Friday, September 30, 2005



It's controversy time in Chennai where I stay. I was not able to think of something to write. I asked my colleague Vani Doraisamy to tell me a topic to write about. After a moment's thought came the reply - write about the concept of culture which is changing in the light of moral policing and authoritative dictations. The Vice-Chancellor of the prestigious technical Anna University rules that women should not were sleeveless and short tops, no jeans and T-shirts as it will divert the attention of the boys! And we all come from the land of Gargis and Maitreyis who were in those days dressed like the men, in a waistcloth like a dhoti and an upper cloth over the shoulders like an Angavastram.There is a reputed Tamil daily which sneaks into the bar of a star hotel and clicks pictures of women drinking and publishes it with a caption - Is this Liberation?In the melee - all and sundry come up with advice on protecting our culture.I really wish to speak about what true liberation is. In a world of changing realities, hemlines and sleevelines are bound to rise or fall or even disappear. True liberation lies in the mind where the individual is not bound by knots of thoughts tied around his tiny person either by himself, or his family or his society. A mind with neither fear nor favour. A mind that allows the light within to show the way, rather than wait for a torchlight. A mind without bounds, encompassing all. a mind that knows its real self! And I pray as did Rabindranath Tagore - Into that heaven of Freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Silence is not the absence of sound
Silence is a certain quietness of acceptance
Experienced deep within the recess of the heart

Amidst the noise around
A stillness of the mind
Slowly emptying
The clouds of thoughts
Slowly vanishing

Like a clear summer sky with stray clouds

Zen and Silence

People, a humble request, please try to read it completly, don't stop because you are getting bored, Zen is a very beautiful concept, just try to give it a complete read.

Part 1 - Zen and Zen fundamentals
The concept of Zen is a middle path between Buddha and Lao Tzu. It is a culmination, a transcedence, both of the indian genius and Chinese genius. It is merged in such a fashion that it is not possible to seperate them both, it is not possible to say one from the other. So Zen is neither Buddhist nor Taoist and yet both.

First, Zen is not a theology, it is a religion. All other religion's around the world have theologies, all are God-centric, their ultimate goal is God. In case of Zen, it is man-centric, man is the goal, man is the end. God is something hidden within man. Zen says that God is not extrinsic to religion, it is intrinsic. It is not there, it is here. In fact there is "no" there for Zen, all is here. There is no other space, no other time, This moment is all. In this moment the whole existence
converges, in this moment all is available. If u cannot see it, doesn't mean it is not available - it simply means you don't have the vision to see it. God has not to be searched for, you have to only open your eyes. According to Zen, there is no God sitting somewhere in heavens and controlling life and existence. There is no controller. Life is moving in harmony and in its own accord. Man is responsible for himself and the world he lives in. If there is suffering, you are responsible; there is nobody else to look to. You cannot throw your responsibility. If the
world is ugly and in pain, we are responsible for it, there is nobody else. You have to take hold of your life, you have to take the reins in your own hands. You have to be more alert and more aware because for whatsoever is going to happen, you will be responsible. This gives great responsibility. One learns to become more watchful.

Zen says there is no beyond, the beyond is within you, there is no beyond beyond you. So the question is not to raise your eyes and pray - but meditate. You have to become quiet and silent and go withinward to find your center. That very center is the center of existence too. When u have come to your innermost core you have come to the innermost core of existence itself. That's what is God in Zen.

Zen says everything is divine, so how can anything be special ? All is special, Nothing is non special, so nothing can be special ;). According to Zen, everything is holy, Zen bringes holiness to ordinary life. Zen is non-conceptual, non intellectual. It is the only religion in the world that preaches immediacy, moment to moment immediacy - to be present in the moment;
no past, no future.

Zen says: Be empty. Look without any ideas. Look into the nature of things, but with no idea, with no prejudice, with no presupposition. Don't be preoccupied. If you have an idea, there is a possibility that u will find it in reality - because mind is very creative. If you want something badly you will see that thing, but that thing will be only your imagination. Zen says drop all your imagination, Unburden yourself. So Zen is simple, and yet very difficult. Simple because as far as Zen is concerned - it is the most simple thing, the most spontaneous - but because our mind is cluttered with so many ideas - it becomes difficult.

