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What death said to Nachiketa – 2


Nachiketa

  • Heaven and hell represent essentially certain mental conditions which are in their turn determined by our thoughts and actions.
  • The things that are the members of time and space, are impermanent and perishable always. Anything that is subject to change, is within time and space. Anything that is subject to change, belongs to the realm of nescience.
  • Death does not mean ‘destruction’, but it simply means change. Our mental or thought form is equally subject to change, as our physical gross body.
  • It the student’s heart, soul and intellect are not purified, the master’s efforts will not produce the required result. A student after Truth does not care for sense pleasures, for name and fame, for objects of ambition.
  • The extreme longing which makes the seeker after Truth well-qualified to receive instruction and to realize the immortal life, is very rare to obtain. That longing must rise spontaneously from the bottom of our souls. Unless all our earthly desires are satisfied, we cannot have that longing.
  • We must rise above all thoughts and all works, which are non-eternal and impermanent. You must practice Yoga, practice concentration, meditation, and must enter into Samadhi, and there you must come face to face with that which is eternal and immortal.
  • To find the absolute Being, we must go through the layers of our thoughts, desires, ideas and mental conditions, and then enter into the innermost chamber of our own self. There we shall find the domain of the Absolute, which gives foundation to our consciousness, existence and intelligence.
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What death said to Nachiketa – 1


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  • If we have a special desire for a certain kind of pleasure on this earth, we may get it, but we may not be satisfied. That unsatisfied desire clings to us even after death, and we continue to desire the same thing, and crave the same kind of pleasure even after death. That desire will take us wherever it can be fulfilled.
  • A finite cause must produce a finite result. An eternal effect is only possible when the cause is eternal and not otherwise. There is no thought or work which is unlimited by time and space, consequently its result, however great it may be, must be finite or limited by space and time.
  • Divine wisdom is that which teaches you that even your body is not yours, as you will have to leave that behind. What will go with you is your character or nature.
  • Everything that can be perceived by the senses, lasts only for a short time, and even life is subject to decay and death.
  • Spiritual pursuit is a serious undertaking. Mere curiosity is not enough in that path. What one requires, is deep loyalty to the ideal.
  • We forget that we stand almost on the brink of death. But if we remember that life is fast fleeting, then we seek the highest, we realize that which is permanent and brings us eternal life and knowledge of our own selves or beings.
  • It is a common experience that a prolonged pleasure brings monotony, and is tyrannically painful in the long run. Pleasure to be pleasure must be necessarily fleeting.
  • Blows of fortune often brings out in reaction a wonderful awakening of the soul. Misfortune is in very many instances a great teacher of mankind.
  • Death means change of our physical conditions, and not annihilation of our self. Death does not mean destruction or absolute annihilation, but the transformation of our life into its elemental conditions.
  • Ignorant persons do not understand the true nature of the hereafter, but, on the contrary, the wise alone grasp the mystery of self, and transcend the realm of death.

Word of the Guru


Guruvakya as it is called in Sanskrit, the word of a Guru or a spiritual teacher holds utmost value in Indian traditions. It is said that a Guru, one who dispels the darkness called ignorance and guides the seeker to an understanding of brightness or pure knowledge is rare to find and when one find a Guru, it is said to be a seeker’s path to self-realization. Owing to great fortune one finds a Guru in this life. The understanding of the self is possible solely by the grace of a Guru. The techniques and practices to reach spiritual goals are taught to a sincere disciple who has passion to ascend on the path of self-realization by the Guru. No great person ever denied the existence of a Guru in one’s life.

Sampradaya is a term often used when speaking about a Guru- it is used to describe a tradition that has been passed on in an excellent manner to the next generation of sincere seekers. Sampradayas benefit seekers to connect with different teaching styles and paths towards the same end goal in mind. In some Sampradayas, the divine universal mother is shown as a Guru or the silent Dakshinamurthy is shown as a Guru. In some other Sampradayas, the avadhoota Dattatreya, who appeared as the son of divine couple Sage Atri and Anasuya is shown as the Guru. Several Gurus have taken birth as a blessing in this divine Universe and have, out of their boundless love for the welfare of all beings, given several teachings to uplift mankind from ignorance that arises due to an identification with the body. The teachings of a Guru or Gurubodha are in an accessible, approachable form to the beginner-seeker whose state of maturity in spiritual sciences is not as strong as the Guru’s. For the more advanced seekers, Gurubodha occurs at a advanced stage. The seeker must always plan to advance one’s spiritual progress by means of continuous improvement and inquiry. Sadhana is used to describe the practice of techniques a Guru gives to the sincere seeker.

