Posted in Food For Soul

Decoding Dharma – 3: Why Dharma.

Why Sanathana Dharma (Hindu Dharma).

Because none other seeks the light of knowledge for salvation, awakening of higher consciousness and liberation of the soul from the birth-death-rebirth cycle as Dharma does. No Abrahamic way is anywhere close to the truth. There is no heaven or hell. Only this. You attain supreme conscience or opt to be reborn up until you are ready to merge with the creation and become part of it all on attaining the state of  ‘Mukthi’ or ‘Moksha’ (‘Nirvana’ – enlightenment). How easily said than done. Ant and the boot story as I have mentioned many a time in my blog posts. I can never reach up to higher level than this. I am stranded. I am all admiration for those Maha Avatars who have managed to transcend through time and space into the Infinity, with immense mind control. This is after all the land of Gautama Buddha and Mahavira and Vivekananda and Ramana Maharishi. Of great Sadhus (sages), Rishis and Yogis. Just listening to their life stories suffices for me. I may take a 1000 janams (births) or probably much, much more to reach there, but who cares. I am aware of my own limitations. Unable to rise above this ground level of the pyramid of spirituality. Materialistic aspirations have dulled not just me. The damaging impact is all across the world and the purpose is lost. The one Adi Yogi who always resides in my heart is Lord Shiva.

Other folds have fielded their self-proclaimed prophets and saints and supposed sons of Gods as if we are running a race – and how wrongfully they succeed in weaning away masses from the one right path. It is not even apt to talk about them here when I think of the Maha Yogis who have walked the length and breadth of not just my country India, but the universe. India has had many of them, India is ancient. Cradle of civilizations. Only Hindus believe we are re-evolving after we devolved. It is next to impossible to make an Abrahamic understand this ingrained belief in every Hindu. This is why Dharma has to survive. The one true path. The one visible only to the seeker. Seeker of higher intelligence and truth. The only way you can bust your physical body to enter the realm of supreme existence. Other than on embracing death that is. Our Karma decides where we belong. Whether we must be recycled.

The way I look at our timeless temples, our Gurus, our ancestors, our Gods, our saints and even our mountains …. all this has changed vastly in recent years. I am now a staunch advocate for Hindu Dharma for this reason. I may never unravel the truth in my limited capacity and confinement, but let the seekers who have it in them go after the truth…

Sometimes this moves me to tears. The inability to go beyond my level. Sheer greed I know. The physical, mental limitations. The insignificance of my being. The pointlessness of material life.

The significance of our brain size proportionate to our body mass – i never paid more attention to this like I do now.

My prayer these days is : I can never reach up to you Oh My Mother and Father, but you can reach down to me. Elevate me a little.

Meditation is not easy. But a wise path to tread. Focus sharpens for the starters. Long winding road ahead… Yoga and meditation are good tools to work with in this direction.

The more you become aware of the bonding chains, of your level of intelligence that really matters, the less is the pain of suffering. More acceptance. More Peace. Om Shanthi!

At the end of the day, I am still the materialistic average human. Self-serving and taking refuge in small pleasures. The whole life becomes a summary of such trivialities. But how to get rid of mortal attachments. If I have to wait a lifetime every time, I shall. In this assignment that i have willingly taken in (I believe), let me score my best.

In this birth, in this defined role of mortal life wherein familial duties get duly prioritized, here and whenever possible I gaze at Thee in wonder. Who I cannot reach in a zillion ages. But I am happy to SEE, Thou are incomprehensible. My brains may burst to dust defining Thy dimensions. Thy Immensity. I am fulfilled right now. No aspirations. Ground level view is good and satisfying. Self realization can be at multi-level. I am at the entry stage. To realize that I can’t realize ever is my greatest achievement in this janam!

Pranaams to the greatest Mahans of Bharat! I cannot feel their presence, but I believe they are all around us. The vibes I sense on setting foot in our temples are a proof that I do not expect others to understand. Why great souls are not born these days. Materialistic vision clouds mind. Rituals drown or dissolve the essence. Meaningless pursuits lead us astray from the one goal: Mukthi. Liberation.

Posted in Food For Soul

Decoding Dharma – 2: The Madras Theosophical Society

 

The Theosophical Society is right in Chennai. It’s famous banyan tree is still a well known landmark. In fact when Chennai was still good old Madras, my aunt’s school used to take their high school girls for picnic to the tree that sprawled over a huge area leaving a cool shade. My aunt’s school is in Adyar bank even today. I can’t believe that once upon a time, the school used to open with a snake charmer leading them from the front. The classrooms used to be riddled with snakes from Adyar river. It was only in the 1970s and  1980s. Gradually things changed as India changed and soon there was no more work for snake charmer in the school premises.

So that is how the Theosophical society became familiar to me at a young age. Because of my aunt for whom, the banyan tree was like an icon as she daily commuted by city bus to her school which was close to the society.

