Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Karthigai Deepam Vratam

The Hindu festival going by the Kartikai is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of the same name corresponding to the English months of October- November, when the moon is in conjunction with the asterism Kritikai (Pleiades).

Though the observance of the Vratam is to propitiate the five elements, greater importance is attached to the propitiation of Agni (fire) and all the houses are profusely lighted and illuminated after Sunset, in consequence.

The reason why fire is given prominence over the other elements is furnished in the allegorical and deeply spiritual myth in, which Lord Siva, one of the Hindu Trinity, is said to have appeared in the form of a pillar of fire to teach the creative and preservative aspects, Brahma and Vishnu, the knowledge of infinity, beyond time, space and limit, on this particular occasion.

Brahma is said to have assumed the form of a swan and flown upwards to, find the top of the pillar, while Vishnu took the form of a boar to dig down and reach its bottom. The flag staff or dhwaja-stambha in temples, is intended to symbolize this pillar of fire. The Indian yogis (sages) say that the pillar of fire is nothing but the halo of brilliant light surrounding and interpenetrating the spinal chord within the spinal column in man.

The peculiar custom of burning heaps of dry leaves, twigs, etc., going by the name of chokkappanai in front of temples deserves its rational explanation. The custom apperars originated from the incidents recorded in the myth wherein Siva is said to have burnt the chariots of certain asuras who were harassing the sages and others on this earth, at a particular period. The chokkappanai (the collection of dry leaves, twigs, etc.) is symbolical of the aerial vehicles of the asuras, burnt by the fire emanating from the third eye of Siva.

There are a number of myths emphasizing the importance of the observance of this Vrata. King Bali is said to have observed this Vrata to get rid of a burning sensation all over his body and the goddess Parvati herself is said to have observed it to be freed from certain sins she had committed, to wit, the breaking of a Sivalingam unwittingly, while engaged in single combat with the asura Mahishasura whom she slew.

A preparation of fried rice is considered specially acceptable to lord Siva, and, the custom appears to have originated from the incident narrated in the Maha Bali myth, quoted above. Ball is said to have offered this preparation to Siva to be freed from the burning sensation he felt in every cell of his bodily tissues, so to say.

The material, fried rice, is perhaps meant to symbolise the condition of the cells in the body of Ball that were being fried and consumed by the invisible fire. Its offering is intended to convey to Siva the condition of the cells in his body and thus silently to beg for his mercy. Further, Bali perhaps thought that fried rice, when consumed by him, might not build cells causing the burning sensation since they are already subjected to fire by the frying process.

Even though the burning sensation might not be altogether removoed by this diet, yet it might perhaps lessen the severity of the feeling, by forming cells incapable of furnishing as much burning matter as cells formed by the cells of cooked rice, raw rice and so on. These customs are symbolical and figurative and consequently, the idea conveyed must be taken in a restricted application of the language whose meaning should not be stretched. Siva represents fire as he is the lord of the burning ground. So anything deprived of humidity and subjected to heat, might naturally be taken by people as an acceptable offering to Siva. Hence, perhaps, arose this custom of offering fried rice to the deity on this occasion.

When temples are located on hills, they are considered to be specially suitable for worship and highly influence- radiating. As the temple at Tiruvannamalai in the South Arcot district is one of such temples dedicated to Siva, this festival is observed there with great eclat and thousands of people flock there every year, to witness the celebration, take part in them and derive the blessings of the presiding deity Arunachaleswara. The whole rock is illuminated and a huge flame of torch is lighted at its top after sunset on this festive day.

The hill consists of three fortified peaks. The isolated Tiruvannamalai peak is covered with jungles and is accessible only on foot. A natural column rises from the top of the hill perpendicularly, which the devotees of Siva hold to be a lingam or phallic symbol. In fact this place is one of the five main Siva centres in India, and, it is the abode of one of the five lingams brought from the highest of the super-physical regions, to wit Kailash, by Sri Sankaracharya. This temple is considered by the devotees of Siva to be as sacred as Srirangam is for the devotees of Vishnu. The other important places for the observance of this Vrata are Tiruchengodu, Palani, Vedaranyam and Tiruchendur.

On the north wall of the central shrine in the Kalahastisvara temple at Kalahasti, there is a record relating to the 12th year of the Chola king, Rajendra Choladeva I (1011-43 A.D.) mentioning a gift of gold for celebrating the festival of Kritika-dipa.

On the west wall of the first prakara of Brihadamba temple at Devikapuram, there is an inscription of the Vijianagara king, Virapratapa Krishnadeva Maharaya dated, Saka 1443 Vikrama, Kartikai, Ekadasi, Monday, corresponding to 9th July 1920, which mentions providing ghee for lamps during the festival of Tirukartigai.

Kartikai Vratam - Eprarthana

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7 Pillars Of A Business

A strong foundation is the key to any successful business. Your vision, your commitment, your purpose - all form the basis for an organisation. They are the all-important pillars, the most essential part of any building. In his groundbreaking Arthashastra, Chanakya a.k.a. Kautilya (c. 350 - 283 BCE) lists seven pillars for an organisation.

"The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are the constituent elements of the state" (6.1.1)

Let us now take a closer look at each of them:

1. THE KING (The leader)
All great organisations have great leaders. The leader is the visionary, the captain, the man who guides the organisation. In today's corporate world we call him the Director, CEO, etc. Without him we will loose direction.

2. THE MINISTER (The manager)
The manager is the person who runs the show - the second-in-command of an organisation. He is also the person whom you can depend upon in the absence of the leader. He is the man who is always in action. An extra ordinary leader and an efficient manager together bring into existence a remarkable organisation.

3. THE COUNTRY (Your market)
No business can exist without its market capitalisation. It is the area of your operation. The place from where you get your revenue and cash flow. You basically dominate this territory and would like to keep your monopoly in this segment.

4. THE FORTIFID CITY (Head office)
You need a control tower - a place from where all planning and strategies are made. It's from here that your central administrative work is done. It's the nucleus and the center of any organisation.