The second fundamental: Zen is not a philosphy it is a poetry. It does not propose, it persuades. It doesnot argue, it simply sings its own song. It is aesthetic to the very core, it is not ascetic. Zen is concerned with the beauty. Zen seaker looks into reality to find the beautiful, in the songs of the birds, in the trees, in the dance of the peacock, in the clouds, in the lightning, in the sea, in the sands. It tries to look for the beautiful. Hence Zen is passive - that's why in Zen sitting
became one of the most important meditation. Just sitting - zazen. Zen says that if you simply sit doing nothing, things will happen. Things will happen on their own; you need not go after them, you need not seek them, you need not search them. They will come. You simply sit. If you can sit silently, if you can fall into tremendous restfulness, if you can relax yourself,
if you can drop all tensions and become a silent pool of energy, going nowhere, searching nothing, God starts pouring into you. From everywhere God rushes towards you. Just sitting, doing nothing, the spring comes and grass grows itself. And when Zen says just sitting, it means just sitting, nothing else, not even a mantra. If you are repeating a mantra you are not just sitting, you are again going into a cycle, again into some mind thing. If you are not doing anything whatsoever, Thoughts are coming, coming; they are going, going - if they come, good; if they don't come, good. You are not concerned with what is happening, you are just simply sitting there. If you feel tired, you lie down. If you feel your legs getting tense, you spread them. You remain natural, not even watching, not making any effort of any kind. Just sit.....

The third fundamental: Zen is not science but magic. Not magic of magicians, it is a magic as a way to look into life. Science tries to discover, tries to reveal the mystery. Zen tries to retain the mystery. Zen believes that they mystery of life is not to be solved, it cannot be solved, it has to be lived. One has to move into it, cherish it, relish it and live it. Life has to be celebrated. Zen is the magic, it gives the key to open the miraculous and that miraculous is in you and the key is also in you.

And the last fundamental: Zen is not morality, it is aesthetics. It does not impose any code of morality; it does not give you any commandments. It simply makes you more sensitive towards the beautiful and that very sensitivity becomes your morality. It arises out of you, out of your consciousness. Zen does not give you any conscience as against your consciousness; it gives you more consciousness and your consciousness becomes your conscience. It comes from your innermost core. And when it comes from there, it is not that you are doing it as a duty, reluctantly. You enjoy doing it. It becomes your love.

From the book: Zen the path to Paradox.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Silent Mind...

...Is the Divine's Workshop

A couple of days ago, I typed this post A Silent Mind Is the Divine's Workshop very fast, thinking I was typing for Cosmic Consciousness. But after I posted it, I realised it was on my blog. Only now, I learnt how to login properly on this.

I had this thought about Cosmic Consciousness:
Frail minds gather
To etch their thoughts
On a vast screen of infinity
A different painting this
Where the brush is from the same cosmos
The fingers that lift it and dab it into the paint
Is the same as the brush
The canvas on which it is painted is the same
As the brush, paints and the painter
The thinker, thought and the word
Are all one
In this vast expanse called

- Swahilya.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Buddhist prototype in hindu temples.

Unbelievable but true, whats stand today as hindu architecture, namely dravida(south) and nagara(north) styles, has taken its influence from Buddhist art. Infact the buddist chaitya seems to have been the prototype for many other religions as well. Not proven historically, but starkly visible is the close resemblance of the buddhist chaitya hal with today's cathedral. The nave and central aisles are common to both and this feature has not been taken up half as much by our hindu counterparts.

What brought about this kind of architecture in hindu temples? It seems very important that both buddhist and hindu shrines face eastward towards the rising sun and must be circum-ambulated.
1. Path of circum-ambulation - Hence the path of circum-ambulation seems to have been brought into every chaitya, cave or temple.
2. The arched window - The other very important thing is that the main source of light(and in some cases the only source) was initially from the big arch window above the main door of the facade.
3. Kudu figures - Further to this, a very realistic aproach of a man looking out of this window has been converted to a style which reduced itself to a lace work crowning the roof of the entrance. (here the face is not too visible)
4. Buddhist retreats - Cells in which monks retreated during the monsoon had arched windows above them (replicating earlier wooden counterparts) and this whole element was later adapted into brahminical architecture on temple walls.
5. The tree of life - Finally, the ancient aryan/buddhist icon of indra symbolising water cosmology (depicted by a symbol of a pot base with a shaft hoisting up a capital over an abacus - called the tree of life) which was initially the theme behind the pillars on which ashoka wrote out his edicts, was the basis of original pillar architecture and later diluted itself to the walls of indian temples interspaced with sculptural niches.

These were all strictly buddhist originally and have found their way into temple architecture. We cannot forget that the evolution of architecture started in wood, moved to rocky cliff walls where caves were carved into live rock. From there it moved into monolithic temple and cave architecture and finally dared to enter into the structural temple zone, a period which saw a lot of evolution in indian architecture, specially in the birth of orissa school.

It has been a long journey through the centuries for indian architecture to shape up this way. Influences have come in from belief and traditional thinking. Funds came in from the ruling patronage to promote architecture buddist or hindu. All this coupled with the ritualistic backdrop of indian lifestyle.

Today all we can do is preserve it, for rebuilding it is close to impossible.

Photos courtesy: Original photos©2002 Michael D. Gunther.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I am a seeker too just like you
Each of us here are seekers too
For its man’s nature to commune with the Divine
Just as naturally as rivers flow into the Ocean
Both Never for a reason

The thoughts that come forth through all of us are the expressions of the One Divine.
Thoughts that invariably lead to that One Ocean of Cosmic Consciousness.
I read each of them with reverence each is a blessing happening through a form

Just like you I too have had the same question bubbling up why and what? A VERY NATURAL QUESTION. It is a blessing actually, a springboard to your spiritual evolution.