Another word we hear often in relation to a Guru is Gurukripa or the grace of a Guru. It is said, to obtain Gurukripa is very difficult and only a humble, sincere seeker who meditates upon the lotus feet of a Guru and treats the Guru with utmost respect is able to experience it. In the modern times, we have seen instances where a person who has immense wealth is not able to enjoy its benefits owing to poor health or poor state of mind. One of the reasons for such an occurrence is the disbelief in the Guruvakya or even shunning a Guru or Guruvakya. It is said that a Guru can save a person from the wrath of God, but someone who has the wrath of a Guru, God too cannot protect. Such is the importance given to a Guru in a seeker’s life. The meditation upon the Guru must be inculcated by every sincere seeker and a Guru must always be treated with utmost reverence. On the occasion of Vyasa Purnima we bow to Guru Vedavyasa who is responsible for the abundant spiritual literature, due to which the world survives. Guru is the creative force, preserving force and the force of dissolution who guides sincere seekers towards the goal, whether present in a bodily form or not. Always remember to be grateful for the Gurus you have in life.

Sri-Adi-Shankara

As Adi Sankara rightly says in his Guru ashtakam, the eight stanza hymn describing the importance of centering one’s mind upon the lotus feet of a Guru,

“I am honoured in other lands and I am prosperous in my homeland; in the paths of righteous conduct there is none who surpasses me”, thus one may think; yet if one’s mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?”

The complete translation of the 8 stanzas in the Guru ashtakam is found here: http://www.rkmdelhi.org/videos/guru-ashtakam-of-adi-shankaracharya/

Listen to the Sanskrit recitation in the link which always bring solace to the mind.

May you all have Gurukripa.

Cycling Day n – Some thoughts


Cycling nThis is where man meets nature. The first meeting is always filled with electricity so we had the opportunity to experience the buzz electric of fireflies. Stumbling upon treasures is not easy. But, when man’s made aware of their existence, he experiences the feeling of ‘most alive’ in his encounters with such natural utopia.

Man can only go so far as his tools take him? No, they have never been his limitation. He has conquered and controlled nature but he sure knows there’s not enough he can do in his lifetime to hollow the deepest secrets in the box. When he realizes the box is inside him, he will stop wandering!

How the oPhone can cure hunger?


Yes, it’s true, it could happen. Smelling a delicious piece of food is as good as having it! If you don’t agree, ask Jimmy Johns which is all for “Free Smells”! There’s a power in our sense of smell, in fact, when I was in schoolschool (grade 10), a few scientists even won the Nobel Prize for discovering the mechanism or process by which olfactory sensors in our nose work. 

oPhone according to me is a great innovation and it’s not surprising as it comes from the world famous Wyss Institute scientists. Now you can send ‘smelly’ messages to your near and dear. Sounds gross, but believe me, you will be able to, if you read this article- http://www.wired.com/design/2014/01/send-scents-texts-new-phone/?cid=17205604.

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On the other hand, I wonder if like everything is insecure today, even these machines will be prone to hacking and tampering. Wonder how that would be like! Atleast it’s safe to say only the rich can get a hold of such gadgets. Even if they aren’t expensive as of now, these devices must be made so expensive that only the wealthy can afford them. Don’t try making everything cheap, some devices should be reserved to be affordable only by the rich. 😉

Humans give technology to humankind and they expect humans to behave civilized, but you can never trust humans. They don’t know how they behave when they see something new. So, a sincere request to Mr David Edwards and his group to sell them only to those who are going to make positive use of them; maybe to spas for aroma therapies and to meditation centers etc, I don’t know  but please don’t make it publicly available for all because that would be one literal smelly mess the world can get into although there’s no doubt it’s already in one right now. I know it’s going to be commercial but I hope you take this suggestion seriously.