Finance is an extremely important resource. It is the backbone of any business. A strong and well-managed treasury is the heart of any organisation. Your treasury is also your financial hub.

6. THE ARMY (Your team)
When we go to war, we need a well-equipped and trained army. The army consists of your team members. Those who are ready to fight for the organisation. The salesmen, the accountant, the driver, the peon - all of them add to your team.

7. THE ALLY (friend / consultant)
In life you should have a friend who is just like you. Being, in the same boat, he can identify with you and stay close. He is the one whom you can depend upon when problems arise. After all, a friend in need is a friend in deed.

Look at these seven pillars. Only when these are built into firm and strong sections can the organisation shoulder any responsibility and face all challenges.

And while building them, do not forget to imbibe that vital ingredient called values, speaking about which, in his book 'BUILD TO LAST', Jim Collins has said, "Values are the roots from where an organisation continuously gets its supply as well as grounding - build on them!"

As told by Chanakya in the Arthashastra - Radhakrishnan Pillai, About.com Guest (The author is a management consultant and trainer, and the director of ATMA DARSHAN, a company that provides services, including spiritual tours)

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Ganesh Chaturthi

SALUTATIONS to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings.

Mushikavaahana modaka hastha

Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra

Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra

Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe

MEANING: "O Lord Vinayaka! the remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!"

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.

Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, they are thrown into water.

Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun.

He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.

The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:

Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha's head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.

When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha.

Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.

Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.

In his first lesson in the alphabet a Maharashtrian child is initiated into the Mantra of Lord Ganesha, Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah. Only then is the alphabet taught.

The following are some of the common Names of Lord Ganesha: Dhoomraketu, Sumukha, Ekadantha, Gajakarnaka, Lambodara, Vignaraja, Ganadhyaksha, Phalachandra, Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vakratunda, Siddhivinayaka, Surpakarna, Heramba, Skandapurvaja, Kapila and Vigneshwara. He is also known by many as Maha-Ganapathi.

His Mantra is Om Gung Ganapathaye Namah. Spiritual aspirants who worship Ganesha as their tutelary Deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.

The devotees of Ganesha also do Japa of the Ganesha Gayatri Mantra. This is as follows.

Tat purushaaya vidmahe

Vakratundaaya dheemahi

Tanno dhanti prachodayaat

Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He is foremost amongst the celibates.

He has as his vehicle a small mouse. He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides.

He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows upon him worldly as well as spiritual success. Hence He is called Vigna Vinayaka. His Bija Akshara (root syllable) is Gung, pronounced to rhyme with the English word "sung". He is the Lord of harmony and peace.

Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava, which is the chief Mantra among the Hindus. Nothing can be done without uttering it. This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before beginning any rite or undertaking any project. His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action. The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om.

The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism. The holding of the ankusha represents His rulership of the world. It is the emblem of divine Royalty.

Ganesha is the first God. Riding on a mouse, one of nature's smallest creatures and having the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that Ganesha is the creator of all creatures. Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom. It also denotes the process of evolution--the mouse gradually evolves into an elephant and finally becomes a man. This is why Ganesha has a human body, an elephant's head and a mouse as His vehicle. This is the symbolic philosophy of His form.

He is the Lord of Ganas or groups, for instance groups of elements, groups of senses, etc. He is the head of the followers of Shiva or the celestial servants of Lord Shiva.

The Vaishnavas also worship Lord Ganesha. They have given Him the name of Tumbikkai Alwar which means the divinity with the proboscis (the elephant's trunk).

Lord Ganesha's two powers are the Kundalini and the Vallabha or power of love.

He is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core. On one of His birthdays He was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings. Having eaten a good number of these, He set out moving on His mouse at night. Suddenly the mouse stumbled--it had seen a snake and became frightened--with the result that Ganesha fell down. His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out. But Ganesha stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly.

Seeing all this, the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh. This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed Him immensely and so he pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill-repute. However, if by mistake someone does happen to look at the moon on this day, then the only way he can be freed from the curse is by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel. This story is quoted in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Lord Ganesha was pleased to ordain thus. Glory to Lord Ganesha! How kind and merciful He is unto His devotees!

Ganesha and His brother Lord Subramanya once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.

Lord Shiva said, "Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?"

Ganesha replied, "No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!"

Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers. Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.

In the Ganapathi Upanishad, Ganesha is identified with the Supreme Self. The legends that are connected with Lord Ganesha are recorded in the Ganesha Khanda of the Brahma Vivartha Purana.

On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house. Feel His Presence in it.

Don't forget not to look at the moon on that day; remember that it behaved unbecomingly towards the Lord. This really means avoid the company of all those who have no faith in God, and who deride God, your Guru and religion, from this very day.

Take fresh spiritual resolves and pray to Lord Ganesha for inner spiritual strength to attain success in all your undertakings.

May the blessings of Sri Ganesha be upon you all! May He remove all the obstacles that stand in your spiritual path! May He bestow on you all material prosperity as well as liberation!

Swami Sivananda - Hindu Fast & Festivals

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Janmashtami 2009 is on August 14th

Janmashtami celebrates the birth of one of the most famous Gods of Hindu religion, Bhagwan Krishna, on the eighth day (Ashtami) in the month of Sravana or Savana. Lord Sri Krishna was born on the 'Rohini' nakshatram (star). It is generally celebrated in the month of August-September according to the Christian Calendar. Legend has it that Sri Krishna was born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and atrocities of his maternal uncle, Kansa.

Position of Stars at the time of Birth

It was only on the eighth day of the second fortnight, in the month of Sravana when, the moon entered the house of Vrishabha in Rohini Nakshatra (star) that Lord appeared. According to Barhapatyamana, the month of Sravana corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha. Lord was born in the year of Visvavasu, appx. 5,227 years ago.

Celebrated for over Two Days

Janmashtami is celebrated for over two days as “Rohini” nakshatra and Ashtami may not fall on the same day. The first day known as Krishnashtami, as the birth of Bhagwan Krishna falls on the eighth day after Raksha Bandhan, which generally falls in the month of August. The second day is known as Kalashtami.

