Yaksha Prasana – Q & A between Yaksha and Yudhishtra
Yaksha Prashna is an episode from Mahabharata . It is the dialogue between Yaksha and Yudhishtra . The pandava brothers one by one goes to fetch water from a pond . Out of Ego and maya , Ignoring the voice of a Yaksha ,warning them not to drink the water, each one of the brothers dies after drinking the water from the pond . The last one left was Yudhishtra , the most pious and ardent upholder of Dharma . Yaksha asks him a series of question and says , if he answers them correctly , he could get his brothers back to life. Many of us would have known this episode but very few of us knew the complete set of the dialogue .
The following is the translation of the Q & A originally in sanskrit sloka format . I thank by Sri K Balasubramanya Iyer who had written the book on this subject and enriching me with the knowledge.
- What is it that makes the sun rise up ?
- Who are his surrounding attendants ?
- Who makes the sun set ?
- In which is he firmly placed ?
1. The Veda (Brahma) makes the sun rise.
2. The Devas are his attendants.
3. Dharma makes the sun set , and
4. He is firmly grounded in truth.
(The first question what makes the sun rise up ? philosophically implies , what wakes up the Atma ( Soul ) ? The vedas or knowledge is what wakes the Atma from the darkness of ignorance. The sun is interpreted as the ‘ soul of man ‘ The devas are the Sama , dama etc and it is with the aid of this that the knowledge of the Atman can be obtained . By Dharma , it is meant Karma , upasanas that determines the path of the Atma )
- By what does a person become a Vedic scholar ?
- By what means does he attain the Great ?
- By what does a person acquire a second to him ?
- By what does means does a man become wise?
5. By Vedic culture a person becomes a Vedic scholar.
6. By tapas a person attains the Great.
7. By steadfastness a person acquires a second to him.
8. By service of elders a person becomes a wife.
- What is the divine nature of Brahmanas?
- What is their right conduct similar to that of the good?
- In what consists their ordinary human nature? And
- What is it in them that is similar to that of the bad?
9. The knowledge of the Vedas is their divine nature.
10. Their tapas is similar to that of the good.
11. Their mortality is the ordinary human nature.
12. Talking scandal is their conduct similar to that of the bad.
- What constitutes the divineness of Kshatriyas or warriors?
- What is their quality similar to that of goodness? ( i.e. what is their virtue? )
- What constitute their humanness?
- What is their quality similar to that of bad means?
13. Arrows and missiles constitute their excellence.
14. Yagnas or sacrifices are their good qualities.
15. Their humanness consists in fear.
16. Abandonment / failure to protect the distressed is their bad quality.
- What is the Sama which is beneficial for the sacrifice?
- What is the Yajus which is beneficial to yagna?
- Which among them is chosen for the yagna itself?
- What is that which the sacrifice cannot be without?
17. Prana or vital energy is the sama which is most helpful to the sacrifice.
18. Manas or mind is the Yagus which is most helpful to the sacrifice.
19. It is the Rik alone which chooses the yagna for itself.
20.It is the Rik alone which yagna or sacrifice cannot do without.
- What is the best among those that shower?
- What is the foremost among those put into the ground?
- What is the best among the four-footed animals?
- What is the best among those that are begotten?
21. The rain is the best among those that shower.
22. Seed is the foremost of those that are put into the ground.
23.Cows are the best among the four-footed animals.
24. The son is the foremost among those that are begotten.
- Who is that, enjoying the objects of senses, endowed with intellect, respected by the world and accepted by all beings , through breathing , does not live?
25. He who does not participate by offerings, the Devas, guests, dependants, pitris, and one’s own self , those five, though breathing do not live.
- Which is weightier than the earth itself?
- What is higher than the sky?
- What is swifter than the wind?
- What is more numerous than grass?
26. The mother is weightier than the Earth.
27. The father is higher than the Sky.
28. The mind is swifter than the Wind.
29. Thoughts are more numerous than grass.
- What is that which does not close its eyes while asleep?
- What is that which does not move after birth?
- What is that which is without heart?
- What is that which swells by its own force?
30. A fish does not close its eyes while asleep.
31. An egg does not move after birth.
32. A stone is without heart.
33. A river swells by the force of its current.
- Who is the friend of one who goes on a journey?
- Who is the friend of one who remains at home?
- Who is the friend of one who is afflicted by sickness?
- Who is the friend of one who is about to die?
34. The caravan is the friend of a person going on a Journey.
35. The wife is the friend of the person who remains at home.
36. The physician is the friend of the sick man.
37. Gifts constitute the friend of the person who is about to die.
- What is that which journeys alone?
- What is that which is born again?
- What is the remedy against snow or fog?
- What is the large receptacle?