I have asked this same question to My Master Swami Akshara “Why should I write? To what end?” He laughed and said, “Now should every Master ask this question, every sculptor ask this question there would not have been a Michelangelo, a Leonardo da Vinci” Swamiji asked me to simply write.

I dropped the why and the what for. And what followed was a miracle. I have no ‘experience’ in writing other than leave letters to school for my children. No training, nothing. My blog name describes me in a single word Kitchenette Soul. A person who is just another housewife. My world is my home, but now my home is the world . This is what My Master brought about in one stroke.

These are thoughts, which come by when I am in silence simply for no reason. I just write them down as they pass by. No thinking, no editing, nothing, written in a flash that’s all. I share them simply. Like My Master says “There is no copyright to the Divine.”
The world around says I write poetry. At the insistence of My Master a book of my poems was published this year as Kitchenette Soul.

Yes the world around is full of strife. Why go so far, there the home too which is a mirror of the world outside. To make a difference to the world outside, to the home inside it is important to make a difference to yourself. Spiritual regeneration. To evolve spiritually. To become a quieter human being, who does not do charity but shares simply for no reason for all he sees are his own both at home and outside. You cannot be charitable to yourself! You are not somebody who just does good work to simply feel good and earn some punyam, but because you see them as your own.

The lives of all Great Masters reflect this. Swami Vivekananda too emphasized on spiritual awakening as a foundation for every activity in life. The organization he established is a stunning example of what Vedanta can do. Each Spiritual Master emphasizes on a foundation of spiritual awakening first.

Ramakrishna Mission is well known for their selfless social commitments. They are first to arrive to give help in times of tragedy. A lot of work is done without much fanfare or publicity. Now where does the strength come, the motivation? Ordinary men and women turn into giants once the spiritual awakening within happens.

Swamiji once asked us to write down what is meant by spiritual sadhana. This was the answer

The journey

From the form to the formless
From the body to the soul within
To connect from the soul within me
To reach out to others from within the depths of Silence within me to that unbounded omnipresent Divine not just in me found in all of humanity. Life takes on a new meaning then.

For once I have written a real long post, promise to keep it short and sweet next time as usual.

Some Questions

By putting up this post I do not mean to hurt anybody. The questions that I raise here are sincere questions that I ask out of honest curiousity

I have been slightly late in putting up my post on the Cosmic BLOG, but with good reason. Here we have the clear and cool opinions of Adi, wonderfully compiled information of Arjuna, Venky, etc., lucid poetry of Kitchenette, strenuously collected knowledge about temples from Kavitha, the peace filled words of Swahilya and so on (Pardon me if I forget anybody's name). There have been wonderful posts and information very useful being shared. But I only wonder in our enthusiasm, are we missing some pertinent questions...

1. How does we speaking about the philosophy of Hindu, the knowledge of India, change the life of the man in the hut whose only thought revolves about his next meal? How can we call ourselves and our ideas Hindu or Indian if he too does not get a fair oppurtunity to understand all this wonderful ideas?

2. All this information that we have in our hands and wish to present to the open world, how do they matter to the educated, the powerful and the erudite who control the fate of the nation and the religion alike? How do we get them to understand and appreciate this message?

3. In both the cases referred to above, presentation is required. For the poor and the elite to understand our views, we must have the ability to present our views in means that will appeal to them. How are we going to obtain th maturity, the strength to not just present our ideas to them, but to take criticsms and to face failures? How are we going to till and water our own minds so that they can bear the flowers of a bright future?

4. If we are to spread the message of Hindu philosophy and Indian culture, how much do we understand of Hindu philosophy or India?

4. And at last, the one question that has been eating my mind, not just since we got together but for ages. Amidst all the poetry, the wonderful words, the diligently phrased sentences that we hear and speak, where is that word which speaks truth and only truth? Where is that voice which does not speak mere words but stands out as the clear meaning? Where is that soul who does not merely utter the words 'Aham bramhasmi' but lets his (her) life stand as a shining example of that truth?

If we do not have that light, that guide at our helm, where shall we head in our spiritual quest? If even we do not have such a person at the helm, is there a teacher, a Guru who can at least lead us to such a person? And even if such a person has arrived amongst us, are worthy of this person? Have we in our heart of hearts acquired the humility and maturity to submit and learn from this Guru? Or has this person not arrived amongst us only because we are ready for him/her yet? If this be the case, then what are we doing to prepare ourselves for the Guru?

I wonder if we are trying to sow our seeds before preparing the field; if we are trying to write our poems before we have learnt the language.