Welcome the Lord at Midnight

It is only at midnight between the first and the second day that birth of Sri Krishna took place. The actual festivities begin during midnight in this 48 hour period. The celebration reaches its peak at midnight, with the birth of Lord Krishna, with lot of hymns, arti taking place and blowing of the Conch (shankh), rocking the cradle of Lord. The idol of lord is bathed with Panchamrit (A mixture of milk, ghee, oil, honey and Gangajal). The Panchamrit is later distributed as Prasad to the devotees along with other sweets. While some Fast on the first day and break it at midnight for others the fasting continues for both days. The period coincides with rainy season.

SCFI - Krishna Janmashtami

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Story of Lord Krishna's Birth

A long time ago in ancient India, there lived King Ugrasen. He had two children, prince Kansa and princess Devaki. Prince Kansa was evil by nature. When Kansa grew up, he imprisoned his own father Ugrasen and made himself king.

Soon, his sister Devaki was married to King Vasudev. However, after the wedding, Kansa heard a divine warning from the sky, "O King! Your sister’s eighth son will grow up to kill you." After Kansa heard this, he was afraid. Immediately he imprisoned his own sister Devaki and her husband king Vasudev, and kept them under continuous watch.

Each time Devaki gave birth to a child in the prison, Kansa arrived personally and killed the child. When Devaki became pregnant for the eighth time, King Vasudev’s friend’s (King Nanda’s) wife Yashoda was also pregnant. The eighth child, Lord Krishna, was born to queen Devaki at midnight in the prison. As soon as the child was born, Lord Vishnu appeared in divine form and the prison was filled with a dazzling light. Both Devaki and Vasudev prayed to Lord Vishnu. At the same time as Lord Krishna was born in the prison, the divine energy of Lord Vishnu was born in Gokul, as a baby girl to queen Yashoda.

A divine message came to Vasudev soon after the birth of Lord Krishna, "Take this child across the Yamuna River to Gokul and exchange him with Yashoda’s daughter. You will return to the prison before anyone comes to know about the birth of this child."

Vasudev immediately followed the advice. As he carried the child in his arms, he found that the prison doors opened automatically and the guards were put to sleep by God. Vasudev approached the Yamuna River, which was very turbulent due to fierce winds and rain. However, as soon as Vasudev reached the riverbank, the river parted and made way for Vasudev carrying the divine child. Vasudev reached the opposite bank of the river safely and found all the people of Gokul fast asleep. He entered the palace of king Nanda and queen Yashoda, and put the baby Krishna in the place of Yashoda’s baby girl. Then Vasudev returned to the prison with the baby girl.

As soon as Vasudev laid the baby girl by Devaki’s side, the prison doors shut automatically. The guards were now awake and were startled by the cries of the baby girl. The guards ran to Kansa and announced the birth of the eighth child.

Kansa rushed to execute the child in the prison, remembering the divine warning that the eighth child would kill him. Devaki appealed, "O Kansa, this baby is a girl, and not the boy that the divine warning told you about. How can this child harm you?" However, Kansa ignored her, snatched the child from her lap, and hurled the child against the prison wall.

The child did not fall down; instead, she flew up and appeared in the sky as a Goddess with eight arms, each arm carrying a weapon. She said, "O evil king! You will gain nothing by killing me. The one who will destroy you is elsewhere." Then the Goddess disappeared. Kansa freed Vasudev and Devaki from prison.

Meanwhile, there was great rejoicing in Gokul, hailing the birth of a son in the household of Nanda. Nanda named the child Krishna. Entire Gokul wore a festive appearance. The streets were swept clean and all the houses were decorated with flags and flowers. Cows were smeared with turmeric, and adorned with peacock feathers and garlands. All people of Gokul danced in joy and flocked to Nanda’s house to see baby Krishna and to offer gifts.

Moral: The story of Lord Krishna's birth shows how powerful and loving God is. Whenever evil in the world like Kansa’s wicked rule becomes unbearable, God Himself comes to save us in the form of an Incarnation like Lord Krishna. Against God, not even the mightiest evil can do anything. Hence, daily we should pray to God and remember Him by chanting* (repeating) His Name in everything we do – be it getting ready, eating, walking, playing or going to bed.

Sanatan Organisation - Krishna Jayanthi

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Parents' Day

That Parent's Day was not there even two decades back would come as a surprise to many. Yet it is a fact that it was only in 1994 that the holiday got an official acceptance in the U.S.A.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact time when the idea of having a Parent's Day was really born. However, the holiday can be said to stem from the eternal human desire to honor and appreciate parents - those special beings upon whom lie the foundation of a new generation, whose enormous effort results in the creation of a better species of humankind that can show a new direction to the world.

In the U.S.A., Parent's Day was born out of a united effort of several religious, civic and elected leaders, who felt the need of an occasion to promote responsible parenting in the society, to highlight the important roles parents have in the successful raising of their children and to uphold the ideal parental role models for the benefit of the new generation.

Parent's Day was officially established in 1994 with the sincere efforts of the then US President Bill Clinton. During his presidential term in White House, Clinton felt that despite having a Father's Day and a Mother's Day that honored fathers and mothers individually there existed a void. Raising children in a proper way requires the presence and combined endeavor of both parents and hence there needed to be an occasion that appreciated parents collectively. The President strived to establish Parent's Day and this was realized when he signed into law a resolution for "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children." This resolution was cohesively adopted by the U.S. Congress. It would establish the American celebration of Parent's Day on the fourth Sunday of every July.

Today, Parents' Day is observed in the U.S. annually on the fourth Sunday of every July. It is also celebrated in many other countries such as the Republic of Korea, Vietnam and India. Irrespective of where it is held, it is an occasion for children to express their gratitude and appreciation for parents and acknowledge their untiring efforts in bringing them up.

