As I Saw Bhagavan Ramana: By Varanasi Subbalakshmi

A most beautiful account by Varanasi Subbalakshami of Bhagavan Ramana. Bhagavan Devotees will enjoy reading it immensely.

I LOST MY HUSBAND when I was sixteen. I went back to my mother’s house and lived there as a widow should, trying to pray to and meditate on God. My mother’s mind too was devoted to the spiritual quest and religion was the main thing in her life. Continue reading

We Did Not Go To Him For Profit: By T.K. Sundaresa Iyer

Note: T.K. Sundaresa Iyer (T.K.S) met Sri Ramana in 1908 when T.K.S was only a twelve year old boy. Bhagavan, although a full blown Self-Realized sage, was also quite young. Many early devotees have described how Bhagavan by his sheer look would give them experience of the Self. However, it was not true in every case.

T.K.S’s cousin Krishnamurthy had been visiting Bhagavan Ramana  regularly and would sing songs of devotion to him. One day T.K.S asked his cousin where he went every day. Krishnamurthy told him about Ramana and said, “The Lord of the Hill Himself is sitting in human form, why don’t you come with me.” Both of them then climbed the Hill and went to Virupksha cave to visit the Sage.

Now the story in T.K.S.’s own words:

I too climbed the Hill and found Bhagavan sitting on a stone slab, with about 10 devotees around him. Each would sing a song. Bhagavan turned to me and asked, “Well, won’t you sing a song also.” One of Sundramurthy’s songs came to my mind and I sang it. It’s meaning was, “No other support have I, except thy holy feet. By holding on to them, I shall win your grace. Great men sing your praise Oh, Lord. Grant that my tongue may repeat Thy name even when my mind strays.”

“Yes. That is what must be done,” said Bhagavan, and I took it to be his teaching for me. From that time on, I went to see him regularly for several years without missing a day.

One day I wondered why I was visiting him at all. What was the use? There seemed to be no inner advancement. Going up the hill was meaningless toil. I decided to end my visits on the hill.

For one hundred days exactly I did not see Bhagavan. On the hundred and first day I could suffer no longer and I ran to Skandasramam, above Virupaksha Cave. Bhagavan saw me climbing, got up and came forward to meet me. When I fell at his feet, I could not restrain myself and burst into tears. I clung to them and would not get up.

Bhagavan pulled me up and asked: “It is over three months since I saw you. Where were you?” I told him how I thought that seeing him was of no use. “All right,” he said, “maybe it is of no use, so what? You felt the loss, did you not?”

Then I understood that we did not go to him for profit, but because away from him there was no life for us.

From “At the Feet of Bhagwan” by T.K. Sundaresa Iyer.

Pushpanjali – A Floral Tribute!

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Pushpanjali -
The Offering Of Floral Garlands to
Deities in Ritualistic Worship – Part 1

Hindus offer Flowers to  to Gods/esses in the temple  as part of a Ritualistic Worship.  This is called  ‘Pu-ja’ – Pu stands for ‘Pushpam’ or Flowers and Ja stands for Japa or chanting the  Holy names of Gods/esseses. Ja also stands for ‘Jalam’ or Water as water is sipped during the Worship while chanting the Holy Names of Gods/esses. ( This is called Aachamanam)

What do Flowers represent  in Hindu Worship?  Flowers represent ‘Nature’ or Prakriti. The word Prakriti is made of three syllables – Pra , Kri, and Ti. In Devi Bhagavatam, Sri Narada describes Prakriti thus. “The prefix “Pra” in the word Prakiti means Exalted, Superior, Excellent; and the suffix  “Kriti” denotes creation.  So, the Goddess,  Devi,  Who is the most excellent in the work of creation is known as the Devî Prakriti.

