose of life is not just to create more good karmas, but to terminate karmas once and for all by transcending the entire karmic process....Engaged in karma over numerous lifetimes, by our very nature we are unable to place faith in any means which doesn't require a heavy dose of karma."
Published in May 2009
Sudama: The Unity Of The Apparent Duality
Sudama is one of the three names that the Vaishnava tradition inseparably clubs with the name of Krishna, two other being Radha and Balarama....As the Bhagavata Purana has it, one among the close friends of Krishna was a poor Brahmin....His devoted and faithful wife would bear any affliction but not that her husband went to bed hungry....Sudama was reluctant to disclose for his humble four handfuls of beaten rice could not be a gift to him who was the master of all three worlds....The Krishna-Sudama episode reveals strong mysticism..... Krishna was the Supreme Self present in all beings, and accordingly, Sudama was the individual self, a part of the Supreme Self, now separated from it but pining ever after to re-unite.
Published in Apr 2009
Mirabai : Saint, Singer And The Soul In Sojourn
"A postal address is not Mira's home-address....Mira was wedded to One Infinite who manifested in human, personal, beatific and joyous form of Krishna.....Mira's mother smiled at her innocence and picked the idol of Krishna and giving it to her said that he was her groom.....She yearns for Krishna but these are her own yearnings, not Krishna's.....Krishna had taken on him poison's evil effect with the result that his image turned blue.....Now her devotional life was in full swing. She moved in sadhus' company, danced and sang in temples.....When in her forties, Mira came to Dwarika. Now every moment of her life was devoted to Krishna.....Those who had seen her entering the temple never saw her coming out.....The moment Mira met Girdhara, sorrows vanished and happiness emerged, all agitations of mind and body extinguished, and the cycle of birth and death is destroyed. "
Published in Mar 2009
Kali: The Most Powerful Cosmic Female
"A fusion of contradictions is the essence of Kali's being, a mysticism which no other divinity is endowed with....In Kali's invocation, the devotee stands face to face with darkness....As suggests the term Kali, she appears to be the feminine aspect of Kala – Time, that being invincible, immeasurable and endless has been venerated as Mahakala – the Transcendental Time, represented in Indian metaphysical and religious tradition by Shiva....Skanda Purana links Kali's origin to Parvati. Initially Parvati had dark complexion for which Shiva used to tease her every now and then....Shiva asked her to compete him in dance to which Kali agreed....By nature, Kali is always hungry and never sated. She laughs so loud that all three worlds shake with terror....Guhyakali, literally meaning 'Secret Kali', is Kali's esoteric aspect, which only those well versed in the Kali tradition know....Yoga perceives Kali as Kundalini Shakti....Kali's disruptive behaviour, unkempt appearance, confronting activities and involvement with death and defilement are what better suit Tantra, especially the Vamachara Tantrism....To the Tantrika, Kali's black is symbolic of disintegration; as all colours disappear in black, so merge into her all names and forms."
Published in Feb 2009
Kali: The Most Powerful Cosmic Female
"A fusion of contradictions is the essence of Kali's being, a mysticism which no other divinity is endowed with....In Kali's invocation, the devotee stands face to face with darkness....As suggests the term Kali, she appears to be the feminine aspect of Kala – Time, that being invincible, immeasurable and endless has been venerated as Mahakala – the Transcendental Time, represented in Indian metaphysical and religious tradition by Shiva....Skanda Purana links Kali's origin to Parvati. Initially Parvati had dark complexion for which Shiva used to tease her every now and then....Shiva asked her to compete him in dance to which Kali agreed....By nature, Kali is always hungry and never sated. She laughs so loud that all three worlds shake with terror....Guhyakali, literally meaning 'Secret Kali', is Kali's esoteric aspect, which only those well versed in the Kali tradition know....Yoga perceives Kali as Kundalini Shakti....Kali's disruptive behaviour, unkempt appearance, confronting activities and involvement with death and defilement are what better suit Tantra, especially the Vamachara Tantrism....To the Tantrika, Kali's black is symbolic of disintegration; as all colours disappear in black, so merge into her all names and forms."