When you feel like breaking down or crashing in,
Who do you turn to, to forgive your sin?
When you cried your lonely tears,
Who will be there to fight your fears?
And when it feels like no one would understand,
Who was there to hold your hand?

There are people whom you can't replace,
They're the ones who gave you your face.
They'll love you through thick and thin,
They show you the light from deep within.
And if by chance, you happen to die,
They'll be the ones who will really cry.

You see, my friend, there's no one who can love you more,
Than your very own parents, that's for sure.
Always remember that this is true,
That wherever you go, your parents will be there for you.

The Holiday Spot - History of Parents' Day

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kamadeva, The God Of Love

Kama in a wider sense means desire and in a narrow sense, sexual desire. Hinduism prescribes fulfillment of sexual passions for the householders and abstinence from it for the students and ascetics who are engaged in the study of the scriptures and in the pursuit of Brahman.

The Bhagavad gita informs us that desire is an aspect of delusion and one has to be wary of its various movements and manifestations. The best way to deal with desires is to develop detachment and perform desireless actions without seeking the fruit of ones actions and making an offering of all the actions to God. This way our actions would not bind us to the cycle of births and deaths.

Hinduism permits sexual freedom so long as it is not in conflict with the first aim, i.e. dharma. Hindu scriptures emphasize that the purpose of sex is procreation and perpetuation of family and society, while the purpose of dharma is to ensure order in the institution of family and society. A householder has the permission to indulge in sex, but also has the responsibility to pursue it in accordance with the laws of dharma. Marriage is a recognized social institution and marriage with wife for the purpose of producing children is legitimate and in line with the aims of dharma. Sex in any other form, including sex with wife for pleasure is adharma. (Here we are explaining the logic of the Purusharthas. We are not advocating an opinion.)

One of the important sects of Hinduism is Tantricism. It recognizes the importance of sexual freedom in the liberation of soul. The Tantrics accept sex as an important means to experience the blissful nature of God and the best way to experience God in physical form. They also refer to the concept of Purusharthas to justify their doctrines. They believe that sexual energy is divine energy and it can be transformed into spiritual energy through controlled expression of sex.

Just as the dharmashastras were written for the sake of dharma, and artha shastras for artha, kama shastras were composed in ancient India for providing guidance in matters of sex. We have lost many of them because of the extreme secrecy and social disapproval associated with the subject. What we have today is Vatsayana's Kamasutra, which like the Arthashastra seems to be a compilation of various independent works rather the work of a single individual.

The Hindu god of love, one of the Visve-devas in the Hindu pantheon. As the Eros of Hesiod was connected in early Greek mythology with the world's creation, and only afterwards became degraded into the passional Cupid, so was Kama in his original meaning as used in the Vedas, which gives the metaphysical and philosophical significance of his functions in the cosmos. Kama is the first conscious, all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and the first feeling of infinite compassion and mercy for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, that arose in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute. Kama "is in the Rig-Veda (x. 129) the personification of that feeling which leads and propels to creation. He was the first movement that stirred the One, after its manifestation from the purely abstract principle, to create. 'Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind; and which sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered to be the bond which connects Entity with Non-Entity' " (SD 2:176) -- or manas with pure atma-buddhi. Only later did kama become the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.

In the Puranas, Kama is the king and lord of the apsarases. He is pictured armed with a bow and arrows: the bow is often represented to be of sugar cane, the bowstring a line of bees, and each arrow is tipped with a distinct flower which is devoted to, and supposed to preside over, one of the senses. He is also often represented as a handsome youth riding on a parrot and attended by nymphs, one of whom bears his banner displaying the Makara, or a fish on a red background.

The attributes ascribed to Kamadeva in exoteric literature rarely depict the full sway of this cosmic force or entity in its multifarious ranges of activity. Kama is not only a cosmic principle or entity but also is inherent in every unit of the innumerable hosts of entities which compose the cosmos. Thus kama is the fourth principle in the human constitution; and, just as in its cosmic activities and relations, kama is both a superior and an inferior activity; indeed, it may be said to be divine in its higher aspects, just as it is physical in its lowest fields of action.

Spiritual - Theosophy Dictionary on Kamadeva

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

History of Hindu Temples

Historians say Hindu Temples did not exist during the Vedic period (1500 - 500 BC). The remains of the earliest temple structure were discovered in Surkh Kotal, a place in Afghanistan by a French archeologist in 1951. It was not dedicated to a god but to the imperial cult of King Kanishka (127 - 151 AD). The ritual of idol worship which became popular at the end of the Vedic age may have given rise to the concept of temples as a place of worship.

The Earliest Hindu Temples

The earliest temple structures were not made of stones or bricks, which came much later. In ancient times, public or community temples were possibly made of clay with thatched roofs made of straw or leaves. Cave-temples were prevalent in remote places and mountainous terrains.

According to historian, Nirad C Chaudhuri, the earliest structures that indicate idol worship date back to the 4th or 5th century AD. There was a seminal development in temple architecture between the 6th and the 16th century. This growth phase of Hindu temples charts its rise and fall alongside the fate of the various dynasties that reigned India during the period majorly contributing and influencing the building of temples, especially in South India. Hindus consider the building of temples an extremely pious act, bringing great religious merit. Hence kings and wealthy men were eager to sponsor the construction of temples, notes Swami Harshananda, and the various steps of building the shrines were performed as religious rites.

Temples of South India (6th - 18th Century AD)

The Pallavas (600 - 900 AD) sponsored the building of the rock-cut chariot-shaped temples of Mahabalipuram, including the famous shore temple, the Kailashnath and Vaikuntha Perumal temples in Kanchipuram in southern India. The Pallavas style further flourished - with the structures growing in stature and sculptures becoming more ornate and intricate - during the rule of the dynasties that followed, particularly the Cholas (900 - 1200 AD), the Pandyas temples (1216 - 1345 AD), the Vijayanagar kings (1350 - 1565 AD) and the Nayaks (1600 - 1750 AD).

