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Newsletter Archive

Showing 97 to 120 of 209 results
Showing 97 to 120 of 209 results
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 of
Virtues
"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
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
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
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
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 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
Dying After Death: The Buddha's Final Liberation
To understand Buddha's approach to death we have to go back to his life....Death is the only certainty in this uncertain world....The only way to defeat death was to die before death....suggesting each of us to live like islands, detached from the world...."Whether my body remains or I pass away - it will be the same, because even then my Dharmakaya (the Dharma preached by me) will remain in this world."....Out of compassion for his fellow beings, Buddha continued to survive physically even after Nirvana.
Published in Jan 2007
Textiles and Costumes in Early India
"Three conventionalised modes of clothing - one, for the divine female representing fertility, abundance and beauty; two, for an ecclesiastical being; and three, for an entertainer....defined his distinction, rank and role in society. Manu prescribes Brahmins' sacred thread to be made from cotton yarn. No two figures in Ajanta murals wear a similar costume. Ajanta damsels knew multifarious styles of putting on a sari. Ordinarily, a sari was tied on pelvis wrapping both legs....It was worn on body's middle part, that is, from breasts to knees....Designer Blouse from Ajanta which can be the Envy of any Modern Woman."
Published in Dec 2006
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