Published in Feb 2009
Sari: Indian Woman's Globally Venerated Distinction
"A ritual in temple or at home, celebrating a birth or marriage or mourning a death, sari has its own sanctity on all occasions....Sari is an imaginative wear which the wearer drapes to her fancy using it to add volume to her frail figure or relieve it of its awkward bulk....Whatever the early Sanskrit denominations, the vernacular term 'sari', among others denoting Indian textiles, had evolved with specificity by the 14th century, if not before....Mirabai alludes to term 'sari' in her verses....It was Indian cinema that led sari to its all time heights of popularity."
Published in Jan 2009
Guru Nanak: His Life And Philosophy
"The young Nanak was often found engaged in cosmic questions and fundamentals of life....Mardana was fascinated by Nanak's sweet melodious voice, charming manners, human concerns, spiritual fervour and soul-touching quality of his verses....His clothes lying on the river bank led his kin and others to conclude that he had drowned.....Guru Nanak gave up his job and distributed all his belongings to poor....He sought the simplest possible path of 'Nam-simaran' – commemoration of His name, which beyond form and rites enabled man to enter into intimate communion with God. 'Those who condemn God's creatures condemn God Himself' is the underlying tone of many of his verses."
Published in Dec 2008
Guru Nanak: His Life And Philosophy
"The young Nanak was often found engaged in cosmic questions and fundamentals of life....Mardana was fascinated by Nanak's sweet melodious voice, charming manners, human concerns, spiritual fervour and soul-touching quality of his verses....His clothes lying on the river bank led his kin and others to conclude that he had drowned.....Guru Nanak gave up his job and distributed all his belongings to poor....He sought the simplest possible path of 'Nam-simaran' – commemoration of His name, which beyond form and rites enabled man to enter into intimate communion with God. 'Those who condemn God's creatures condemn God Himself' is the underlying tone of many of his verses."
Published in Dec 2008
Churning the Ocean - Samudra Manthan as a Roadmap for Sadhana
"A flower is the abode of Goddess Lakshmi....The nature of Lord Brahma is such that he can give only specific boons, but never lasting relief from distress....Effort is the vehicle of divine grace....The movement of the massive mountain on the back of the tortoise made God feel as if someone was pleasantly scratching his back....Seeing their distress Lord Shiva was overwhelmed with compassion....Only the one, who like Lord Shiva, bears of the Ganga of knowledge on his head can survive them.... Goddess Lakshmi, shining like a creeper of gold, holding a garland in her arms, set out in search of a suitable spouse....One who backbites or complains, has to face eclipses…"
Published in Nov 2008
Bharata: Brother of Rama and Ocean ofVirtues
"Bharata's non-use of arms does not define his passiveness or inaction but a different attitude of mind or a different choice of means for attaining a goal. He ruled but as would a saint, a saint-ruler in true sense....Otherwise a simple narration, this phase of Bharata's life adds some essential epical dimensions to the Ramakatha....Bharata's is a tragedy of a well-meaning noble soul who does no wrong but is always seen standing in witness-box giving clarification for things which, not only he did not do but weren't ever even in his perception....His meeting with Rama at Chitrakuta is one of the most emotional moments in the Ramakatha.....Tulsi adds a dramatic event, perhaps to cover Bharata's long absence, in the Ramakatha.....Rama fears that Bharata might even end his life if he fails to reach Ayodhya on the day the period of exile completes.....Often, in Bharata's acts and words Tulsi appears to be recording his own devotional crisis....."
Published in Oct 2008
Lakshmi - Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity
"As per Markandeya Purana, it is in her manifestation as Mahalakshmi that Devi kills Mahishasura....In Vishnu's Ardhanarishvara images, which are very rare, Lakshmi is represented as comprising Vishnu's left half...Thus, Lakshmi dually emerged in Vishnu's life, one, by realisation, and other, by manifestation....Main among Lakshmi's forms, other than her transforms, or her forms by re-birth or re-emergence, are her forms as Gaja-Lakshmi, Lakshmi-Ganapati and Deep-Lakshmi....As Shridevi, Lakshmi is the image of the supreme beauty conceived as heavily bejeweled."