In history text books, like anyone else, I have read about Annie Besant and Madam Blavatsky. More about Annie Besant who supposedly spearheaded the Home Rule Movement in India. She apparently moved on to other things, drawn by India. More so, the Hindu spirituality. Actually I had no idea. Many Chennaiites have been infatuated with the Theosophical society founded by her and J Krishnamurthy. However I have always remained immune to J Krishnamurthi. In fact, I did not even attempt to comprehend what they were trying to tell us. I didn’t know much about Annie Besant after whom Besant Nagar, the Chennai suburb is named. JK Foundation schools are popular for their style of syllabus and free thinking philosophies. More than that, I have never tried to find out honestly anything about this curious trio. Rukmini Arundale, the founder of Kalakshetra school of the classical dance form Bharat Natyam similarly was a close acquaintance to the spiritual thinkers. There was one more: Henry Olcott.

It is interesting to learn from Sadhguru, why they came to India exactly over a hundred years before, what drew them to India, and ultimately of the great Indian/Hindu spirituality and of Shiva. It is tragic that in a nation that beholds so much truth and wisdom about creation, there is today hectic foreign-sponsored activity to pull us Hindus away from native faith which is the only standing truth in the universe. That which truly transcends logic and theories and prophesies to lead you to the ‘true conscience.’ Or what you may call, the state of ‘Nirvana.’

The way I look at Sanathana dharma and at India has since undergone a massive change. I understand my belief system better now. I don’t care what others may want to think or how others may judge. It doesn’t matter.

I have heard of JK, Annie Besant etc over years but as I said I hardly paid attention to their interests or philosophies or experiments. The banyan tree that was once the center of many Tamil film romances (‘Aadi velli’ song for one, starring Kamal Hasan and Sri Devi from Moondru Mudichu in the black & white era of late 1970s), and the Theosophical society hardly attract visitors these days. Now strangely I know better. I understand the relevance finally. Aurobindo also was a freedom figher who later on became a spiritual guru who founded ‘Auroville’ in Pondicherry near Chennai that draws global citizens who make it their home. Pondicherry (now Puduchery) Mother from France, similarly is like a guru to many Tamils. I see Mother’s picture in many friends’ puja.

India is a spiritual enigma. I do not even attempt to explain these things to a non Hindu. Firstly you will be ridiculed. Secondly, they are followers of self-professed prophets who claimed to be sons of gods. Whereas we are from the land of Shiva who never had biological father or mother, who never had to be born to die… Is Shiva an alien. Are we His creations the way we humans today may mutate species in science labs. I will explain this. A Hindu child grows up hearing about ‘Yuga.’ ‘You cannot understand Yuga’ my granny used to say, ‘a Yuga is like millions of years for you but only one minute or one hour for Shiva.’

To an ant or a snail or a centipede or grasshopper, a walking human being is a living God no doubt. The ‘ant and the boot’ story. How many lifetimes of the ant is our single day. Shiva is the walking giant. We are the ant, millipede, grasshopper, snail. To realize Him is impossible for us for the way it is for the ant to picturize the human being. I try to realize Shiva. I can’t. They say Yoga is a tool that can elevate you to a higher level of conscience. So this is where Yoga and meditation come in. They help in focusing, nothing more. Neither am I good at Yoga nor is my intelligence that evolving. I can’t go beyond a level. In fact I cannot climb over my layman level. I don’t even try because I know my limits. My limitations are not only physical but also intellectual.

To those few who can raise themselves without the help of opium to a higher level of consciousness, I bow my head in respect and awe.

None of us can become a Gautam Buddha or Satya Sai Baba or Ramana Maharishi or Swami Vivekanand or even Osho. Living in their lifetimes is enough for me. Mahans are born every century.

I have not had a darshan of Puttabharthi Sai Baba when His phyical body was here. But I believe in His noble soul. I can understand what message Sadhguru is trying to convey. I am grateful I have a chance to listen to Him. No I am not a fan of Him and He is not my guru yet.

But Sadhguru helps me a lot in decoding Shiva. I am obsessed with Shiva and Shakthi. I just can sense that none of Hindu history is fanciful imagination or work of fiction.  In some other plane of time, I believe like any other Hindu, we have had this past. A lie cannot be carried on for 15,000 years to near perfection, only through word of mouth except for last 50-60 years.

Hindus say, in death we blend with the ‘jyothi’ – we become the collective consciousness, we add to the collective conscience- provided we are freed or liberated from the cycle of birth and rebirth (Nirvana). Our Karma decides that. (One step further: we may get to choose our rebirth to correct our previous Karma. Like a project assigned.) A Hindu heaven is this liberation or higher intelligence or conscience. Our prayers always ask, seek this supreme knowledge. There is no way you can compare Hindu Dharma with Christianity or Islam for this reason. The Abrahamics just lost it before they even began. period. Please leave us alone and don’t try to convert Hindus. Hindus are on right path even if most remain unaware.

SHIVA IN CERN, SWITZERLAND This is a mere ‘copy and paste’ job: Shiva and the God Particle.

