Avani Avittam 2015.
Here are couple of links for resourses related to Avani avittam.
Many documents in one location regarding Avani Avittam 2015. Thanks to K Raman ji for compiling this.
धर्मो रक्षथि रक्षितः || Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitaha || Dharma protects those who protect it !
Avani Avittam 2015.
Here are couple of links for resourses related to Avani avittam.
Many documents in one location regarding Avani Avittam 2015. Thanks to K Raman ji for compiling this.
Quotes from various sources on the Importance of Gayatri Manthra. Published on “Arulamudam” book by Rama.Aranganathan in Tamil.
Sharing this in the interest of reviving Nithya Karma and Karmanushtana as advocated by our Shastras and Guru parampara.
More resources on Sandhyavandanam and Gayatri can be found at
We are glad to release the 32nd Issue of our eMagazine “AMRITHA VARSHINI” today on the auspicious occassion of Ashadi Ekadasi coupled with Anusham.
Kindly read and share your valuable feedback to us.
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A melodious and blissful Ghana Parayanam at Sringeri Sharadha Peetam.
Insightful article about 1. Significance of Vedas 2. How Vedas are organized 3. The art & science of Vedic Chanting 4. The plight of today’s Vydicaas in India.
Rescuing our Vedic Priesthood – Dr. S. Yegnasubramanian
I. Our Scriptures The word Veda is derived from the Sanskrit root vid which means “to know”. Since our religion follows the vedic injunctions, it is known as “Vedic Religion”. The word religion implies the meaning of dharma. The texts that give us the complete knowledge of dharma are called dharma- pramANa. They are fourteen in number and are: four Vedas, six VedAngas (the organs of the Vedas), and four UpAngas (secondary organs of the Vedas). 14= 4 Vedas +6 VedAngAs+4 UpAngas = VidyaAstAna These fourteen texts are glorified as vidyAsthAna’s – the abode of true knowledge and wisdom. (See Appendix 1 for a comprehensive list of our scriptures and what they deal with). As codified by Sage Veda Vyasa, all four Vedas put together had 1,131 SakhAs (branches). However, only 10 are available today, and of those, only two are nearly complete! The Vedic literature can be broadly classified into four groups: 1. SamhitA: the mantra portion; 2. BrAhmaNas: the portion dealing with rituals; 3. AraNyakas – the forest texts, and 4.Upanishads – the portion dealing with Vedic philosophy. The principles of Dharma as embodied in our religion are all centered on the Vedas.
2. Glory of the Vedas Apasthambha Sutra describes Vedas as the Pramana: (authority – pramanam vedasca). Manu Smriti hails them as vedokhilo dharma moolam (the root of dharma); Bhagavan Sri Krishna says: vedaisca sarvair-ahameva-vedya: (I am known through the Vedas). The Vedas are Infinite (anantA vai vedA;); They are the very breath of Iswara: (yasya niSvasitam vedA:) They are without beginning: (anAdi) and of non-human origin (apourusheya.) They teach the glories of all creations and the principles of dharma and enshrine true knowledge and wisdom. That is why our scriptures proclaim: vedo nityam adheeyatAm tad uditam karma svanushtIyatAm (practice the Vedas daily; practice well their prescriptions) It is our great fortune that we have inherited such a rich and cherished dhArmic tradition. It should be our foremost duty and goal to preserve such a tradition. Our ancestors led a peaceful and contented life following the path set by the Vedic guidelines. That path withstood the tests of historic times and was smooth to follow without obstacles.
3. The guardians of our scriptures – the Vedic Priests Wayne Howard, in his book “Veda Recitation in Varanasi” writes: “ The four Vedas are not “books” in the usual sense, though within the past hundred years each Veda has appeared in several printed editions. They are comprised rather of tonally accented verses of hypnotic, abstruse melodies whose proper realizations demand oral instead of visual transmission….. The ultimate authority in Vedic matters is never the printed page but rather the few members of the Brahmana caste who are today keeping the centuries-oldtraditions alive. However, the Vedas are approaching a point in history, which willdetermine whether they survive or slip into extinction. They have shown remarkable vigor and perseverance in the past – thriving under potentially destructive political, economic, and religious upheaval – but whether they can withstand the accelerated rate of social change in the twentieth century is a formidable question which leaves their future in grave doubt”. No – that doubt should never be allowed to sustain. Because, if Vedas have to perish, it amounts to the destruction of dharma itself, the root of an entire civilization, culture and tradition. However, as Howard had correctly observed, the ultimate authority of Vedas lies with the vedic priest , who, through a tradition of oral transmission, has been propagating them over generations.
4. Vedic Chanting – a perfectly formulated oral tradition The Vedas are called ‘Sruti”- which means, what is heard. It is never read from a text, since the recitation of any veda mantra should conform to the following six parameters, namely,
If any of these parameters is not maintained, it would change the meaning of the mantra itself, leading to even diametrically opposite effects! In the absence of a written text, our rishis had devised many ways to prevent even a small error to creep in to the recitation of the veda-mantras. These fool-proof methods used to chant each veda-mantra in various patterns and combinations are known as : vaakya,pada, krama, jaTA, mAlA, SikhA, rekhA, dvaja, danDa, ratha, and Ghana. Among these, vAkya, pada, krama, jaTa and Ghana methods of chanting are more popular and let us analyze them only here. Vaakya or samhitA pATha is to recite a mantra in a sentence straight with appropriateintonations. In sentences, some of the words have to be conjoined in chanting. In padapAtha, a sentence is broken down to ‘words’ or pada’s, which gives the student theknowledge of each word. In the krama method, the first word of a sentence is added to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth and so on, until the whole sentence is completed. This method enables the student to understand not only individual words but also how the words combine in recitation with the attendant modification of the svaras. Scholarly priests capable of reciting the entire veda-SakhA in the krama format is given the title kramavit. In the jaThA method, the first word and the second word are recited together and then the words are recited in the reverse order and then again in the original order. For example, in the krama method, if they are recited as 1-2;2-3; 3-4; 4-5 etc., in the jaThA method, they are recited as 1-2-2-1-1-2; 2-3-3-2-2-3; 3-4-4-3-3-4 and so on. Scholarly priests capable of reciting in the jaThA method are given thetitle “jaThAvallabha”. The Ghana method is more difficult than the above where thecombinations of words will be 1-2-2-1-1-2-3-3-2-4-4-2-3; 2-3-3-2-2-3-4-4-3-2-2-4 and soon. A priest who can recite in the Ghana method is given the title ghanapAThi. These methods of complicated recitations in a oral tradition were devised in order to preserve the purity of the word, the sound, intonation, pronunciation, accent and sound combinations of the vedamantras. By repeating the words in manifold ways, the correct tally of words was also kept which has naturally ensured its purity. To enable the scholars to take up the difficult methods recitiation, it was believed that, more difficult methods of chanting earned more puNya or merit!