38. The Sun journeys alone.
39. The Moon is reborn.
40. The Fire is the remedy for snow or fog.
41. The Earth is the large receptacle.
( The term Sun in this context reflects Atma or Soul. Yudhistra says that Surya , which as Jyotis or light , signifies Atma . For the Atma alone shines during the three stage of consciousness , namely , waking , dream and dreamless sleep
According to ancient scripts , Moon is equated with the mind. Due to avidya , the mind functions and projects the world once again. That is significance of saying moon is born again. This avidya produces sorrow.
The next question is : What is the remedy for this avidya which like the fog is the superimposing agency ? The answer is that agni is the remedy for snow or fog. All this four question and answers are similar to the four questions and their answers in the Taittreeya Samhita , 7th Kanda )
- What is the all-comprehensive virtue?
- What is the all-comprehensive thing to fame?
- What,in one word, leads to Heaven?
- In what is comprised all happiness?
42. Integrity is all-comprehensive virtue.
43. Dana or charity is the one comprehensive matter of fame.
44. Truth alone leads to Heaven.
45. Character comprises all happiness.
- What is the soul of a person?
- Which is the friend bestowed by divinity?
- What is it that aids to sustain him?
- What is his greatest resort?
46. The son is the man’s soul.
47. The wife is a friend bestowed by divinity.
48. Rain is the chief aid to life.
49. Charity is the great resort.
- What is the best among laudable things?
- What is the best among all assets?
- What is the best of all gains?
- What is the foremost happiness?
50. Integrity is the best among laudable things.
51. Learning is the best asset.
52. Health is the foremost among gains.
53. Contentment is the best happiness.
- What is the highest Dharma in the world?
- What is that Dharma which always bears fruit?
- What is that by controlling which people never grieve?
- With whom does an alliance never break?
54. The highest Dharma is kindness to all.
55. The Dharma ordained by the Vedas always bears fruit.
56. By controlling the mind , people never grieve.
57. Association with the good never breaks.
- By renouncing which thing does one become loveable?
- By renouncing which thing does one never suffer grief?
- By renouncing which thing does one become wealthy?
- By renouncing which thing does one become happy?
58. By renouncing pride one becomes lovable.
59. By renouncing anger one never experience grief.
60. By renouncing desire one becomes wealthy.
61. By renouncing avarice one becomes happy.
- What for does one make gifts to the Brahmins?
- What for does one make gifts to actors and dancers?
- What for does one give presents to servants?
- What for does one give to kings?
62. It is for Dharma that one gives to Brahmins.
63. It is for fame that one gives to actors and dancers.
64. It is for maintaining them that one gives to servants.
65. It is on account of fear that one gives to kings.
- By what is the world enveloped?
- On account of what is it that a thing does not shine?
- For what reason does one give up friends?
- For what reason is it that one does not go to heaven?
66. The word is enveloped by ignorance.
67. It is on account of darkness that things do not shine.
68. It is due to avarice that friends are abandoned.
69. On account of attachment one does not go to heaven.
- How will one be considered as dead?
- When will a Kingdom be considered as dead?
- When will a Sraddha be considered a dead?
- When will a sacrifice, Yagna be considered as dead?
70. A miser may be considered as dead.
71. A country without a government may be considered as dead.
72. A sraddha performed without men learned in the Vedas may be considered as dead.
73. A yagna ( sacrifice) without dakshina or remuneration to the ritviks may be considered as dead.
- What constitutes the way?
- What has been spoken of as water?
- What is food? And
- What is poison?
- Tell me what is the proper time for Sraddha?
74. The way is the good.
75. Akasa or space is spoken of as water.
76. The cow is mentioned as food.
77. Wants are poison
78. Meeting a man learned in Veda is the proper time for Sraddha.
( The word Dik in the Sloka containing this set of questions is interpreted as those who instruct. It really meant those who show the way. Supporting this is the sloka from Mahabharata Vanaparva , the sloka gives us the meaning : “ The Vedas are diverse . The smrithis are different . There is no sage whose view is not different from that of another. The principle of Dharma is concealed in the innermost recess. What the good have followed , is the way. ”
What is spoken of as water in the Vedas and Upanishads, treating about cosmogony or creation is really Akasa or space. . There are various reference for this in different Vedas and Upanishads. Philosophically , according to Vedic scriptures , Akasa denotes the Jiva.)
- What is spoken of as the characteristic of Tapas?
- What is known as Dama or Self-control?
- What is said to be the highest patience?
- What is well-known as Hree or shame?
79. Tapas consists in the observance of one’s own Dharma.
80. The control of the mind is Dama.
81. Patience is putting up with the dvandvas or the pairs of the opposites.
82. Shame is what restrains one from bad conduct.
- What is said to be the knowledge?
- What is the highest compassion?
- What is referred to as straightforwardness?
- Who is the foe invincible to man?
- What are the endless desires?
- What is said to be goodness? And
- what is said to be badness?
83. Knowledge is the perception of the Truth.
84. Compassion consists in desiring happiness to all.
85. Straightforwardness is equality of mind towards all.
86. Anger is the most invincible foe.
87. Covetousness is the endless desire.
88. Goodness is seeking the welfare of all beings.
89. Badness is absence of compassion.
- What is delusion?