உலகின் மிகப்பெரிய அணு ஆராய்ச்சி நிறுவனமான CERN நிறுவனத்தின் முன்பு 6 அடி உயரமுள்ள நடராஜர் சிலை வைக்கப்பட்ட தினம் இன்று (2004)

CERN – ஸ்விட்சர்லாந்த் நாட்டில் அமைந்துள்ளது உலகின் மிகப்பெரிய இயற்பியல் ஆராய்ச்சி நிறுவனம். 27கிமீ பரப்பளவில் 100 அடி ஆழத்தில் அமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது . அணுத்துகள்களை ஒன்றையொன்று மோதவிட்டு ஆராய்ச்சி நடத்தப்படுகிறது .கடவுள் துகள்களை (GODS PARTICLES) பற்றின ஆராய்ச்சியும் நடத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. அதுமட்டும் இன்றி பல்வேறுவிதமான இயற்பியல் சம்பந்தப்பட்ட ஆய்வுகளும் இங்கே நடைபெறுகின்றன

கிறித்தவர்கள் அதிகம் வாழும் ஒரு நாட்டில் ஏன் இந்து மத கடவுளின் சிலை வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது என்று தெரியுமா? அதற்கான காரணத்தையும் அவர்களே கூறி உள்ளார்கள்.

“காலத்தால் பதில் சொல்ல முடியாத பல கேள்விகளுக்கான பதில் இந்த சிலையில் அமைந்துள்ளது என்று ” குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளார்கள்

அதாவது அண்டத்தில் உள்ளதே பிண்டத்திலும் உள்ளது என்பதை சொல்லாமல் சொல்கிறார் நடராஜர் .

அவருடைய வலது கையிலிருந்து இடதுகால் வரை உள்ள அமைப்பு Milky way என்று அழைக்கப்பட கூடிய பால்வழி மண்டலத்தை குறிக்கிறது . நடராஜரின் இதயம் அமைந்துள்ள இடத்தில் சூரிய குடும்பமான சோலார் சிஸ்டம் அமைந்துள்ளது .அவரின் இடுப்பை சுற்றி நிற்காமல் ஓடிகொண்டிருக்கும் பாம்பு நேரத்தை குறிக்கிறது. அதுமட்டும் இல்லாமல் அவரை சுற்றியுள்ள நெருப்பு வட்டம் பிரபஞ்சத்தை குறிக்கிறது

அருவமாகவும், உருவமாகவும் ஆகாயமாகவும் காட்சி தர கூடிய ஒரே கடவுள் நடராஜர் தான். சிதம்பரம் நடராஜர் ஆடிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் ஆனந்த தாண்டவம் என்ற கோலம் “cosmic dance” என்று பல வெளிநாட்டு அறிஞர்களால் அழைக்கபடுகின்றது.

அணுவின் அசைவும் நடராஜரின் நடனமும் ஒன்றாக கருதபடுகிறது.

அதனாலேயே “அவனின்றி ஓர் அணுவும் அசையாது” என்று திருமூலர் கூறியுள்ளார்.

1972-ஆம் ஆண்டு, ப்ரிட்ஜாப் காப்ரா என்கிற பிரபல அமெரிக்க அணு விஞ்ஞானி ‘The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu view of matter in the light of Modern Physics’ (சிவனின் நடனம் : நவீன பௌதிகத்தின் பார்வையில் வஸ்துக்களை பற்றிய ஹிந்துக்களின் நோக்கு) என்கிற தலைப்பில் Main currents in Modern Thought என்ற விஞ்ஞான சம்பந்தப்பட்ட பத்திரிகையில், சிவனின் நடனத்துக்கும், உப அணுக்களின் நடனத்துக்கும் உள்ள இணக்கத்தைப் பற்றி முதலில் விவரமாக எழுதினார்.

1975-ஆம் ஆண்டு இந்தக் கட்டுரையை விரிவுபடுத்தி ’The Tao of Physics’ என்ற தலைப்பில் ஒரு புத்தகமாகவும் அவர் எழுதி அது உலகிலேயே அதிகம் விற்ற புத்தங்களில் ஒன்றாக பிரபலமாகியது.

அதில்,. ”எப்படி இந்தியச் சித்தர்கள் படைப்பைப் பிரிக்க முடியாத, எப்போதுமே செயல்பட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கும் ஒரு நடப்பாகப் பார்த்தார்களோ, அப்படியே தான் நவீன பௌதிக விஞ்ஞானமும் பிரபஞ்சத்தைக் காண்கிறது”

”பிறப்பும், இறப்பும் நிற்பதே இல்லை.

அதுபோல், பிரபஞ்சம் என்கிற தத்துவத்தின் அடிப்படையில் அணுக்களின் நடனம், அணுக்களின் பிறப்பினாலும் இறப்பினாலும் நிற்காமல் தொடர்கிறது.

கோடானுகோடி அணுக்கள் வினாடிக்கு வினாடி உருவாகி, மறைவதுதான் பிரபஞ்சத்தின் நடனம் (cosmic dance). அதுவே தான் நடராஜரின் நடனம்” என்கிறார் காப்ரா.