5. The Merit, and the Plight of a Vedic Scholar Today Just to illustrate what it takes for a priest to earn the title of a ghanapAThi, let us briefly analyze what is involved in the training. For illustration, let us consider only one portion of the krishNa yajur veda, called the taittiriya samhitA. In this portion there over 2,000 pancASat’s (1 pancASat = 50 pada’s), amounting to 109,308 pada’s. We can roughly assume each pada to have 3 syllables, thus totaling ~330,000 syllables. In the Ghana method of chanting, each syllable gets repeated 13 times, thus amounting to 4,290,000 utterances. And each of these utterances have to conform to all the six parameters discussed earlier. Only when a person becomes capable of reciting this in any order asked, gets the title of a ghanapAThi. This is for only one samhitA portion in krishna yajur veda alone. Then there is Sukla yajur veda, rig veda, sAma veda, and atharva veda. There were scholars proficient in more than one veda as evident from the names dvivedi, trivedi and caturvedi. In addition, there are other samhitA portions, brAhmaNa portions, AraNyaka poritons, and the Upanishads, in the vedic scriptures alone. After proficiency in ghanapATha, some learn lakshaNa-ghanapATha, which deals with the characteristics of each letter, its origin, how it has to be emphasized in a mantra, its varNa, the presiding deity, etc etc. Then there are purANa’s, dharma-Sastras etc. All these were learnt without any book, tape or any such instruments in the oral tradition, and were stored just in ~200 grams of the human brain! And the most interesting thing is, it was not that one or two individuals who were proficient in this dharma, but an entire society was well versed in this! Such a scholarship takes well over 25 years of intense education in a gurukulam, in addition to observing all the religious disciplines! Having analyzed what it takes for a vedic priest to become a ghanapAThi, let us look at his plight in modern day society. When there is so much of respect and recognition for all other secular professionals – be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, scientist, businessman, artist etc. – the respect and the compensation extended to these vedic scholars are patheticallyfar below standards. On the one end we are all proud to inherit such a rich and cherished vedic tradition, but, on the other, not being sensitive enough or even negligent towards preserving and transferring it forward. At this rate, what were originally 1,131 SakhAs, and are only 10 today, will further deteriorate leading to a great loss to human-kind. The only guardians of this rich tradition are the vedic priests. Because of the way the society treats them and the poor compensation, they are not motivated to send their children to vedic schools (pAThaSAlA’s). Generally they come from economically backward families, and so they drop out of schools early, striving to make a living and to support their poor families. All others who have already migrated to secular education are not going to revert back to vedic learning in the traditional sense. In addition, the personal discipline to be observed by the vedic priest being so stringent (otherwise, the rituals and mantras are believed not to give the desired result, and to even bring demerit), it makes one to shy away even more. When compared to the status of priest-hood in other religions, the plight of the vedic priest is really sad.
6. What can be done to bring back the lost glory of the vedic priest ? Even though the situation appears very gloomy, there is lot of hope today. The very fact that a forum like this wants to address this issue itself is very encouraging. Following are some of my thoughts to help foster and propagate this tradition, though by no means exhaustive: 1. The first step is for every member of this varNa to be aware of what we have in our vedic scriptures and become sensitive to this education. 2. Even if one may not have time or may have other limitation to learn, observing the disciplines, one could at least support those who learn, and the pAThaSAlA’s that teach. 3. Many of the teachers in these pAThaSAlA’s are highly under-paid and they continue to teach just to foster this dharma. With the affluence of the NRI community, support can be given to increase the compensation for the teachers and stipend to the students. 4. Scholarships for advanced vedic learning can be implemented to motivate students not to discontinue from a full curriculum due to economic reasons. 5. Most of the mantra’s employed in rituals are from Vedas. Actually rituals(samskAras) are aimed at developing the eight inner values (Atma guNa’s),which are: compassion (dayA), patience (kshamA), free from jealousy(anasooyA), purity (soucam), keeping cool (anAyAsam), not beingmiserly(akArpaNyam), absence of attachment (aspruhA), and peace (mangaLam). The more we shy away from rituals, more are the chances of losing those mantra’s, since less will be the motivation for the priest to practice them! 6. There can be awareness courses on samskAra’s (there are ~ 41 samskAra’s from conception to cremation!), so that every member of the varNa will develop an interest and faith in them. Such faith will increase their respect for the vedic priest as an AchArya. 7. We believe that giving dAnam (gift) to a priest washes our sins. The priest gets this power because of his vedic knowledge. Hence, the compensation for the priests should be given with faith, humility and sincerity so that, it is not just a compensation for a job done, but an offering (sambhAvanA) for blessing our families in the name of Vedas. Unless this varNa raises to bring back the glory of the vedic priest, it may be difficult to expect others to raise to this call. After all, religious practices are only for the believers, and these discussions are aimed at those who have an implicit faith in this dharma. With a renewed thrust and commitment, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The vedic-priesthood will certainly become well respected in society with this awareness. Institutions like the Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation Inc. USA, organize mega yajnas like the ati-rudra-mahA-yajna of 1997 bringing ~100 vedic scholars from India, essentially to appreciate and respect the vedic priest-hood, in addition to showing to the present and the future generation, how an authentic vedic ritual could be conducted, even outside of India, and how such knowledgeable priests are available even today. Source Material: 1. “The Vedas”, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay 1988 2. “Rescuing our Vedic Pundits”, Dr. S. Yegnasubramanian, Page 9, The Hinduism Today, Dec. ‘97 About the Author: Dr. Yegnsaubramanian (Dr. Mani) is the Chairman of the Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation, and the Sanatana Dharma Foundation, USA. He is also the advisor for several temple organizations within USA, Canada and India. Dr.Mani has been teaching vedic/puranic scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta for the past two decades in New Jersey, to groups of adults and children. He is the editor and publisher of the international journal, Paramaartha Tattvam in which he writes regularly on various topics of Vedanta, vaidika samskaras, and bhakti in general. He was the general chairman of the first Ati-rudra Mahayajna conducted in the Poconos in 1997 and the Satachandi yajna in 2001. Under the auspices of the Sringeri Shankar Mutt, he organizes veda sammelans all over India every year involving thousands of vedic scholars. He was a trustee and the Chairman of Religious affairs of the Bridgewater temple from inception until the kumbhabhishekam in 1998. He gives lectures and short courses on sanatana dharma, scriptures, and Vedanta, all over USA and Canada. He represents the Hindu Faith in Interfaith Forums and conducts Youth Forums. He was awarded the title of “Dharma-rakshA-mani” by the Shankaracharya of Kanchi in 2003. Dr. Mani is a scientist by profession who retired from Bell Labs. in 2001. He works presently at Andrew Corporation in Warren, NJ and lives with his family in Skillman, NJ.
Our Scriptures (Dr. S. Yegnasubramanian)
I. Vidyasthanas (Source of Supreme Knowledge) – 14
II. Upa Vedas (4) 1. Ayurveda Science of Life 3. DhanurvedaScience of Weaponary and Warfare 2. Artha SAstras – Science of Wealth /Economics 4. Gandharva veda Treatise on fine arts, music,etc.
III. Aranyakas and Brahmanas – Vedic Scriptures learnt and interpreted by Rishis in the forests are Aranyakas and those interpreted in homes for homely use are Brahamanas:
Upanishads: are placed towards the end of Aranyakas. They deal with aspects of realizing through the path of knowledge (jnana marga), the nonduality (abhedha) of Brahman. They are considered as the quintescence of Vedas.
PrasthanatrayI: (Texts on Tattvajnana – Knowledge of Self – Metaphysics): 1. Upanishads; 2. Bhagavad Gita; 3. Brahmasutras; 2 & 3 are not vedic scriptures, they are given this status due to their content.
32 Primary Vidyas:(Primary Knowledge) 4 Vedas, 6 Vedangas, 4 Upangas, 4 Upa Vedas, 2 Ithihasas, Tantra, Smriti, Nastikamata (agnosticism), 3 Sastras (artha, kama andshilpa), Alankriti (asthetics), Kavya (poetry), Desabhasha (linguistics), Avasaokti, Yavanamata, Desadhidharma.
More such articles at thapas.wordpress.com
From: VOJ Editorial
Date: Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Voice of Jagadguru
Please Click the Link to read the E Magazine “Voice of Jagadguru” June 2015 Issue.
Please Click the Link to Download the E Magazine “Voice of Jagadguru” June 2015 Issue.
Please Click the Link to Download the Sharadha Bhujanga Stothram With Sanskrit & English Version With Explanation in English Please Click:
Thanks & Pranams
Voice Of Jagadguru
आनो भद्रा: क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वत:
Let Noble Thoughts Flow from Everywher
Glad to release the 31st issue of our eMagazine Amritha Varshini today on the auspicious occassion of Jayanthi Mahotsavam of Kanchi Mahaperiyava.
Kindly pass on this to all your friends, family and groups.
Thanks to Anand Vasudevan
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Amritha Varshini is a spiritual magazine in english and tamil on bhakthi related topics, started in Jan 2012.
Sri Anand Vasudevan is the editor and has published more than 30 issues. Every issue has lots of information to read and benefit.
Here is the permanent link to see every magazine that is published until now in downloadable pdf format.