I need answers for these questions, as an individual. I humbly request each and everyone of you also to ask these questions for yourselves. And in my light, I find it an enormous liability for me to post anything at all in a forum which is being referred to and used by many as a source of right information before I have answers for these questions in the first place. Therefore, I shall not post anything here for sometime. I sincerely believe if we had the answers for these questions, we could go a long way in the road to truth.

Once again, I wish to insist that this post is not intented to hurt anybody. If by my own impertinence it has hurt anybody, I apologize for it.

Katha Upanishad - Discourse by Swami Atmashraddhananda

The Ultimate reality is not residing somewhere far from us. The "purusha" is available quite closely. It can be reached through single-point subtle intellect. It is available to everybody without any distinctions. But it is hidden very well in the depths of ourselves. It is not that a Christian or a Muslim cannot reach this God, everybody can. Afterall, all are cast in the same mould.

Once, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa speaking of a Vaishnava saying which meant -We should show compassion to all human beings said, "Who are you to offer compassion? Offer your respect and adoration." He continued,"How do you practice divinity everywhere? Even Lion has "God" in it. That doesn't mean you go and hug the lion. It must never be forgotten that divinity is everywhere. But we should protect ourselves and not hate anybody"

To further understand how our mind is always pre-occupied with something or the other. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa told this story to his devotees.
There was a man sitting on the banks of river Ganges and observing the boats that entered the port. There were also extremely big ships that entered. There was one particular ship with lot of cotton that entered the port. Suddenly, this man became depressed seeing the cotton bales in that ship. He thought, "The bales will be offloaded, taken to factory and weaven. But there's so much of cotton who will weave it?" He was kind of transfixed with this thought. He went home from there. For three to four days as if he had lost his mental balance he kept on repeating to whoever talked to him that "There's so much of cotton who will weave it?". People thought he had gone mad.
One day, his neighbour decided to do something about this.
He asked the man, "What happened?".
Our man replied,"There's so much of cotton who will weave it?".
Neighbour casually remarked,"Oh that ship! That ship caught fire and all the cotton got burnt!"
After this conversation, the man became alright.

As long as a person has filled himself with samskaras without God, he can only percieve the world not God.

Similarly, there is another story. There was once a drunkard who was intoxicated to such an extent that he could not move from the place he had fallen down. He was asking everybody to take him home. He was always uttering, "Take me home" to anyone who came by his side. Actually, he was lying right outside his house. So, his neighbours came upto him and gave him a bit of rice water to reduce his intoxication. And once his intoxication reduced he got up and walked into his house which was a stone's throw from there.

We are all intoxicated by something or the other and find that God is hidden from us. We need to come out of the intoxication.

Is He afraid of us that he has hidden himself from us? It is not that he is afraid, we have failed to culture our mind to percieve God. We have become one with our sense of perceptions. We see and we taste it's not eyes see, tongue tastes!

He is accessible through a "buddhi" which is subtle and disciplined.

Shankaracharya in his commentary on the Kathopanishad says: Those who are asamskruta, their buddhi doesn't perceive God. What we consider as our intellect is mixed up with our samskara.

For example, like it happens in court cases where witnesses turn hostile. Why do they turn hostile? More often than not, it is because they have been bribed. Similarly our buddhi has been bribed by anger, selfishness, etc. and hence the buddhi never makes the right statement.

Once a priest in the church used to observe an elderly man regularly dozing off during his Sunday sermons. So, the Father called the man and spoke to him. Next Sunday, the elderly man's grandson also came along with the mandate that he would wake his grandfather up whenever he went off to sleep. And everytime the grandson would wake him up, the Father would pay the grandson $1. But again, the man is found to be dozing off during the sermon. So, the Father calls the grandson and asks him why he allowed his grandfather to sleep even though he promised to pay $1. For which the grandson replied, "Grandpa pays me $5 for not disturbing his sleep"

Similarly, our buddhi or samskara is bribed by anger and that's the reason why sermons and good sayings don't enter the mind. Mind should be purified. And intellect as sharp as a nail. Take a piece of wood - plane it first - then to give it a shine - polish it. This is what should be done to the intellect to percieve God.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hymn in praise of Ganesha

Thirumoolar sings in praise of Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles.

You can hear the hymn here

ஐந்து கரத்தனை யானை முகத்தனை
இந்தின் இளம்பிறை போலும் எயிற்றனை
நந்தி மகன்தனை ஞானக் கொழுந்தினைப்
புந்தியில் வைத்தடி போற்றுகின் றேனே.

Anbe Shivam

I too approached You for that One drop of Love
Thus did my quest for You begin in earnest
To quench that thirst
Little did I know
That I asked You for yourself!
Thus did you offer me that Ocean unbounded
Of Love knowledge
Of which I can but perceive
Know but this
You are Love Incarnate.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I Am

I have successfully entered the Cosmic Consciousness community, thanks to your invitation. I am just back from an assignment on translations and learnt that The Bhagavad Gita is the most translated book from India.
Besides that, I am just experiencing moving around in the world of sound, within a mind of silence. Will catch up with you all soon.

