Thursday, 17 November 2011

Siva Tatvam

The world is made up of Lord Siva and Goddess Shakti, indicating dual aspects of the Lord, Prakrithi (Nature) and Purusha (Self). Beyond this concept of duality resides Parameshwara tatvam (the absolute aspect of God).

" One turns into two.  Two creates many." This is the law of creation as explained by Swami Vivekananda.
Siva  is that state  of  Nirguna ( quality-less),  Nirakara (form-less),  Nischala (motion-less)  Brahman that is  beyond words and mind.
Even though we describe Him as a state, it is not exactly a state. It is something beyond everything conceivable by the human mind.
The Vedas tried to describe this state through statements like --"यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राप्य मनसा सह" - Where from the speech, together with the mind, is turned back, unable to reach. "एकमेवाद्वितीयम ब्रह्म नेह नानास्ति किंचन"-- Only the One-without-second exists,there is no duality anywhere.
Siva is that Absolute, one-without-a-second state, which the words fail to describe and the mind fails to comprehend.
One of the key aspects of Vedanta is to perceive “Parabrahma (the Supreme Self)” in every godhead. The goal is to realize Parabrahma by meditating on Lord Siva. Siva means auspiciousness. The absolute state is the embodiment of auspiciousness. The state experienced by a sadhaka in Nirvikalpa Samadhi is Siva tatvam.  To  realize Siva in this state is what every soul has to strive for.
Creation is from One to Many. Sadhana is from Many to One. We went forth from our home and traveled to distant shores. Now it is time to turn back to reach our home. And the home is not very far. It is very near. When we realize the state of Siva, we reach our home. And it is the journey's end.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A curious Prasna--"Where is my pendrive?"

It is common experience for many of us to forget things in our daily life. We search for the forgotten/lost articles here and there. Sometimes we do find them, sometimes not. During such moments, Prasna System (Horary branch) of Astrology could come to our rescue in a grand way. Prasna, just like Jatakam (Natal Horoscopy) works on the principle of synchronicity. The law of synchronicity states that everything in Nature is interconnected. Nature knows everything. When we are in doubt or confusion, we can approach Mother Nature in a reverential mood and She never fails us. It is a wonder how we get answers from Mother Nature in times of need, through the help of Astrology. When it happens again and again, we are led to trust this amazing art.

Today I was searching for my pendrive in my office. I could not remember where I kept it. I was not using it for a week or so, and could not remember where I lost it. I searched for it here and there but could not locate it.

So I drew a Prasna Chart. The time was 13.05 hours and the co-ordinates are 80E26 and 16N18. The Lagna was Kumbha, a Sirshodaya sign. So there is hope. Mars is in 7th house, closely aspecting the Lagna. Accordingly to principles of classical horary astrology, when Mars is in 7th house, it is difficult to get back the lost article. However, as Mars is noway connected, either to Lagna or to  6th house, I ignored this point. Venus and Mercury are in exact degree conjunction, in 10th house, aspecting Moon in 4th house. So the lost article is likely to be found very soon. 

Lagna lord Saturn is in 8th, in a friend's house and a sirshodaya sign again, instilling hope. I checked the position of Moon. It is exalted in 4th house in his own star along with Ketu. Ketu signifies confusion and forgetfulness. Obviously, Moon is the most powerful planet in the Prasna chart. 4th house signifies home. So the pendrive should be at home. Where is it? The Lagna degree is in first drekkana. So the pendrive should be in the front room of the house. Moon is also 6th lord, signifying the thief. 6th lord in 4th house could mean the thief is in the house. But it is an impossibility that the thief could be sitting in the front room of my home at the time of Prasna. So the pendrive was neither stolen nor lost. It was just forgotten.

When I went home for lunch, I casually searched for it in my book shelf in the front room. I found it in the bookshelf, validating the Prasna result. The forgotten article was found within half an hour as indicated by the degree conjunction of Venus and Mercury.

This is how Prasna could be used in our day to day life, in times of need.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Does spirituality ever lead to suicide?

Recently the TV channels were busy telecasting news about the death of an Engineering PG student at NIT, Warangal. We are yet to know if the unfortunate incident is an accident or suicide or murder. While the truth is yet to see the limelight, heated discussions in some news channels are blaming spirituality. The boy, it appears, was a regular reader of spiritual literature in his hostel room.