All future issues of Amritha Varshini magazine will be catelogued here as they are published.
In BhAratham, Shankara Jayanthi is falling on April 23rd Thursday.
In US, Shankara Jayanthi is falling on April 22nd Wednesday (According to mypanchang.com and drikpanchang.com)
Shankara Jayanti is observed on Vaisakha Shukla Panchami, fifth day in bright half of Vaisakha masam or Vaisakh month.
Adi Shankara’s contribution to the resurrection of Hinduism and his exposition on Advaita Philosophy is unfathomable and needs no mention.
Even though it is a working day on this year’s Shankara Jayanthi, let us close our eyes for 60 seconds and pray to Lord Dakshinamoorthy with Gratitude for giving Adi Shankara to us on this Jayanthi dinam.
|Lord Shiva, also known as Dhakshinamurthy, who spreads the Universal Truth not by words but by his silence and by his sign of his hand which is held in the form of “Chin Mudra”.About 2500 years ago, when the spiritualisation of the people greatly reduced, all the Gods and the Rishis went to Kailash and pleaded with Lord Shiva to revive the world. Lord Shiva agreed with their request and informed that he will be born in this world. Lord Brahma, Indra and others also agreed to be born in this world to help Lord Shiva.|
|In Kaladi, Kerala, a learned brahmin, by the name of Sivaguru, and his wife, Aryambal, spent their life in pooja and in giving alms to poor and in other good deeds. This childless couple went to Trichur and performed puja for 48 days to Lord Vadakkunathan (Lord Shiva) and prayed for a son. Lord Shiva melted in their devotion and appeared before them and told them “I am extremely happy with your devotion and you will get what you want. But tell me whether you want a number of dull children or a son who is extremely intelligent, who will live for a short period only.” The couple replied the decision could not be theirs as the Lord knows what is good for them.|
|Lord Dakshinamurthy, pleased with the reply, was born to Aryambal under the star “Thiruvaithhirai”. As the Lord had already promised that he will be born to do good to this world, the child was named Sankara. Sam means prosperity and Karathi means te giver. All the visitors stood in awe at the divinity of the child and said “This is not an ordinary child”.|
|As Shankara grew up, he attraced everybody with his intelligence and kindness. At the age of three, he was given “Aksharabyas”, i.e., the learning of writing and reading. At the age of four, he lost his father. At the age of five, he was initiated in Brahmacharyam i.e., the holy thread ceremony was conducted and he was sent to Gurukul for learning of scriptures. As per the practice the brahmachari has to go from house to house and take alms and submit this to his guru. On a Dwadasi day Sankara happened to go to the house of a very poor lady jand asked for the alms. The lady did not have a single grain of rice in her house to give. However she had kept a single Amla fruit for herself as it was a Dwadasi day. She unhesitatingly gave this Amla fruit to Sankara as she could not send a Brahmachari empty handed. Sankara was moved by her selflessness and the poverty of the lady and prayed to Goddess Lakshmi in a beautiful sloka which is called “Kanaka Dhara Stotram”. On completion of this stotram, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in person and showered a rain of golden coins on the poor lady’s house.|
|One day, the rishis came to him and reminded him of his duty to the land in spreading spiritualism. Sankara agreed it was time to become a Sanyasi and go all over the country to kindle religious ferver.One day when Sankara was taking bath, a crocodile caught hold of his leg. Sankara called out to his mother. Aryambal came running and to her horror she found her son in the grip of the crocodile and she cried that se did not know how to help her son.
Sri Sankara informed his mother that his life was nearing to an end, but if he became a Sanyasi, he could start a new life as a sannyasi. Thus Sri Sankara obtained permission from his mother to become a sannyasi.
|Sri Sankara went in the search of a Guru to be formally initiated as a Sannyasi. At the banks of the river Narmada, he found the river gushing forth into floods. By using his powers, he encapsulated the river in his Kamandal (a vessel sannyasi’s carry) and released it in the banks of the river. Sri Govinda Bagawathpathar, an ascetic who saw this, marvelled at Sri Sankara dn took him on as a Shishya.|
|Sri Govinda Bagawathpadar taught various vedas to Sri Sankara. He also taught about Advaita, the principle that every one in this world is the manifestation of God and that God and Atman are one and the same. He advises Sri Sankara to go out in the world and spread this truth throughout the country.|
|Sri Sankara went to Kasi and by that time, he had a lot of disciples. One of them, Sanandhyaya, was drying the clothes of his Guru and suddenly Sri Sankara called him to the other bank of the river as he needed the clothes urgently. Sanandhyaya, little realising that he would drown, starts walking into the river. However, the Grace of his Guru resulted in a lotus materialising wherever he was keeping his foot. When asked as to how did he cross the river, he says that when his Guru calls, he is not to worry about anything. Sri Sankara named him as Padma Padar (lotus feet).|
|Once, in Kasi, when Sri Sankara was going to the Vishwanath Temple, his path was blocked by an “untouchable” who was accompanied by his wife and 4 dogs. The disciples of Sri Sankara shouted at him to make way, and to keep a distance. The untouchable smiled and said, “”According to your principle of Advaita, which you practice, all the Jivatma are same as God. How do you ask me to go? How am I different from your Paramacharya? What you say is unreasonable. How can I go away from myself?”Sri Sankara realised that it was not an ordinary person and understood that it was Lord Shiva himself who had come along with His consort and the four Vedas. He prostrated before the Lord and sang five slokas called “Manisha Panchakam”. Lord Shiva presented himself along with Visalakshi and blessed Sri Sankara.|
|When Shri Sankara was 16, a very old Brahmin of ill health started arguments with him about Brahmasutra bashyam which Shri Sankara had written. Shri Sankara was astounded by his intelligence and arguments but they continued their discussion. The arguments continued for days together and the more Shri Sankara argued, his ideas crystallised more and more and he understood that the old man was none other than Vyasa Rishi, who was the creator of Brahmasutra. Sri Sankara said that he has done a great disrespect to the sage by entering into an argument. Vyasa Rishi said “I fully agree with your bashyam and I wanted to establish that yours is correct. I bless that you should live another 16 years and you should spread this Advaita throughout the country.”|
|Sri Sankara learnt that there was a great learned person by the name Mandana Mishra who lived in Mahishmati and who followed the Karma Mimaamsa method of devotion. Sri Sankara arrived at his house and found his house was closed and Mandala Mishra was carrying out some rituals inside his house. Sri Sankara entered the house by using his powers and entered the house. Mandala Mishra became very angry and shouted at Sri Sankara. But Sri Sankara smiled and explained the uselessness of such rituals.However, Mandala Mishra admired the intelligence of Sri Sankara and started discussions with him after completing the rituals. Sri Sankara said that there should be a judge to decide the winner and suggested that Sarasawani, the wife of Mandala Mishra, to be the judge. Sarasawani, who was extremely intelligent and learned, realised that Sri Sankara was none other than Lord Shiva, did not want to declare her husband as the loser. She suggested that both of them should wear a garland of flowers and whichever garland fades first, that person would be the loser. Naturally, Sri Sankara won.|
|As per the original condition, Mandala Mishra became an ascetic and started to leave the house. Unable to bear the separation, Sarasawani stood transfixed and told Sri Sankara that according to our faith, the husband and wife, even though have two bodies, are spiritually one and she would be incomplete without her husband.Sri Sankara accepted this and started discussion with this lady. Saraswani showered questions like rain and Sri Sankara gave very beautiful answers and Sarasawani acknowledged him, and followed Sri Sankara and her husband’s footsteps.|
|In their travels, they reached Sringeri in Karnataka, which is on the banks of Tungabadra. While Sri Sankara and Mandala Mishra were walking, Sarasawani did not move and stood fixed in the sands of Tungabadra. Sri Sankara turned back and realised by his divine powers that Sarasawani did not want to proceed any further and created a seat for her for spreading the Advaita. This seat is today called the Sharada Peetham or the Seat of Sharada. This was the first Mutt installed by Sri Sankara, with the direction that all the heads of the Mutts will be called Sankaracharayas and they will have a lineage of Shishyas or disciples.|