Published in Sep 2008
Folk Arts: The Magic Of Raw Hands
"Folk art is the creative expression of those who uninfluenced by princely ostentation and ecclesiastic conservatism, revealed in lines and forms what they had within and around... Its definitions vary from the art of tribes, primitive people, ethnic groups to an art by family tradition... folk art in its entirety celebrates joy, festivities, ceremonial occasions, and shuns sensuousness, voluptuous modeling, more vehemently nudeness and all forms of obscenity... A folk painting is composed of overlapping forms, irrational anatomy, irregular imagery, and random motifs but its polyphonic character has an amazing coherence and unity... In folk art, ritualism rarely reflects but it has always sustained in ritualism..."
Published in Aug 2008
Folk Arts: The Magic Of Raw Hands
"Folk art is the creative expression of those who uninfluenced by princely ostentation and ecclesiastic conservatism, revealed in lines and forms what they had within and around... Its definitions vary from the art of tribes, primitive people, ethnic groups to an art by family tradition... folk art in its entirety celebrates joy, festivities, ceremonial occasions, and shuns sensuousness, voluptuous modeling, more vehemently nudeness and all forms of obscenity... A folk painting is composed of overlapping forms, irrational anatomy, irregular imagery, and random motifs but its polyphonic character has an amazing coherence and unity... In folk art, ritualism rarely reflects but it has always sustained in ritualism..."
Published in Aug 2008
Tantra: The Method Of Kindling Dormant Energies
Neither moral nor immoral, Tantra is beyond the 'moral'.... Suppression is not the way of Tantra. On the contrary, it harnesses the inherent, magnifies it and at times even multiplies, though not without awareness which is the essence of Tantra....Thus, man is the micro-miniaturized form of the cosmos. Summarily, the human body is microcosmic sample of the universe and is thus its representative form....Kundalini, the tool of kindling inherent energies in the Shiva-Shakti myth, is the essence of all Tantrika systems, and even Yoga and Vedic asceticism....'Mantra' – sacred syllable, spell, or incantation, is divine power clothed in sound....Thus, every 'Mantra' constantly draws its power from the Timeless Shiva and Shakti.
Published in Jul 2008
Ganesa: An Encyclopedic Survey
"Lord Ganesh is invoked for enshrining a child's slate before he draws on it his ever first alphabet....He is not invoked, or his name inscribed on papers or documents that seek dissolution of a marriage, partnership or firm, or declare bankruptcy, lunacy or disentitlement....An essentially cool, soft, calm, simple and benevolent being, he neither strikes awe nor inflicts pain, harm or punishment....A more popular and interesting myth attributes the loss of the tusk to the moon...... Largely a secular divinity Ganesh has no stifling rituals, sectarian rigidities, fastidiousness or taboos associated with him. He is alike loved and worshipped by all, whatever their social status or religious identity, and both, a hut and a palace, get from him equal protection and benefaction."
Published in Jun 2008
Dukha Mimamsa: The Nature, Cause (and Cure) of Suffering
"Long long ago, in the ancient city of Ujjain there lived a brahmin, who was however a brahmin in name only....Wherever that old brahmin, now in tatters, would go, wicked people would insult him terribly....He took each and every bit of suffering in his stride, reconciling himself with each of them, thoroughly working out the nature of "suffering"....The Planets cannot be the ultimate cause of our sukha (happiness) or dukha (suffering) because they affect only that which is born....Time or kala can be experienced as the present alone, and the present moment, down to the microsecond, can be divided and subdivided till time itself disappears and only the Self, the witnessing Presence alone remains.....Krishna shows just how a severe crisis or an extreme moment of suffering in our life can give us a highly creative impetus, propelling us on to the path of self-realization."
Published in May 2008
Shri Hanuman - Biography of a Masterful Servant
"In theology or tradition of devotion, no god of any pantheon in India is venerated so much for redeeming in crisis as Hanuman....Whatever Rama's attributes as the supreme God or Vishnu's incarnation, when broken hearted he wandered in search of Sita, Hanuman came to his aid....Accounts of Hanuman's birth and parentage in the Ramayana, Skanda Purana, Bhavishyottara Purana, Brahmananda Purana and some other texts are almost identical....Jain texts have quite a different legend of Hanuman's birth....Once Shiva, disguised as a monkey trainer, visited Ayodhya with Hanuman as an ordinary monkey dancing for its master....A monkey-like face and tail apart, the images of Hanuman, wearing a helmet-type crown and loincloth, pursue norms of human anatomy....Hanuman He breeds contemplative seriousness."