Be that as it may, I would never agree for this proposition. Some learned debaters (are they?) argued in the TV that the desire to experience life after death prompted the boy to taste death voluntarily. Others argued that he was merely trying to verify if rebirth is a truth. It seemed to me,they concluded spirituality as the sole reason behind the boy's depression and consequent suicide (?).

As for me, I would never believe in such a jargon. The ancient soul of India is still alive, despite the plummeting values in our modern society. As long as it is alive, I would never consent to the argument that spirituality promotes depression among the youth. The soul of India is spirituality and wisdom. It is Dharma.

Spirituality encourages neither pessimism nor suicide. I would be the last to believe that one lands in depression by reading spiritual literature.  On the contrary, a good spiritual book pulls you out from depression and instils hope. I know many persons who, after reading the soul stirring speeches of Swami Vivekananda, saw light in their life's darkness, rose to their feet and achieved success.

Our scriptures declare with one voice " Suicide is a heinous sin".  It is a sin because, life is a gift of God. It is not our achievement by dint of our effort. We never deserved it, nor gained it willfully. It is a pure gift from Above. So we have no right to end our life, whatever might be the reason we put forth for ending it. We can achieve anything only when we live, but never otherwise. There are any number of exhortations in our spiritual literature that discourage suicide.

The Vedas prohibit suicide explicitly. The Isavasya Upanishad which is part of Yajur Veda says "असूर्या नामते लोका अन्धेना तमसावृता ताम्स्ते प्रेत्यभि गच्चानतेके चात्महने जनाः" It means, "Those who commit suicide will fall into nether worlds which are dark, lethargic, and devoid of Sunlight".  How true it is !!! The mental state of a person about to commit suicide would certainly be dark and devoid of light. He sees no hope anywhere and resorts to ending his life. His state after death will be a continuation of his state before death, if not worse. Instead of having deliverance from his sorrows, he, as a disembodied spirit, will have to endure more suffering  in the nether worlds. So our Dharma never allows a person to commit suicide.

Neither the Law of Karma supports suicide. We suffer because of our past bad karma. So by doing good karma now, we can counteract the past bad karma. Law of Karma teaches optimism. It never allows a man to sink. It exhorts man to conquer Karma with Karma. It teaches never to lose hope and never to succumb to depression.

असतोमा सद्गमय, तमसोमा ज्योतिर्गमय, मृत्योर्मा अम्रुतम्गामय -- is the prayer of the Vedas. The Vedic Rishi prayed thus -- "Lead us from untruth to Truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality". How could we, who accept the Vedas as supreme revelations of God,  ever support suicide?

The youth is never led astray by spirituality. It is led astray by drugs, by bad habits, by bad friends, by movies and by imitating the dark shades of western culture blindly. Never a man is spoiled by spirituality, if he cares to understand it in right sense.

It is never through suicide that a man learns anything about life after death or about reincarnation. There are ways and means to learn about these subtle truths. A sure way is to practice Yoga and Meditation under the supervision of a real Master. Then the practitioner knows from personal experience if a Soul exists or not, if life exists after death or not. All the great sages and siddhas of past, experienced these truths, through personal experience alone.

Spirituality enriches a man's life with wisdom and open the gates to a better life. It makes a man a good citizen of his land. In fact, there is a strong need for all the students to learn more and more about spirituality and the ancient wisdom of the seers. Mere learning is not enough, the knowledge is to be translated into action. Then we not only become good citizens but also would reach the goal of life i.e God-realization.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Spiritual experiences on Tirumala Hills

There are two ways in Devotion. In the first, we say to God -" I am your devotee " . In the second God Himself says - " You are my devotee ". Obviously, the second approach is the best.

Visiting temples on our own is the first approach, whereas, visiting them suddenly and without any prior planning is the second approach. In the second, we are simply led to some holy place where excellent arrangements and hospitality would be waiting for us.

Recently I visited Siva Temple of Kakani and Venkateswara temple at Tirumala. Kakani temple of Lord Siva, though in existence since long, has been developing at a fast pace in the recent times, especially after the installation of Rahu & Ketu idols. I went there last, about 10 or 15 years ago. In contrast to what I saw then, a perceptible improvement is visible in and around the temple now.

It all happened suddenly and without planning. A VIP invited me to accompany him to the temple and I agreed. We were surprised to see a traditional welcome from the temple authorities with Purna Kumbham and Temple Orchestra. The abhishekam to Lord Shiva was performed according to scriptural injunctions by the Archakas reciting Namakam and Chamakam from the Vedas.