|When Sri Sankara was in Sringeri, he divined by his superior powers that his mother was in her deathbed, and as per his promise while taking Sanyas that he would be by her side while she breathes her last, he reached Kaladi and paid his last respects to the old lady. Aryambal was happy that her son had come back. Sri Sankara prayed to Lord Venkateswara who appeared in person and blessed Aryambal. Sri Sankara did the last rites for his mother but the people of Kaladi said that a Sanyasi does not have the right to do the last rites, but he did not hear that and carried the body of Aryambal and put her in the pyre himself and lit it himself.|
|After the death of his mother, he went all over the country and converted the people of other faith to Advaita. He revived a number of temples and using his powers, he established a number of Yentras in these temples to spread the blessings of Parasakthi. During his travels, he arrived at Mukambi, a religious place in Karnataka. A poor brahmin came to Sri Sankara with his deaf and dumb son and prostrated before Sri Sankara. Sri Sankara asked the boy, “who are you?”. The dumb and deaf child, for the first time, opened his mouth and explained, “The body is not me, it is the Paramatma who is my body.” Sri Sankara was pleased with his answer and he gave an amla fruit and named this boy as Hastaaamalakan. (Hastaa means hand and Amalakan means amala). Hastaamalaka became one of the principle disciples of Sri Sankara.|
|Sri Sankara, with his three principle disciples, namely, Padmapadar, Sureshwarar (Mandala Mishra) and Hastaamalaka, went from place to place, and preached Advaita. Sri Sankara gave intense training to his disciples. One of the other disciples, Giri, while listening to the discourses, would not ask any doubts, would not open his mouth, and would be silent all the time. Some of the other disciples thought that this Giri was a dumb idiot and did not know anything. One day, all the disciples were ready to listen to Sri Sankara’s discourses. Sri Sankara waited for Giri to arrive. Ultimately, Giri turned up but instead of keeping silent on that day, burst forth into eight slokas which had never been heard by the disciples earlier. These were the creation of Giri. On hearing this, all the disciples felt ashamed and praised Giri. These slokas are called “Thotaka ashtakam”. Giri was named as Thotakar by Sri Sankara.|
|Sri Sankara visited Thiruvidaimarudur in Tanjore district of Tamilnadu, which is a great religious place, and the ruling deity in the temple was Lord Shiva. The learned Saivites of the temple informed Sri Sankara that Lord Shiva is the creator and that they are all merely lowly life created by Lord Shiva, and if that was so, how does Sri Sankara say that they were one with the Lord ? They did not agree with the Advaita principle. Sri Sankara asked them to enter the temple. As they reached the Sanctum Santorum of the temple, their was a thunderous statement “Satyam is Advaita”. This was repeated thrice and it was also followed by a hand which came out of the Linga which conformed the truth. All the learned persons acknowledged the principle of Advaita and accepted Sri Sankara as their Guru. Even today, there is a Sankara Mutt at Thiruvaimarudur and there is a linga with a hand materialising out of it.|
|Sri Sankara visited Thiruvanaikar, near Trichy in Tamilnadu. In this temple, the Goddess Akhilandeswari was having a feirce power and people who went to have her darshan could not stand the fierceness of this Goddess. Sri Sankara created two sets of earrings which are called Tatankam and he presented these to the Goddess. The fierceness of the deity reduced. This tatankam, the earrings, has been maintained over time by the Acharyas of the Kanchi Mutt.|
|Sri Sankara visited Tirupathi and recited the Sloka “Vishnu pathathi keshanta stotra” which describes the Lord from his foot to the head. He wanted the people to visit the Lord in great numbers and get his blessings, he established an yantra. From that day the number of followers of the temple increased and is increasing day by day.|
|Arjuna tree is the tree of “Marutha” and the place where Lord Shiva appears as a Linga under this “Martha” tree is called Arjuna Kshetra. The Thiruvadaimaruthur which Sri Sankara visited earlier is called Madhyaarjunam. Srisaila, in Andhra, is called Mallikarjunam as Lord Shiva resides under a Marutha Tree which has also got Jasmine creepers on this tree. Sri Sankara visited this tree and became ecstastic on seeing the linga at the foot of this tree. His happiness flowed like the waves of a flood and became a sloka called Sivanandalahiri.|
|Near Srisailam, there is a forest called Hatakeshwaram, that no man enters. Sri Sankara entered this place and did penance for many days. During this time, a Kabalika, by name Kirakashan appeared before him. Kapalikas are a set of people who live in the burial grounds and pray to God by giving human and animal sacrifice. They were against Advaita which preaches love and affection and shuns violence. He asked Sri Sankara that he should give his body as a human sacrifice to Lord Shiva. Sri Sankara was happy to hear this request and agreed. Kirakashan was about to cut off Sri Sankara’s head when Lord Narasimha appeared in the form of a lion and killed Kirakashan.|
|Sri Sankara completed his travels and went to Badrinath. Lord Vishnu appeared before him and told that his sculpture in Alaknanda river should be taken out and a temple should be built for it. This temple is called Badrinarayan temple and is one of the important religious places for Hindus.|
On this happy juncture of Tamil/Vishu Newyear day I would like to share a masterpiece – a 15 minute show on how to present India’s cultulare heritage and technical prowess with pride in a forign country.
Under Shri Modi’s ‘Make in India’ Vision, INdia is shown in a brand new light we have never seen before. Even if you donot support or endorse modi, i request you to not miss this video.
Please watch with sound and in full screen and turn off your mobiles for 15 mins
Now Modi has showcased India with “Make In India” vision.
Until now India was showcased by our past politicians as a land of snake charmers and skull eaters.
Watch Modi’s speech after the 15 minute masterpiece, which is another masterpice showcasing the vision of Mision of India.
Vande Mataram – Jai Hind !!!
Yet another issue from Amritha Varshini magazine. Excellent paropakaram by Sri Anand Vasudevan.
Click here to download the pdf file.
Dasharatha means one who can run ten chariots at a time. Your body is Dasharatha, the ten chariots, which include the five organs of senses and the five organs of action. These take the mind into ten different directions.
The three names of Dashratha’s queens are also very interesting.
The first wife is Kaushalya, which means skill.
The second wife is Sumitra, which means good friend. There could be many friends, but not all are good friends. Many times, friends drag you in the wrong direction. Sumitra is one who takes you in the right direction.
The third wife is Kaikeyi, one who stands by your side, although she appears differently; but deep within, she does benevolence. It is like a doctor who gives you a bitter medicine, or a vaccination. As soon as the children see him, they start yelling and crying, but the vaccination does good to them. Similarly, Kaikeyi who apparently is not pleasant, but inwardly, does that which is good for you.
Dasratha did a yagya called Ashwamedha, after which he got four sons. Shwa means yesterday or tomorrow, Ashwa means today – not yesterday, nor tomorrow. It means it is eternal and the present moment. Medha means purification. Medha also means intellect. Ashwamedha means purifying the intellect by being in the present moment, purifying the spirit, the senses, the body-mind complex; going deep in the spirit.
When Dasharatha did the Ashwamedha yagya, Rama was born. This is the spiritual significance of Sri Rama’s birth. The words – ‘rays’, ‘radiance’, all these come from the Sanskrit root Ra, which means to shine, radiance, brilliance and light. Ma means within me, in my heart. ‘Rama’ means ‘the light in my heart’. When the mind in this body, with some skill gets into the present moment, it purifies the mind and the heart, and then Rama, the light in our heart, shines.
Four things come out of you when Ashwamedha is done. When your senses are purified, then what comes up is the Divine light in your heart (Rama), and awareness (Lakshmana). Then, you have no enemies (Shatrugnan), and all the talents (Bharat) come to you.
Message from From Art Of Living. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Excellent Pravachanam by Mullaivasal Krishnamurthy Shastrigal in Tamil. He starts with Samskritham in the first 5 mins.
Here is another series of talks by Mullaivasal Krishnamurthy Shastrigal that he refers in the above talk.