Indian temple architecture - where did it all start?

Vijayanagar - Seat of learning, and a place so rich during the 14th century, Vijayanagar defined the final culmination of all temple architecture around the whole of south india. The Cholas added their experience to this wealth of knowledge as well. Lets say they were the Baroque stages of maturity in European terms. Profusely decorated temples, depicting anything and everything from all strata of society as well as all worlds clothe the various temples in exquisit sculptural finery. But where did it all start?

In the south? No, in the north maybe, but strangely, dravidian art owes a lot to its predecessor, the Buddhists. A lot of the over ornate elements that crown chola pallava and vijayanagar styles of architecture take their roots from buddist caves.

So the start was in a buddhist cave, not at ajanta or bhaja but in a remote place in Bihar, in the Barabar hills. The very first mauryan caves, whose walls still glisten with mauryan polish, were the first to be carved into stone rocky walls. Bihar speaks of 2 caves, the Lomas Rishi and the Sudama caves that started the trend of making retreats in rocky cliff sides. We can safely assume that what existed before this was in wood and has perished with time, leaving behind traces of its existance among these rocky caves.

I hope to trace back the visual story of indian art in this blog, each post chronologically covering a place (cave or temple) that added its value to the larger story giving us vital clues of progress in indian architecture through the indian subcontinent. I wouldn't leave it to all architecture, for there will be a lot of sculptural additions which add to the over all picture of social and religious acceptance of cults around the country and why temples came to be located where they presently stand today. We cannot eliminate cult worship and iconography so all this would pretty much go hand in hand.

For now, lets start this story with the first caves of Barabar hills. Purely buddhist in nature, and simple in appearance, these caves give the basic shape to a Chaitya hall facade which later decorated the cliffs sides of Ajanta. The fantastic arch window, shaped similar to a horse shoe, took is first form in rock here. Decorated with elephants and symbols of Buddha, then worshipped in the Hinayana phase, it holds up the simplest arch window that covers the entrance. Interestingly the entrance of the LomasRishi cave shows wooden beams carved into stone, more as a decorative piece than functional in nature. Here is where it all started.

Summa Iru - Power of Silence

Its high time I post my article on something I love - Silence!

[Article originally posted by me in Murugaavatarbabaji@yahoogroups]

Kandhar Anubhuthi - Verse 12

Semmaan Magalaith Thirudum Thirudan
Pemmaan Murugan Piravaan Iravaan
Summaa Iru Sollara Enralume
Ammaa Porul Onrum Arindhilane


"The Stealer who kidnapped Valli, born to the red deer;
That glorious Murugan, deathless and unborn -
When He, speechless, instructed me 'Be Silent',
What wonder! Even a single object I knew not."


"What a wonder! When Lord Murugan - the stealer who kidnapped Valli
born of a red deer, the Glorious One, the birthless and deathless
One -instructed me through silence to 'Be Silent', Lo! I knew no object of the world."

Points to Note:

Wow - St Arunagirinathar delivers another cracker! :).. In this verse, the St emphasizes that Silence is the most important Sadhana or Spiritual practice that is required by a Sadhaka. In this verse, Valli is the Jivatman, the soul aspiring for communioun with the Lord. When the Jiva is determined to attain the Lord and engages itself in earnest Sadhana, the Lord tests the Jiva in a variety of ways and finally gives assurance, by way of inner spiritual experience and conviction, of accepting the soul, as he did in the case of Valli (The Lord comes and kidnaps Valli in the middle of the night when everything is Silent - Thus he is referred to as the Stealer of Valli!). So when does the Jiva unite with the Lord? Only when everything is Silent!! When the senses are Silent, When the mind is Silent, When the intellect is Silent and most importantly when there is a spiritual Silence i.e. when the Jiva rests in God Awareness wherein the mind automatically rests in Silence, the mouth speaks not and the body does not move - the higher Spiritual Consciousness takes possession of the Jiva. Herein is revealed the secret that the awakening of the higher spiritual Consciousness is possible only when the outgoing tendencies of the senses, the externalising nature of the mind and the objectifying character of the consciousness are withdrawn and centred in the heart, which is the Abode of the Self. So in the previous verse, St Arunagirinathar says that the Lord gave upadesa on the Supreme Reality, but did not reveal as to what that upadesa was. In this verse he does it; ' Be Silent ', was the upadesa.

