Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Rangoli??

Why Kolam???

Rangoli or kolam:  A colourful display of patterns in front of many hindu households  Memories of my mother getting up as early as 4a.m,  cleaning and sprinkling water in front of the house and drag up a beautiful pattern or "kolam" as we generally call it, is fresh in my mind. And if it is festival time, then they get bigger with the "semman" (a red powder) bordering the white powder giving it divine and elegant look. Come margazhi (for tamilians) or dhanur masa as kannadigas call it, the rangolis grow in size and are decorated with all possible colors. In fact, rural people wash their aangan with cow dung and then draw these great designs..

These days, things have changed. People have got busier. They work throughout the day, dead tired towards the end and just can't get off the bed early. Even if they were to get up, this practice in many homes is non-existent as we are welcomed by paper rangolies which are ready made and permanently stuck in front of our houses.

Why is this rangoli or kolam important?

Our shastras always preach us to live and let live. We need to partake or share with everyone, be it human beings or animals. The kolam or rangoli is usually rice power. By putting these patterns in front of our homes, we offer this as a food to ants and other small creatures. In other words, we are doing anna danam - a great danam according to our shastras.

Why cow dung to clean? Cow dung is used as a disinfectant. It wards off certain kinds of bacteria and fungus thus enhancing the cleanliness of the place. Again, we realise that our shastras are so scientific in their approach.

There are many kinds of rangolis - circle kolams, snake rangolis, wedding rangolis, line kolams, dot kolams and many more. Each has a significance and meant for a specific purpose.

As already mentioned, modern times have made these things also easy. We get ready-made rangolis printed in sheet which we neatly stick it outside our homes and avoid the guilt of being non-traditional. This is not right. Rangoli is a must for the house. Only that house where a death has taken place will not have rangoli. A rangoli signifies prosperity and wellness to all members of the family. And sticking sheets can be no excuse for this. Paper surely cannot be eaten by ants and insects. Hence, the whole purpose is defeated.

So, let us get into this habit of setting aside at least 10 minutes for this and decorate our house with a beautiful rangoli. Simple, yet elegant. It increases the vibration of a house and give the inmates and visitors a feel-good factor. Let Goddess Lakshmi enter our house with a smile.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A glance at the Shloka List

Welcome to LAHARI Learning

You can find below the shloka list that is/will be available in the "LAHARI" android app. Please download them and learn it for your benefit.


Shloka Name
Daily Shlokas
Free – Available
Ganesha Pancharatnam
Free – Available
Mahalakshmi Stotram
Paid - Available
Vishnu Sahasranama – Part 1
Free – Available

Shiva Manasa Puja
Paid – Available
Ganga Stotram
Paid – Coming Soon
Free - Available
Lakshmi Ashtottaram
Paid – Coming Soon
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 12
Paid - Coming Soon
Vishnu Sahasranama – Part2
Paid - Available

Vishnu Sahasranama – Part3
Paid - Available

Vishnu Sahasranama – Part4
Paid - Available

Vishnu Sahasranama – Part5
Paid - Coming Soon

Vishnu Sahasranama – Part6
Paid - Coming Soon

Krishna Ashtakam
Paid – Available
Annapoorna Stotram

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This is for you all

All for you, My children

LAHARI has developed a mobile app under the same name. This has been done to enable children who are not accessible to face-to-face learning. This app has a listen-repeat-listen format which gives the feel of a classroom teaching to the child. The slokas are charged with a nominal fee. The idea or intention is not to make money out of this. We have known few organisations who are doing very good work to preserve our vedic tradition and culture. A part of the money will surely go to help out these organisations and be a drop in the ocean. Users may mail their feedback, queries, requests to aum.lahariguru@gmail.com. Also, request all of you to actively use the blog (www.lahariguru.blogspot.com) to give your comments.

Get it on Google Play
We will be teaching several slokas here..

1. Daily slokas - A child can learn these to recite them everyday. These slokas include
            a. Ganesha slokam - A prayer to invoke ganesha - the remover of obstacles
            b. Guru shyanam: A thanks giving to the guru, the one who leads us to moksha
            c. Saraswati dhyanam  - A prayer to goddess of learning
            d. Rama Nama - A prayer to rama which when recited is equal to recite the entire Vishnu sahasranamam
           e. Annapoorna: A thanks giving to goddess anna poorni for having bestowed us with our daily bread
           f. Navagraha: An invocation to the nine grahas whose benevelonce removes all ill effects
          g. Sapta Nadis: A thought to the seven sacred rivers to purify us during our bath
          h. Hanuman: A prayer to Lord hanuman t make as us a all rounder like HIM

2. Ganesha Pancharatnam: This sloka was composed by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. It extols Lord ganesha and his greatness

3. Shiva Manasa Puja: A whole hearted puja done to lord Shiva with the sould as the temple, and the prana (life force) as the garba gruha. This is a beautiful composition with a wonderful imagination and bhava. Children and adults are requested to understand the meaning and recite it. Imagine that you are doing puja to the LORD as you recite it.

4. Vishnu Sahasranama: A great master pice by Bhishma that gives all prospertiy both materially and spiritually. A must know chant for all Hindus.