Published in Apr 2008
Tara and the Cult of the Female in Buddhism
"The feminine tenderness...define the epitome of Buddhist iconographic perception and art... Compassion - the softest aspect of being, man or divine, which was the core of Buddhism, best revealed itself in a female frame... The female in Buddhism...was its psychological need and comprised its spiritual structure... Tara, the principal Buddhist goddess conceived with a wide range of attributes and personality aspects, has in Buddhism the same status as Devi or Durga in the Brahmanical... White Tara manifests in seven forms... Many of Tara's forms are merely her attributes.... She is one throughout. Her attributes are two-fold, pacific and angry, or five-fold according to five sacred colors, pacific being white or green, and angry red, yellow or blue..."
Published in Mar 2008
Tara and the Cult of the Female in Buddhism
"The feminine tenderness...define the epitome of Buddhist iconographic perception and art... Compassion - the softest aspect of being, man or divine, which was the core of Buddhism, best revealed itself in a female frame... The female in Buddhism...was its psychological need and comprised its spiritual structure... Tara, the principal Buddhist goddess conceived with a wide range of attributes and personality aspects, has in Buddhism the same status as Devi or Durga in the Brahmanical... White Tara manifests in seven forms... Many of Tara's forms are merely her attributes.... She is one throughout. Her attributes are two-fold, pacific and angry, or five-fold according to five sacred colors, pacific being white or green, and angry red, yellow or blue..."
Published in Mar 2008
Saraswati From Vedas To Our Altar
"One who has her origin direct from the mouth of God is Saraswati....When talking of Ushas the Rig-Veda alludes to her as one who unveils herself to the sun as does a bride before her groom...The Rig-Veda liberally elaborates her personality, spiritual in particular - something it has not sought to do in case of most other deities...The Yajur-Veda treats her almost like a physician...The Puranas, too, take up the issue as to whether Saraswati was a river or a goddess and also seek to settle it finally....Puranas attribute to Saraswati several exploits involving unique wisdom and prowess....Her figures brim with unique vigour and timeless youth....Kashmir's classical script is named as Sharda after her name....Saraswati is an auspicious presence that elevates the mind and promotes right knowledge."
Published in Feb 2008
Jatakas: A Tale-Tell Vision of Buddhism
"Jatakas were the tales that emanated direct from the mouth of the Great Master....Jatakas are the root source for a number of stories in the Pancha-tantra except that unlike the Jatakas which aimed at educating common masses the stories of the Pancha-tantra were composed for educating princes....Quite like the theory of evolution, the Buddhism saw every entity as something evolved after a long chain of births, a flower taking millions of years before it evolved as a flower.....Each Jataka has its own lead role hero, other characters, set of events, places where the drama is enacted and the perfection which it reveals....The world of the Jatakas is absolutely human. Whatever a being's birth – man, bird, animal, serpent, god, Kinnara, Yaksha, Gandharva, ghost…, it behaves like a human being and speaks his language using his diction and idiom.....Long ago, king Mahajanaka ruled Mithila. He had two sons, Aritthajanaka and Polajanaka....Whatever without possessions would not be destroyed. He decided to renounce kingship and palace as they abounded in greater possessions."
Published in Jan 2008
The Poetics of Pretext - Krishna's Names in the Bhagavad Gita
"Once Shri Krishna knocked at Shrimati Radharani's door....Krishna introduced himself with various names, the meanings of which were taken differently by Radharani than that intended by him....In the Bhagavad Gita there are forty different names used by Arjuna to call upon Shri Krishna.....Obeying Arjuna's command, Krishna drove the chariot in between the two armies.....Krishna is the ultimate attraction, and like a magnet drawing iron files towards it, he too naturally attracts his devotees....Here there are two modes of addressing Krishna: Keshava and Bhagvan, both of which are loaded with spiritual and contextual relevance....The 'nameless' has a thousand names and it is through these names that the 'nameless' is to be realized."