Our trip to Tirumala also did happen similarly, suddenly and without any planning. With the depression in Bay of Bengal, the weather was bad and my friends from Tirumala revealed to me that it was pouring down on the hills. The weather was certainly unwelcome. In spite of the rough weather, we decided to go, as if drawn by some unseen string.

It was a sight to see the seven hills of Tirumala hidden behind the fog and rain, from the streets of Tirupati next morning. We started at 8.30 AM and continued our journey on foot via the Alipiri route, walked with a slow pace winding through the hilly slopes and reached our guest house atop the hills at 1.00 PM. It was raining all the way but we were safe, thanks to the concrete shelter built by the TTD throughout the walking path. At some places where there was no shelter, the umbrellas we bought at Tirupati helped us in the drizzle.

My son Madhav accompanied me in the walk and we discussed many things enroute. What is the goal of human life? Is there a purpose behind human birth? How to know it? What to do after knowing? What is the use of human life, if it is lived like animals do. What are the ways and means to be adopted in one's life to produce sages in one's family line? How to practice them? How can we transmit our divine knowledge to the generations down the line? All these topics rose during our discussion.

We talked about the secrets of Yoga and Vedanta, how to judge a horoscope with an eye on remedial measures to be adopted, what are the different kinds of remedies, how genetic traits are reflected in a horoscope from generation to generation, What are the blemishes that haunt a family down the line, How many are the kinds of Yoga, What are the secrets of Kundalini Yoga, What are its bases, What is the relation between the seven hills of Tirumala and the seven Yogic Chakras, What is the historic background for the Venkateswara legend of Tirumala, Is there any truth behind a legend which says that the idol of Lord Venkateswara is originally that of Divine Mother? so on and so forth. 

All the slokas of Vishnu Sahasra Nama were found embedded in the parapet wall all along the way. I explained to my son, the particular slokas/mantras which are highly effective against some blemishes of one's astrological chart and also taught him the way to recognize them.

We also discussed about the meaning of a particular sloka " महा वराहो गोविन्दः सुषेण कनाकान्गादी " and the beauty of Varaha Avatar of Lord Vishnu and why it is extolled on par with Lord Krishna who is praised as the Purna Avatar (the full manifestation of the Divine Lord).

On the way, we passed by a small temple of Sri Ramanuja, the prophet of Vishishtadvaitha philosophy. According to legend, Sri Ramanuja while climbing the hills rested at this spot for some time. A small but beautiful temple was constructed at this very spot in honor of the great saint.

Earlier, I did not have very great respect for Sri Ramanuja, though I used to revere him as one of the propounders of  three systems of philosophy. Being greatly influenced by Advaita Philosophy since my childhood, I used to consider him secondary to Sri Sankara. However, there was a radical shift in my thinking in the recent past and I began to understand the great significance of Sri Ramanuja's philosophy in day to day life. As my understanding of Vishishtadvaitha philosophy deepened, so did my reverence for this great saint begin to increase by leaps and bounds. 

I was sitting near this temple silently, immersed in my own thoughts on this great saint and his practical philosophy of Visishtadvaitha. Suddenly I was overcome by a strange emotion. Tears were about to roll down my cheeks. I felt a strange kind of bliss in my heart. I was unable to answer my son who asked me some question at that very moment. I waved my hand asking him to wait for sometime. He understood my condition and kept quiet. After sometime, when the embers of emotion cooled down a little, we resumed our walk. Then I explained him how great is Ramanuja in his philosophical heights, what are the similarities and differences between Abhinavagupta's Kashmir Saivism and Ramanuja's Vishistadvaitha philosophy. Lastly I summarized the whole discussion by explaining how Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda synthesized all the three paths of philosophy, the dualism, non-dualism and qualifed non-dualism so beautifully comparing them with the rungs of a ladder.

We passed by the statue of the great Poet-King, Sri Kulasekhara Alwar, and thought about his beautiful sanskrit composition "Mukundamala", full of sublime devotion to the Lord. We climbed the slopes of the sacred hill, discussing subtle and sublime topics and felt no fatigue.

I came to know that the "quick darshan" facility would not be open on Tuesdays and Wednsdays after 2 PM. So we decided to see the sacred places all around the hills like Akasha Ganga, PapaNashanam and Jabali Tirdham etc.