Aggressive religions have no God-given right to destroy ancient faiths and cultures
Religious conversion is a widely discussed topic in the Indian media these days. I think this issue needs to be thoroughly understood by all the people that count in every religion.
The world’s religions can be categorically said to be either aggressive or nonaggressive. Each religion has a certain promise in the form of an ultimate goal. Their faithful people try to live the prescribed life and reach the promised goal. Neither they nor their clergy are out to bring the people of other religions to their flock.
Zorastrians follow their religious tradition without attempting to convert anybody to their religion. This is true with the followers of the Jewish tradition, Vedic religion (now known as Hinduism), Shintoism, Taoism and the many other religions of various tribes in the world. I call these religious traditions nonaggressive because they do not believe in aggressive conversion.
Then there are religions like Christianity, whose theologies, containing a number of basic nonverifiable beliefs, advocate conversion. Evangelism and proselytization are sacred commitments of the entire cadre of the highly organized clergy. The clergy-inspired laity are not any less committed to conversion. They are zealous in their mission of preaching and conversion. In their zeal, the end more often than not justifies the means. From the days of the Inquisition, every attempt recorded in history to stop their program of conversion only stoked their flame of zeal.
As a result, many religions with their unique cultures have disappeared, leaving behind only mammoth relics, like the ones in Greece and Mexico. The loss of such great living cultures of the world is the mark of success for the zealous of the aggressive religions. The truth is that where there should be a sense of guilt and remorse, there is a sense of achievement and pride.
Many leaders of nonaggressive traditions think that the charity of the missionaries is designed to neutralize any protest from the native religious community. One cannot totally dismiss their thinking.
|Religious conversion by missionary activity remains an act of violence.|
Religious conversion by missionary activity remains an act of violence. It is an act of violence because it hurts deeply, not only the other members of the family of the converted, but the entire community that comes to know of it. One is connected to various persons in one’s world. The religious person in every individual is the innermost, inasmuch as he or she is connected to a force beyond the empirical.
The religious person is connected only to the force beyond he has now accepted. That is the reason why the hurt caused by religion can turn into violence. That is why a religious belief can motivate a missionary to be a martyr. When the hurt of the religious becomes acute, it explodes into violence. Conversion is violence. It generates violence.
Aggressive religions and nonaggressive religions are not on the same plank. Conversion is, therefore, a rank, one-sided aggression. The genius of the nonaggressive traditions cannot change, and therefore, they cannot be asked to do the same thing as the aggressive religions do.
Humanity cannot afford to lose any more of its existing living religious traditions and cultures. We want to enjoy the religious cultures of both Christianity and Islam as we also want to enjoy the cultures of Jews, Parsis, Taoists, Shintoists, Hindus and others. Humanity will not let a pyramid be razed to the ground by the Egyptian government to create a housing complex. Even though they are in Egypt, the pyramids are too ancient to be the property of that country. They are standing monuments of human genius–they belong to the whole of humanity. So, too, are all the monuments of the past lying all over the world.
Religion and culture are not often separable. This is especially true with the Hindu religious tradition.
The greeting word, namaste, is an expression of culture as well as religion. Even though a religious mark on the forehead is purely religious, it is looked upon as a part of Hindu culture. Rangoli [patterns drawn on the ground with rice flour] at the entrance of a Hindu house is not just cultural; it is also religious. Indian music and dance cannot separate themselves from the Hindu religious tradition. There is no classical dance, bharata natyam, without Siva Nataraja being there. The classical, lyrical compositions of Meera, Tyagaraja, Purandara, Dikshitar and many others are intimately connected to the Hindu religious traditions. Therefore, conversion implies destruction of this entire culture.
A committed Christian will not wear a tilakam, much less have rangoli in front of the house. If there is no rangoli at the entrance to a Tamil Nadu house, we immediately know that it doesn’t belong to a Hindu. A converted Christian woman ceases to wear Indian traditional clothes, like saris, etc. No Christian woman will wear a nose ring.
It is amazing how easily cultures disappear by the program of conversion through various means, leaving only dead monuments to be preserved for posterity. The living religious traditions, intimately woven into the fabric of their respective cultures, have to be allowed to live and thrive. Religious conversion should stop–the aggressive religions should realize that they are perpetrating violence when they convert. We want them to live and let others live.
Youtube videos on the same topic can be found here.
Here is the
29th Issue of Amritha Varshini E Magazine on the auspicious occassion of Maha Shivaratri.
Many Thanks to the hard work of Anand Vasudevan for publishing this magazine for many years now.
Excellent 19 min talk by Crazy mohan on the importance of knowing India’s heritage. He talks about Mahaperiyava and deivathin kural too.
Hindus use the word ‘Idol’ interchangeably to mean HIndu Gods that are worshipped in the stone or metal form.
If we know the correct meaning of ‘idol’ according to english dictionary , we will think twice about using this word in Hindu context.
In our Sanatana Dharma tradition, a murti (Devanagari: मूर्ति), ormurthi, or vigraha or pratima typically refers to an image that expresses a Divine Spirit (murta). Meaning literally “embodiment”, a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped.
Lets see the current meaning of the word from mariam webster website.
Please note the term “False god” and “a false conception”. Why should we use the word that was foisted on us by the british ?
The notion that the term murti is equivalent to the English word “idol” is a misconception.
Scholar Steven Rosen notes that early European missionaries were largely responsible for conflating the two terms by informing local Hindus that “idol” was the correct translation for “murti”.
Furthermore, scholar Diana Eck explains that the term murti is defined in Sanskrit as “anything which has definite shape and limits; a form, body, figure; an embodiment, incarnation, or manifestation.” Thus, the murti is more than a likeness; it is the deity itself taken “form”. The uses of the word murti in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita suggest that the form is its essence.” Thus, a murti is considered to be more than a mere likeness of a deity, but rather a manifestation of the deity itself.
The Murti is like a way to communicate with the abstract one God (Brahman) which creates, sustains, and dissolves creation. It is very interesting to note, that in Russian the word “morda” means some entity’s face or facial-expression which can hint at that original etymology.
The word Hindu ‘Idol’ is derogatory. Lets start to say ‘Murthi’ instead of ‘idol’ from today on.
For those who missed Sankara TV telecast, here are the videos of Sringeri shishya sweekara,
Uttaradhikari participating in Purusha sookta homa
Vyakhyana SImhasana and Mangalarati
Darshana of Sharadamba by the two Jagadgurus
ANugraha Bashana by Sri Vidhushekarabharati swamiji
Anugraha Bashana by Sri Bharathitheertha swamiji
Here is the pdf file of 28th issue of AmrithaVarshini
Jagadguru Bharati Tirtha Swamigal of Sringeri Sharada Peetha has nominated Sri Kuppa Venkateswara Prasada Sharma as his successor-designate.
On Jan 4, 2015, devotees assembled in Sringeri in large numbers to celebrate the the silver jubilee of Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji’s Peetharohanam.
At this historic event, the Jagadguru announced His decision, as divinely-ordained by Goddess Sharadamba, to accept Brahmachari Sri Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma as His successor-designate.
Video of Present Sringeri Acharya announces his sishya sweekara . Video in Kannada with English subtitles
The announcement happens around 29th minute of the video.
Photo of Jagadguru with his successor Sri Kuppa Venkateswara Prasada Sharma
Sri Kuppa Venkateswara Prasada Sharma with his parents.
Details of the successor to the peetam.
Family and Birthplace: Brahmachari Sri Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma (current age 22) was born in Tirupati in 1993 to Sri Kuppa Shivasubrahmanya Avadhani and Smt. Seetha Nagalakshmi. He belongs to the Kaundinya Gotra and is a native of Anantavaram, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh.
Age 5 to age 16:
The Brahmachari had his Upanayanam at the age of five and began his first lessons in Krishna Yajur Veda under his grandfather and Yajur Vedic scholar, Sri Kuppa Ramagopala Vajapeyayaaji. He continued his Vedic education up to Krishna Yajur Veda Kramanta under his illustrious father, who is currently serving as Principal of TTD Veda Pathashala in Tirumala and as Project Officer in Dharma Prachara Parishad managed by TTD.