Fall and Deepavali


It’s not just in the Spring that we see colors and blossoms; Fall is a good time to see the beauty of nature as well. For me, nature sits right outside my apartment. I have conversation with it every day while going to the University! With the temperatures dropping, as they should, this time of the year, Fall has given many beautiful sights to nature lovers. With recently acquainted knowledge about the Science behind changing leaf colors (less chlorophyll, so more anthocyanin and carotenoids), Fall is getting very pleasant (the path from ignorance to darkness is a tough one but everyone must get there eventually). With Deepavali just around the corner, it is time for more celebration by lighting Diyas in Sesame oil. ‘Fall’ing time is also in ‘Q’ (November 3rd is the scheduled Fall back, which means we will have sunrise at 7ish instead of 8ish). Seeing people in their winter-wear already is a ‘cool’ sight as well! Just yesterday, I had a pleasant opportunity of being a spectator to some undergraduate students in Halloween costumes. Glad to see them following this tradition!  

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Talking of tradition (usually takes me back to Bharat Desh), I remember Life in Hyderabad, India is a different story this time of the year. It reminds me of my school days when we were finishing the syllabus for the Half-yearly exams that usually happen in December and so many talent search exams in November. At home, with Deepavali approaching, I used to go shopping with my parents to buy crackers (which, after a while, we stopped doing) and sometimes run into classmates at the HACA Bhavan ‘firecracker market’. Later in the evening after Puja, we used to spend time watching the special programs on TV. It’s always good to meet the neighbors who are never visible downstairs bursting all sorts of crackers. That’s a lot of information about Deepavali and Fall. A random mini-blogpost again, if you can handle it!            

Wish I had some samosas and chai with me right now! 

If you feel my English is not the usual type you are used to, then it’s because it’s Indianized 🙂 Look at the link for what’s Indianism!!! Funny but true!   

http://travel.cnn.com/mumbai/life/10-indianisms-652344

 

Springing with fun


Spring blossoms are a feast to the eyes. As a newcomer to US I am exhilarated seeing the colors on Purdue campus and in Lafayette, Indiana. Spring came late this year and is going to end soon with Summer just around the corner. But there’s always enough to do when you see almost everyone outside. The other day, I say students with their hammocks studying for their finals on campus. Then there is this apple tree close to my place in Lafayette that blossomed. The smell of apple’s blossoms is  naturally sweet.  I had the fortune of eating ripe apples of this tree too (ones that ripened and fell- not ones I plucked) in the Fall. This tree holds a very special place in my life in Indiana. I was able to capture a bee mesmerized by the smell from the apple flowers this morning.

I am going to participate in the Arbor day tree planting event this Saturday- a great opportunity to cherish our beautiful nature and learn to respect it. Thank you Purdue BoilerOUT for organizing this event – we must always remember the Sanskrit saying “Vruksho rakshathi rakshitaha” or “Save the tree and it saves you”. We are lucky to be alive because of the trees that supply us with clean air. Try planting a tree this Spring and don’t forget to take care of it.

Hammocking around Purdue Mall
Hammocking around Purdue Mall

 

Purdue Rowing club practicing in the Wabash
Purdue Rowing club practicing in the Wabash

 

Bee attracted to apple blossom
Bee attracted to apple blossom
Tulips in Lafayette, Indiana
Tulips in Lafayette, Indiana

 

 

Ekkadi Manusha Janmamu- Pedda Tirumalacharya Keertana 1


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Ragam: Bouli
Language: Telugu (spoken majorly in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India)
Composer: Pedda Tirumalacharya (s/o Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya called ‘Pada kavitha Pitamah’)
Link of the rendition on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV6EewU9OOM

Composition:

Pallavi:
Ekkadi Maanusha Janmambetthina Phalamemunnadi;
Nikkamu ninne nammithi; nee chitthambikanu
(What is the fruit of this human life you have presented to me among the 84 lakh lifeforms? I am Your devotee alone and what You do with me is totally up to Your wish)

