Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Time to Leave


I was walking to hand over my ID card in office as it was my last working day. As I was walking, I started pondering. What I thought would be mine was to be handed over. An identity in office was to be surrendered. I was given a visitor card on the last day. What belonged to me yesterday, was no more mine today. Where I belonged to till today, will no more mine tomorrow. The accessories and facilities that I enjoyed till today will never be given to me from tomorrow. 

These are all small things in life. But can we learn something from this. Yes, the ultimate lesson. Everything in life is temporary. Be it our office, work, home, happiness, sorrow – everything is temporary. This feeling is not due to an overwhelming philosophical outlook that suddenly flashed in me. Though all this was known, it kind of came more strongly on me – a kind of vairagyam, one can say. Yes, I know within two days, I will be back to pavilion resuming my duties and to my EGO self. But, such times are ones where we can dwell internally and have atleast a fraction of realization for a fraction of second. One day, we are bound to lose everything including our breath. What we call my parents, my children, my husband, I, Mine, My etc – the very identity will be lost.

Why do we crib for something which is not permanently ours? Why do we harp on results? Why do we get disappointed when we see/hear/speak negative about us? Well, this is what we call EGO. As long as we think that the soul is the body, we cannot get off this. It will keep hitting us time and again. We are bound to get entangled in all dualities of life. When we realize that these feelings are only for the body and not for the soul, it will liberate us. Then, we won’t be languishing for all that we lost and fear for all that is yet to come.

But how do we achieve this equipoise? How can we thoughtless? For people like us, it is karma yoga to start off with. We have to learn to do our karma by being neutral to the result of the action. Yes, it is difficult but with slow, steady and conscious practice, it is possible. By doing karma, we clean ourselves from all impurities. When a mirror is dusty, we can’t have a clear picture of ourselves in it. Our reflections will be dusty. But when we clean the mirror, the reflections are clear. In the same way, our soul is covered with dust of our vasanas. We have to clean with the water of karma, wipe it with the cloth of devotion to make it clean. The atma will then shine and reflect on us. That is when true knowledge evolves. What I mean by karma is to do our daily duties as prescribed in the shastras, do our daily prayers, perform poojas on special festival days, arrange for satsang at homes to read, discuss about godhead and raise ourselves from this level of ignorance to a level of true knowledge.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stories Less Told - Story of Ajamila

What’s in a Name

This is a story from the Bagavatham (6th kandam) where the Lord delivers a sinner from all sins just by the utterance of HIS name "unknowingly".

There was pious Brahman called Ajamila. He was a strict Brahmin who was performing his daily duties in a very disciplined way. He had many children and the name of the youngest son was Narayana. He had a special corner for the little one.

Once, when he was roaming in the forest, he happened to see a prostitute and some men around her. He was keen to know what her profession was.  Having known that she was a prostitute, he was drawn towards her. He left his house, his daily duties and was always with this lady. He forgot his family and his children. He gave up his anushtaanam and aacharam. The lord was completely out of his mind and sight. This went on for many years till he became old. 

When he was lying on his deathbed, he saw yama dhootas coming towards him carrying a rope to take his life. He was dead scared. However bold we may be when alive, the fear of death itself is enough to take our life. In the same way, Ajamila was terrified when he saw the messengers of Yama. He wanted some support and called out to his little son: “Narayana Narayana”. The child who was playing outside did not hear it and did not bother too. Whether the child bothered or not, the lord at vaikunta heard it and send his dhootas to protect his devotee. The Vishnu dhootas arrived at the spot and prevented the yama dhootas from taking Ajamila to yama loka. They argued that since he called out to Narayana in his last breath, he was bound to Vishnu loka. Yama dhootas could not convince the messengers of Vishnu, They went to Yama and asked him for advice. Yama advised that Ajamila be left to Vishnu’s abode.  Hence, Ajamila was carried to the home of the heaven. Also, Ajamila reented for his actions in the end and did sharanagati.  

Ajamila called out the Lord’s names and that was sufficient for HIM to protect. This means that even if HIS names are called out unknowingly, we will be protected. Such is the mercy of the lord. But can we think of the lord in our death bed. We may be in acute pain, or in coma, or have memory loss. There is no guarantee that we would be able to remember him. But,during our lifetime, if we make it a habit  to constantly chant HIS name, then by HIS grace alone, we can remember him at our deathbed. And whoever remembers him during those last moments will surely get moksham.

