Sunday, November 2, 2014

Materialism vs Spirituality : Are they really at odds with one another ??

Just a thought..... When man becomes material first and then acquires spirituality then normal life comes to an end, but, when the reverse happens, in that he becomes spiritual first, and then enters the material plane of existence he is able to live life to the fullest and wins effortlessly at this game of life as he knows the logic behind the game  Lord Krishna and the Royal Sage Janaka were indeed examples for this ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sarvam Shivamayam

This succinct aphorism enshrines in it a truth too overwhelming and yet obviously simple. All around us we are able to see the statement in action and we bear testimony to its veracity day in and day out. The world around us with its amazing and mind boggling array of spectacular lifeforms ebbing with energy and the flabbergasting universe with its luminous stellar residents continues to affirm this fundamental truth of life. The Vedas, the upanishads, the puranas and all other holy granthas strive to highlight this eternal truth to people shrouded by the darkness of ignorance and deluded by the iron clad grip of Maya.The 'Prasthana Traya' or spiritual trinity which form the cornerstone of Hindu religion and philosophy make an effort to enable its readers and genuine knowledge seekers to understand and comprehend this truth and thereby become empowered. 

This simple yet puissant truth has profound implications on our thought process and our view of life. The realisation of this truth is the culmination of many eons of relentless quests and restless journeys targeted towards unearthing the truth, the substratum of the entire Universe made up of name,form and action. To understand that the supreme being is the source of everything and in short can be defined as that from which we emerge, that by which we are sustained and that towards which we all proceed in the end is the underlying motif of these scriptures. Like many fundamentally powerful statements, as the popular expression goes, 'merely enunciating it will not bring it into force', for it is a truth to be experienced and a never ending delight to be revelled in. 

The ethereal spiritual grantha known as 'Tripura Rahasya' puts this in perspective for its readers. The plethora of diverse objects both living and non living that we are able to behold around us is nothing but an image in the consciousness of the divine. The fleeting transitory images beheld on the lustrous surface of a mirror are akin to the things found in this universe. It is not the image that is permanent but the reflecting surface that is ever-existent. With the human intellect being obfuscated by fabricated and unreal material constructs, the bright effulgence of the divine consciousness inhering within all of us in the form of prakasha cannot be discerned. So the simple solution to this problem would be to stop focussing on the fleeting images and start directing our attention to the surface on which they are seen. By mitigating the monstrous thought waves that have engulfed the human mind blinding its vision one can behold the startling and dazzling brilliance of the atman that shines forth within every one of us. By removing the unending superimpositions of various fictitious psychological constructs such as the notion of 'my body', 'my mind' , 'my relatives' and so on one will truly become empowered to see the supreme divinity in all beings great and small and the looming threat of material tensions will fade away to testify their evanescent nature. 

But is this as simple a task as it may sound?What are the different ways of doing it? What is the difference between people who are constantly engaged in their karma and people who renounce earthly activities and retire to quieter places to reflect on the self? Are moksha and karma mutually exclusive? What are the ways of attaining the elusive goal of moksha, the ultimate emancipation, freedom from the ceaseless and vicious cycle of birth and death?
Let us embark on a journey together to explore the tenets of Vedanta and understand the true meaning of these timeless aphorisms that serve as the beacon light of hope in these troubled times. Let us combat the hedonistic forces that plague this earth and surmount materialism and transcend the rudimentary. With the grace of that three eyed and all knowing being Maha Shambhunatha, the lord of the Universe,  I hope that this journey would help us unravel several mysteries of life and finally savour the boundless grace and infinite compassion of Parameshwara.

सर्वं खलु इदं एवाहं , नान्यदस्ति सनातनं ॥ 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chronicles of Sri Durga continued..

Within a short span of time Mahishasura managed to bring the whole world under his control. All living beings were made subservient to his authority. He began to receive a lion's share of the oblations from Yagyas performed by the Brahmins. He appointed Chiksura as his Commander-in-Chief. Tamra was appointed to be in charge of the Royal Treasury. Mahishasura was also supported by a host of other daityas.  He sent a message through his emissary bidding Indra to bow down to his supremacy or face him in combat. Indra was infuriated by his conceit and sent the messenger back with a harsh reply. Hearing Indra's reply, Mahishasura was enraged. Bellowing with fury he decided to launch an all out attack on the Heavens. In the heavens, Indra called an assembly and discussed the issue at hand with Surya, Agni, Yama, Kubera, Varuna and other Devas. They came to a consensus that a spy had to be sent to ascertain the strength of the enemy by infiltrating the opponent's ranks. A spy was thus appointed to do the job and upon his return the Devas were able to estimate the military might of their adversary. Indra then sought the private audience of the Deva Guru, Brihaspati. When he sought his counsel, Brihaspati offered him advice pregnant with wisdom and reason. He instructed Indra about the supremacy of Daiva(fate). He reminded him that even the trinity are subjected to the vicissitudes to Fate. He however guided him that though one must always keep this thought in mind, it only befits the wise to perform their duty to the best of their capability, regardless of the outcome. Brihaspati then chanted mantras to enhance the chances of victory for the Devas. Indra however was quite rattled by Brihaspati's words and decided to solicit Brahma's advice on the matter. Indra was then assured of the Trinity's support in the war. Submerged by the bedlam of cymbals, drums, war cries and trumpets the two armies confronted each other. Rudra riding his bull, Vishnu seated on Garuda, Brahma on his swan, Indra on Airvata, Yama on his Buffalo along with Kubera, Varuna, Surya Agni and  the others seated on their respective vahanas confronted the terrible Mahishasura who was accompanied by a host of other powerful demons like Tamra, Chiksura, Asiloma, Vidala and so on. The sky was obfuscated by the shower of weapons like Khadgas, Shoolas, Swords, Arrows, Parighas and so on.