Charanam1:
Maruvanu Aahaarambunu; Maruvanu Samsaara sukhamu;
Maruvanu Indriya Bhogamu; Madhava nee Maya
(Oh Lord Vishnu! You designed me in such a way that I don’t forget to eat, I don’t forget the worldy pleasures and I don’t forget sense gratification, all this is due to the illusion you created)
Maracheda sugyanambunu; maracheda tattva rahasyamu;
Maracheda guruvunu daivamu; Madhava nee Maya
(On the other hand, I forget the knowledge mentioned in our Vedas and Puranas i.e. knowledge about You, Lord Madhava, I forget that the secrets that help me discover You and I also forget my teachers and the deities, all this is due to the illusion you created)

Charanam2:
Viduvanu paapamu punyamu; viduvanu naa durgunamulu;
Viduvanu mikkiliyaasalu; Vishnuda nee Maya
(I do not stop committing sins or conducting virtuous acts (the cycle of virtues and sins is building up on me) without realizing the reason for my existence- to reach You; I do not give up my bad qualities/habits; I do not let go of my excessive needs; all this is due to the illusion you created oh Lord Vishnu)
Vidicheda Shatkarmambulu; vidicheda vairagyambunu;
Vidicheda naachaarambunu; Vishnuda nee Maya
(I do not perform the 6 necessary activities of 1.performing and 2.moderating Yagna, 3.learning and 4.creating opportunity to learn the Veda near the Guru, 5.donating and 6.accepting donation as required; I do not exhibit dispassion/detachment to this worldly pleasures; I let go of the good practices laid in the sacred Vedic scriptures; all this is due to the illusion you created oh Lord Vishnu)

Charanam3:
Tagileda bahu lampatamula; tagileda bahu bandhambula 
Tagulanu Mokshapu maargamu; Talapuna yenthainaa
(I get involved in so many activities cause me to be in relationships with many people i.e. my activities make me depend on so many people; I attach myself to several worldly relationships; I do not understand why, despite doing so many worldly activities I do not try to get onto the path to Salvation)
Agapadi Sri Venkateswara Antaryamivai 
Nagi nagi nanu neevelithi Naakaa ee Maya 
(I can see you before my eyes Lord Venkateswara, also you exist within me [as you are all-pervading]; And looking at my helplessness with (dealing of) the world of Maya you created, you laugh at me- I am your devotee, is this Maya necessary for me? I plea for your mercy to let me free from this Maya so I can realize the true meaning of this human life, to chant your name and reach you on the path of Salvation)

Thank you for reading this 1st attempt of my translation from Telugu to English. 

Chalo Amerika -1


Hi everyone.

It has been a while since I posted my experiences and that’s because of the visa process and departure to the United States. Now that I’m here at Purdue, let me share some experiences of my first visit.

I landed at Chicago airport on 22nd of August via the Air India flight from New Delhi. The flight itself was a great experience as I was a first-time traveller on an international flight. I was given a seat with large leg space so I had my own comfort while on the plane. The economy class seats tend to be congested so you actually do not get enough space to turn to a side and sleep. That was the only uncomfortable part of the flight. You get to watch as many movies as you can on the flight but I suggest everyone travelling for the first time to sleep as much as they can on the flight. Drink lots of water and juices on the flight because you get dehydrated. Just stretch your muscles by walking around in the plane. There’s not much one can do on a window seat on the plane, so the aisle is good to go. The food on the plane is not so good; it is advisable if you got some home made food to eat so that you do not feel homesick already 🙂

An I-94 card is handed out few hours before landing. It has to be filled and any valuable items that you carry have to be declared on the form. You cannot carry fruits and vegetables to the US :-p . Finally the plane landed and I was in the USA!  The immigration process at the Chicago airport is very simple and finally I came out of the airport after checking out my baggage. The trolleys are big enough to carry the suitcases (I took three heavy ones) so you won’t have problems with luggage handling. Be sure to get a calling card that works well with your mobile phone so you can call back and let your family know about your safe landing. I was lucky to find a PhD student and an Indian Professor going to Purdue so I had company from the Chicago airport to Purdue Airport(Yes, there’s an airport here!)

Seniors I contacted on the IGRASP forum came to pick me up from Purdue Airport (Vartika Mishra and Gauri Kulkarni) and drop me at the off-campus housing which my friends from India already occupied. It was very sunny as it was 1.30 PM by the time I reached home. I saw my roomates for the first time in person! The apartment is big enough and I am typing this article from my room!

More about Purdue and USA in the next post.