சிதம்பர நடராஜர் கோவிலுக்கு மேலே பறக்கும் செயற்கை கோள்கள் செயலிலந்துவிடுமாம் காரணம் புவியீர்ப்பு மையத்தின் செண்டர் பாயிண்டில் சிதம்பரம் நடராஜர் கோவில் அமைந்துள்ளதாம். அதுமட்டும் அல்லாமல் இந்தியாவில் உள்ள ஐந்து சிவஸ்தலங்களும் ஒரே நேர்கோட்டில் அமைந்துள்ளதாம் எந்தவிதமான அறிவியல் ஆய்வுகளுமற்ற காலகட்டத்தில் எப்படி இது சாத்தியமானது என்பது இன்று வரை புரியாத புதிராக உள்ளது

ஒட்மொத்த அண்டத்தின் குறியீடாக நடராஜர் அமைந்துள்ளார் என்பதை குறிப்பிடவே சுவிட்சர்லாந்தின் ஐரோப்பிய ஆராய்ச்சி கூடத்தில் நடராஜர் சிலை வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

”பரமகுருவாய், அணுவில் அசைவாய்” என்று அருணகிரிநாதர் பாடிய திருப்புகழை நினைத்துப் பாருங்கள்.

தென்னாடுடைய சிவனே போற்றி..!

எந்நாட்டவர்க்கும் இறைவா போற்றி..!

Posted in History-Culture

Savithri Shaming, Besides Others…

So Loyola College has come out with an apology removing the ‘offensive and derogatory’ Art work on display in their premises this morning. The century old Jesuit institution can blame only the relentless missionary activity in the state/nation for drawing flak. Loyola is not above suspicion. Whether there is a hidden agenda is a million dollar question. Let me make that clear at the outset. 

https://swarajyamag.com/insta/chennais-loyola-college-apologises-for-art-exhibition-which-depicted-hindu-symbols-in-derogatory-manner

Recap of an earlier Blog post of mine. With Edits.

***********************************

From the pages of the SHE WORSHIPER HINDU WOMAN…

Not unusual for one to come across this new phrase in our hyper sensitive Social Media these days : SAVITRI SHAMING (Saavithri refering to Satyavaan’s dharm patni Savitri from Hindu Itihaas-Purana times)

This is in reference to women who take to the bottle.

Further detailing may kind of go on like how ‘rural women draped in saris are champions of chastity and character whereas urban Indian women are not averse to gulping down a peg or two (of alcohol what else).’ Urban Indian women lacked morals and are shameless (why limit us to alcohol, we women are not into the wrong side of 40s without watching our share of hard porn, take it from me).

I am not an experienced or routine traveler so there is not much I can draw from my life book in this respect.

But my visit to Italy changed in many ways how I perceived things for years. Conservative but not blind or superstitious – that’s me. Liberal wherever I can afford to be. Restrained at times – not because of religion or law but because of sheer will-power. Nothing can be forced upon me and neither is anything taboo to me. Sab Chaltha Hai! That’s the attitude. Well, of course, some people really have problem with that. I am asking, Padi Thaandadhava Ellam Pathiniyaa?? Nee Paarthiyaa??

Whatever little misgivings or apprehensions or confusions I had got lost when during my first foreign residence in Malaysia I had for neighbours two Chinese couples in the next villa. Who slept in the same room and who swapped partners overnight. Nothing more can shock me now therefore, and the strange encounters I have had and life experiences of half a century have made me different in many ways from most of my regular ‘dharam patni’ (self categorization) relatives and friends back home. Some of my views shock even my best friends. They have not been where I have been, they have not lived my life.

Loyola college Art show brings to my mind this: Have Hindu temples ever been criticized for their more explicit stone carvings on sex? Sanathana Dharma (Hinduism) is not an organized religion like Christianity or Islam or even Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. We have no founders, no holy book like the Bible or Koran, no Vatican or Mecca, no Pope or Imam who have set boundaries for us. No prescribed code of conduct. May be this is why Hindu Dharma has survived centuries of onslaught by alien cultures and invaders. I also had a chance to glance at the ancient Roman temples which had all been converted into Catholic places of worship in Italy. There is no more trace of the original faith of the land. The surviving few crumbling precincts are the only reminders to what Romans were before Catholicity took over.

Hindu Jain carvings at world famous tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage site the Khajuraho temples. These carvings depict men,women, gods and goddesses and Devas (angel like) in various positions of sexual union.
Erotic Vishwanath temple scultures at Khajuraho, India


The case of most Asian and European nations is poignant. They were all swept over by either Islam or Christianity, whichever reached their shores first or whichever fought successfully the other. Hinduism on the other hand was not to be vanquished from the soil of Bharatha. We are Bharath and hopefully we shall stay Bharatha to eternity.