When Ramana Maharishi was still observing total silence,Sivaprakasam Pillai, a very learned gentleman, asked, "What is the nature of consciousness?" Ramana wrote on his slate, "It is sat chitananda (being, consciousness, bliss) in which there is not even the trace of the 'I' thought. This is also called mauna (Silence) or atma (Self). That is the only thing that is. If the trinity of world, ego and God are considered as separate entities, they are mere illusions, like the appearance of silver in the mother of pearl. God, ego and world are really Sivasvarupa (the form of Siva) or Atmasvarupa (the form of spirit). Ramana says that there is a perpetual source of happiness waiting for us, if only we know how to tap it. Happiness and silence, are co-existent and inclusive of each other. They are inherent and natural to them. Like the musk deer which does not realise that its scent emanates from within itself, human beings are not conscious of the treasure house of happiness within. Happiness lies in discovering our true identity by diving deep within. Silence is not absence of speech and solitude is not physical seclusion or isolation in a cave or a forest or on the mountain top. It is the ability to be in the centre of things, free of the turbulence of thoughts, which besiege and torture the mind. Silence and happiness are universal common property available to all, all the time. "A quiet mind is the foundation of inner peace. No place is quieter than one's soul" (Marcus Aurelius). Ramana taught mainly through the "alchemy of silence".

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chidambaram--The ONE clad in Awareness

Came running to see You
Resplendent in the form of the lingam
As you usually are
Then found a beautiful emptiness
In place
Space and beyond….

An awareness of that which is
Which truly is
The form is but to indicate this
The Eternal Truth
Where forms dissolve
Into One

Eternal dance of Creation
That is

In grandeur and poise
Enticing and beguiling

You are the dance and the dancer
Creation and the Creator
Two visions of the Nothingness
Before and beyond
From where was born light and sound
Movement and stillness
Born of infinite nothingness
Will dissolve into the nothingness
Yet again
One more transformations in this eternal cosmic dance

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Saint Arunagirinathar

Prior to the advent of Ramana Maharishi, Tiruvannamalai's most famous saint was probably Arunagirinathar, a Murugan bhakta who lived at the foot of Arunachala in the fourteenth century. Reliable information about him is hard to come by for the earliest account of his life was not published until the nineteenth century, about 500 years after he died. Arunagirinathar was born in Tiruvannamalai and spent the greater part of his life there. He was reputed to be the son of a courtesan called Muttammai. As he grew up he found the company of courtesans so attractive, he spent most of his time in their houses. When his mother died, all the properties he inherited from her were squandered to pay for his lust. Arunagirinathar had a sister, Adi, who was very fond of him.Taking advantage of her affection, Arunagirinathar persuaded her to part with her jewels and all her other possessions so that he couldc ontinue to indulge his appetite for the local courtesans. He continued with this way of life for many years. As he became older,his body became diseased and the better class of courtesan began to jeer at him and avoid his company.The major turning point in his life occurred when he had spent all his sister's money. Not knowing that she was destitute, he approached her again in the hope of getting another hand-out. His sister, who had nothing left except the clothes she was wearing ,told him that her funds were exhausted. Since she still loved her brother, and since she still wanted to be of assistance to him she offered him her own body, saying, 'If your lust is so insatiable,you can use my body for your sexual satisfaction'. These words deeply affected and shamed Arunagirinathar. He mentally reviewed the wasted years of his life and came to the conclusion that he had been committing crimes against God. As his sense of shame deepened, he decided to commit suicide by jumping off one of the gopurams in the Arunachaleswara Temple.

Read more at:

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Thirumoolar -- 2

The Murthi of the great saint Thirumoolar in HIS temple in Thiruvaduthurai near Kumbakonam.

Hymn from Thirumanthiram:
தெளிவு குருவின் திருமேனி காண்டல்
தெளிவு குருவின் திரு நாமம் செப்பல்
தெளிவு குருவின் திருவார்த்தை கேட்டல்
தெளிவு சிவகுருவுரு சிந்தித்தல் தானே

English Translation:
It is but to see the GURU's Holy Form
It is but to chant the GURU's Holy Name
It is but to Hear the GURU's Holy Word
It is but to muse on the GURU's Holy Being,
Thus it is the soul its illumination receives.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Katha Upanishad - Discourse by Swami Atmashraddhananda

There is a discourse by Swamiji in the Ramakrishna Ashram at Mylapore in Chennai every Sunday evening at 5.45PM [It used to be 5.30PM before]. Whenever I am in Chennai, I attend without fail. Through this forum I hope to spread the beauty of those discourses to many more people.
What is told in those discourses is the Truth. Most of us are seeking this Truth. Lets not be under the impression that through these posts we will get what we seek. This will just show us the way. We need to walk.

Katha Upanishad

Swamiji started off with one of the mantras of the Katha Upanishad which talks about the hierarchy of perceptions that we need to go through to see God. As already discussed by Arjuna in his post, there are seven steps we need to take to reach God.
  1. Body
  2. Senses
  3. Mind
  4. Buddhi
  5. Mahat
  6. Avyaktha
  7. Purusha
The "Purusha" state is where we can see God. Someone asked Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa how will I recognize God when I see Him? So, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave this example.