Published in Dec 2007
The Poetics of Pretext - Krishna's Names in the Bhagavad Gita
"Once Shri Krishna knocked at Shrimati Radharani's door....Krishna introduced himself with various names, the meanings of which were taken differently by Radharani than that intended by him....In the Bhagavad Gita there are forty different names used by Arjuna to call upon Shri Krishna.....Obeying Arjuna's command, Krishna drove the chariot in between the two armies.....Krishna is the ultimate attraction, and like a magnet drawing iron files towards it, he too naturally attracts his devotees....Here there are two modes of addressing Krishna: Keshava and Bhagvan, both of which are loaded with spiritual and contextual relevance....The 'nameless' has a thousand names and it is through these names that the 'nameless' is to be realized."
Published in Dec 2007
Lost and Found: The Universal Biography of Two Swans
"It was there that the king laid his eyes on a charming damsel of superb beauty....She was of an attractive dark complexion and was wearing a yellow colored sari.....Every living entity is supposed to be the king of its own body since it has the full freedom to use the body as it likes....We sometimes wish to obtain a beautiful wife, for which Goddess Parvati needs to be worshipped....In the world, whether one is a man or a woman, one wants to enjoy.... A man wants to enjoy a beautiful woman, while a woman wants to enjoy a powerful man....Since no one in this world would mate with her willingly....All men in this world were women in their previous births."
Published in Nov 2007
Navaratri - Celebrating the Symbolic Vision of the Goddess
"It is only the supremely compassionate Goddess Durga who gives space in her image to the principal demon she has killed, thus ensuring that he too is worshipped along with her....The goddess as restful sleep is an apt metaphor signifying her motherhood.....While our whole day is spent in emptying our shakti, the compassionate goddess takes it on herself to continue replenishing it.....Sheds a clear enough light on the essential nature of the goddess, as no dry philosophical treatise can manage to do....Maya being none else than the goddess' divine power of self-concealment..."
Published in Oct 2007
Embracing at Times Square: Learning Love from The Gopis of Vrindavan
"The only true male in this world is Krishna, while the rest all are females....Loving god is different than merely believing in him....Of all the emotions in man, kama, or desire, is the strongest because he is born due to it....The gopis of Vrindavana are the ideal teachers from whom one can learn the art of loving god....A gopi is one who keeps her love and lover secret....In the highest state of love, there is no restraining screen between lovers....As Lakshmi tenderly presses Vishnu's feet with affection he dozes off in his yoga nidra....The same god who rules over the world runs barefoot after cows in Vrindavana....To catch her attention, Krishna walked slowly in front of her with a slow and dance-like gait....The gopis' affection for Lord Krishna is a supreme tribute to the creative power of love."
Published in Sep 2007
Avatara - When, Why and How?
"To get to the root of the concept of avatara, we also have to understand the meaning of dharma... The Indian tradition visualizes god and man as eternal companions.... Krishna clearly states why he takes avatara.... This seems like using a missile to kill a mosquito?....Incarnation has a higher purpose than the mere killing of evildoers... What kind of example can a god lamenting for his wife set for the world?... Krishna's lila is not to be emulated but meditated upon... What sort of message does god when taking the form of a pig (Varaha), or a fish want to deliver?... When the same current lights up a bulb it becomes especially manifest."
Published in Aug 2007
From Python to Prostitute: Learning from the Guru in Each
"She imagined each successive man to be a wealthy client who would give her plentiful money in return for her body....A mosquito drills through our own bodies to extract the red water that is its natural nourishment....Like the python, one should eat food obtained without any special effort....Acquisition of whatever we crave for is a certain source of misery. One who realizes this and overcomes the propensity for possession, becoming a have-not, enjoys everlasting happiness....Like a child I care for neither honor nor dishonor. I have no responsibility of home and family, and wander carefree in this world....She broke her bangles one by one, until only two remained on each wrist.....The serpent takes it easy, spending his time very conveniently, inhabiting holes made by others."
Published in Jul 2007
A Drop Becomes the Ocean: Bhakti and the Art of Living
"One of the travelers was a sadhu (saint). His reaction was opposite to the general one....There is no difference between god and his devotees....In the Mahabharata, Queen Draupadi once asked Krishna why he came so late to prevent her disrobing?....Here we recall Krishna, even though he is the supreme lord of the universe, running helplessly scared of his mother....When Radha woke up she saw him lying near her. From his whole form radiated her name: "Radhe Radhe." She too then fainted in intense ecstasy.....Chanting thus, she would toss one grain of rice into a bowl, and only use rice from that container for her consumption. She truly embodied the ideal of the Gita, where god says: "Whatever you eat, O Arjuna, do it as an offering to me"...."
