Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gnana Karma...


These few days gave me a wonderful opportunity to spend quiet hours at the feet of my Guru, Swami Akshara, contemplating on the meaning of the Yoga of Action in the spirit of Renunciation with Wisdom - the Gnana Karma Sanyasa Yogam in the fourth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
Here come the most famous verses - Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya, Parithranaya Sadhunam and Brahmarpanam Bramha Havihi. The motto of the IIT - Siddhir Bhavati Karmaja is taken from this chapter of the Gita.

Gita is amazing to just chant, but the explanation of Yoga, verse after verse is fulfilling.
The Gitopadesham in this picture was taken at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Ashrama (SVYASA) at Bangalore, where the camp was conducted. The place at Jigini, an hour's drive away from Bangalore is a deemed University, that offers degree and diploma courses in Yoga.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Diamond Tears

when we reject the Supreme Divine Mother,
and embrace the mediocre,

the vacuum created thus,
is filled by
a black night,
an unplumbed sorrow,
a crimson pain


...we still live...

The Mother Goddess -
She gives us the strength to live without Her...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Life is

"A laughter from the immortal heart of Bliss"
-Sri Aurobindo

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Laughter and tears side-by-side
Circles the wheel of life
Every situation is a churner
Just like the churner
That separates butter
From curd
Then comes butter pure and white
That my Lord Krishna loves
Its just the Truth that He is
Let us too turn into that butter

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Deepam Jyoti...

...Param Brahma
Deepam Jyoti Parambrahma
The particles of the Param
That get ignited and shine
Revealing the light embedded in space
The lamp that reminds us
Of the light that is everywhere

Deepam Sarvam Tamopaham
The light that shines bright
Not removing the darkness
But expressing its presence
As the ever existing light
Everywhere and at all times

Deepena Sashwathe Sarvam
Everything resides in this light
And the light indeed is everything

Sandhya Deepam Namostute
That light and no light
The threshold of day and night
I worship you.

Shubham Karoti Kalyanam
May you bestow upon me
Auspiciousness and victory

Arogyam Dhana Sampadaha
Health, wealth and prosperity

Shathru Buddhi Vinashaya
May you destroy that enemy within
Residing in my mind
That holds me from progressing

Deepa Jyotir Namostute
I worship that light of the lamp
That dispels the darkness
In my mind.

- Swahilya

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Shore temple - a never ending saga

When there is a convergence of two sciences, a truth is revealed.
When there is a merger of two resonating sounds the reverberation is felt.
When there is a culmination of thoughts between two minds a realization engulfs you.

Shore temple Mahabalipuram: Such was the state when i revisited Mahabalipuram yesterday. There was knowledge in the air, realization in the mind and excitement in the heart! I have visited Mahabalipuram too many times, and i have most often been the guide, telling people what to look for.

This time I went with my Guru since he had not visited the place. I thought i was an expert when it came to the Art History of Mahabalipuram. Strangely this time i maintained silence. There was this long moment of truth when two sciences met, when i spoke on the basis of temple architecture and iconography and my Guru spoke on the basis of ritual. Ritual covers all the loop holes that art history misses out. This was clearly evident during our visit.

Art history helps to locate artifacts, and sculptures and gives the logical approach, ritual helps to explain them through subtle reality. This time the Shore temple had added a lot more meaning to my quest. It felt more like the jigsaw puzzle of truth was hidden all around it and prominently exhibited itself at the same time to all those who cared to take a deeper look.

Now let me explain. When you visit the Shore temple or any other old temple for the first time, the thrill has just begun. The first stage is of discovery. A visual display to the imagination you held about that place is now guided by the experience.

The subsequent few visits, display the most prominent facts to you, in the case of the Shore temple it would be two temples, assimetrically placed. Life size Nandis around the main wall and yalis along the walls of the temple. The temple has a platform, on which is the bhiti(wall), with niches and capitals with statues within them. A shrine chamber(garbha griha), with a path of circumambulation and maybe a vestible(antarala in larger temples). A strange reclining Vishnu on Ananta is sandwiched between the two Shiva shrines.

If the intrigue has lasted long enough and has made you look into books to look for what all this is about, then slowly more is visible. Built around 6th to 7th century AD, under the Pallavas, it was patronized by Narasimhavarman and Mahendravarman. The temple still follows the canons of architecture very strictly. It reveals a three tired roof and a five tired roof with strange architectural elements. Small heads called Kudu(tamil term, not sanskrit) figures lace the kapota (the base on which the roof stands). At this point all eyes are on the walls, which are profusely sculpted and the Vimana(roof) which is imposing and magneficent. You will realistically spend the next three years wondering about all the sculptures, their names, who they are and what are the stories behind them. You will find forms of Shiva you never heard of.