Hinduism’s chief characteristic is its inherent ability to grow in the face of adversity, drawing in the positive influences in due course. However there have also been a few negative implications. Whereas you can be an atheist, you can still be Hindu, an idolator, you can still be a Hindu, a non-idolator, you can still be a Hindu, a meat-eater and you can still be a hindu, a vegetarian and you can still be a hindu, a ritualist and you can still be a Hindu,  and etc., and etc., Hinduism however did have a damaging impact by way of crippling practices borrowed or copied from practitioners of foreign faiths that confine women, subjugate women to a lower position than men and other corrupt ideas.

The millennia ancient Hindu temple sculptures reflect to us today what a liberal society India once was. After all this is the land of ‘Kama Sutra.’ The world’s first ever Sex manual was penned in India by Vatsayana two millennia past. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kama_Sutra

Homosexuality finds mention in ‘Mahabharat.’ ‘Soma bana’ (liquor) was the drink of celebration that even Gods could not resist. Shiva smoked chillum (Marijuana). But that did not prevent Him from being revered the Creator and Destroyer that He is of the universe. Neither has that stopped us Hindus from following Him. Shiva resided in the cremation grounds. Shiva’s extreme followers the Aghoris feed to this day on corpses – the dead human bodies in burial sites. Average Hindus do not shy of Aghoris who we regard as pantheons of the highest degree of spirituality and detachment and devotion: the true state of Nirvana.

A wonderful read on Homosexuality in Mahabharatha: http://devdutt.com/articles/mahabharata/on-krishnas-chariot-stands-shikhandi.html?fb_action_ids=778475405502878&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=feed_opengraph&action_object_map=%7B%22778475405502878%22%3A10150812094478251%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22778475405502878%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

Relieved that Hindu vigilantism was not there in ancient India. Had it been, neither would we have Kamasutra today nor Khajuraho. An Aurangzeb or Tipu Sultan wouldn’t have become our favourite (anti) heroes! Our self-appointed custodians of Hindu Dharma would have seen to that! Shame on to you the so-called literates of India! All your education has come to a naught! 

Today’s India’s backwardness can be explained with curtailment of our liberal creative ideas and a corroded outdated value system, and superficial imposition of caste divisions in the intermittent centuries (may be from 7th century CE to somewhat present day). Dominant sections of Hindus have been in the forefront promoting such a skewed and biased ideology and society that has rendered India the most damage. Europe soon woke up to rationality and there seems to be no looking back since.

Books like Da Vinci Code etc and those fictions I had read over decades did instill in me a strong sense of curiosity about what I was to witness in Vatican and Florence and Paris (although after a considerable lapse of time). I had indeed done but a mild and insignificant research before embarking on the trip. Yet nothing prepared me for the sense of awakening, rekindling and liberation and euphoria I felt walking through the galleries where centuries of indescribable creativity adorned their walls by way of oil paintings and tapestries and frescos that brought to life the uncountable facets of life and times in the middle-ages, as well as the rebel and cunning ways the wisest men devised to leave a piece of their mind for future generations to ponder over. It was for me, like walking through a time-machine. I literally transgressed into medieval age where men wore long robes (or none) and women strolled bare breasted and where in the chaos of the streets and war scapes, an arrow or sword piercing one’s chest was not as uncommon. Thank you Renaissance artists for the greatest gift. You gave life to my vivid imaginations. While I have found our Hindu temple sculptures enchanting, they were still mystical sort of. What I saw in the European museums was life frothing at full stream.

Michelangelo. I adored this genius for the rebel he was over his art. Taking a guide is advisable in Vatican. He can shed light into facts that you may otherwise overlook. Before Vatican I had already had an entralling visual treat of genitals of the French, the Roman, the Greek and others (from other galleries and museums only!) but nothing prepared me for what awaited me in the Catholic capital of the world.

The Sistine chapel was not to be photographed but many violated the rule clicking away their phones and cams clandestinely . I did not click pictures which I thought I could anyway google.

Here are some of Michelangelo’s mischiefs in the wall-to-wall frescos that I loved.  To borrow words from a critic, the Renaissance artists were the greatest trolls of all times. This at a time when an astronomer like Galileo could be guillotined for blasphemy (asserting that it was the Earth that revolved around the sun and not vice versa).

The six pack God in Creation
God’s exposed naked bums
The sissy priest Biagio Da Cesena with his crotch in snake’s jaw in Hell on the Day of Judgement
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican
The Renaissance Artists were the greatest trolls of all times!

To say that I was overcome with awe in Vatican could be the understatement of my lifetime. My admiration for the man was galloping in leaps and bounds by the minute that it hit soon the ceiling of the hundreds of years old chapel wherefrom the artist’s immortal life works caressed my eyes and soul at the same time. His damnation at hell of a priest (Biagio Da Cesena) who wanted to cover up the genitals (by way of boxers (?!)) (that the papal office successfully managed to in certain works of renaissance artists as we noticed in some cases) who was Michelangelo’s worst critic, with his crotch in the jaws of a snake was not nearly as shocking as looking at God’s bums after the rebel painted Him in six-packs because he reasoned, for a mortal man to be perfect when he knocked on the doors of the other world, the immortal God has to be perfect in the first place to receive him !