Born in a family of disciples of the Sringeri Jagadguru, the Brahmachari had accompanied his father while the latter had come to Sringeri to participate in Dharmic activities in the years 2006, 2008 and 2009. The Darshan of Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji during these visits made a profound impact on the Brahmachari.
Age 16 to Age 22: The Brahmachari expressed his desire of studying Shastras directly under the Jagadguru in early 2009. With the blessings and consent of Jagadguru Mahaswamiji, the Brahmachari took refuge under His Lotus Feet of the in June 2009. Under the tutelage of the Jagadguru, the Brahmachari mastered the Sanskrit language. Then, the Jagadguru Himself taught the Brahmachari the entire Tarka Shastra. The Brahmachari is endowed with Guru Bhakti, scholarship in the Vedas and Shastras, adherence to tradition and dispassion.
The Shishya Sweekara ceremony will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of January 2015 at Sringeri. The Jagadguru will initiate the Brahmachari into Sannyasa on 23rd January 2015.
(Courtesy : Sringeri Mutt Official Press Release)
In several Anugraha Bhashanams, Sringeri Jagadguru emphasized the importance of doing Sandhyavandhanam.
A rough translation below:
Links of Sringeri Jagadguru’s Anugraha Bhashanam on Sandhyavandhanam:
Source of this article: Sringeri Videos page in Facebook
More articles about Sandhyavandanam from Kanchi Mahaswami and others can be found here
Here is the audio of the two line shloka on the present Sringeri Acharya Sri Bharathi Theertha Swamigal.
This is a different audio version of what you hear when you visit sringeri.net home page.
I believe the singers are Sringeri Sisters. I do not know the exact names of the artists singing this slokha.
Video of the Slokha on Sringeri Acharya
Audio mp3 of Slokha on Sringeri Acharya
Lyrics of the slokha
श्रीगुरो पाहि मां परम दयालो पाहि माम् ।
शृङ्गेरिजगद्गुरो पाहि मां भारतीतीर्थ पाहि माम् ॥
SRI GURU PAHIMAM PARAMA DAYALO PAHIMAM
SRINGERI JAGADGURO PAHIMAM SRI BHARATI TIRTHA PAHIMAM
On the 67th Independence day of BhArath, here is a calming and mesmerizing tamil poetry on BhAratha mAtha ; composed by freedom fighter and renowned tamil poet Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar (1882 to 1921) and sung by BhAratha Ratna MS SubbuLakshmi in the 1980s.
Every word in this tamil poem is filled with devotion to mother pArvathi as BhAratha mAtha. Those who can understand Tamil will enjoy this deep and emotional composition.
Even people who do not understand tamil can read the translation and enjoy the poem. The depth of meaning in pure tamil along with devotional singing by MSS leaves one ecstatic listening to this song.
Here is the youtube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcAZboFnJIA
நளிர் மணி நீரும் நயம்படு கனிகளும் குளிர் பூந்தென்றலும் கொழும்பொழிர் பசுமையும்
வாய்ந்து நன்கிலகுவை வாழிய அன்னை
[வந்தே மாதரம் ஜெய வந்தே மாதரம் ]
தென்நிலவதனில் சிலிர்திடும் இரவும் தன்னியர் விரிமலர் தாங்கிய தருக்களும்
புன்னகை ஒளியும் தேன்மொழி பொலியும் வாய்ந்தனை இன்பமும் வரங்களும் நல்குவை
[வந்தே மாதரம் ஜெய வந்தே மாதரம் ]
கோடி கோடி குரல்கள் ஒலிக்கவும் கோடி கோடி புயத்துணை கொற்றமார்
நீடுபல்படை தாங்கி முன் நிற்கவும் கூடு திண்மை குறைந்தனை என்பதென் ?
ஆற்றலின் மிகுந்தனை அரும்பதம் பூட்டுவை மாற்றவர் கொணர்ந்த வன்பகை ஓட்டுவை
[வந்தே மாதரம் ஜெய வந்தே மாதரம் ]
அறிவு நீ தருமம் நீ உள்ளம் நீ அதனிடை மருமம் நீ , உடற்கண் வாழ்ந்திடும் உயிர் நீ
தோளிடை வன்பு நீ, நெஞ்சகத்தன்பு நீ ஆலயம்தோறும் அணி பெற விளங்கும்
தெய்வ சிலைஎல்லாம் தேவி இங்குனதே
[வந்தே மாதரம் ஜெய வந்தே மாதரம் ]
பத்து படைகொள்ளும் பார்வதி தேவியும் கமலத்து இடழ்கலிற் களித்திடும் கமலையும்
அறிவினை அருளும் வாணியும் அன்னை நீ
[வந்தே மாதரம் ஜெய வந்தே மாதரம் ]
திரு நிறைந்தனை தன்னிகர் ஒன்றில்லை தீது தீர்ந்தனை நீர் வளம் சார்ந்தனை
மருவு செய்களின் நற்பயன் மல்குவை வளனின் வந்ததோர் பைந்நிறம் வாய்ந்தனை
பெருகும் இன்பம் உடையை குறுநகை பெற்றொளிர்ந்தனை பல்பணி பூண்டனை
இரு நிலத்து வந்து எம்முயிர் தாங்குவை எங்கள் தாய் நின் பதங்கள் இறைஞ்சுவாம்
[வந்தே மாதரம் ஜெய வந்தே மாதரம் ]
English Translation: (Thanks to Sri K. Jayaraman of Chennai for the English translation)
You are rich with perennial Sweet streams You are bright with plentiful luscious fruits
You are cool with salubrious breeze You are reddish in hue, like a red garnet
[I venerably bow before you]
Your nights are lit with moonlight rays ;Your groves emit the fragrance of flowers
The chirping voice of birds echo in sync with the mild smile of lovers
O Giver of bliss, grant us boons [I venerably bow before you]
Countless voices string your harp ; Countless shoulders wielding weapons sharp
Stand alert to defend your virgin soil ; Who says you are timid and tremulous ?
You are mighty, Hail your grace; Your foes in shame bite the dust
[I venerably bow before you]
You are wisdom, you are the eternal law
You are our heart, you are our soul and breath
You are divine love, you are the awe in our hearts that conquer death
You are the strength that moves our arm
You are the beauty, yours is the charm that turns every image divine
In our temples , you are the deity serene
[I venerably bow before you]
You are Parvathi armed with embattlements; You are Lakshmi seated in ecstasy on lotus petals
You are Saraswathi the bestower of pure wisdom
[I venerably bow before you]
You are wealth personified, you are nonpareil; You are perfect, fertile with flowing streams
Your gardens are rich with fruit bearing trees; You reward virtues, your red hue reflects prosperity
You the storehouse of all bliss; Your scintillating smile adds to the splendor of your ornaments
Condescend on us and sustain our lives; We always adore the divine feet of our mother
I venerably bow before you; O my Mother, Mother India
[I venerably bow before you]
Any errors in Tamil typing is entirely mine (thapas blog), please point out mistakes in tamil typing (if any) so that it can be corrected.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji performed the Kumbhabhisheka of the Rajagopuram and consecrated Sri Torana Ganapati at the newly erected granite temple on June 8, 2014.
A video documenting this historic event is now online. It is a high definition (HD) video, so if you have a high speed internet connection, please turn on the HD option in YouTube (it is usually low resolution by default).
In Hinduism, Samudra manthan or Churning of the Ocean of Milk is a puranic story when the ocean was churned by Devas(people of good virtue) and Asuras (people of bad virtues) in order to bring back Devi Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. It appears in the Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana.
Its a pity that while Thailand remembers its ancient heritage by building a replica of Samudra manthan at Bankok airport , Indian airports are built with election symbols at airports and no trace of ancient Indian heritage or culture.
Symbolism hidden in the story of Samudra manthan.
The story represents the spiritual endeavor of man for gaining immortality through concentration of mind, withdrawal of senses, control of desires and practice of austerities and asceticism.
