Dawn

I woke up today, as usual, to a lazy morning. And then struck a sudden poetic thought, “..the demons of darkness have slept, as the spirits of light are waking up..” These lines were echoing in my mind, all day, only to realize that we tend to associate ‘darkness’ with demon, and ‘light’ with spirit. And deepening further, that demon must mean something bad though spirit should mean good, and dark is bad while light is good! The prejudices, mental setups cheat and mock us on a narrow lane, though we claim to be broad minded. Now this should make a quite serious post. But i wanted to write something different and came my attempt in poetry (after a long time) Dawn!

Dawn and Dusk follow each other, and in way to represent them, I wished to repeat the first words of every line of the poem, in a symmetrical fashion. And here is my Dawn (literally, as i’m waking up from a stint from blogging!)

The spirits of dark,
are to rest.
And then woke up,
those of light,
warm and bright.
Their warriors shining,
upon the world,
as we know.
The chants of song,
of the lore,
by the priests,
to the light,
rendering charm
and glory,
rendering beauty,
to the faith,
by the folk,
of the soul.
The wind blows,
as light rises,
upon every tower,
their spire,
warm with the ray,
those reaching
and shining,
are who,
The spirits of light.

Cheers
God Bless

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Body – Mind – Soul

As the prayers, rituals, celebrations of the holy month of Maargazhi are on in full swing, and as one melts to the recitations of the divine Thirupaavai, we come across this line – Ongi Ulagalandha Uthaman Paer Paadi.. (Singing the name of the Lord, who grew and, who conquered the worlds..), which is in reference to Lord Vamana, who measured with his feet, earth, heaven and King Mahabali‘s head!

The beauty of these lines gave rise to the sprouting of an astounding meaning of the references, hidden in the fields of divinity.

Body, Mind and Soul comprise a trio. The Soul, whom we are; the Body, in which we reside; and the Mind, a bridge which guides, and misguides, balances and unbalances as well, the connection between the Body and the Soul.

The Body can be considered as the earth. Tough, physically sense-able, measurable, easier to understand, and conquerable. And Mind, the sky or the heavens. Undefinable, difficult to perceive, immeasurable, and not that easy to understand, and yet not unconquerable. And finally, the Soul, totally beyond any definitions (Mind, though had adjectives such as undefinable, immeasurable, etc)

King Mahabali had conquered the earth and the heavens. It was then that Lord Vishnu came in the form of a dwarf and asked for three feet of land as alms, from the King who was ruling the earth and the sky! When the King agreed, Lord Vamana grew to a gigantic size and measured the entire conquest of Mahabali‘s earth in a foot, and the sky in another. When nothing was left over, He asked the King for the third foot, when he offered his head, to be ‘conquered’. And the Lord obliged. 

It is no wonder, for the comparisons are so obvious. One can rule over one’s body and mind. But conquering our soul, conquering ourselves, might seem easy, but not so; might seem tough, but not so, again! Definitely confusing, and that’s the beauty (or ugliness) of it! We think that we are our body and we are our mind. What we fail to recognize most of the times, is that we are the souls. We reside in a mind, and within a body.

King Mahabali had conquered the body and was owning it, to offer it to the Lord. He was ruling the mind, and was made into a good offering too! But conquest of the soul remained uncomplete. Once he gave up the so called possessions, the light of knowledge dawned and he offered himself (read soul; read head) to the Lord, which was the best of all offerings!

This conclusion is definitely, not immune from defects or debates. And view is always different and unique too. A lotus on a pond doesn’t look the same from different viewpoints, and so is a thought.

So much of thoughts from a single line of the thirty stanza long Thirupaavai. No wonder, it is referred to as the seed which contains the gigantic tree of the Veda!

Cheers

God Bless

Mahabharata ~ Changing Perspectives

Mahabharata is one of my all time favourite ‘experience’. I term it an experience because, quite often when I get to read/hear/watch retellings of the great epic, a thought process occurs, which gives rise to new perspectives, new vistas, new ideas, which are experiences that need to be savoured deeply!

I had grown up listening to Mahabharata stories from my grandma, watching the B.R.Chopra teleseries (the re-telecast actually! i’m not that old 😉 ) – Mahabharat (1988 TV Series), reading the English translation of Mahabharata by Rajaji – Mahabharata and an illustrated modern retelling by Devdutt Pattanaik – Jaya. In an earlier post, I had written about this modern retelling – Perspectives. There are various anecdotes associated with Mahabharata, which also provide varied insights and knowledge on it. Take off the religious angle, and it can beat a story of any genre, hands down!