The Chalukyas (543 - 753 AD) and the Rastrakutas (753 - 982 AD) also made major contributions to the development of temple architecture in Southern India. The Cave Temples of Badami, the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakal, the Durga Temple at Aihole and the Kailasanatha temple at Ellora are standing examples of the grandeur of this era. Other important architectural marvels of this period are the sculptures of Elephanta Caves and the Kashivishvanatha temple.

During the Chola period the South Indian style of building temples reached its pinnacle, as exhibited by the imposing structures of the Tanjore temples. The Pandyas followed in the footsteps the Cholas and further improved on their Dravidian style as evident in the elaborate temple complexes of Madurai and Srirangam. After the Pandyas, the Vijayanagar kings continued the Dravidian tradition, as evident in the marvelous temples of Hampi. The Nayaks of Madurai, who followed the Vijayanagar kings, hugely contributed to architectural style of their temples, bringing in elaborate hundred or thousand-pillared corridors, and tall and ornate 'gopurams' or monumental structures that formed the gateway to the temples as evident in the temples of Madurai and Rameswaram.

Temples of East, West and Central India (8th - 13th Century AD)

In Eastern India, particularly in Orissa between 750-1250 AD and in Central India between 950-1050 AD many gorgeous temples were built. The temples of Lingaraja in Bhubaneswar, the Jagannath temple in Puri and the Surya temple in Konarak bear the stamp of Orissa's proud ancient heritage. The Khajuraho temples, known for its erotic sculptures, the temples of Modhera and Mt. Abu have their own style belonging to Central India. The terracotta architectural style of Bengal also lent itself to its temples, also notable for its gabled roof and eight-sided pyramid structure called the 'aath-chala'.

Temples of Southeast Asia (7th - 14th century AD)

Southeast Asian countries, many of which were ruled by Indian monarchs saw the construction of many marvelous temples in the region between 7th and 14th century AD that are popular tourist attractions till his day, the most famous amongst them being the Angkor Vat temples built by King Surya Varman II in the 12th century. Some of the major Hindu temples in Southeast Asia that are still extant include the Chen La temples of Cambodia (7th - 8th century), the Shiva temples at Dieng and Gdong Songo in Java (8th - 9th century), the Pranbanan temples of Java (9th - 10th century), the Banteay Srei temple at Angkor (10th century), the Gunung Kawi temples of Tampaksiring in Bali (11th century), and Panataran (Java) (14th century), and the Mother Temple of Besakih in Bali (14th century).

Hindu Temples of Today

Today, Hindu temples across the globe form the cynosure of India's cultural tradition and spiritual succor. There are Hindu temples in all almost countries of the world, and contemporary India is bristled with beautiful temples, which hugely contribute to her cultural heritage. In 2005, arguably the largest temple complex was inaugurated in New Delhi on the banks of river Yamuna. The mammoth effort of 11,000 artisans and volunteers made the majestic grandeur of Akshardham temple a reality, an astounding feat which the proposed world's tallest Hindu temple of Mayapur in West Bengal is aiming accomplish.

The Temple's Journey Through the Ages - Subhamoy Das

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Hindu Wedding Vows

A traditional Hindu wedding ceremony is elaborate and complex, incorporating fifteen specific rituals. There are no vows in the Western sense, but the Seven Steps, or Saptha Padhi, around a flame (honoring the fire god Agni) spell out the promises the couple makes to each other:

"Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living."

"Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental, and spiritual powers."

"Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use."

"Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness, and harmony by mutual love and trust."

"Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous, and heroic children."

"Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity."

"Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock."

Wedding Vows - The Knot

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Eight Types of Hindu Marriage

There are eight types of marriage described in the ancient Hindu text of Manusmriti (Laws of Manu) or "Manava Dharma Shastra":

  • Rite of Brahmana (Brahma) - where the father of the bride invites a man learned in the Vedas and a good conduct, and gives his daughter in marriage to him after decking her with jewels and costly garments.
  • Rite of the Gods (Daiva) - where the daughter is groomed with ornaments and given to a priest who duly officiates at a sacrifice during the course of its performance of this rite.
  • Rite of the Rishis (Arsha) - when the father gives away his daughter after receiving a cow and a bull from the brightgroom.
  • Rite of the Prajapati - (Prajapatya) where the father gives away his daugher after blessing the couple with the text "May both of you perform together your duties"
  • Rite of the Asuras (Demons) - when the bridegroom receives a maiden after bestowing wealth to the kinsmen and to the bride according to his own will.
  • Rite of the Gandharva - the voluntary union of a maiden and her lover, which arises from desire and sexual intercourse for its purpose.
  • Rite of the Rakshasa - forcible abduction of a maiden from her home after her kinsmen have been slain or wounded and their houses broken open.
  • Rite of the Pisaka - when a man by stealth seduces a girl who is sleeping or intoxicated or is mentally disbalanced or handicapped.
As Described in the Laws of Manu - Subhamoy Das

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Malaysia's Fertility Rate Falls

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - An increasing number of Malaysian couples are seeking fertility treatment as the country's birthrate declines, a newspaper has reported.

A recent United Nations report showed the country's fertility rate dropped from 3.6 babies per couple in 1990 to 2.6 babies currently, the New Sunday Times said.

A key reason for the decline is an increasing fertility problem among Malaysian women, with as many as half of those who visit gynaecological specialists asking for treatment to help them conceive, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

"Many of the couples will remain childless unless they are helped using the 'assisted reproductive technology' technique," Liow told the paper.

Liow said between 10 and 15 percent of childless couples in the country, aged between 30 and 40, had fertility problem.

A 2004 government study predicted that Malaysia's fertility rate would decline 0.1 percent every five years, as women postpone marriage and having children.

The study also revealed the number of children being born varied widely according to the educational level of the mother. Women with no formal education had almost twice as many children as those with a tertiary education.

Officials have voiced concerns that the low fertility rate could bring about changes in the country's demographic structure, including a gradual ageing of the population.
Malaysia's population is currently estimated to be almost 27 million. Government policy sets a target of 70 million by the year 2100.