May be for seasoned travelers and voracious readers, this is stale news. Not for me. These details I never knew of, although I have read about renaissance artists. I skim, to be precise. Reading is for real intellectuals not for housewives like me. My knowledge of others’ scriptures (in this case the Bible) is also pathetic.

The rebel in the renaissance artists in an age when death stared from every corner of the street eager for any slight, their reckless courage and creativity – this is what impressed me the most.

Even in the holiest of holy shrines of Catholics, the excesses (?) were tolerated as a form of expression and art. In fact they were viewed as something aesthetic, the same way hindu kings imagined when they commissioned our temples.

History has recorded the bloody Crusades and to what extent Church unleashed brutality and exercised unrestrained powers matching that of emperors in the agonizing centuries.

But such a powerful tyranny hardly prevented the creative geniuses from expressing what they wanted to by way of sculptures, paintings, frescos and tapestries which have all survived the tumults and jolts of a war-torn era to present times to bring to  life in front of our eyes, proofs of rebellion and non-conformity and liberation of  mankind.

How many Hindus can deny what Hindu temple sculptures depict. Are you ashamed to look at them because our Gods are copulating in public. Do you denounce our temples because they are explicitly erotic carvings.

What happened to the spirit of Hinduism?

In the intervening centuries, Arabic/Persian/Mongol/Turk/European invaders had managed to wrap the ‘Sari pallu’ over the head of Hindu women (at least partially). South Indian Hindu women used to cover their heads with sari pallu only when widowed  (no more now). (some Hindu women do cover their heads when driving scooters with the dupatta serves as sun-screen. Very common sight in Indian roads these days). Right Wingers, you have anything to say on this.

If I am a vegetarian today, it is by choice. I recommend vegetarianism to anyone and everyone but would not want to force it down the throat of any one. I am spiritual, I follow the rituals that I am comfortable with, but I have still raised a son who, I can proudly say, claims to be agnostic. Logical, reasoning, scientific. Being rational is not a crime.

Covering up will not cover up your ‘karma’ and smoking or boozing or even prostituting has got nothing to do with one’s character or integrity. Smoking or Boozing or Eating Meat or Prostituting is still better than lying, cheating, betraying, judging people. Even lacking affection is a crime. Shirking responsibilities is the worst of all. Shifting blame no better. Dashing hopes? Get offended for right reasons. Know the difference.

I was reading a Karma story that went on like this:

A king was feeding the poor. An impoverished brahmin was in the queue to receive his thali from the king. A vulture was flying over the place then with a viper in its talons. A drop of the viper’s venom fell in the food from a height of over a hundred meters. It was a miniscule dose but enough to kill the brahmin who was relishing it in total trust in the cool shade of a tree.

A few days later, a traveler was visiting the kingdom. He noticed an old woman selling her wares in front of the king’s palace. The traveler was tired and asked the old woman whether he would receive charity of food if he knocked on the Raja’s doors.

The woman said, ‘don’t. because the king gave food to a poor brahmin. on eating it the man died. the king poisoned and killed the brahmin. so he could kill you.’

The traveler turned away from the palace gates on hearing the story, hungry to his bones.

Later, in (Hindu) hell (we also have heaven and hell, mind you!), Yama Raja was seated on his thrown when Chitra Gupta brought up the matter of deciding the Karma of this incidence.

‘Who should get the bad karma, my lord?’ Chitra Gupta asked Yama. ‘Because a man, that too a brahmin has been killed. This man did not meet his natural death. So the bad karma in this context needs to be accounted. The snake’s venom killed it. But the snake was carried by the vulture who had no intention of killing the man just like the raja. But if not for the king’s food, the brahmin would not have died. So should I apportion negative Karma to all the three parties – the snake, the vulture and the king?’

Yama Raj took a minute to ponder over his question. Then he addressed Chitra Gupta, ‘the king, the viper and the vulture are all parties to the bad karma that killed the brahmin but inadvertently, so are they all not innocent parties?’

‘But bad karma is bad karma, my lord, and the karma has to be accounted, as you know’ said Chitra Gupta, ‘this is the law of nature!’

And Yama Raj declared, ‘in that case add the bad karma to the old woman who gossiped not knowing facts, for lying,  for misconstruing facts and for misleading deliberately. Her involvement may not matter but in this case she must carry the unaccountable bad karma of the unnatural death!’

Chitra Gupta hailed Yama Raj’s ruling. The king of Death never made a mistake. Day of Judgement may be for Catholics but dear self-made Hindu vigilantes, this is what Hindu Philosophy is about. This is Hindu Dharma. This is Hindu Karma. I am not sure where I found this gem. Panchatantra?

Hinduism is the least judgmental fold in the entire world. There is no yardstick by which you can define the Sanathana Dharma.