There is a King's palace in the city where the King is sitting in the place designated for him. The palace has seven gates to pass before reaching the King. Now, one person wanted to see the King. So, this person went alongwith his father to the palace. As he reached the beginning of the palace, he found at the first gate, a person dressed very regally and looking strong and sturdy. He asked his father, "Is he the King?".
The father said, "No, he's the sentry. A gatekeeper".
And they continued through to the second gate. Again a sturdy looking chap appears.
Again the question, "Is he the King?".
"No" comes the answer.
This happens till they reach the sixth gate. Here the sentry asked them,"Who exactly wants to see the King?".
The father said,"I have already seen the King. My son wants to see. Please allow him inside".
So, the son proceeded inside. And once he passed the seventh gate, there was no need for him to ask anyone. He knew just by seeing that he was in the presence of the King.

Such is the overwhelming presence of God. Nobody needs to point out to God and help you identify Him. You will know once you see or feel His presence.

But, while taking each of those seven steps, man needs to be told that there is a higher level. This is the purpose of a Guru. And once the highest level is reached, as we just saw in the story, nobody needs to tell us. We will know.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said that Realization of God is the only aim in man's life. This doesn't mean that other goals are unimportant. Other goals keep changing as priorities change in life. As we enter different situations our priorities change and hence the goals also change. There is always one aim that will and should never change and that is the Realization of God. This also implies there is no age restriction in trying to know God. People of all ages are welcome to realize the Truth. Age is not a restriction.

In fact there are no restrictions. Any restrictions that we construe, exist in our mind. This we shall see in the next Sloka in the next post.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Thirumoolar is a great Saivite saint, some believe He is the Lord Himself. He is one of the "Arupathoomoovar Nayanmars", the sixty three saivite saints who spent their lifetime singing the praise of the Lord.

Thirumoolar's treatise, Thirumanthiram is a collection of 3000 hymns; it provides many of the Mahavakyas of Saivism.

Thirumoolar sat in meditation for 3000 years in Thiruvaduthurai, a village near Kumabkonam, TN. Every year He sang one hymn; Thirumoolar is the first saint, who sang in praise of the "Tamil" language. HIS hymn, where HE sings in praise of the Lord as "Anbe Sivam" (GOD is LOVE) is the most sublime statement; all the Nayanmars are living commentaries on this statement.

Over the next several weeks, I shall try and write a commentary on Thirumanthiram, includng quoting the Hymns from Thirumanthiram.

"Anbe Sivam"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hinduism and Jiva: The Constitution of Man - The Jiva

In Hinduism, man is the microcosm who contains within himself all the constituents and manifestations of the Universal Self. It is by looking into oneself, by knowing and understanding oneself, one can experience the Truth of the Supreme Self. In the Katha Upanishad, Lord Yama declares to Nachiketa that it is through self-contemplation (adhyatma-yogadhigamena) that the wise man realizes the Primal God and leaves behind him both joy and sorrow (mortal existence).

The mysteries of creation and the mysteries of the Universal Existence of Supreme Self can be known only by knowing the mysteries of ones own creation and ones own existence. All the divinities that exists in the universe have their corresponding divinities in the human personality.

The creation and evolution of man is same as the creation and evolution of the entire universe. It is based upon this concept and analogy that the Upanishads unfold to us the grand vision of the Universal Self and the secrets of creation.

The Virat ( manifest world) is the waking consciousness, the visible reality, the Vaishwanara mentioned in the Mandukya Upanishad. Hiranyagarbha (the World Spirit), the creator of this world and the various forms in it, is the dream state, the Taijasa, who has all the forms and ideas already existing in him and who manifests reality through his creative ability.

Iswara, the Creative Spirit, the Saguna Brahman, the first Being manifested by the Non-Being, "in the beginning when nothing existed", is the deep sleep state called pragna. Finally, at the apex, is Brahman, the Absolute, the One without attributes, the state that is beyond sleep, who is Atman , the immortal and transcendental aspect hidden in each of us.

According to Hindu scriptures at the center of man is Atman and encircling it are five different sheaths or bodies. First is the physical body, called variously as the gross body, sthula sarira or annamaya kosa. It is made of food or earth and contains the senses and the organs of action. From food verily are produced all creatures of earth. Food verily is the eldest born of beings (annam hi bhutanam jyeshtham). Food is eaten and eats things. (Taittiriya II.2.1).

The second is the vital body or the breath body, called pranamaya kosa. Air is the food for this body. Breath is the life of beings (prano hi bhutanam ayuh). It is called sarira atma (the embodies soul of the gross body). It is part of the subtle body, sukshma sarira in contrast to the gross body. The autonomous nervous system is under its control.

While a person can easily control the movements of his gross body, the same is not possible in case of his breath body unless he gains mastery over the movements of his breath. (It is interesting to note that the aim of hatha yoga is basically to establish this control over the movements of breath and achieve mastery over the breath body.)

The third is the mental body, called manomaya kosa which uses the five senses and the five organs of action (speech, hands, feet, excretory organs and sexual organs). The breath body and the mental body together constitute the subtle body, or sukhsma sareera. Thoughts are its food.

