Friday, September 30, 2011

Why do we do namaste ?

Indians greet each other with namaste.The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying theword namaste. This greeting is for all – people younger than us, of our own age, those older than friends, even strangers and us.

There are five forms of formal traditionalgreeting enjoined in the shaastr as of which namaskaram is one. This is understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste.

Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te =namaste. It means – I bow to you – my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha can also be literally interpreted as "na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritual

significance of negating or reducing one's ego in the presence of another.

The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do so with namaste , which means,"may our minds meet," indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility.

The spiritualmeaning is even deeper.

The life force, the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all.. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, we close our eyes as we do namaste to a revered person or the Lord – as if to look within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like

"Ram Ram", "Jai Shri Krishna", "Namo Narayana", "Jai Siya Ram", "Om Shanti" etc – indicating the recognition of this divinity.

When we know this significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SHUBH NAVARAATRI


sarvamangala maangalye sive sarvaarthasaadhike

saranye trayambake gouri narayani namo’stu te.

O Narayani, Devi, the three-eyed, the Refuge, the Auspiciousness, the bestower of all wishes, the blessedness that is in all that is blessed. Prostrations be to Thee!”

During Navaratri ("nine nights"), the Lord in the form of the Mother Goddess is worshipped in Her various forms as Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshipped in three different aspects.

On the first three nights of the festival, Durga is worshipped to gain noble virtues, all evil tendencies in the mind must be destroyed. This destruction is represented by the Goddess Durga.

Lakshmi , for knowledge to dawn within us, we have to prepare our minds. The mind must be pure, concentrated, and single-pointed; this purification of the mind is obtained through the worship of Lakshmi Devi.

And then Saraswati Devi on the last three nights for Victory over the mind can be gained only through knowledge, through understanding; and it is Goddess Saraswati who represents this highest knowledge of the Self.

The following tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means "victory", the victory over our own minds that can come only when we have worshipped these three: Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Bhagavati, Bhavani, TripuraSundari-MahaDevi are some names of Maa-Nava-Durga.

Thus, at Navaratri, Goddess Durga is invoked first to remove impurities from the mind. The Goddess Lakshmi is invoked to cultivate the noble values and qualities. Finally, Saraswati is invoked for gaining the highest knowledge of the Self. This is the significance of the three sets of three nights when all these three are gained subjectively, and then there will be Vijayadasami, the day of true victory!

The sum total of all energies put together comprises “shakti”. This Shakti energy or transcendental energy is kriya, karma, and dharma. “Maa” is the first sound of the personified name of the kriya, karma and dharma. “Uma” is the nitya “Durga” whose nine forms are the referred to as “Nava-Durga”. Nava-ratri literally means nine nights. During the spring, we call it Raama-Navaratri [associated with the victory of Raama over Ravana]; and, in autumn, it is known as Durga_Navaratri. The earlier is associated with Ramayana epic and the later is associated with the puranas, Vedic shastras, and ancient Devi-worship by the trinity of Hindu_Vedic Gods Brahma-Vishnoo-Mahesh.

The universal cosmic energy also known as Divine Maa Maha Kali is elucidated in Devi sukta of the Rig Veda Samhita, as well as Kena Upanishads. Adi-shakti [supreme cosmic energy] is beyond the human comprehension and beyond the conceptualisation.

As auspicious form, she manifests as Lakshmi, Parvati, Sati and Prthivi. She plays the positive roles of protection, fertility and establishment of dharmic order, cultural creativity, wifely duty and material abundance. These encompases Four aspects:

a. As the granter of wisdom, learning and liberation. Her names appear many times in the following text : Aryastave text she is called : Mukti ( liberation ), She who speaks the language of Brahman, She who is the knowledge of Brahman. Mahabharata : Liberator and knowledge of Brahman as well as the mother of the vedas, Intelligence and the destroyer of ignorance and mankind fetters. Lalitha-Sahasranama : Mahabuddhi (The great intelligence ), Vijnanabhanarupini ( She those form is a mass of knowledge ), Prajnatnika ( She who is wisdom itself ), Pasupasavimocini ( She who release creatures from bondage )

b. As embodiment of female beauty and the exciter of desire. Many Text describe Devi extraordinar beauty saundaryalahari : one of the famous hymn praising the Devi. Lalitha-Sahasranama : Ramya (the beautiful one), Kanta ( loveliness ), Vamanayana ( she who have beautiful eyes ), Ratirupa ( she whose form is Rati ).

c. As the source of food and nourishment. She is often associated with earth itself Lalitha-Sahasranama : Annanda ( she who gives food ), Pusti (she who gives nourishment ), Satakasi ( she who has on hundred eyes ), Sakambhari ( she who bestows vegetables ), Annapurna ( she who is full of food ), Jagaddhatri ( she who supports the world or another ).

d. The Devi is said to possess fierce and terrible appearance. Often these forms are associated with war, blood, destruction, death, hunger and anger. These terrible forms arises in two context, namely

1. To maintain cosmic order

2. Asserting her power as that greater than Siva

TO maintain cosmic order Devi often takes in fierce form when she enters into battle. As guardian of the Cosmos, she appears in a form of a great warrior, battling against Demons on behalf of the gods.

Other aspects of Devi are often described in three concepts namely : SHAKTI, MAYA and PRAKRUTI.

Great Goddess who is the abode of all blessings. To She who is the primordial energy of the cosmos and the sustaining principle we offer adorations with deepest devotion.