Guys, keep your dharam patnis within four walls if you want to. But remember we have also had a Panchali in our history. Cross out your new lingo ‘Savithri Shaming.’ Shame on you. As Indian women make remarkable strides in the world arena, the prejudices against them ceaselessly persist. I am the woman who sports a bindhi and I am still the woman who has no qualms about raising a toast with my friend with – vodka or cognac even though I am vegetarian from birth. I am the woman who is Lalitha worshiper, I am the woman who celebrates ‘Her’ over ‘Him’ and I am also the woman who will brook no nonsense over branding or judging women. Cheers to that !

It is those societies who rise above a petty and narrow mind-set that finally succeed and excel.

America does, Europe does, China does because they are not advocating the diktats of a God who none of us have ever met with in heavens and come back from, to share our experiences.

If you are going to confine Hinduism to cows and sari pallus, getting offended for anything and everything and nothing, none can do more harm to the Dharmic fold than you. Give creativity the space it deserves. Hindu Dharma is so vast and diverse, a way of life like none other, that you don’t have to react to every Tom, Dick and Harry who may malign (intentionally or otherwise) the faith. Hinduism is all absorbing like the very Ganga that your sense of insecurity is unwarranted. After all this, I cannot suppress my rising jubilation that someone dares.

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PS: In Middle East, I am seeing a lot of rebel art from the war torn hell holes. I am in Loyola College position right now! Considering where I am, I cannot go forward and post pictures here! Art is representative. Art I understand is a subtle medium to convey a message. Art reveals the pain, the ache, the yearning, the craving and even the absence of soul. Art confronts the demons. Art speaks the unspoken word. Art is bold and Art can open your eyes. Art for Art’s sake please! The art that moved me to tears was from Iraq. At that time, I ceased to be a Thamizh, a Hindu, an Indian. I became Humanity.

Posted in Food For Soul

The All Pervading Isha…

No copyright violation intended. This was playing when I had a darshan of Linga Bhairavi as ardent Shiva devotees performed ‘shaashtaang namaskaaram’ (prostrations) to the deity of Union of Mother and Father – the Bhairavi Lingam. Cannot shake it off my system now…

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Didn’t really think much about Isha (Yoga) all these days or years. Decades back, the Isha Yogi Shri. Jaggi Vasudev (popularly referred to as ‘Sadhguru’) was writing a column in the Tamil weekly ‘Kumudam’ (or was it ‘Ananda Vikatan’) He wrote under the title ‘Aththanaikkum Aasai Padu’ (desire everything and anything). I regret missing reading it then deliberately. First of all the Isha Guru was not as popular then as he is now (though he had started making waves). Secondly, his grey beard and unconventional looks didn’t convince me that he was serious about what he preached. His sermon was casual style where he argued, one can be spiritual and materialistic at the same time. The same way, I have also missed the Tamil author Balakumaran. Now I learn of his genius.

Over time, Isha Yoga have spread their wings covering territories. They have planted thousands of trees and they employ rural artisans who they teach and train in various vocations. Foreigners wholeheartedly take ‘Dhiksha’ – the vow here, to become Yogis detaching themselves from material life. Not to be outdone are young and eager and highly accomplished Indian youth who give up every single pleasure conceivable in mortal life to become part of Isha Yoga. Isha, like any prospering institution or ideology, earned its fair share of critics. There were allegations that youth were getting brainwashed. My friends who have been at the center for Yoga training and meditation have always refuted this. The peace and the quiet (?!) and the Yogic nature allure some lost (or otherwise) souls to ascetic way of life for reasons known only to them. How can you mesmerize Americans and Australians and Germans and French all at the same time along with young Indian men and women.

Taking a rubber tube-tyred bullock cart ride, I struck up a conversation with an Australian couple in their fifties who said they were regulars in this part of the country every year. They seemed comfortable in Indian clothes and with Indian food and culture. Yoga and meditation lured them to India.

A mix of nationalities were meditating in varied locations in absolute silence through out the bustling center (which could be bordering on commercialization, but prevented from going that way evidently with great care). Under the trees. In the coves around Dhyana Linga, in the Chandrakund (women’s bath descending down broad stairs, with Mercury Linga at the center), in the Suryakund (stairwelled men’s bath with Mercury Lingam), lost to the outer world, existing in a transcendental hemisphere perhaps. Moving sight. Such a self-discipline is derivable only with an ‘inner calling’.  Mind control is the key, for living a hermit’s life is no cake walk. There can be no hypnosis or black magic involved here. Indian youth have left their promising careers and family wealth behind seeking the ‘truth’.

Unlike Abrahamic fold, Hindu Dharma does not believe in conversion. We have no Vatican/Mecca or Bible/Koran. Hinduism or Sanathana Dharma is Free Will. Gurus preach in India foremost that attracts many foreigners. The Beatles and why even Steve Jobs have been to India on their spiritual journey. Once you skim the poverty and deterioration over centuries, you may find what you have been searching for – as these men have done.

Gurus get popular once popular personalities and celebrities start following them. Fake Gurus exist undeniably. Gurus travel overseas because their international followers want them to. With no force or brainwashing or coercion or bribing, some seekers turn to Hindu Dharma for salvation (Nirvana in Sanskrit).