It was raining the whole day and the depression in Bay of Bengal was gaining strength. It was around 5 PM that we reached Jabali Tirdham. The curtain of darkness was falling quickly on the hills. The lonely path to Jabali Tirdham was about 1.5 Km long, winding its way through the thick forest slopes of Tirumala. A feeling of aloneness suddenly rises in the heart when you walk along these lonely paths in the dark forest listening to the cries of forest birds. You get a feeling that you are all alone in this whole universe. Suddenly, Time appeared to stand still in that area.

My daughter was talking something all along. So I whispered to her to stop talking and asked her to silently listen to the sound of raindrops falling on the forest leaves. She tried to listen and suddenly there was a deep silence. We four were silently walking in the drizzle, in the lonely semi-dark forest, through a winding path, to an unknown destination, listening to the rain drops all along. Later I said to my daughter that this is a Zen meditation and explained her how to do it.

Silently walking, we suddenly stepped into a plain land in the middle of thick forest and there stood before our vision a small but beautiful temple of Lord Hanuman, silently standing beside a placid forest lake, as if it is in deep meditation. The weather was so pleasant. The incessant rain, the canopy of darkness, the place far flung from the din and bustle of ordinary life, the cries of forest insects -- all this induced in my mind a kind of supernatural silence and bliss defying expression. I felt I was somewhere above this world.

We stayed for about half an hour at this beautiful holy spot. The priest and another swami were staying in a small tiled house nearby. There were a few shops in the vicinity. There was no movement of life anywhere around us, but the silence was pregnant with a deep and vibrant liveliness. 

Shattering the divine bliss we were enjoying, a swami from North India, who might have arrived there some time in the day, started shouting " Anjaneya, I have arrived ". I felt irked by his shouts, disturbing the peace reigning around us. My daughter whispered to me --" Dad. What is this? He is calling the Lord by name as if the Lord were his classmate or something". I smiled. There are many such people who want to show off. What to do? When will they realize that the Divine Lord responds more quickly, when called silently and sincerely from the bottom of one's heart?

The priest told me that the place got its name from "Jabali Rishi" who did penance in that place thousands of years ago. Rishi Jabali was blessed by the vision of Lord Hanuman at this very spot. I was not sure whether this rishi is the same person called Satyakama Jabali of the Vedas. JabalPur of Central India was named after this rishi of the Vedic Lore. The original name of Jabalpur was "Jabali Puram", "pur" and "ur" being the oldest known names for a habitation.

It is a fact that even today there are quite many Rishis and Siddhas sitting in deep meditation in the interior depths of Tirumala Hills. About 50 years ago, there was a Sage named Swami Asangananda ( Popularly known as Malayala Swami) who lived near the "Gogarbham dam" area practicing meditation in the deep forest. He lived for 8 or 9 years in this forest all alone in penance. Tigers, Lions and Bears used to roam freely around him when he sat motionless in deep meditation on a forest rock under the sky. Later he used to say -- " It is impossible for a common man to reach the interior depths of this forest. Unless one is established in utter fearlessness, celibacy and strength of sadhana, he is sure to be killed by these savage beasts". 

He was a real Vedanti and a true Rishi. He used to revere Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda with great admiration and devotion. His disciples also are real Mahatmas and Sages. My guru Swami Nandananda of Ramakrishna Order had high respect for Malayala Swami.

( Rest in next post )

Saturday, 5 November 2011

About Prajna Surabhi

Hello World,

I have been writing a blog named " Alochana Tarangalu" ( Waves of Thought ) in Telugu Language of South India since two years. This Telugu Blog deals with Indian Astrology, Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra, Occult, Martial Arts and Alternative Medicine and enjoys a good readership. 

You can view my TeluguBlog at this address --

I must admit that I have been exposed to these varied subjects since my childhood.

Of late, I had a haunting thought that drove me to share my knowledge, in a humble way, with the English readers who cannot read Telugu Language of South India.

That is how this English blog called "Prajna Surabhi" is coming into being today. "Prajna" means Intelligent Wisdom and "Surabhi" means the wish-fulfilling celestial cow. Wisdom can grant everything that a man aspires for. So I believe the name fits in very aptly.

I hope to reach, through this humble effort of mine, many sincere souls who are scattered everywhere, who are really interested in the ancient wisdom of India in the above mentioned areas.