The Gods represent the pleasure principle in ourselves. The demons represent the pain principle. The gods also represent the senses, while the demons the evil and negative thoughts and impulses. The participation of both the devas and the demons signify the fact that when one is seeking immortality through the spiritual practice one has to integrate and harmonize both the positive and negative aspects of ones personality and put both the energies for the common goal.
The ocean of milk is the mind or the human consciousness. The mind is always compared to an ocean (mano sagaram) while the thoughts and emotions to the waves. The mind as an ocean is in fact a universal symbol, known to other religions and cultures also.
Mandhara, the mountain stands for concentration. The word “mandhara” contains two words “man” (mind) and “dhara” ( a single line) which means holding the mind in one line. This is possible only during mental concentration
The mountain mandhara was upheld by Lord Vishnu as a Tortoise. The tortoise here stands for the withdrawal of the senses into one self as one practices mental concentration and meditation or contemplation. It also suggests that the mind should rest itself upon or freely surrender itself to the divine will.
The great serpent Vasuki stands for desire. The desire is always compared to a thousand hooded serpent. The Vasuki used in the churning of the ocean denotes that the devas and the demons held desire (to seek immortality) as a rope and churned the mind with the help of concentration and withdrawal of the senses. You can hold desire in your hands and manipulate it only when you have control over your desires. So control of desire is suggested through this symbolism.
The halahal represents suffering and pain we undergo at the beginning of spiritual sadhana. When the mind is subjected to intense churning by opposing forces, the first thing that comes out of the process is intense suffering and great inner turmoil. We are told by many that when an initiate starts his spiritual sadhana he faces a number of difficulties. The problems become intensified because of inner conflicts, where one part yearns to pursue the spiritual path while the other opposes it.
In the initial stages of sadhana a seeker’s mind throws out all kinds of reactions, negative thoughts, desires and impulses out into open so that he can deal with them appropriately. These problems are basically physical suffering and mental suffering without resolving which further progress is not possible. In short we can say that halahal is the instability of the body and the mind that arise as a counter reaction against ones spiritual practice.
Lord Shiva represents the ascetic principle. He is the destroyer of illusion, one who is innerly detached, pure and austere. His role in this story as the consumer of poison suggests that one can deal with the early problems of spiritual life, such as the instability of the mind and its restlessness, by cultivating the qualities of Lord Shiva, namely, courage, initiative, willingness, discipline, simplicity, austerity, detachment compassion, pure love and asceticism.
Alternatively it also means gaining control over the mind through breath control. Lord Shiva is controller of breath. He is prananath, or praneshwar, Lord of the Breath. In spiritual sadhana, it is essential that one gains complete mastery over ones breathing pattern. Many spiritually advanced souls have the capacity to hold their breath in their throat, near the palate, as they meditate.
The various objects that came out of the ocean during the churning stand for the psychic or spiritual powers (siddhis) which one gains as he progresses spiritually from stage to stage. These siddhis are spiritual powes which come to a seeker as he progresses on the spiritual path. We are told that a seeker is to be careful about these powers as they can hamper his progress unless he uses them judiciously, not for his selfish gains but for others’ welfare. This is the reason why the gods and demons distributed these powers among others without keeping anything for themselves as they did not want to lose sight of their original aim which was to gain immortality.
Dhanvantarari stands for health. The vessel containing the amrit was brought before the gods and the demons by Dhanvantari, the divine physician. This signifies that immortality can be achieved only when the body and the mind are in a perfect state of health. Spiritual success is not possible in case of a person who is mentally or physically sick or whose gross body is not fit for receiving divine illumination.
Lord Vishnu in the form of Mohini stands for delusion of the mind in the form of pride. It is the pride of achievement to which the asuras or the demons succumbed and thus lost their right to enter into the world of immortality. Pride and egoism are the last hurdles one has to overcome in spiritual life before experiencing self-realization.
This is in brief the symbolism hidden in the story of Sagar manthan.
The Devi Navaratnamalika stotram (the garland with nine gems), composed by Sri Adi Sankaracharya in the Bhujanga-prayata (or Snake metre) which has an undulating pattern, just like a snake’s movement. It is composed in praise of the all-enchanting beauty and gracefulness of the Great Goddess who is the cause of this Universe.
Beautiful rendition of Adi Shankara’s Devi Nava Ratna Malika Stotram by Keerthana and Kriti Bhat; : This rendering is set as a beautiful ragamailka.
The ragas used are Hamir Kalyani, Hindolam, Naatakuranji, Shanmukhapriya, Saama, Mohanam, Anandabhairavi, Kaapi, Sindhubhairavi for the nine stanzas, and Sri Raagam for the phalastuti
6 mins Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdO4q3Fg_KY
Audio file : https://www.mediafire.com/?23029e07829lhti
Sanskrit Text :
Haara noopura kireeta kundala vibhooshithaavayava shobhineem
kaaranesha vara maulikoti parikalpyamaana padapeethikaam
kaala kaala phanipaasha baana dhanurankushaa maruna mekhalaam
phaala bhoo tilaka lochanaam manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Gandhasaara ghanasaara chaaru nava naagavalli rasavaasineem
saandhya raaga madhuraadharaa bharana sundaraanana shuchismitaam
mandharaayata vilochanaa mamalabaala chandrakruta shekhareem
indiraa ramana sodareem manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Smera chaarumukha mandalaam vimala gandalambimani mandalaam
haaradaama pari shobhamaana kuchabhaara bheerutanumadhyamaam
veera garvahara noopuraam vividhakaaranesha vara peethikaam
maara vairi sahachaarineem manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Bhooribhaara dharakundaleendra manibaddha bhoovalaya peethikaam
vaariraashi manimekhalaa valaya vahni mandala shareerineem
vaari saaravaha kundalaam gagana shekhareem cha paramaatmikaam
chaaruchandra ravilochanaam manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Kundala trividhakona mandala vihaara shaddalasamullasat
pundareeka mukhabhedineem cha prachandabhaanu taditojjvalaam
mandalendu parivaahitaamruta taranginee maruna roopineem
mandalaanta manideepikaam manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Vaaranaanana mayooravaahamukha daahavaarana payodharaam
chaaranaadi surasundaree chikura shekareekruta padaambujaam
kaaranaadhipati panchaka prakruti kaarana prathama maatrukaam
vaaranaanta mukhapaaranaam manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Padma kaanti padapaanipallava payodharaanana saroruhaam
padmaraaga manimekhalaa valayaneevishobhita nitambineem
padmasambhava sadaa shivaantamaya pancharatna padapeethikaam
padmineem pranava roopineem manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Aagama pranavapeethikaa mamala varna mangala shareerineem
aagamaavayava shobhinee makhilaveda saarakruta shekhareem
moolamantra mukha mandalaam muditanaada bindu nava yauvanaam
maatrukaam tripurasundareem manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Kaalikaa timira kuntalaanta ghana bhrunga mangala viraajineem
choolikaa shikhara maalikaa valaya mallikaa surabhi saurabhaam
phaalikaa madhura gandamandala manoharaanana saroruhaam
kaalikaa makhila naayikaam manasi bhaavayaami paradevataam
Nityameva niyamena jalpataam bhukti mukti phaladaamabheeshtadaam
shankarena rachitaam sadaa japet naamaratna navaratna maalikaam
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, whose body shines, due to her wearing a garland, anklets and ear globes, Whose feet are bowed with the crowns of Indra, Brahma and millions of the like, And who holds a cobra, a rope, arrow and bow and a goad in her hands and wears a girdle studded with rubies, And whose hair is adorned with the moon and the sun.
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, who has the sweet smell of the scented areca nut, camphor along with the juices of tender betel leaves, Who is as sweet as the song of dusk, who has a pretty face which wears a sweet smile as a great ornament, Who has eyes which are circled by bees, Who wears the faultless moon on her head, And is the sister of Vishnu, the husband of Lakshmi (also called as Indira).