The mighty Chiksura, filled with demonic rage launched a deadly assault on Indra. Indra cut off all his arrows and severely wounded Chiksura by his Ardhachandra arrow. The powerful Vidala then launched an all out attack on Indra. Indra cut of all of his opponent's arrows with arrows charged with serpentine energy and then struck his elephant with his mace. As his elephant fled in terror, Vidala came back on his chariot. Indra was then assailed by Vidala's deadly volley of weapons. With his chariot being driven by Jayanta, Vasava then fiercely attacked the asura. Finally five well aimed arrows of Jayanta knocked the demon into unconsciousness.  The loud acclamations of victory on the Deva's side kindled the demon Mahisha's wrath. He ordered Tamra to attack. He faced Yama with his staff and Varuna carrying his noose. Yama struck Tamra violently with his staff. Despite the strong blow, Tamra stood firm and shot an array of deadly arrows at the Deva Sena. The devas too showered arrows at him in retaliation. Heavily wounded by the encounter Tamra too was defeated. The irate Mahisha charged at the Deva Sena with his mace hurtling violently through the air. Indra then met him in combat and incinerated his weapon using his thuderbolt(Vajra Ayudha).

Mahishasura, the master of Wizardry, conjured up an illusion known as Samvari Maya. In an instant thousands of Mahishasuras appeared. This act of the asura was received differently by different people. The Munis were amazed at his prowess and capability. The Devas were rooted in fear. The supreme Lord of the Universe Mahashambhu, the all knowing and all powerful one, however was pleased by Mahsishasura's mettle. Vishnu destroyed the illusion with his Sudarshana Chakra. As the Trinity appeared on the battle field, Ugrâsya, Ugravîrya, Asilomâ, Trinetra, Vâskala, Andhaka and other warriors came up to fight.
The demon Andhaka ran upto Maha Vishnu and shot five deadly arrows at the Preserver of the Universe. Vishnu then cut off these arrows and a violent conflict ensued between the two of them causing horripilation to the onlookers. They attacked each other with various weapons and arrows, swords, discus, Musala, clubs, S’akti, and Paras'u.Thus severe fights ensued between Vâskala and Indra,Mahisa and Rudra, Trinetra and Yama, Mahâ Hanu and Kuvera, Asilomâ and Varuna.
Andhaka then injured Garuda by striking him with his weapon. After a fierce duel Maha Vishnu then struck Andhaka with the Kaumodaki Gadha and made the demon unconcious. Seeing Andhaka defeated, Mahisha bellowed with rage and appeared before Vishnu. Vishnu then made a thundering sound with his Panchajanya that instilled fear in the hearts of the asuras. At the end of a fierce confrontation with Mahisha, the asura hurled his Parigha at Vishnu and injured him. Thereupon Mahisha was engaged in battle by Rudra who pierced the demon with his sharp trident. At this, the fiend struck Rudra back with enormous force. Keshava then rejoined the battle. The buffalo like Mahisha cast mountains at Maheswara and Mahavishnu. Finally Maha Vishnu struck the demon with his Sudarshana Chakra that rendered Mahisha temporarily unconscious.

The demon then abandoned his buffalo form and assumed the form of a lion. He then charged at Garuda and scratched him and Vishnu with his sharp claws. Then assuming the form of the buffalo he struck Vishnu violently with his two horns. Garuda then carried the heavily injured Vishnu to Vaikuntha. Seeing Vishnu leave and realizing that nothing could be accomplished by prolonging the battle Rudra and Brahma too left for their respective abodes. The devas however stood their ground. Surya, Yama, Kubera, Varuna, Indra and Agni, all fought with the Asuras to the best of their abilities. Mahishasura however was crushing their army with utmost ease. Trampling many Devas to death, piercing some other with his razor sharp horns and lashing at others violently with his tail, the violent beast in the midst of the dead bodies and macabre resembled Death itself. Accepting defeat the Devas fled the scene leaving behind Ucchaisravas, Airavata and Surya's divine cow.
Having emerged victorious, the Danavas proceeded to the heavens and Mahisha captured the coveted throne of Devendra. With the Devas banished from the heavens and the Trinity defeated it seemed that the side of Good had lost the battle. The grotesque head of the Mephistopheles was glaring down upon the three realms with everything held tightly in its firm and deadly grasp. In this hour of despondency when Darkness had triumphed and anarchy had taken the reigns, the world sank into oblivion. But all was not over yet....

इत्थं यदा यदा बाधा दानवोत्था भविष्यति ॥५४॥
तदा तदाऽवतीर्याहं करिष्याम्यरिसंक्षयम् ॥ॐ॥५५॥

( Whenever malevolence takes shape in the form of a fiend/demon and ravages people's happiness then I shall appear on the scene to relieve the innocent of their suffering by vanquishing these nefarious foes)