- What is pride?
- What is to be understood by laziness?
- What has been spoken of as grief?
90. Delusion consists in not knowing Dharma.
91. Pride is self-consciousness.
92. Laziness consists in not doing Dharma.
93. Ajnana is spoken of as grief.
- What is the steadfastness spoken of by the Rishis?
- What is referred to as courage?
- What is the supreme bath?
- What is here said to be Dama or charity?
94. Not swerving from one’s own duties of swa-dharma is the steadfastness.
95. Courage is the control of the senses.
96. Bath is abandoning of the impurities of the mind.
97. Protecting all beings in charity.
- Which man should be regarded as learned?
- Who is said to be a nasthika ( atheist )?
- Who is a fool? What is a desire? What is envy?
98. One who knows Dharma is known as learned.
99. The atheist is called a fool.
100. Desire is the source of samsara or cycle of birth and death. Affliction of the heart is said to be envy.
- What is said to be ahankar or ego?
- What is known as conceit?
- What is said to be the supreme divine nature?
- What is back-biting or slandering?
101. The highest ignorance is ego.
102. The flying aloft of the flag of Dharma is conceit.
103. Divine nature is the result of daana or charity.
104. Talking evil of others is paisunya.
- Dharma,Artha and Kama are opposed to one another. How do these eternal antagonists co-exists in one place?
105. When a wife and virtue agree with each other and are in control , each of the other , then there is co-existence of the three , namely , Dharma , Arth and Kama.
- By whom is the ever-lasting hell attained?
106. He who voluntarily invites a poor Brahmin, who comes for help and then says ‘no’ to him goes to ever-lasting hell. He who ascribes falsehood to Vedas , Dharma sastras , to the Brahmins , to the Devas , and to the rites done to Pitras goes to everlasting hell. He who possesses wealth, yet is devoid of charity or enjoyment owing to avarice and afterwards says ‘no’ , attains everlasting hell.
- By what does Brahminhood result , is it by kula or ancestry , vrtta or conduct , swadhyaya or study of Vedas or sruta , hearing or culture?
107. It is not ancestry or study or learning of Veda or hearing or culture that is the cause of Brahminhood . Without doubt it is conduct that is the cause of Brahminhood. One’s conduct should always be well protected especially by a Brahmin. He who keeps his conduct pure never goes down. He , however , whose conduct is destroyed is himself destroyed. The teachers and pupils and all who merely study the sastras are to be regarded as fools. But he alone who possesses conduct is the man of real knowledge. Even je who has studied the four Vedas is to be regarded as inferior to the unlearned man if he is devoid of right conduct. He who performs the Agnihotra and has controlled his senses is alone said to be a Brahmin.
- Tell me what does one gain who speaks pleasant words?
- What does he gain that acts after due deliberation?
- What does he get that makes many friends and
- What does he attain who is devoted to Dharma?
108. He who uses pleasant words is liked by all.
109. He who acts with due deliberation succeeds very much.
110. He who has many friends lives happily.
111. He who is devoted to Dharma attains the liberation.
- Who is joyous?
- What is the wonder?
- What is the way and what is the news?
112. The man who cooks vegetables in his own house on the fifth or sixth part of the day, but who is not in need and who never goes out from his house is truly happy.
113. Day after day beings are entering the abode of Yama , yet those that remain believe that they will live for ever. What can be more wonderful than this ?
114. Ligic is uncertain. The Srutis are contradictory. There is not one Rishi whose opinion is authoritative. Truth about Dharma is hidden. That alone is the path which great men tread. In the frying pan of this illusory world time is cooking the beings in the fire of the Sun with fuel of days and nights and with the ladle constituted by months and seasons. This is news.
A conversation with my aunt
I was having a conversation with my aunt 3 weeks back when I visited my native. She is spritual. She has followed various path of hindu philosophies and finally she found her way in the teachings of Vethathiri Maharishi and Jaggi Vasudev , the founder of Isha foundation
So I asked her about God and We . This is the essence of the conversation we had.
God is the Universal energy.
Universe is not vaccum . There is an universal energyy and that energy lives in each and every tiny spec of the universe. God is nothing but this universal energy. The same energy is within each and every living being also but the energy is undermined , unutilised , forgotten , unrealized cause of our previous karmas. The karmic force influences our actions and reactions. Having said that , we the human souls , do have the energy to battle out and overcome the karmic force provided we have that will to do so.
Her view of life is to embrace every events in life with postive energy. Be good to others , think good , live good. Inspite of that if things turn wrong , take it in right spirit and without being bogged down by the negativities of the events try to overcome it with positive thoughts. Her main underlined advice was to “Take things positively and deal things positively”
Everyone is born the same.
Another point she made and most important one is not to hate anyone. No one is born as a bad human. There is no bad or good person when he or she is born. The cirumstances, the society plays an important role in choosing what he or she becomes. So in one way we in general are partly responsible for what a person becomes. So don’t hate anyone . Try to understand him and try to bring a good change in him.