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, who has a very smiling face, who has a very clear shining cheeks, who shines by ornaments and necklaces she wears, Who has a chest which suffers due to her very heavy breasts, Whose anklets appear as if they would destroy the pride of heroes, Who sits on a platform whose legs are various gods, and who is the companion of the One (Lord Shiva) who is enemy to Maara (the God of Love, also known as Kamadeva or Manmadha).
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, whose seat appears as if it is the earth itself which is supported by Adhi Sesha wearing his gem stone, who wears a waist band made of special gems, who has a body which appears to be a sphere of fire, Who wears ear studs which appears to contain all the oceans within, Who is the divine soul touching the sky, And who has pretty eyes which are but the moon and the sun.
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, Who shines in the six petals surrounding the triangle in the middle of the Sri Chakra, Who has such a pretty face that the lotus bends her head in shame, Whose radiance is similar to that of the Sun and the lightning, Who is similar to the cool waves which emanate out of moon,
Who is red in colour and who is like the (guiding) light surrounding all the worlds.
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, who quenches the thirst of the God with the elephant face (Ganesha) and one who rides the peacock (Kaarthika) by her breast milk, Who has lotus like feet touched by the hairs of the saluting pretty heavenly maidens, Who is the cause of the power of the five gods including Brahma , Vishnu , Rudra, Easwara and Sadashiva, Who is the primeval mother, And who brings joy to the face of Lord Ganesha.
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, Who has tender legs and arms, which are as charming as a lotus and are of hue of a fresh lotus bud floating in water, Who wears a hip belt made of rubies which shine along with her attire, Who sits on the throne with five legs representing the five Gods Brahma , Vishnu , Rudra, Easwara and Sadashiva, Who is sacred and Who is a form of “ॐ”.
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, who has Vedas and the sacred ॐ as her seat, Who is the very pure form which does good to every one, Who shines with her body which is itself is the Vedas, Whose form is the essence of the Vedas, Whose face itself is the basic chant (known as Sri Vidya), Who has the youthful form of the mixture of The sound (ॐ) and The point (Sri Chakra), Who is mother of all and is the prettiest of the three worlds.
I pray with my mind the divine Goddess, who has the hair over her forehead which has a colour of black cloud and is similar to the row of bees sitting, Who has bands made of flowers like the sweet scented jasmine adorning the top of her hair, Who has shining red cheeks similar to the petals of lotus flowers, And who is the Goddess of the three worlds named as “Kali”.
Those who chant this garland of nine gems, composed by Sankara, would their life in this world and would attain salvation, and all their wishes would be fulfilled.
The Maha-kumbhabhishekam of the 127 feet majestic Rajagopuram is
performed by Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji,
the 8th of June 2014.
On this occasion, Laksha-modaka-ganapati homa as well as Atirudra and Sahasrachandika Maha-Yagas and Koti-kumkumarchana at the shrine of goddess Sharadamba
Day 2 video summary – 15 mins
Day 1 video summary – 15 mins
Please find enclosed the info on a rare and not-to-be-missed opportunity to listen to a Tamil speaking community in DFW.
Please forward it to your friends and family who may be interested in this Tamil satsangam.
Excellent Youtube Video from Swamiji in Tamil: http://tinyurl.com/swamijitalk
Swamiji Website: http://www.vedaneri.org/
About Swamiji: Sri Swami Omkarananda was born in a traditional Vedic family and learnt the Vedas from a very early age. In his early twenties, greatly inspired by the teachings of Sri Swami Vivekananda, he joined Ramakrishna Tapovanam at Tirupparaithurai, was given Sanyasa by its founder Sri Swami Chidbhavananda, on 4th May 1985 and was named as Sri Swami Omkarananda. His quest for knowledge of Vedanta led him to Sri Swami Paramarthananda, disciple of Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, under whose guidance he studied Vedanta from 1987 to 1994.
On completion of his studies he founded “Sri Swami Chidbhavananda Ashramam” on the banks of river Surabhi Saraswathi or Mullaiyaru at Theni and established the Vedanta Sasthra Prachara Trust to manage the Ashram. As the Chief Acharya of the Ashram, Sri Swamiji takes Vedanta classes for the Brahmacharis, and conducts regular classes in the Ashram for the benefit of general public. He conducts regular Jnana Yajnas in India and abroad.
Sri Swamiji has succeeded HH Sri Sri Santananda Swamigal of Sri Sri Judge Swamigal Adhishtanam, popularly known as Sri Bhuvaneshwari Avadhuta Vidya Pitham, at Pudukottai. This Pitham has a long history of conducting various homams and pujas. Sri Swamiji is touring the US at the invitation of the Sringeri Vidya Bharati
Advaita Sharada Project
Over a century ago, the 33rd Jagadguru of Sringeri, Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji led the first ever compilation of the complete works of Sri Adi Shankaracharya — Sri Shaankara Granthavali. In keeping with this tradition and sensitive to our technology age, the presiding Shankaracharya of the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji is blessing and guiding the Advaita Sharada Project.
The goal of the Advaita Sharada project is to make available our ancient Shastric texts (in particular Vedantic texts) for access via the Internet and other computer-based devices like tablets and smartphones. Leveraging audio, video, commentaries, sub-commentaries, notes, tags and hyperlinks, we hope to provide a platform for in-depth research and additional learning for seekers, scholars and students. We also plan to create a learning platform to introduce the Upanishadic philosophy of Advaita for beginners and early aspirants.
Invoking the blessings of Goddess Sharada (the presiding deity of Sringeri Sharada Peetham) and reflecting the Upanishadic teachings as expounded by Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the project has been named "Advaita Sharada".
The first offering of Advaita Sharada is a text searchable, extensively hyperlinked Intenet edition of the Sri Shaankara Granthavali, published by the Vani Vilasa Press, Srirangam. This is a result of a collaborative effort between Sri Shankara Advaita Research Centre, Sringeri, andSriranga Digital Software Technoloiges, Srirangapatna.
The source text in Unicode was provided by The Sringeri Math at Srirangam; it is scrutinised and proofread at the Sri Shankara Advaita Research Centre, Sringeri. The XML markup scheme and the technology framework for the Internet edition was developed by Sriranga Digital Software Technologies, Srirangapatna. This Internet edition was released on Shankara Jayanti – the Vaishakha Shukla Panchami day of the Jaya Samvatsara – 4th May 2014 by Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji
In forthcoming releases, we will introduce multimedia, commentaries, sub-commentaries and tags for these Bhasyas. We invite you to register and view this first release.
“Ra” in Sanskrit means “That which is Radiant” and “Ma” stands for “Myself”.
That which shines forth within me, is Rama. That which is radiant in every particle of the Being is Rama.
Rama is born to Dasharatha and Kaushalya.
Dasharatha (In Sanskrit this means “the ten charioted one”) signifies the five organs of sense and the five organs of action.
Kaushalya (Sanskrit for “skilled”) stands for skill. The skillful reiner of the ten chariots can give birth to Ram. When the ten are used skillfully, radiance is born within.
Rama was born in Ayodhya (Sanskrit for “the place where no war can happen”). When there is no conflict in our mind, then the radiance can dawn. Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, was born of Sumitra (the good friend). When the ten are cooperating with you then Awareness is born.
The Utsavam lasts for ten days. Beginning on the day of Pushya (the 8th asterism) in the month of Kumbham ( February-March), it ends after the Aarattu on the 10th day.Religiously, it is the restoration of divine Chaithanya. Brahmakalasam is preceded by the Utsavam. It is aimed at the purification and energisation of the powers of the deity. It is the last of the long series of rituals of kalasam and at the end, the flag will be hoisted heralding the Utsavam.
Culturally, it consists of various processions, illumination and modest fire-works (this is a specialty of Guruvayur Utsavam that no explosives are used, unlike most of the other Kerala temples). All ten days, the place wears a festive look, streets dressed up with arches, festoons etc., houses freshly thatched and painted.
Every shrine and building is tastefully decorated with lights, plantain trunks, bunches of coconut and arecanuts. Two Gopurams and the bahyankana (outer-courtyard) are elaborately decorated with illuminations and eye-catching electric displays. The lamps, deepasthambams and vilakku are all lightened.
More Info about the festival can be found here.