Lets assume you got the right books and stuck to them. The Pallavas were initially vaishnavite followers and later turned to Shaivism. Hence the sandwiched Vishnu is carved onto the bedrock and existed well before the temple took shape. Soon the attention shifts to the dwarapalas who are resting their body weight on the walls. Lions and elephants hold up the temple on thier backs and ganas are found every where. The linga is a three part stone of which the third part is embedded within the yoni and cannot be seen. What remains here is the depression in the floor. The panel inside the Garbha griha is Somaskanda panel. Mahishasuramardhini is found carved into the heart of a Lion on the side of the temple.
Conclusions: tolerance to different faiths, enough to leave two deities within the temple complex even if that was not precribed in the canons. Acceptance of the mother goddess cult as another equally potent cult by all faiths( that believed in male deities). Lesser gods like gandharvas and nagas suddenly appear on the walls and how did you miss them all along when they were so prominent!!

Then comes the next enlightenment! You just read about the Chalukyas who were contemporary to the Pallavas and therefore there is a sharing of ideas. The plinth is in chalukyan style and so is the science of carving dwarapalas though the style is pallava. How do we know that? One name strikes out of chalukyan guilds that coexisted with pallavas. Baladeva was a well known sculptor who specialized in carving dwarapalas and autographed his sculptures in pattadakkal. The same style is visible here.

Conclusion: an exchange of ideas and technique between the art worlds though there was war between Pulakesi(Chalukyas) and Mahendravarman(Pallava).

If this was not enough, well you have just about scratched the surface. You start looking at the ground plan, and the evolution of the temple. Judging by all the elements of architecture and going back into ancient architecture, the truth hits you that this was originally Buddhist architecture. The same elements take a functional position in Buddhist monastried in Ajanta and Bedsa. Meanwhile you might learn about the true nature of the Shiva Linga as being a part of Phallic worship and that you are actually worshipping the miracle of Procreation, no not the grose act but the subtle reality that governes it. Now the SomaSkanda panel suddenly makes more sense.

So now there is more to it, Phallic worship was a tradition as old as the Indus valley and there rose several subsects of Shaivism like Ligayats, tantriks and Pashupatas among others who had subtle differences in their rituals. The mother goddess cannot be eliminated and her form can be seen as Parvati, durga and Kali. It is also interesting that Somaskanda is another name for Muruga. And yes, Muruga was originally a dravidian war God before he got christened into the Shiva pantheon while Ganesha is a demi God who has now been elevated to God status with popular belief. None of them were born from the union of Shiva and Parvati.

There are many parallel thoughts running in your mind by now. One would be the connection of the Shiva Parvati icons with the philosophy of Kundalini yoga depicted through the Somaskanda panel. The meaning of life as we see it through the Mahishasuramardhini panel. The undying presence of Shiva and Parvati whose origins cannot be dated. And finally the presence of copulation scenes on some temple walls. Why is sex depicted too blatantly when our mindsets are against nudity.

It takes a long while for this one, the hidden presence of yantras all over the place which has ever so remained a secret. That the scenes on the Khajuraho temples were to hide this truth so that we, the uninitiated never get to see what is behind them(works brilliantly). The presence of a mandala that is at the ground plan of the temple. The presence of forms of Lord Shiva selectively places in various niches.

Every thing had a reason... and then my Guru spoke.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sri SitaRama Vaibhavam

Sri SitaRama Vaibhavam is a blog that narrates the Ramayana with a heartfelt supreme devotion for Lord Sri Rama and Sri Sita. This has been written by a person tender in years, but of immense understanding and maturity concerning all things spiritual - Anand Ramamoorthy.

I think that every single human being who is a devotee of the Supreme Lord or who is even just a lover of tales well-told, should throng this blog at once!

In my opinion it is an excellent blog, a joy to read each and every chapter starting from the
first of course!

I would make a humble request to all that they start at the very beginning of the archives in July 2005, and read from his first post "Welcome" dated 1st July, 2005, and go on upward to read the whole epic, written in an exhaustive, elaborate, deliberate and careful style.

Not to mention with a heart and mind full of dedication and devotion for Sri MahaVishnu.

A beautiful blog. Not to be missed by anyone.

A blog that deserves to be nurtured and visited as and when new posts keep coming up until the day of coronation of Sri Rama and Sri Sita.