Another aspect of her thought was – Detachment. She says its better to view the world in a detached point of view. Never allow the various hues of emotions of the world affect your own positive conscience. This reminded me the principles of Jeevatma and Paramatma which I learnt in Bhagavad Gita. ( will write an extensive topic on it later )
She has no kids. She said earlier she used to feel very sorry and demoralised thinking about it . But now she finds that even that is a blessing in disguise as she has more time and liberty to seek her spritual quest. Life will be simpler and easier if we take things in right spirit and embracing it with positive thoughts.
It was a brief conversation but enriched one.
Diwali Damaka Memories
This is festival season and now its Diwali time.
Diwali is always a much awaited, fun filled festival. It evokes in me childhood memories. Let me recap my childhood memories of Diwali.
Diwali is a celebration of light. As a kid, I always looked forward to this festival mainly cause its time for crackers and lights! Those days there were no restriction from police to check the cracker decibel or to stop beyond 10′o clock at night. It was a free rein resulting in ear defeaning loud “bang bang” sounds going past midnight ! The prices of crackers where comparatively much cheaper those days that we had cracker stocks to burst much before the actual Diwali day and after the day! The joy of buying new dresses for Diwali, the various Diwali snacks that mom makes, the various variety of crackers all brings us a huge excitement! On the Diwali day, we get up before dawn and my brother and I will go to the terrace of our home to fire rockets! Other days, it would be much difficult to wake me up but then not on Diwali day! My brother would send the rockets up to the sky and it would be a lovely sight to see! Oh not to forget those rockets with parachute!!! We would eagerly wait for the parachute to land and whenever it lands on our terrace and we get to hold it, we will get the joy as if we won the Olympics gold medal!!!! When I was a small kid, it used to be my brother who burst all those heavy metal crackers! There was plethora of heavy metals crackers - lakshmiwala, parrot and the ultimate Atom bomb!!! Well no NPT could ban these Atom bombs!!!!
Then once the sun rises, our mother will call us for the customary Diwali oil bath. In Tamil Nadu, it’s a custom to have a well oiled bath! We would be well greased with oil head to toe and after it sets well in body we will have a hot water bath!!! Then we will bask in the childish joy in wearing the new clothes! We would indulge in the various home made snacks! Well, those days it’s always home made snacks! Mothers special laced with love. Then the whole day will be spend bursting crackers… crackers… crackers… Evenings we shall light up with the colorful flower pots, chakras, kambi mathapus, chatai, pencils etc along with rockers and the central attraction the 1000 walas. Somewhere in some street there would be someone who would be bursting 10,000 walas that would go non stop for at least half n hour or more!!!! Deafening noise but those days no one complains or at least their complaint used to go unheard! Our whole street used to be one dark smoke shield!!! Next day some guys would gather and light up all the left over crackers and it would burst unexpectedly with unpredictable way!!! It’s a fun in its own way!!!
Well that is how the Diwali used to be. Looking at the Diwali this days, it’s much changed. Less crackers, less noise, less smoke, more lights in the form of diyas (lamps) and it’s a much quieter affair at least in the scale of sound! There is limit to the time to burst cracker, sound of crackers etc… More people resort to lighting lamps; even I prefer lighting lamps these days. It’s appealing in its own way. The cracker price has sky rocketed and kids this days have matured a lot than our days. They definitely don’t want to burn their money in crackers like earlier and would prefer to spend it in various other indulgences! Things have changed in kid’s world too! I don’t think these days much people would make home made snacks at home. It’s easier to buy than make it at home. After all people don’t have the time and patience to back snacks at home. Still there are homes where snacks are still made at home and I enjoy it even now in my home!
Well more about the Diwali as a festival and its significance, I will post it tomorrow.
Someone stole the moon in bangalore
So yesterday was Karvachauth day. In south , we dont have the celebration of the festival. So naturally i had no clue of the festival during my growing days. First time , i came to know that such festivity exists was through the hindi movie Hum dil de chuke sanam. I was quiet dazzled by the romance of the karvachauth images in the movie !
Life moved on. When i watched that movie I would have never imagined that one day there will be karvachauth celebration at our home ! Life takes twists and turns , so the small town boy of deep south India married a small town girl of up north India. Its not only a union of heart but synthesis of two cultures. We discover many new things hitherto only heard or read or not even aware of . It exposes us to new cuisines , new cultural practices , language etc . If you are open to changes , you will enjoy every moment of it ! Life would be beautiful , if one looks at world with an open heart and perception rather than closed one.
Back to Karvachauth. The runup to the karvachauth started one week earlier , when we went shopping. My wife said we have to gift a sari to my mom . So we picked a lovely nice sari. We sneaked it home and thought will keep it as suspense till karvachauth day. Once we were in our bedroom , we both looked at each other’s eye with a stupid look ! Well , i think its impossible for both of us to keep secrets ! Like kids and with a grin , we admited we cant keep secrets and we pulled out the sari and showed it to mom !