AFP - Sunday, July 12

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Festival of Chariots, Ratha-yatra

Ratha-yatra, or the Festival of Chariots, is a joyous event celebrated for thousands of years in the Indian holy city of Jagannatha Puri, and more recently by Hare Krishna devotees in cities around the world. Another name for Krishna, Jagannatha refers to the ecstatic form of the Lord with large eyes and rugged features who is carried on a gigantic chariot during this festival (and worshiped in an ancient temple at the center of Jagannath Puri.)

As the story goes, Lord Krishna once overheard a conversation about how His dearest devotees, the cowherd maidens of Vrindavana, were lamenting in His absence. When He heard these accounts of overwhelming love in separation, the Lord’s hair began to stand on end, His eyes opened wide and filled with tears, and His arms and legs contracted as He went into a state of spiritual ecstasy. Seeing Lord Krishna in this condition, His elder brother, Balarama (Baladeva), also began to feel ecstatic symptoms and displayed similar features. When Their sister, Subhadra, arrived at the scene, she too became consumed with ecstatic joy. Thus the sublime deity forms of Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Baladeva represent this sweet pastime.

The festival of Ratha-yatra represents Lord Jagannatha’s longing to reunite with His dear devotees in Vrindavana, foremost among them, Srimati Radharani. According to tradition, the Lord gets lovesick once a year just prior to the festival. To cheer him up, His servants arrange for Him to go on a lavish procession to meet up with His devotees. Lord Jagannatha rides on a grand, three-story-high chariot, accompanied by thousands of onlookers and marching bands with scores of drummers, singers, and dancers. India’s colonial British rulers coined the term “juggernaut” from the large, heavy chariot used to celebrate this festival in the city of Jagannatha Puri.

Five hundred years ago, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the combined incarnation of Radha-Krishna, encouraged all of His followers to celebrate Ratha-yatra with great enthusiasm. His biographies (such as Chaitanya Charitamrita) list many anecdotes surrounding the Ratha-yatra festival. It is said that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got down on His hands and knees to scrub the Gundicha temple where Lord Jagannatha would stay at the end of the Ratha-yatra parade.

Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, was very fond of Ratha-yatra. As a child he began celebrating Ratha-yatra when he was five years old, using a small home-made cart and pulling it around the neighborhood with his friends. Later in life, from 1967 until his passing, Srila Prabhupada joined thousands of disciples in cities around the world as they celebrated elaborate Ratha-yatra chariot festivals in the streets of London, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and on New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue.

Today, Hare Krishna devotees hold Ratha-yatra parades in many cities, usually culminating in a “Festival of India” set up in a city park, with festival tents, entertainment stages, free-feast booths, and a variety of cultural displays and exhibits. Contact your nearest Hare Krishna temple to find out about Ratha-yatras in your area.

Ratha-yatra signifies the Lord’s love for His devotees. He personally comes to visit His devotees and the public who welcome Him in the streets. Befitting the sentiment of its origins, Ratha-yatras in the Hare Krishna movement also serve as reunions for devotees who come from far and wide to participate, meeting up with old friends around their common goal of serving Lord Jagannatha, Sri Krishna.

Teachings - Krishna

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Father's Day

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Having been raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good fathers should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day.

The excert below is from the Silver Anniversary Book on Father's day published in 1935. I would like to thank William Jackson Smart's great granddaughter, Bonnie, for sharing this with me.

"This year, 1935, the Silver Anniversary of Fathers' Day is being observed. Thirty-seven years ago, in the Big Bend hills of Washington, the day had its nativity in a lonely farm dwelling. There Sorrow ministered amid the moaning of the March winds.

A father sat with bowed head in his aloneness. About him clung his weeping children. The winds outside threw great scarfs of powdered snow against the window panes, when suddenly the last born tore himself from the group and rushed out into the storm calling for his mother. Yet even his baby voice could not penetrate the great silence that held this mother.

Hurriedly, the father gathered him back to his protection and for more than two decades, William Jackson Smart, alone, kept paternal vigilance over his motherless children.

This poignant experience in the life of Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane, Washington, who was then Sonora Louise Smart, was the inspiration for Fathers' Day which materialized through the devotion of this father and the father of her own son, John Bruce Jr., born in 1909. Through the observance of the love and the sacrifice of fathers about her everywhere, her idea of Fathers' Day crystallized in 1910, through a formal Fathers' Day petition asking recognition of fatherhood."

Father - Morning Glow

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Parable of Butter Hidden in Milk

The young daughter had gone to her village home for the first time from her city-dwelling. At night before retiring to bed, her mother opened a pot in which there was good cow's milk and poured a little buttermilk. The girl asked her mother: "Mother, that was butter milk; and why have you mixed it with milk? The milk may get spoiled!"

"Child!", answered the mother, "that is the way to prepare the milk in order that we might get butter out of it."

"But where is butter in it, mother?"

"It is in every drop of the milk, dear; but you can't see it now. I will show you in the morning."

In the morning the daughter saw that what was liquid the night before had become solid overnight. Mother put a churning rod into it and started churning the curd vigorously. Butter began to float on the surface of the curd. Then she gathered it all up and presented it to the astonishment of the daughter. The mother explained: "The addition of the buttermilk curdles the milk. Milk is transformed into curd. Then you have to churn it. By this process the butter which was all-pervasively hidden in the milk is obtained. At first you were not able to see it; it was hidden. From where has it come now? Only from the milk. Therefore, you understand now that it was there all the time. It awaited the process of churning to reveal itself to your great joy." The daughter, too, followed the same process and got the butter, for herself.

Similarly, a worldly man approaches a Mahatma and asks him: "O Sadhu, why have you renounced the world, and poured this new element of 'Vairagya' and 'Tyaga' into your life? Why don't you let the life take its natural course?"