The fourth is the intelligence body, called vignanamayakosa or buddhi. It is the reasoning aspect of man, the discriminatory, regulatory, selecting and directing awareness in us, which provides direction to our activities and shapes our destinies and our very existence. It is also called the casual body, because it is the cause of an individual's karma. It directs the sacrifice as well as the deeds ( vignanam yagna tanute, karman tanute). The gods (senses) worship buddhi is the eldest Brahman (brahma jyeshtham). Sometimes buddhi is also described as a constituent of subtle body. But these distinctions do not effect our understanding of the different sheaths.

The fifth is the bliss body, called anandamaya kosa, which is transcendental and beyond ordinary human experience. Very few individuals are capable of knowing it or experiencing it, as it is beyond the sensory and mental fields. It is only through restraining of the senses, the mind and the buddhi one can gain access to it. It is the very essence (rasa or ether) of our existence for who can live in this world unless there is bliss in the space? (Taittiriya II.7.1). We further learn from the same Upanishad that the Non-Being who was alone in the beginning produced the Being who made itself a soul which was the Bliss Body called the well made.

The sixth is the Atman, the eternal soul, the real self, the very Brahman in Its pure microcosmic state. It is the First Being , the unchanging, imperishable self in man. It is beyond the senses,beyond all conscious human experience. It is also called Purusha. It is the Truth Body. Words return from it not attaining it along with the mind. He who attains it becomes freed from fear. He is not perplexed or tormented by conflicting thoughts. His mind becomes tranquil.

It may be noted that while Shri Sankaracharya considered the bliss body and Atman to be different, Shri Ramanuja regarded the bliss body and Atman together as the one pure transcendental state.

The first four sheaths, namely, the gross body, the two subtle bodies and the casual body (which is sometimes grouped together with the life and mental bodies as casual body), constitute the Jiva. Jiva is the living element, the product of Prakriti who comes under the influence of illusion and develops ahamkara or the ego consciousness which gives rise to feelings of separation and alienation from the rest of the creation and failure to perceive the omnipresence of God.

It is the Jiva which together with Atman goes through the chain of repeated births and deaths. While Atman is impervious to change and suffering during this process of evolution, the Jiva remains at the center of desire oriented sensory activity and suffers from its consequences. At the time of death it leaves behind the gross body and goes to the other worlds with his subtle and casual bodies, where after exhausting its karma it returns again to take birth in this world in accordance with its previous samskaras or residual memories of its past lives.

The Taittiriya and Katha Upanishads are important sources of information for our understanding of the constitution of man. In the Katha Upanishad says Lord Yama, " Beyond the senses are the objects and beyond the objects is the mind. Beyond the mind is buddhi and beyond buddhi is the great self (mahan atma)".

In the Taittiriya Upanishad we come across the description of the various stages of Brahman starting with matter and life (II.2.1), life and mind (II. 2.1), mind and buddhi (II. 2.1), buddhi and bliss (II.2.1) and Brahman (II.2.1). The Taittiriya Upanishad ends with a mystical chant which is a joyous expression of a liberated soul who has realized the true nature of his self.

In an outburst of pure joy he declares to the world:

I am food, I am food, I am food.

I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food.

I am the combining agent, I am the combining agent, I am the combining agent

I am the first born of the world order, before the gods, at the center of immortality.

I am food. I eat the eater of food.

I am the whole world.

I have conquered the whole world.

I am the resplendent golden light.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blog with a divine mission.

Our dream of uniting together for a single objective has come true today. Our single objective is to propagate the Eternal Truth that our great religion offers. Through this blog, readers can be guaranteed to have their disillusionment about Hinduism removed. We plan to dwell into the intricacies of the various Hindu philosophies ranging from Saiva Sidhantha to Vedanta and to show to the world that every philosophy in Hinduism is united towards a single goal of self realization. We have great contributors contributing to this divine mission and we welcome others irrespective of caste, creed and sex to join us in this divine mission. As Agnibharathi pointed to us in his blog, this can be the starting point for all of us to unite and work together to achieve those goals.

Some things before we start

So people, all credit to Arjuna for starting the new BLOG. Let us get some brass tacks here. I have some things to ask of all those people who are already in this common BLOG and those wish to get in.

1. How do you think we handle copyright issues? As far as we had individual BLOGs airing our views, this wouldn't have mattered. But now as a team of people who are looking to achieve something big, this is a serious question. I'm sure each of us have a wealth of information possibly achieved through painstaking research, especially the likes of Padmasani, Swahilya, Arjuna, Kasthuri Srinivasan, etc., So it makes sense to make sure we handle this is in a safe and secure manner.

2. I would request all the people to publish their interests and what they would like to do. This would help us know where we stand in terms of potential.

3. Ideas/Suggestions about what we should do. If we get started on random discussions, we wouldn't be doing too much. Let us plan some action and then work it.

So get back with your views and ideas ASAP.