It is generally said that, if something isn’t mentioned in the Mahabharata, then it doesn’t exist at all! And that’s because there are numerous retellings, abridgements, expansions, addition of ideas, commentaries, exclusion of ideas, folklores, corrosions, misunderstandings, etc on this already grand epic!

There are episodes in this narration that tease the logical part of our mind, and then there are portions that tease our illogical parts. And it is up to us to judge if a character in this epic is good or bad, or neutral, and that depends on how we view the scenario. This is the reason that there are many flows in the Mahabharata. Now this should explain the title – Changing Perspectives.

In my younger days, I preferred the action and grandeur of the narration, to the philosophical arguments. The fighting sequences, the grand palaces were more fascinating than the Bhagavad Gita and the other tenets. But now, I yearn for more of philosophical tenets, the varied perspectives that they provide, the various commentaries that have been written pondering over the realms known and unknown. The action and grandeur just seem normal and do not excite me anymore. This gives another meaning to the title – Changing Perspectives.

Mahabharata was nothing more than a religious story, for me in childhood. Only to realize later, that it is a lesson on how to lead life, and also how not to lead life. Probably I might realize something else, in future. Changing perspectives again!

Cheers

God Bless

Book: Scion of Ikshvaku

The previous Shiva Trilogy series by Amish Tripathi caught the interest of many into reading alternate mythology. I’m not a big fan of alternate mythology, yet the beginning of the Shiva Trilogy was very interesting, though I felt the ending was mediocre. Now the author has come up with the Ram Chandra Series and first book of the series, Scion Of Ikshvaku was released on 22nd June. I had preordered my copy and received it right yesterday. Received with a metallic bookmark. Happy!

‘Kaushik’ is an important character in the series 😉

Coming to the book, the story is an alternate mythology (or can be said a fictional story too), based on the Ramayana. This book elaborates on the beginning part of the Ramayana. It can be loosely said that this book covers Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda and Aranya Kanda. As it is an alternate mythology, there are twists, characters, drama, sub-plots added by the author. Some of these are very interesting and some not-so.

There are some philosophical conversations that are present in this book, which are highly thought provoking and interesting. One for example…

‘Exactly!’, said Ram. ‘If He is my God, if He picks my side over someone else’s, He is not the One God. The only true One God is the one who picks no sides, who belongs to everything, who doesn’t demand loyalty or fear; in fact, who doesn’t demand anything at all. Because the Ekam just exists; and His existence allows for the existence of all else.’

Those who have interest in philosophy, mythology would find this book interesting, though those who follow orthodox way may not. Taking apart the ‘religious’ angle, the book can also be a good fictional read. Waiting for the next book in the series.

Cheers

God Bless

Vacation Chronicles ~ 3

Melkote

Following the earlier two posts – Vacation Chronicles ~ 1 and Vacation Chronicles ~ 2 – The stones are alive! here goes the third and concluding post on my vacation.

This post is completely dedicated to a beautiful, clean, serene, divine, calm, picturesque, peaceful, little town in Karnataka, named Melkote. It is at a distance of about 50 kms from Mysore and has good, accessible road from there. And still, i’m still out of adjectives to sing the praise of this place!

Raya Gopura

Melkote, also known as ThiruNarayanaPuram is more of a pilgrimage center, than a tourist spot, and that’s the main reason we were there (remember I had mentioned family vacation/pilgrimage in the earlier post?) The CheluvaNarayana Temple and the YogaNarasimha Swamy Temple atop a small hill are the important temples, apart from a few other ancient, antique temples here.

CheluvaNarayana Temple

Melkote is quiet, little town with few ancient temples, many clean and pristine ponds surrounded by lush greenery, simple and traditional homes, clean roads, little shops, a Sanskrit college and academy, scenic vistas, humble and helpful people, which makes a person fall in love with this place again and again!

The YogaNarasimha Swamy temple is situated atop a small hill. Visiting this temple requires a climb of around 200 rock cut steps, which are covered by lush greenery, and occasional stone mantapa. There were many monkeys and goats along this way too, giving us a good company.

And not to forget the yummy Puliogare and Chakare Pongal that we got to taste here. Simply divine! And for the uninitiated, Puliogare and Chakare Pongal are a delicacy present in many South Indian Temples. They are supposed to be second most important aspect of the temple, the first being the Lord 😉

That’s me, on the way to YogaNarasimhaSwamy Temple, atop the hill.