The second runup to the karvachauth was the previous day to it . My better half told her butter half that she needs to apply mehendi on both her hands ! We have seen a mehendi artist sitting in front of a sweet shop in Indra nagar. Well , 3 months back when we enquired him , he said it costs 50 bucks for one hand. Next month , when we passed by , the same guy said , it costs 100 bucks per hand. He definitely had studied the pulse of Bangalore within short while of arriving here, possibly from Rajasthan. Anyways, his designs were good and he seemed to be the cheapest we have searched , even at this price. My wife says in her town in UP they charge 25 bucks per hand. Anways , this is sillicon valley of India. So it comes with a high price. So the previous day to karvachauth , we went to this road for mehendi. It was drizzling ! We prayed it should not rain heavy and the drizzle would stop soon. We went to the mehendi artist , already dozens of north Indian ladies were queued up . He said we need to take token ! Hmmm … demand ! We went to the counter to take token ..then came the shocker ! They had increased the price to 200 bucks !!! so it will be 400 Rs for both the hands ! Attrocious ! Demand comes with a price huh . Luckily , on the way , little before to this artist , we saw two girls applying mehendi catering to extra demand of karvachauth. We enquired them , they said 100 bucks per hand . Demand always provides alternatives ! So we sat there waiting for her turn to come. Finally , the turn came . The design was fairly ok . My wife’s face lit up like moon !!! We hit back home. I had to feed dinner to her , since both her hands had mehendi on it. Now i know , why the practice of applying mehendi on both the hands , so that hubbies can feed their wiffies ! heehee.
Morning we woke up to see a lovely darkened maroon mehendi design on her hand. She told me about a traditional saying in north on the colors of mehendi . It seems in some place they believe that if the colors of the mehendi darkens to a nice maroon hue , it means the mother in law loves her D-I-L a lot. In some place , they believe the darkening of the mehendi color is directly proportionate to the love showered by her hubby ! My mother’s love and my love seems to made her mehendi very vibrant with a rich maroon hue !
She was fasting since morning. She said she will break the fast only after puja ! Morning she had gone to office and took half day leave. Evening she cooked yummy aloo gobi , mutter paneer , banana raitha and poori/puri.
Evening my wife narrated the karvachauth story and we did the puja. She said she will wait for moon to arise and then do arti and offer jal/water and apply tilak on me and then have food. So we waited for the moon to come up the sky. Luckily , there was no cloud too that evening , so i thought the moon would be visible clearly. We waited , waited and waited. My dad checked on net and said , moon will be sighted 8:05 in bangalore and also said at 7:30 it will be sighted in my in-law’s town in UP . ( he has become google savvy since i introduced him to net ) So we waited for 8:05. Meanwhile around 7:45 , her mother called up to say they sighted moon over there ! We waited for our moon here ! What a long wait ! I could see a glow behind a distant cloud that seem to have formed , where exactly the moon is supposed to arise. I told her , it may come up in 10 minutes. The 10 minutes went on in multiples. 9′o clock ! Still the moon was elusive . We both were in the roof top waiting for the moon ! I have never eagerly waited for moon all this years in my life. May be Moon was taunting me for overlooking him carelessly all these days huh . She was hungry and Moon was playing hide n seek. It was never to be seen except for a faint glow in distance sky. Couldn’t figure out if its moon glow or light from distant buildings. I told her finally , imagine moon and lets do the puja. Moon will always be there somewer , so lets do the puja . The power of puja is not just in the acts but in the mind. The moment we started the puja , from nowhere the clouds came up and started drizzling ! Quickly in rain , we did the puja and did arti , she applied tilak , i gave her water to break her fast and we came down stairs running !!!! It was really a memorable Karvachauth !
So thats how the moon in bangalore was stolen but the spirit of the festivities are not in mere rituals but in the faith , devotion and in mind. So even though the moon was not to be seen , I could see the charm and glow of moon in the love and affection of my wife !
Oh and around 10:30 , i came to the portico and found the moon smiling at me from the distance !!! I remembered the Falguni Pathak song , Oh piya ! oh piya !
I give you three wishes
“I Give You Three Wishes”
A man who was very poor thought that he might be able to please God in the form of the image in a famous temple. If he succeeded, he would ask for a boon — a special favor. He used to take to the temple whateverhe could scrape together — ripe fruits, candies, blossoms, coins — and lay them before the image.
One day the Lord, pleased with this humble worship, spoke aloud to the man: “All right, I give you as a boon three wishes and a pair of dice.” Rushing home even without thanks, the man told his wife the wonderful news. She told him to throw the dice and wish for wealth first. But he thought a moment and then said, “Look, we both have ugly little noses and people make fun of us. Why not ask for beautiful noses first?”
His wife was for wealth first, and caught hold of his hand to keep him from throwing the dice. Pulling his hand away he quickly threw the dice, exclaiming, “We want nothing but noses, beautiful noses.”