But, in today’s world, we are all so busy with our mundane work. We have many materialistic responsibilities. We don’t have priority to sit and pray. We are not able to ear mark even 10 minutes to the lord. We are all in a rat race. But he is MERCY personified. He gives us a wonderful  idea. We all know that Vishnu is extolled in Vishnu sahasranama, Shiva in the shiva sahasranama , goddess is praised in lalitha sahasranama, lakshmi ashtotharam, etc. There are innumerable names available. HE gives us an option to name our children with HIS/HER name. Even if we don’t have time for him, by calling out to our kids, we at least chant his name unknowingly. In this way, we will get punyam.

But we don’t want to take that option also. HE is ready to take us but we avoid him. We keep all kinds of fancy names, western names, names that have no meaning, names which are so abstract in their meaning and which are of no use. Even if our elders have given us such easy way to reach HIM, we don’t want to take that path. We are all indulged in so much of materialism that the society’s reactions is more important to us.

With this kind of running for money, name, fame, possessions, property etc, where would we have the mind to think of GOD at our last breath? It surely is not possible unless the LORD shows mercy on us. We don’t want to take even one step or even show inclination to what he advises. But we want to reach heaven in an easy way. I do all atrocities I want, live the life I want, but you have to give me what I need.  Zero input but 100% output. Does it sound logical?

And for those who have kept HIS names, cut short the name and call out by pet names. Narasimha become nacchu, mrutyunjaya becomes mrthyu. “Nacchu” in tamil means poison, mruthyunjaya means one who has conquered death but mrthyu means death. Isn’t it a wonder that we change the meaning of the name itself? So, when we have named our children with such beautiful names of the lord, let us call them fully and get the benefit of it.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ramanavami celebration at White House, R.T.nagar

Rama Rama Rama

At first, I thought I will blog the Ramanavami celebrations tomorrow. But hit the cake when it is hot. I just could not resist myself from the excitement on penning down a few lines about the event. So, here it goes!!!
It began a month back with the temple committee getting together for its act of planning, collecting donations, reaching out to public, program itinerary, prasadam and other activities.  We are not true devotees. Hence the small apprehension of the function being conducted well was lingering in our minds. But all these worries and apprehensions were all destroyed by Rama with his arrow of mercy. His bow was full of blessings today for all those who came and encouraged the event. We just climbed one step, he came down a 100 steps. Donations trickled in, people flowed in.

We had it all – chanting, bhajans, classical music, upanyasam, big ladies, small children, young girls performing –and of course the audience. The LAHARI children started off the celebrations with a lovely recital of Ramayana. The students of Smt. Chitra Bilvam rendered soulful performance with their cute and innocent voices. The rama keerthanas by Priyanka and Bhageerathi were divine and extremely melodious. And to add the most wanted pinch of salt to the food, was the ladies group with their ram bhajans, increasing the spiritual fervour. The last and the best program was that of Smt. Radha Ramaswami who spoke on the great qualities of Shri Rama. What an eloquent speech!!! What a majestic voice!!! What a great bhava in her talk!!!. It was rama rama everywhere. We were all spell bound. She wanted to give more and we wanted to listen to more. But Rama wanted the other way. He has been visiting parties organized for him all over the world. He must have been surely tired that he ended it in WH with a grand puliyogara and sweet pongal prasadam.

Once parvati asks Shiva:
Keno Paayena Laghunaam Vishor nama sahasrakam  |
Pat yathih panditaih nityam, shrothum icaami aham prabho ||
“By chanting which name of Vishnu in an easy way can one get moksham”

For this Shiva replies thus:
Shri Rama Rama Rama iti, Rame Raame mano Rame
Sahasra nama thathulyam, Rama Nama Varanane

which means that if anyone chants the name of Rama, it is equivalent to chanting the entire 1000 names of Vishnu (Vishnu sahasranama). So, we can be rest assured that we have all chanted sahasranama several times today. And Rama is sure to bless us with spiritual success. With a small note that this need not be an excuse for not learning the sahasranama..:)

And wherever Rama is there, Hamunan is there in all humility and shedding tears of joy.

Yatra Yatra Raghunatha keerthanam,
Tatra tatra krutamasta kanjalim
Bashpa vari pari purna lochanam

Wherever, the name of Rama is chanted, there all will be hanuman shedding tears of joy and in all humility.
What more can we want on such a great day – blessings, blessings and blessings everywhere.

All of us are so gifted to be a part of this apartment complex. With so much of spiritual vibrations, we are ably supported by residents. Let us all pray that the Lord will always shower his choicest blessing son us and give us bhakti, jnanam and vairagyam.