From the various experiences that I had here, the one I loved the most are the divinity and the cleanliness of this place. Divinity is beyond the scope of any explanation and our understanding! So moving on to the cleanliness aspect, the temples, roads, ponds, public washrooms are maintained so well in this little town!

Overall, the pilgrimage to Melkote was nourishing to the soul, pumping up more faith into the mind and lifting up our spirits.

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Check out the following links, which provide more information on Melkote. Please do pay a visit to this place and get an experience of a lifetime!

Melkote – Wikipedia

Melkote – Anudinam

***The pictures included in this post were taken by me***

Cheers

God Bless

Vacation Chronicles ~ 2

The stones are alive!

Continuing from my previous post – Vacation Chronicles ~ 1, here I go with my second post. Without any explanation, by the end of this post, you would know why ‘The stones are alive!’

Standing at the threshold
of the mighty and impressive
Chennakeshava Devasthana*,
I wonder,
Do I bow to the Lord
Or the spirit of the sculptors?
Then, I feel His charm
And I bow to the Lord,
who dwells in and as
the soul of the sculptor,
And of the stone!

The following pictures were taken at the ChennaKeshava Temple complex at Belur, Karnataka. ChennaKeshava expands to ‘Chennagi Iruva Keshava’ which means the Handsome Keshava, in Kannada. His temple is beautiful, but His charm is matchless!

Chronicle to be concluded in next post Vacation Chronicles ~ 3 – Melkote

*Devasthana = Place of God ~ Temple

***The pictures included in this post were taken by me***

Cheers

God Bless

Kaushika turns Vishvamitra

Human mind works in a mysterious way. Especially at times, when the body is shut down and the mind is wide awake. It brings in new dimensions, new perspectives and new confusions! These thoughts vanish the way they arose, though few tend to cling on. Reading, and re-reading books inspired from Indian mythology, such as Jaal, The Pregnant King influences the mind too, a lot. One such thought which clung to my mind led to this post.

Kaushika the Emperor who turned into Vishvamitra the Hermit, is one person from the Hindu mythology, whom I adore a lot. Yes of course, my fascination for him started when I discovered that I share my name with him, which only increased as I got to learn more about him.

To give a brief introduction about this person, Kaushika was a mighty emperor who once met Vashishta, an hermit of the highest order. And there occurred a conflict between them (read more here) This conflict created a confusion in the mind of Kaushika, which ultimately prompted him to become a Brahmarishi (hermit of the highest order) And there began his journey!

It was initially his ego, anger, confusion, passion, ambition, rivalry, struggle, greed, competition, desire to achieve a status equal (if not higher) to those whom he considered as his rival, that made Kaushika to undertake a severe penance. The efforts bore fruits, and that made him a Rishi. He was still Kaushika. The anger passed by time, and He became a Rajarishi, but still he was Kaushika. His mind calmed over time that made him a Maharishi, but he was Kaushika, still!

When his mind expanded with wisdom, that sprouted and that flowed in, he could accommodate his version of truth, someone else’s vision of the world, everyone’s understanding of the universe and that made him an enlightened one – Brahmarishi Vishvamitra (Vishva – Cosmos and beyond, Mitra – Friend) Vishvamitra literally means ‘friend of all’. It is also understood as someone who could accommodate everyone and everything within the mind. Kaushika had rivals, but Vishvamitra didn’t, can’t and won’t have any!

In today’s world there is conflict and confusion, most often because we refuse to see the other side of the world. Our prejudices, perspectives and ego refuses to see the other version of the truth. We may not necessarily agree to something we may not like. But why can’t accept that it exists and let it exist?

The one who ruled over a mighty empire with just and respect had to undergo an harsh journey to control his mind and senses. So it’s definitely not an easy task to have such an infinite openness of mind. But why not have our mind at least directed towards this kind of openness?

As I stated earlier, accommodating his version of truth, someone else’s vision of the world, everyone’s understanding of the universe, turned Kaushika into Vishvamitra. Probably this is the elusive Enlightenment that we keep hearing quite often.

It is when we get these thoughts and understandings, that we realize that scriptures are more to be understood metaphorically, than taken literally. There could be difference of thoughts, opinions and perspectives. Making room for all of them increases our wisdom, while fighting over it, paves way only to exhaust our limited knowledge.

If there is an ocean to learn, there is an universe to unlearn. And this is a kind of learning too. The cosmos works in a mysterious way, and so our mind!

I’m Kaushik (literally and metaphorically, and many of us are too) with my own prejudices and opinions. I accept the truth, that my mind isn’t that big enough to accept certain (actually many) things. And there is a long way for this soul to go.

Cheers

God Bless