At once their bodies were covered with beautiful noses. Noses all over. What a nuisance! So they both agreed they would have to use the second wish to get rid of the noses. When people get excited they are likely to make mistakes like this; when he threw the dice again, the husband said, “Let these pesky noses be taken off.” At once they were gone, and the noses on their faces went too! Now they were uglier than ever.
Only one wish left. Why not ask to have a fine, well-proportioned nose on each face? Ah, but now some sense was dawning upon them: people would see the new noses and ask them about how they got them. They would have to explain and people would call them fools and make more fun of them all the more for wasting their three wishes.
So husband and wife threw the dice again asking for their own original noses to be put back on. This left them right where they were before.
“Unreasonable haste is the direct road to error.”
Crossing the Waters
This is one story that my father often used to say when i was child. Its a story narrated by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahans about the belief and faith.
This story is about a farmer’s daughter whose duty it was to carry fresh milk to customers in various villages. One of the customers was a priest. To reach his house, the milkmaid had to cross a good-sized stream. People crossed it by a sort of ferry raft, for a small fee.
One day the priest, who performed worship daily with the offering to God of fresh milk, finding it arrived very late, scolded the poor woman. “What can I do?” she said, “I start out early from my house, but I have to wait a long time for the boatman to come.” Then the priest said (pretending to be serious), “What! People have even walked across the ocean by repeating the name of God, and you can’t cross this little river?” This milkmaid took him very seriously. From then on she brought the priest’s milk punctually every morning. He became curious about it and asked her how it was that she was never late anymore.
“I cross the river repeating the name of the Lord,” she replied, “just as you told me to do, without waiting for the ferry.” The priest didn’t believe her, and asked, “Can you show me this, how you cross the river on foot?” So they went together to the water and the milkmaid began to walk over it. Looking back, the woman saw that the priest had started to follow her and was floundering in the water. “Sir!” she cried, “You are uttering the name of God, yet all the while you are holding up your clothes from getting wet. That is not trusting in God!”
Never under-estimate the power of faith!
The story brings in a very important truth on faith and belief. Even if the Guru is not strong but if the disciple wholeheartedly accepts him/her as a Guru and have an absolete faith in his/her sayings . The strong belief/faith propels the disciple even if the Guru flounders.
A study on Soul
A Study on Soul
SOUL – the life force / energy that keeps a body moving . Science has made so much of advancement but still the concept of the life force/energy is still a mystery or uncharted path for scientists. In this context, it is definitely worth proud of and worth admiring a fact that Vedas and Bhagavad Gita written thousands of years ago in our land offers a rich and valuable information and understanding on the concept of soul.
Reading Bhagavad Gita these days am awed by the enormous wealth of knowledge and insight this master piece provides. Here in this topic , I shall write about the understanding on soul that I gained from my spiritual quest of our Vedas and Bhagavad Gita. So far.
The size of the soul :
Svetasvatara Upanishad (5.9) says :
Satadha kalpitasya ca
Bhago Jivah Sa Vijneyah
Sa Canantyaya kalpate
Which translates as :
“When the upper point of hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul”
Another verse from the same Upanishad also mentions the size of the soul :
Jiavha suksma-svarupo yam
Sankhyarito hi cit-kanah
Which means :
“There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms , which are measured as one ten thousandth of the upper portion of the hair.”
So we can conclude that according to Vedic scriptures of the vedic times , the individual particle of spiritual soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms.
This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body and the influence of this tiny spark is spread all over the body . This tiny atom is what gives the life force for our body. If this tiny spark is snuffed out of our body, it’s just a dead body.
Nature of the soul :
According the Bhagavad Gita : chapter 2.17
“ That which pervades the entire body , you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul”
The material body can be destroyed and it is perishable . The same is not the case with the soul. The soul can neither be destroyed . It is imperishable. The material body has to die at one point of time but soul is ever living.
According to Bhagavad Gita chapter 2.20
“ For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being , does not come into being , and will not come into being. He is unborn , eternal , ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain , when the body is slain. ”
According to Bhagavad Gita chapter 2.23
“ The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon , nor burned by fire , nor moistened by water , nor withered by the wind ”
According to Bhagavad Gita chapter 2.24
“ This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting , present everywhere , unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”
According to Bhagavad Gita chapter 2.25 :
“ It is said that the soul is invisible , inconceivable and immutable.Knowing this , you should not grieve for the body. ”
So in a nutshell the nature of the soul is describes as : indestructible , imperishable , is unborn , eternal , ever-existing and primeval. The soul is unbreakable and insoluble . It can neither be burned nor dried. It is everlasting , present everywhere , unchangeable , immovable and eternally the same.
The point eternally the same is very important. It conveys a point that all living souls are of the same character but what differentiates one from other is through the cycle of karma and the influences of the individual on its course of births and rebirths. In this regard , it is very interesting to note that , Vedas ascribe two kinds of soul Jeevatma and Paramatma . Both this souls live within every living entity. The actions and reactions of the Jeevatma is what brings the different uniqueness and characterizations of the individual living entity. I will talk about Jeevatma and Paramatma and their significance in another topic.