Shiva, the ultimate. When Shiva is here, why do we need a Jesus.

Do Hindu Gurus champion conversion campaigns? Malign others?

What still brings many around the world to Hindu Dharma and Buddhism on their own volition.

Isha Yoga Center to me seems one such an epicenter that draws followers from every corner of the globe. Its impact on native Hindus is remarkable. It is a coincidence that the resurgence of the Hindu Conscience has to happen at the same time. I have not much listened to Sadhguru’s lectures, but he comes across as a practical guru from what little I have gathered. I have followed him once online on his Kailash Manasarovar pilgrimage across Indo-China border in the Himalayas.  (Historically these regions belonged with India but China claimed them using aggression). Marvelous.

I do listen to Isha devotional in You Tube always. Nirvana Shatakam to others. Never miss their webcast of Shivrathri celebrations every February. Even Gurus have to evolve with changing times! I don’t find anything wrong with the Dancing Guru. The mysteries surrounding his personal life are immaterial to me. ‘Nadhi moolam, Rishi moolam’ – ignore! Wise counsel of our ancestors.

Isha Yoga center however has been in the eye of controversy for one more reason: for coming up in the Elephant corridor – in the elephant country where the elephants would climb down from the Nilgiris (the Blue Mountains (whose queen is the hill station Ooty), cross the valley and head to Kerala or wherever. I realized this immediately on setting my foot at Isha. It is impossible to miss. Despite all, my heart ached. ‘Isha is the elephant, is it not? Or rather the elephant is Isha?’ I asked aloud no one in particular. Why should it have to be here. Thousands of tree plantations seemed poor deal to me.

Shirking the painful thoughts, I focused on the huge monolith in front of me. The smiling Shiva in polished granite, with His chin tilted up, with His eyes half closed as if in trance, with the moon in His braids, with the snake around His neck. I clicked as many pictures of Him in all angles possible but nothing could capture Him in entirety I know. I made Him my screensaver with immediate effect. Ever since, I cannot put Him out of my mind. The profound impression He has made in my heart will be there forever in my life. The rugged tribal who descended from the Tibetan Himalaya is our Father. The Adi Yogi, the first Yogi in world history who gave India/Hindus the Yoga. Yoga is now universal gift. A gift that can never be matched or compared with any other. A gift like none other. The Adiyogi who dwelt in the cremation grounds, smeared in ash, anointing Himself with ash. A sect of His followers the  nude ‘Aghoris’ even today feed on corpses and live life the way He did in cremation/burial sites. Never feeding on another life. Even vegetarians feed on living and breathing trees and plants destroying future offsprings before they are born.

Today happens to be Aarudhra when we celebrate the Dancing form of Lord Shiva – the Nataraja. Shiva’s cosmic dance has stopped the world scientists in their tracks that they have Him installed at CERNE, Switzerland.  None has made the connection yet, but the scientific community now suspects of one between Lord Shiva and the creation of Earth. The You Tube is full of stories claiming Shiva is the extraterrestrial who brought life to our planet.  To average Hindu, nothing matters. Shiva is our forefather. Father. Shakthi, our Mother.

I have had darshan of Lord Shiva (in the form of Shiva Linga) in hundreds of temples in India and abroad. Lately, in Bali – in caves. Thousands of years of Shiva worship preceded Christianity or Islam. In Isha Yoga, I didn’t find my spirituality rekindled. To me, it was more cosmetic. May be it appealed to others, but not to me. However, the Adiyogi in my mind lingers day and night, refusing to go away.

I forgot the elephant corridor. Hopefully the Indian elephant herds will find a way around. Shiva will find one. The center has refused via legal channels that the Yoga ashram has cut across elephant country. Hopefully this is true. Even if not, the Adiyogi has made it worthwhile.

If anyone is hypnotized or mesmerized or brainwashed, the only one doing it to him/her could be Adiyogi Himself. A lone Mumbai backpacker clicked some pictures for me. In his 30s, he couldn’t pull himself away from Adiyogi. Must be climbing up the corporate ladder – from what I could size up of him.

Shiva will be there for India to eternity. This is His home. He will take care, I breathed in peace.

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PS: Wanted to include my friends’ opinion on Isha. They allege that the Christian ‘Karunya’ group of institutions have amassed landed estates (that were primarily agricultural and forest areas) in and around Coimbatore by whatever means but media make no mention of the same. Isha cornered as they are Hindu.

Spending a night in a Siruvani resort, taking a walk along the edges of forest reserve areas bordering cultivated farms and banana plantations, I couldn’t help noticing dried elephant dung heaps that were only two days old. The agricultural lands and estates were off limits to elephant herds, surrounded by electrified fences. Images of India’s wild elephants getting electrocuted, denied their passage flashed in my mind.  Man-elephant conflicts are increasingly getting frequent, with bulls raiding villages and barns, routing, trampling over plantations. Troubling images. I knew I was walking down the elephant corridor in elephant country and anytime I could come face to face with a wild tusker. Strangely for a very first time ever, I feared for the life of the gentle giant over mine.