The Sadhu replies: "Brother, I do so in order to realise God?", "Where is God?", "He is all-pervading." The worldly man does not see and is not convinced. The Sadhu then explains how the inner personality, which is fickle and outflowing should be made solid and firm. Then the churning rod of one-pointed concentration and meditation should be taken hold of, and this solid 'Antahkarana' should be very well churned. Then God is realised. He is all-pervading, in every atom of creation. But He is not visible to the naked eye nor is He realisable by a man except through this process called 'Sadhana'.

Just as a mother was necessary for her daughter to learn that butter exists in milk and that churning will bring it out, even so a Guru is necessary for a man to know that God is, that He is all-pervading, and that He is attained through Sadhana. If the aspirant follows the Guru's instructions, he too, can realise God.

Parables Of Sivananda - The Divine Life Society

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Karna: A Life Of Sacrifice

The moon illumines the night

The sun illumines the day

Dharma illumines the three worlds

A good son is the light for his lineage

It is the moon that sheds light during the night. During the day the sun gives light and shows the way. For the three worlds the illumination comes from Dharma (Righteousness). A good son is not only a beacon for his family, he is the light for his entire community (Jaathi).

Education is the means of unfolding the moral and spiritual potentialities of man. Education reveals to man what is right and what is wrong.

For a good son, who is a student, five things are essential. First, right education (Vidya). Vidya means that which expels darkness (the darkness of ignorance). Second, Vijnaano (discrimination). This refers to the power to discriminate between the permanent and the transient, the true and the false. Third is discipline (Kramasikshana. Discipline is not got from books. Fourth is nationalism, love of one's people and country. Fifth is good character (Sathseelam). Only the person endowed with these five qualities can be regarded as a man of virtue.

Students should recognize these five qualities as their five life-breaths (pancha pranas). It is only a virtuous son endowed with these five qualities who lends luster to his family and his nation.

The social scenario and the educational system today are riddled with many defects. Education today is concerned with imparting worldly knowledge, with no place for ethics or spirituality. It does not equip the student with competence or capability. It is essential to carry out a total, radical change in the educational system. What is needed is a total revolution. Only then the value of education will become apparent.

In this context, a change in the student's attitude is also necessary. There should be a change in the student's approach to the educational process. Only then he can secure true education. All along education has remained an exercise in acquiring bookish knowledge. What is needed today is practical knowledge.

Every student should acquire a good character, moral values and develop a spiritual bent of mind. These three constitute true learning. These three have been held in high esteem from ancient times. Unfortunately from the beginning of the modem era, morality has disappeared from the scene. Righteousness and spirituality have vanished. Neither the teachers nor the educational authorities have shown any concern for these vital elements.

Indian culture is sublime. The Vedas, Upanishads, the Puranas and the great epics are veritable oceans of supreme wisdom. The sun every day turns into vapor vast quantities of water from the ocean and gives it back to the earth in the form of rain to sustain nourishing crops for mankind. Although the amount of water vaporized by the sun is immense, the ocean's depth does not diminish. Nor does the level of the ocean rise even by a little despite the inflow of waters from the rivers. The immensity of Bharatiya culture is like the ocean which neither swells nor goes down.

From days of yore, the sages of India absorbed this culture and propagated it among the people and ennobled their lives. Bharatiyas today have not attempted to understand the greatness of their cultural heritage. On the other hand, many people in foreign countries have explored the treasures of this vast reservoir of knowledge and benefited from it in many ways. The Russians and the Germans made ample use of the Rig Veda and Atharvana Veda to promote their national interests. The Atharvana Veda is a source of valuable knowledge regarding the arts and weapons of war. In India today no one seems to bother about the Atharvana Veda.


Bharatiya culture is entirely based on Samskrit. All Bharatiya students should recognize Samskrit as the mother of all Indian languages. Without a knowledge of Samskrit one cannot understand the elements of Bharatiya culture.

Recognizing the value of Samskrit, Russia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia and other countries are introducing the study of Samskrit in their educational curriculum.

The intimate relations between foreign countries and Bharat from ancient times have not been understood by most Bharatiyas even today.


You may be aware from your study of books or from other sources that Indonesia has named its airlines as Garuda Airways. (Garuda is the divine bird which is the vehicle of Vishnu, according to Indian mythology.) The banks in Indonesia are named after Kubera (the Hindu deity representing wealth). While Bharatiya culture is surviving so prominently in overseas countries, it is not so well appreciated in Bharat itself.

The first President of Indonesia was Dr. Sukarno. His father was a great student of the Mahabharata. Admiring the great qualities of Karna as a warrior and a magnanimous donor, who never refused anything which a supplicant sought from him, the father named his son Sukarno (though he was a Muslim). In this manner, foreigners cherish what is great in Bharatiya culture.

But Bharatiyas, oblivious to the glory of their culture, are imitating occidental practices.

It would be good to remember the supreme sacrificing spirit of Karna. Although because of his association with some evil-minded men his name got tainted, no one can equal the spirit of sacrifice of Karna.

The great Mahabharata war come to a close on the seventeenth day with the fall of Karna. The Pandavas were celebrating their great victory over Karna. The Kauravas felt utterly hopeless as Karna was their greatest warrior. The Pandavas rejoiced in the fall of their most powerful opponent. But, Krishna was sitting apart and appeared to be immersed in sadness. Arjuna went to him and asked why he was feeling sad on a day when they should be rejoicing over their victory. Krishna told him that Bharat had lost its most heroic warrior that day. The hero who had brought glory and good name to Bharat had fallen. "I feel immensely sad because the country is losing such a great hero."

On hearing these words, Arjuna looked at Krishna with a feeling of amused surprise. He said: "Krishna! To ensure the victory of the Pandavas you chose the role of charioteer. Because of that, the Pandavas won their victory. Instead of rejoicing over this victory, why are you feeling sad over the fall of our enemy?".


Krishna replied: "Karna is the very embodiment of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a synonym for Karna. In the entire world you cannot find one other man equal in the spirit of sacrifice to Karna. In weal or woe, triumph or defeat he could not forget the quality of sacrifice. Have you got that spirit of sacrifice? No. Krishna then asked Arjuna to follow him.