To conclude with a verse from Bhagavad Gita chapter 2.29 :
“ Some look on the soul as amazing , some describe him as amazing , and some hear of him as amazing , while others , even after hearing about him , cannot understand him at all ”
This is exactly how one reacts when we talk about soul. The more we study indepth the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita , the more we get the understanding on the soul . I have just started my spiritual journey into Vedas and Bhagavad Gita will share the knowledge I gained in due course of time in my blog.
Navratri starts today.
This one used to be my much awaited festival during my childhood for two reasons. First, we get 10 days of school holidays. Second, the way we celebrate Dasara or Golu as we call in Tamil. Let me go back to flashback days and recall the Golu days.
The arrival of Golu proceeds with Quarterly exams. After a grueling, tiring, stressed out exam schedule which kid won’t look forward to 10 days of school free days!!! So do us – my elder bro and yours lovingly. So we eagerly wait for the holidays. The Golu preparation starts with putting up the stair structure. We used to have a giant Golu - 9 big steps in height and width. It easily rises to some 9 ft and 6 feet in width. My papa used to get a carpenter to fix the stairs in place. We used to have a collapsible stairs which will rise to its full glory every year in these 9 days. Once it’s fixed. We drape it in red satin clothe. Next comes, the interesting but huge task of taking out the dolls (of different Gods) from our huge trunk. We had a huge collection of dolls – a wonderful collection that spans many decades from my papa’s childhood. Different Gods in Different forms! Saraswati , Lakshmi , Durga , Ram , Sita , Laxman and Hanuman , Hanuman opening his heart and Ram and Sita image seen in it, Dus avatars of Vishnu , Krishna and Arjuna in chariot(Gita Upadesh) , Ganesh , Sri Rama Patabishek , Lord Murugan in six lotus flowers as six babies , Surya bhagwan , Brahma , Rishis like Sankaracharya , Agastya etc , kannapar , Nava graha , Asta lakshmis , Ardanairshwar etc …
We kids used to have our own area where we create a village rustic home, with dolls of people, cows etc… We used to spread sand and put seeds of grains and water it and it grows it everyday and by 9th day it gives a green spread!!!
Every day mom makes different kind of dishes for offerings. Evenings we have puja and then feast on it!!! 10 days, different dishes every day! We used to visit our relatives home to have a look at their Golu! People drop to our home. Kids from neighborhood come during puja times…
The 9th day is Ayudha Puja. A celebration that conveys the noble message – “Work is God”. People decorate and give aartis to their work instruments. Students keep their schoolbooks and notes before God. The celebration literally means to convey that Work is God and if we perform the right karmas of our life with devotion and dedication that is the best prayer one can do for his upliftment. The 10th day with the final puja we remove the dolls and idols from the stairs and wrap it back safe and keep it in the trunk only to be taken back next year.
Hmmmm … it used to be fun days. It was a fun filled religious festival. It’s living our tradition in a very enjoyable manner! Memories I love to revisit in coming years. Memories I love to relive in the coming years. The tradition has to be relived. In between many years, the tradition of Golu was discontinued in our family. I would and definitely relive it and restart the tradition. Like how I lived it and enjoyed it earlier, I would like to relive it again and when our kids are born, definitely they should not miss over it in the fast changing world.
Happy Navratri to all of you!
May the festive season brings in abundance of joy, wealth and health to you and your family and friends.
Ghatti Subramanya Temple
So one day my dad consulted the family astrologer , who is some 85+ years now . He did prasanam and after checking horoscope told him that i should perform a puja for sarpa dhosha !! So i was told that i should do the sarpa dosha puja . I tried googling to study about sarpa dhosha . Well , i stopped googling further coz i decided not to complicate my life further with those info and just do what i was told . Sometimes life is easy , if we just listen and not question , isnt it ? heehee
Then arised a question , where do i do this puja ? Obviously the puja has to be done in temple where naga aspect is involved. The astrologer mentioned a temple in kerala which is famous for it . My friend suggested Kalakasti . I wanted to narrow down a temple which will be at short distance from bangalore. I googled again and the result threw two results : Kukke Subramania temple and Ghatti Subramania temple. Kukke Subramania temple is the famous of the both . I also got an extra titbit that will interest cricket fans especially Tendulkar fans , Tendulkar had done a puja there .
Well back to my temple journey , Kukke Subramania temple is near mangalore , so its again far from bangalore. So i narrowed down the search to Ghatti Subramania temple . It was 60 kms away from bangalore . So i thought it should be the right choice . And my inner voice also said yes , freeze it !!