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Vishnu Mayeti Shamsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 1

Salutations to the Great Goddess, the power of Vishnu, who abides in all beings we bow to you again and again. 1

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Chaitenya Rupena Bhidiyate

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 2

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Infinite Consciousness; we bow to you again and again. 2

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Buddhi Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 3

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Intelligence. We bow to you again and again. 3


Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Nidra Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 4

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Sleep. We bow to you again and again. 4

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Ksudhi Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 5

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Hunger. We bow to you again and again. 5

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Cchaya Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 6

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Reflection. We bow to you again and again. 6

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Shakti Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 7

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Power. We bow to you again and again. 7

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Thrishna Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 8

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Thirst. We bow to you again and again. 8

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Kshanti Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 9

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Forgiveness. We bow to you again and again. 9

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Jati Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 10

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Genius. We bow to you again and again. 10

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Lajja Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 11

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of modesty. We bow to you again and again. 11

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Shanti Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 12

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Peace. We bow to you again and again. 12

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Shraddha Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 13

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Faith We bow to you again and again. 13

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Kanti Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 14

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Beauty We bow to you again and again. 14

Aum Ya devi sarvabhuteshu, Lakshmirupenasamsthita, Namastastyai Namastastyai Namastastyai namo namaha. 15

Salutations, to the Goddess who is the shakti of Bhagavan Vishnoo.

Salutations to the all pervading Goddess who is Bhagavati Devi. 15

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Vridtthi Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 16

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Activity; We bow to you again and again. 16

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Smritti Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 17

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Memory We bow to you again and again. 17

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Daya Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 18

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Compassion. We bow to you again and again. 18

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Tusti Rupena Samsthita Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 19

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Contentment. We bow to you again and again. 19

Aum Ya Devi Sarva BhuteshuMatri Rupena Samsthita Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 20

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Mother. We bow to you again and again. 20

Aum Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu Bhranti Rupena Samsthita

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha 21

Salutations to the Great Goddess who abides in all beings as the form of Delusion. We bow to you again and again.21

Aum Ya devi sarvabhuteshu, Lakshmirupenasamsthita, Shree Bhagavati shakti, TripuraSundari, Maha-Devyayeh, Brahmani Devi; Namastastyai Namastastyai Namastastyai namo namaha. 22

Salutations, to the Goddess who is the shakti of Bhagavan Vishnoo.

Salutations to the all pervading Goddess who is Bhagavati Devi. 22

Aum Indriyanam Adhistatri Bhutanamcha Akilea Shucha

Bhuteshu Satatam Tasyea Vyapti Devyei Namo Namaha . 23

I bow again and again to her who rules all of the elements and senses. I bow to the Great Goddess. 23

Aum Chiti Rupena Ya Krits Nam Etat Vyapa Stithi Jagat

Namastasyei Namastasyei Namastasyei Namo Namaha. 24

The Great Goddess resides in all beings in the form of Consciousness, and pervades all parts of the Universe. Adorations again and again to her. 24

Maha-Devi has been booned sixty four forms, sixty four chakras, sixty four mantras, sixty four yantras, sixty four tantras of the moon, sixty four shaktis, sixty four energies and sixty four divine trances of higher order. Such is the glory of Maa per all Vedic scriptures.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Rta, Satya and Dharma

"Rta is truth in thought, satya is truth in words and dhramais truth in deed."

In this connection, the explanation given by Sri.K.Balasubramania Aiyar is relevant:: "An analysis of the significance of these three words (rta, satyaand dharma) brings out clearly to us the fundamental basis of dharma asthe ideal for an individual. While rta denotes the mental perception andrealization of truth and satya denotes the exact true expression in wordsof the truth as perceived by the mind, dharma is the observance, in theconduct of life, of truth. In fact, dharma is the way of life which translatesinto action the truth perceived by the man of insight as expressed by him truly...

To right-thinking people, "dharma" and "satya" are interchangeable words and their Life goal is, as it has always been, to rise higher so as to realize Him who alone is the Truth. For them there is no pursuit higher than that of practising truth in thought, word and deed....

Manasaa-vaachaa-karmanaa, pursuit of the Highest Truth in thought, in words and in deed....is a life in Dharma

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On Emptiness

‎"....Even emptiness itself, which is seen as the ultimate nature of reality, is not absolute, nor does it exist independently. We cannot conceive of emptiness as independent of a basis of phenomenon, because when we examine the nature of reality, we find that emptiness itself is an object...."(~Preethi Raman).... yes, ...

The chariot, with all its appearenances, corresponds to what we call our self,there was no chariot before its parts were put together, and will be none when they fall in to pieces,there is no chariot apart from its parts,"chariot" is nothing but a name, given for convenience to a certain percept, but must not be taken to be an entity (sattva);and in the same way with ourselves who are, just like the chariot,"confections." The Comprehender (evamvit) has seen things "as they have become"(yatha bhutam),causally arising and disappearing, and has distinguished himself from all of them. . .

"Shunya, with its prevalent English mistranslation as emptiness or nothingness, signifies a presence" which we are unable to identify and so we say,neti, neti,...ie., not this, not this...however "empty" evacuates ...but not itself... the two extremes... Acharya Shankar in his commentary of Brahm Sutra says,""Whenever we deny something as unreal, it is with reference to something real." When we wish to describe any thing about The Supreme Being, our dualistic phenomenological conceptualisation becomes a great handicap. Under this, we can not describe any thing unless it is qualified, I mean ,unless it has qualities.No conceptualisation is possible unless there is a quality, even when we say "without any quality" or "not having qualities" it itself becomes a qualitative statement that thee is something which has no qualities.This makes 'understanding' of manifestation extremely difficult, however, to make things 'intelligible' we adhere to the phenomenological mechanism and say "Mirror reflection of the Sun, to the Sun, "Lies within" the Sun.And in this way try to understand,the world of phenomena as the mirror image of That Supreme, which lies in That Supreme.

Om asato maa satgamaya

Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya

Mrityor maa amritam gamaya

Lead us from the unreal to the Real

From darkness to Light

From death to Immortality