Darkness had enveloped the battlefield. Krishna was proceeding with Arjuna. In His sweet voice, Krishna was exclaiming: "Karna! Karna!" Karna was gasping for breath in his last moments. He cried: "Who is calling me? I am here." Following the direction from which the words came, Krishna went near Karna.


Before approaching Karna, Krishna assumed the form of an indigent Brahmin. Karna asked him: "Who are you, Sir?" Karna was nearing his last breath. Even at that moment, without any hesitation or faltering in his voice, he put that question to the stranger. Krishna (as the poor Brahmin) replied: "For a longtime I have been hearing about your reputation as a charitable person. You have acquired fame as Daana Karna (Karna the great giver). Today, not knowing about your plight, I came to ask you for a gift. You must give me a donation." "Certainly. I shall give you whatever you want", replied Karna. "I have to perform the marriage of my son. I want a small quantity of gold", said Krishna.

"Oh what a pity! Please go to my wife, she will give you as much as gold as you need", said Karna. The Brahmin broke into laughter. He said: "For the sake of a little gold have I to go all he way to Hastinapura? If you say you are not in a position to give me what I ask, I shall leave you." Karna declared: "As long as breath remains in me, I will not say no to anyone." Karna opened his mouth, showed the gold fillings for his teeth and said: "I shall give this to you. You can take them". Assuming a tone of revulsion, Krishna said: "What is it you suggest? Do you expect me to break your teeth and take the gold from them? How can I do such a wicked deed? I am a Brahmin."


Immediately, Karna picked up a stone nearby, knocked out his teeth and offered them to the "Brahmin". Krishna in his guise as Brahmin wanted to test Karna further. "What? Are you giving me as gift teeth dripping with blood? I cannot accept this. I am leaving", he said. Karna pleaded: "Swami, please wait for a moment." Even while he was unable to move, Karna took out his arrow and aimed it at the sky. Immediately rain dropped from the clouds, Cleaning the teeth with the rainwater. Karna offered the teeth with both his hands. Krishna then revealed His original form.

Karna asked: "Who are you, Sir?". Krishna said: "I am Krishna. I admire your spirit of sacrifice. In any circumstance you have never given up your spirit of sacrifice. Ask me what you want. "Beholding Krishna's beauteous form, Karna said with folded hands: "Krishna! Aaapadbaandhava! (Oh! Reliever of troubles!) Lokarakshaka! (Protector of the world!) Oh Lord, who holds the Universe in your palm, what can I seek from you? At this moment of my passing, to close my eyes gazing on your Divine form, this is my greatest blessing. This is boon enough for me. To have the vision of the Lord before one's passing is the goal of human existence. You came to me and blessed me with your form. This is enough for me. I offer my salutations to you".


Arjuna was observing the whole scene. Krishna turned to him and said: "Are you prepared for this kind of sacrifice?" Arjuna bowed his head in silence. The Lord praised the greatness of the quality of sacrifice in man. Of all kinds of sacrifice, the greatest is the sacrifice made for God.

"Oh Lord! That heart which you gave unto me. I am offering to you. What else can I bring to offer at your lotus feet? I prostrate before you. Please accept my offering." This was the prayer addressed by Karna to Krishna.

Man forgets his true nature because of attachment and egoism. Man should develop firm faith in God. Faith should be like your life-breath, which goes on inhaling and exhaling at all times without respite. Respiration goes on whatever work you may be doing and whatever the state of your mind.

Likewise, in all situations and at all times, your faith in God should never leave you. It should not change according to whether your desires are fulfilled or not. Like your life-breath, your faith should remain steady, though joy and sorrow, loss and gain, pain and pleasure.

Treat whatever happens as good for you. Have that sense of fortitude. When you have faith in the self, even wild animals will be gentle towards you.

Every man should recognize that the body has been given to him to render service to others. You must use the body for promoting the welfare of society. Of what use is the endless study of books if you do not use your knowledge for the good of others? A mind that is not utilized for imparting joy to others or a body that is not used for the service of others are totally useless.

The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. Students should imbibe this ideal. Man should strive to become good and virtuous. Only when a man is filled with good thoughts and good feelings and performs good deeds will his life become meaningful. These good qualities will serve to make a better man of you. That is the purport of the saying: "A good son illumines his lineage" (Suputro Kuladeepakah). As good sons all of you should pledge yourselves to serve and protect the nation.

Students! Your secular studies will help you in worldly life, but will not promote your spiritual progress. Without spirituality, all worldly accomplishments are worthless.


With all his prowess, why did Karna come to a bad end? Because of his association with the evil-minded Duryodhana. If he had not made common cause with Duryodhana, Karna would have become an effulgent star in the firmament.

All his native good qualities turned into ashes because of bad association. Your company determines your character. Hence, from the outset cultivate the company of godly men. Without it, all other things are useless.

Today wherever you turn in Bharat you see only disorder, violence and fear. What is the reason? People have lost their faith in the Self. They are fostering attachments to worldly objects. They are forgetting that true bliss is derived from the Divine.

Students! Develop broad-mindedness. Cultivate unity. It was because of lack of unity Bharat came under the rule of a small nation like the British, though it did not lack great warriors, scholars, and administrators. Today the nation is afflicted with two bad qualities: lack of unity and insatiable greed. Education should be pursued for the sake of wisdom and virtue, and not for securing jobs.

Develop the spirit of sacrifice like Karna. Honor the plighted word. Dedicate all your actions to God.

As alumni of our Institute you should stand out as ideal students and as examples to the world. Realize that there is no greater quality than Truth. Truth is God. Dharma is His ornament. Adhere to these two as the highest attributes of humanness. Students! Your hearts are tender and unsullied. From this age itself you must foster pure thoughts. Plant the seed of love in your pure hearts. From that tree of love you will have the fruits of forbearance, compassion and kindness. Always be smiling. Face every situation in life, including death, with a smile.

Bhagavan - 19 Jan 1997, Prashanti Nilayam

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