So we decided to go to Ghatti Subramania temple . I thought we will go the most public mode – The bus. I gathered info that there are regular bus from Bangalore to Ghatti . There are buses at 8 , 9 and 11 in the morning from Magestic bus stand. I decided we will take the early bus so that we reach earlier and back earlier . So got up at morning 5 , took bath and packed food and in ” pious mood ” went to majestic ! The name is Magestic , but nothing magestic about the busstand. I heard there are plans to totally revamp the busstand , Bangalore’s central bus stand . 48 floor complex that shall host inter state , intra state and Metro railway station and with integrated parking lots and bus bays and office complex . The plan is grand and majestic . I hope it comes out of drawing room to reality soon . We reached majestic at 7 and the bus just reached the bay , by the time we got in it was almost full but luckily we managed to get seated ! ( Travel tip : Be always before time for bus / train etc while travelling ) Being Sunday , there were rush . The bus started and it was a smooth journey . Being sunday , we escaped the famously infamous bangalore traffic . The road was good till dodaballapur . From then it climbs up the mountain area . The last stretch of some 5 kms or so is in poor shape . In 1 and 45 we reached Ghatti Temple . The hilly area houses the temple and few localites houses in the surrounding area. As soon as you step down from temple , you are thronged by vendors selling the puja items . Being sunday , it was crowded too . We had a look around and was whisked away by a vendor from the rest of the vendors . He seemed friendly and he took to his shop. We enquired about the temple and sarpa puja . He said the sarpa puja has to be done not in the main temple . He showed an adjacent path and said there is Naga temple there and that is where they do that puja and then we have to proceed to the main temple . He made an exhaustive list of the puja items. Ok i didnt blame coz he made life easier . He said there will be a pujari you can tell him for Sarpa Dosha and he will perform it . It will take one hour . I took out the purse for the puja items . He said you finish the puja and then pay the money ! Good ! Anyways no one can escape from this small hillock top heehee and no one cheats on puja issues.
We took the puja basket and went to the Naga temple . The pujari was performing the puja for another family. He asked to us to wait for a while . Then our turn came . The puja was quiet good . We were asked to perform puja along with him and he guided us . ( One thing i like is performing puja being part of it , rather than the pujari doing everything on his own and making us meer onlooker ) So religiously we did it . Chanted the mantras and did the various rituals of the Puja. It took some one hour . The puja was performed in a satisfied manner .
After paying the dakshana for pujari ( he doesnt demand and was glad to accept whatever one offers ) , we went back to the puja item vendor , he gave as another basket for archana inside the main temple . And again said will collect the money together after completion. We went inside the main temple . It was crowded , followed the lines and went inside . There was no idol of God . There was a natural formation which is the presiding deity there . East side is subramania and the west side of the formation is Narasimha , We can see the Narasimha through the mirror they have placed over the sanctum sanctorum. We had quick darshan . Came out side . The abhishekam was going on . Had a look at it . Sat for a while in the temple premise and said a little prayer and came out of temple . Paid the puja item vendor. Had tender coconuts to quench the thirst . They said the free temple lunch is at 12 : 45 . And it was 10:45 when we came out of temple . I decided not to wait for lunch but head back home instead. So we boareded the bus back to bangalore . It started bit late arnd 11:45 and headed back to majestic bus stand . In 1 and half hour , we reached back Majestic Bus stand , Bangalore.
Ok , now about my take on Pujas . Await my topic on it . What is my opinion on Pujas. Is it mere rituals or anything more to it . Will write a complete topic on it soon .
May the Supreme God bless you all .
Kalki Avatar and Mohammed
Other day i came across a community topic relating Kalki Avatar and Mohammed . Many points made to argue that Mohammed is indeed the Kalki Avatar mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. If one is determined , we can corelate any two incidents in this world by hook or crook by selectively avoiding major faults and discrepancies and brushing away the vital points that can bust the corelation . The same is what those arguing for the theory Muhammed is Kalki Avatar.
I have a simple basic answer to refute the silly theory put forward by those who corelate .
According to Islam and as per the words of Muhammed , He is the last prophet send by Allah , the God. Simpler terms , Muhammed is no God but the messenger of God .
Lets see about Kalki Avatar according to hindu scriptures :
Acording to Srimad Bhagavatam , Chapter SB 12.2.17 :
Lord Vishnu — the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master of all moving and nonmoving living beings, and the Supreme Soul of all — takes birth to protect the principles of religion and to relieve His saintly devotees from the reactions of material work.
The Supreme God , Lord Vishnu , himselves manifests as Kalki Avatar in the Kali yuga . Like the previous manifestation of Krishna , Ram etc , Kalki avatar is the direct manifestation of Supreme God and not a messenger of God or a Rishi.
So Supreme God = Lord Vishnu = Kalki Avatar.
This is against the basic tenet of Islam in which Muhammed is a messenger of Allah and not Allah Himself. If any muslim has to argue that Muhammed is Kalki Avatar , he / she is going against his own religious scripture and Quran.
Anyways my personal opinion is Muhammed , Jesus , Guru nanak are all one of the millions of Rishis world had seen , has seen , will seen.
Hare Krishna – Let Peace and better sense prevail in this world.