5. Lakshmi Ashtottaram: What is Lord Narayana without his consort. So, this chant primarily sings the prise of Goddess lakshmi. Many vaishnavites first recite this before the recitation of Vishnu sahasranamam

6. Mahalakshmi Stotram: The greatness of Goddess lakshmi in yet another stotram

7. Bilvashtkam: The bilva leaves are all time favourite to lord Shiva. This sloka offfers a bilva leaf to HIM as it is recited. Chanting this on pradosham or shiva rathri along with the bilva archanai is considered to be very auspicious

8. Ganga stotram: A tribute to Goddesss Ganga - the mother who came down from the heavesn to save and nurture human life

9. 10. Gita Dhyana slokam :  A beautiful slokam sung in a beautiful tune. To be recited at the beginning of Gita chanting

10. BagavadGita: You will learn selet chapter from the bagavad gita - the 12th chapter to begin with. This is called bhakti yoga and is a must know not only with respect to slokas but with respect to its meaning

Monday, February 11, 2013

VSN Chanting Competition

Teaching is a very noble profession. Specially, when it comes to teaching children slokas, culture  story narration  it has its own flavor and vibration irrespective of who or how it is said. And as a teacher, Yesterday (10th feb,2013) was very memorable to me. Why? I was giving to my children something in return for what they have given me. And what have they given me..a great great opportunity to teach them slokas. If not for them, I wouldn't be teaching. So, a big thanks to all parents and children.

The gathering was a small one with around 25 people assembled in the club house, White House. 11 bubbling children busy with the last minute preparation, tense and nervous. In a way, I was happy that children have taken this small competition so seriously and with great commitment. We had some senior citizens invited for this event. Just like having elders at home is a great morale boost to youngsters, having such spiritual veterans also is a big boost to us.

And to top it all, we had with us Mrs. Shanta Vishwanathan who agreed to be the judge and chief guest for the event. She is a very busy lady at a ripe age of  almost 65 (or 70)..Active with her classes, upanyasams, pooja. I admire such people who throw a challenge to the old age. Time and again they prove that they are young at heart and always willing to learn. Shanta maami definitely is one in this list.

We started off with netra and group chanting the ganesha pancha ratnam.

Shrihari was the youngest one to chant the vishnu sahasranama as small as 4 years. A spontaneous chant with no hesitation marked a good beginning.

Then came Vishnu with his eloquent, confident and bhava field chanting. Followed by other children aadya, ahana, Netra, ishita, shwethali, sukitha, shriram, siyani, shalini. All of them drew an awe and admiration from the audience. It was a treat to watch these kids chant the difficult dhyana slokam with so much ease. hats off to u children.

Maami gave a short speech about the phala stuti of chanting vishnu sahasranamam. As usual, it was a treat to listen to her.

We then had the prize distribution and some tea and snacks. Thanks to chitra for a lovely tea and ofcourse the maha periva's photo which was so apt to the occasion, sujatha for the lamps, accessories.

This event was well received and has now encouraged me to do more for these kids. Keep watching !!!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Significance of lighting lamp

Why do we light a lamp at home?

When there is no light, we light a lamp. simple. It can be a lamp or a bulb or a tube light. And when there is no power, obviously a lamp comes to our rescue

The practice of lighting a lamp once or twice a day at Hindu homes is an age old practice, as old as civilization  Our shastras tell us to light a lamp. A lamp has a container where we pour oil and dip a wick in it. Then we light the wick. The wick burns and lightens the surroundings.

The inner meaning is:

Light symbolizes knowledge and darkness stands for ignorance. 

The wick is the ego in the jeevatma. The light is the knowledge. The flame burns upwards meaning that we need to derive knowledge in order to reach higher ideals in life. Knowledge is not the maths or physics or history that we do in our materialistic life. It is the knowledge of the soul, of the one who rules the soul. The oil is the ignorance. As the light keeps burning, the oil in the container reduces and finally vanishes. This means as the knowledge in us grows, the vasanas, the ignorance in us starts to vanish. So, when we light a lamp, we have to think and pray to the lord to remove the ignorance in us and to enlighten us with true knowledge instead of doing it as a mundane job. 

Now, someone will ask me, when the oil burns out , so does the brightness. Does that mean, when the ignorance is lost, knowledge is also lost?? Well, if we are blessed enough, by the time the oil becomes nil, 
we must have attained knowledge and renounced ourselves from the pangs of birth and death. We then wont be asking such questions. The significance of the lamp is only symbolic. So, let us take it in the positive sense

The bulb or a tube light is man's invention and has come into existence in recent times. Something which has a beginning will have an end. So, one day we may see the lights and the bulbs will become non-existent. But the light of a lamp will always stay, as agni can never be perished and if it is perished, then it is delusion to the world.  Sounds illogical?? Well, many things which we have thought will stay for generations to come have vanished (think of the pagers that were popular a decade back !!!). So, it wont be a surprise when the world will live only with the benevolence of agni and nothing else.

I would leave this page with a small note. I have said that true knowledge is what we have to seek and not mundane knowledge like maths, or physics or history. When I say this, I don't mean to shun these and start living like a sanyasi which none of us can do.

The intention of telling this is to start having a thirst for true knowledge while acquiring the knowledge of the loukika (materialistic) world.  This worldly knowledge and the fruits of it like money, possession are important in this birth because these are essential for us to feel comfortable. All of us do good things only when we are fit physically and mentally. We have been like this for many many 100s of births, so let us accept that this realization will not come soon unless we are so blessed that HE will suddenly redeem us.  Presently, most of us are at the lowest ring in the spiritual ladder. We cannot change all of a sudden. But at least we can start with a change in our thinking, the ego will slowly follow.

Just like someone rightly said, "Eat to live and not live to eat", We have to re-frame our minds as "Earn to live and not live to earn". It is difficult but definitely not impossible. Once we start this thought process , maybe in another 100 or 200 births, we will get the maturity of mind and go to the next ring in the ladder