Published in Jun 2007
A Drop Becomes the Ocean: Bhakti and the Art of Living
"One of the travelers was a sadhu (saint). His reaction was opposite to the general one....There is no difference between god and his devotees....In the Mahabharata, Queen Draupadi once asked Krishna why he came so late to prevent her disrobing?....Here we recall Krishna, even though he is the supreme lord of the universe, running helplessly scared of his mother....When Radha woke up she saw him lying near her. From his whole form radiated her name: "Radhe Radhe." She too then fainted in intense ecstasy.....Chanting thus, she would toss one grain of rice into a bowl, and only use rice from that container for her consumption. She truly embodied the ideal of the Gita, where god says: "Whatever you eat, O Arjuna, do it as an offering to me"...."
Published in Jun 2007
Devi: A Journey Through Texts and Contexts
"Rigveda acclaims that 'he who is described as male is as much the female....When invoking her in her entirety, describing her beauty, limb to limb, these hymns did not stop short of anything....Devi Bhagavata is the foremost of scriptures that consider Devi as the Adishakti, the divine power that preceded all things, all beings and all gods....Devi Mahatmya in the Markandeya Purana and other texts relate her origin to the elimination of Mahishasura, a mighty demon who once ruled the earth.....She also created her 'shaktis', subordinate powers.....As Kali she was ferocious, as Durga, valorous, and as Parvati, Uma or Gauri, lovable and incomparably beautiful."
Published in May 2007
The Gita Govinda: A Journey Into Realms Of Delight
"Krishna is realised in love and in his love reveals the supreme good; all fetters break and the loved one unites with him in absolute oneness....In between the period, when he left with Radha and made love with her, the child Krishna grows to such manhood as gives him competence to make love with a far matured woman. It was obviously a mystic magnification, not a growth on the scale of time....In the love-war passes the whole night...."
Published in Apr 2007
The Gita Govinda: A Journey Into Realms Of Delight
"Krishna is realised in love and in his love reveals the supreme good; all fetters break and the loved one unites with him in absolute oneness....In between the period, when he left with Radha and made love with her, the child Krishna grows to such manhood as gives him competence to make love with a far matured woman. It was obviously a mystic magnification, not a growth on the scale of time....In the love-war passes the whole night...."
Published in Apr 2007
The Beauty of Beauty: An Aesthetic Journey Into The Ramayana
"To call anything beautiful is always the highest form of aesthetic praise....Sita was rendered mute like an untouched vina....Gold when heated shines in even greater splendor....Sita's braid is like a serpent, making it clear that it would be fatal for a man (except her husband) to touch her....Hanuman's quest is suggestive of a much deeper symbolism than a mere search for the 'physical' Sita....Bhakti is not a path, but the goal of life....The supreme feminine emotion is to nourish her children....Rama is beautiful because of Sita."
Published in Mar 2007
Parvati's Quest: Understanding the Essence of Shiva
"Shiva is an embodiment of the three principal themes of Indian philosophy....The marriage of Shiva and Parvati was preceded by a long interval of courtship. It was no ordinary engagement however....Shiva was tempted enough to touch her, and Parvati, tantalizing him, withdrew....She would exist only as an intense flame burning for Shiva....Tapasya means to gradually start bringing restraint into our lives....She was no different from the way trees live in this world....Though he possesses nothing, he is the source of all possessions....Inevitable union between male and female…"
Published in Feb 2007
Parvati's Quest: Understanding the Essence of Shiva
"Shiva is an embodiment of the three principal themes of Indian philosophy....The marriage of Shiva and Parvati was preceded by a long interval of courtship. It was no ordinary engagement however....Shiva was tempted enough to touch her, and Parvati, tantalizing him, withdrew....She would exist only as an intense flame burning for Shiva....Tapasya means to gradually start bringing restraint into our lives....She was no different from the way trees live in this world....Though he possesses nothing, he is the source of all possessions....Inevitable union between male and female…"
Published in Feb 2007