Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why we do What we do??


If we have orthodox elders at home, they often keep correcting youngsters. Wash your hands before eating. Do not eat or drink with left hand, always keep glass containing water to your right side (while eating), offer food to god before your food, don't eat outside food, wash your feet after using the bathroom, light the lamp twice a day - morning and evening etc etc..

While these were diligently followed till recently, things have changed in the last 10 years. The reason is because of extensive invasion of western culture into our land. They are more easy to follow and have less discipline. Western thoughts have a lot of positive practises but we seem to be taking the wrong ones more easily and effortlessly. Children question all the rituals, they deny to follow our practises, they want a valid reason. However, many of them agree to elders if they are given a satisfying and logical reason. This is a good trend that children want to know the reason for their practises. And Hindu sastras have laid down rules and regulations with a scientific bent of mind. They are not blind faith or superstitions as wrongly understood by many. Yes, some of them are man made which are of course superstitious. But the sastras as such are definitely logical and have a reason for everything.  They have to be understood. Many of us follow without reasoning which is OK. We do many things in our lives just because others do and without reason. Then why not follow our shastras blindly at least initially. In this way, we will develop a mind to accept that what our elders tell is right.

When children ask questions to parents, parents have to take some effort in understanding why we do what we do and then explain to the child. So, the first interest and inclination must be from parents.. Children will automatically follow. If parents themselves are not inclined or show dis-interest, then why blame children.

These practises which have been laid down do not show any direct impact or result when we do or don't do. Unlike the classes that we go to like a music classe or a dance class or a sports class where one can see a visible change or a result in the form of certificates, prizes or achievements, spiritual practises do not give material benefit. Neither will you be rewarded for chanting the vishnu sahasranama daily nor will your name get published in the paper for chanting the lord's names a crore times, but it does help a person in the long run to have a correct balance of mind. He is able to face life better than others.

Actually, if you look at it in the long run, these do have a material effect also though not immediately. Every rule or regulation that is laid down earns its own fruits which will be felt in the future births. This we need to strongly believe and understand. This is the reason why all people in the world are different and no one's life is like someone else's even though they may be children of the same parent. The kind of birth, the luxuries, the struggles of life, the success, failures etc all depends on one's own karma and following what is prescribed in the shastras undoubtedly have a role to play in deciding our fate.

Following shastras makes us disciplined, calm, composed. Any situation in life can be easily handled. These are just not mere rules on the physical plane but there are rules laid down for the mind too.

Of course, many of them are difficult to follow in this KALI yuga for which we will surely accrue the fruit but those which are feasible and can be followed can be done to the extent possible.

Some small things like:

1. Light the lamp twice a day
2. Keep the main door of house open in the mornings and evenings
3. Put rangoli in front of the house everyday
4. Have an early bath everyday
5. Treats guests with courtesy
6. Girls wear bindhis always
7. Wear decent dresses
8. Do your studies in the early hours
9. Meditate or spend in loneliness at least for a few minutes everyday and introspect about the day's activities
10. The way one has to conduct during times of death, birth.
11. Do namaskaram to elders and guru on special occasions

What I have pointed out is only a few (a drop in the ocean)...We can know more..And it all starts off with the true belief that what our elders have told us is definitely good  for our welfare. Curiosity in order to know the right thing is a good attitude but a curiosity to just prove someone wrong will not take us anywhere. And I hope through my blog, I will reason out "why we do what we do"


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The journey of LAHARI

How Did LAHARI (the flow) Start??

LAHARI initially started off with the sole aim of teaching children slokas. The intention was to spread and teach children our culture, heritage and the importance of following our scriptures...

It started in the year 2004 with around 10 bubbling children who were just 3+ years..The parents were initially taken aback when I said that I will be starting with the 12th chapter of Bhagavad Gita...Will their little ones be able to chant them at all? Won't it be difficult for those toddlers to pick up the difficult chants of sanskrit?

But these kids proved them all wrong? The young gopas and gopikas of LAHARI were indeed cows drinking the nectar of the Gita in the class. And what to talk about their grasping power..they were all like a camphor delivering all the slokas correctly and clearly with so much ease. They were ready to teach their parents...

Out first performance was a dashavataram fancy dress where the kids recited slokas from the vishnu sahasranamam...They were amazing and took the entire audience by awe and appreciation.

LAHARI has since then grown over the years adding new students under its umbrella. The children of LAHARI have participated in various programs like sloka chanting, skits, dances etc. They are regular in giving chanting performances at the in-house dasara celebrations.

Their curiosity surely needs a mention.

Aunty, you say Narasimha broke the wall and appeared, will he be there if I break the wall now?
Do you also have that 100% faith as prahlad?
Another one asks: The prize i want to get if I win this chanting competition is that you have to show me GOD...
Yet another one pops out: Aunty , you say that we have to say "Krishna arpanam" at the end of chanting so that GOD will forgive our chanting mistakes if any..what is we make mistake in the "Krishna arpanam itself"..

These kids are definitely an inspiration to me...they fill me with thought provoking questions..their innocent faces and the expressions they give when I narrate a story is as if yashoda is telling a story to krishna...I can see so many krishnas in front of me...each one in their own world of questions and  inquisitiveness ...

Today, these children, some as old to LAHARI as LAHARI itself have learnt the Bagavad Gita (12th chapter), Gita dhyana sloka, Nama ramayanam, hanuman chalisa, ganga stotram, mahalakshmi stotram, mahishasura mardini stotram, bilvasktakam and now vishnu shasranamam. All this is possible ofcourse by dedicated and interested parents. I stand in salute to these parents specially the mothers who are always encouraging and inspiring these kids to follow our heritage and culture. I am sure these children will be successful both in the material world and spiritual world. It is not only important to be successful with regards to money or name and fame but one must learn to face life with a smile on his face. We must realise that what we are bestowed is the best for us. And GOD always gives the best to us. We have to acknowledge that we are HIS children and never will he forsake us. LAHARI is exactly trying to teach this to its children. In the process, we are learning too..Thank you dear children for all that you have been and given to me...

LAHARI has now started off with carnatic music classes - vocal and flute. Its aim is not just to teach the regular lessons and make them professionals but to sing with bhava and bhakti. We don't want to instill a sense of mere material achievement in music where one is trained to give performances and get allocades..We want to instill bhakti through music ....Hope we achieve it....


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome to LAHARI



Every human being born wants to strive for excellence. Right from childhood, he sets his aim at small or big targets. When he is a crawling baby, he wants to walk like adults. When he starts to walk, he wants to run. When he runs and sees another small baby, he again wants to crawl. During school days, he wants to be in college, when in college, he wants to see money. When he gets a job and money, he wants to get married. When he gets married, he begets children. When he gets children, he runs like a horse to feed his family and to settle well in his evening years.When he enters his evening years, he wishes he were a child again - carefree and happy without any tension. So, life is a cycle- a vicious circle of births and deaths often running to several thousands

Not so often do we realize that all this will end one day. And it all starts over again, our childhood, our passions, our emotions, our behavior  Why is this repetitive? Can't it all get over in one birth. NO. Our births are dependent on what we have done in our past several births which is commonly referred to as "Karma". We incur this Karma for every act we do and for every thought we think assuming that we are the sole doer. So, is there no end to this cycle of births and deaths?? Is this cycle a perennial - never ending??

Well...There is a silver lining. If we totally surrender to the Lord's feet, then HE alone will redeem us from this samsaram. We have to develop an unconditional love to the Lord - A true love that a mother shows to her child. In order to develop this bhakti, we need to know HIM, HIS nature, HIS stories, HIS leelas, HIS power, HIS love, listen to his greatness from Acharyas and his Bhaktas and sing HIS praise. Hindu religion is abundant with slokas, sthothras and chants which extol HIS greatness. Constant chanting arises in us inner peace and bhakti and makes one feel the all-pervasive existence in every creation. 

The LAHARI CULTURAL LEARNING for the past 8+ years has been primarily doing this work - teaching and promoting Hindu sloka chanting. Though it is restricted to a small area in R T Nagar, at Bangalore, it has made a immense impact on many young minds through its dedicated teaching, regular classes, value based mythological stories and other activities.. We would definitely like this initiative to reach far and wide throughout the world. This has motivated us to develop an Mobile application that enables people  to have a feel of a face to face learning experience. This comes with several novel ideas generated out of our teaching experiences all these years. (check out app details at  )

So, we request all to take this advantage and learn the slokas. If learners want to learn any specific sloka, you can mail us at aum.lahariguru@gmail.com. There is a miminum charge levied to learn these slokas. The money collected will go as donation to those institutions which promote our rich vedic culture.