“Pra” signifies the Sattva Guna, the most exalted quality, “Kri” denotes the Rajo Guna and “Ti” denotes the Tamo Guna. The Sattva Guna is considered as the Highest as it is perfectly clear and free from any impurities whatsoever;  the Rajo Guna is considered intermediate as it has this defect – it spreads a veil over the reality of things, so as not to allow men to understand the True Reality, while the Tamo Guna is considered worst as it completely hides the Real Knowledge.  Thus when we offer Flowers to the Deities , we are actually praying to Gods/esses to to eradicate our Tamo and Rajo gunas and bless us with Sattwa guna which is conducive to the “Flowering of Consciousness.”

Offering Flowers to Deities is an important part of Hindu Worship. Different Gods/esses love different Flowers.  Traditionally, it is said that we should only offer those Flowers that have a pleasant Fragrance  and are cultivated on good soil . Wild Flowers that spring up everywhere and those with thorns should be avoided.  When we offer Flowers to Gods/esses, we are transmitting our Devotional ‘Bhava‘ or Emotion and are literally requesting God/esses to grant us Health, Wealth and Happines(both Material and Spiritual benefits.)  Hence the expression  ‘Yad Bhava , Tad Bhavet. ‘  It is the bhava of ‘Surrender’ and Faith. ( Sharanagati and Shradda)

PUJA TO LORD SHIVA
One of the names of Lord Shiva is ‘Ashutosh’ – One who is easy to please . Bholenath ( A Simpleton ) loves Milk ‘Abisekham’ and therefore devotees bathe the Shivalinga with Panchamrit.- – Panch means Five and the ingredients are Milk, Honey, Ghee , Yoghurt , and Sugar.
Here is a Picture of a priest bathing the Shivalinga with the Pancamrit liquid !

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While doing the Abisekham , the Devotees will chant continuously the Lingashtakam -

Brahma Murari Sura architha Lingam,
Nirmala bashitha Shobitha Lingam,
Janmaja dukha vinasaka lingam.
That pranamami sada shiva lingam.

I bow before that Lingam, which is the eternal Shiva,
Which is worshipped by Brahma, Vishnu and other Devas,
Which is pure and resplendent,
And which destroys sorrows of birth.

To listen to the entire Lingashtakam , go to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MB1XQl0l3A&feature=related&pos=0

Shankar Baba is equally pleased if Bilva Leaves are offered to Him.  It is believed that Sri Lakshmi resides in Bilva Leaves and by offering Bilva Leaves we are asking the Lord to bless us with Wealth and Prosperity.  Bilva Leaves also have a cooling effect on the hot tempered Deity Shiva also known as ‘Rudra’ (the Wrathful One)

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Bilva Puja to Lord Shiva

While offering Bilva leaves to The Shiva linga ,
it is customary to chant the ‘Bilvashtakam’ comprising of eight stanzas.
Here is the First verse .

tridaLaM triguNAkAraM trinetraM cha triyAyushhamh .
trijanmapApasaMhAraM ekabilvaM shivArpaNamh .

I offer one leaf of Bilwa to Lord Shiva,
Which has three leaves,
Which causes three qualities,
Which are like the three eyes of Shiva,
Which is like the triad of weapons,
And which destroys sins of three births.

To listen to Bilvashtakam, go to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCNSY19DK4Q

Lord Shiva is pleased with all kinds of worship – both internal and external worship. Internal worship is called Manasa puja .  Adi Shankara Bhagvadapada sings thus in his Shiva manasa puja :

AtmA tvaM girijA matiH sahacharAH prANAH sharIraM gR^ihaM
pUjA te viShayopabhogarachanA nidrA samAdhisthitiH |
sa~nchAraH padayoH pradakshiNavidhiH stotrANi sarvA giro
yadyatkarma karomi tattadakhilaM shambho tavArAdhanam.h ||

Sambhu, You are my Self, my intellect is Goddess Parvati, your attendants are my vital airs, my body is Your temple, all enjoyments of sense-objects are Your worship, my sleep is samadhi, all my movements on my feet are circumambulations of You, whatever I speak is praise of You, and thus whatever action I perform is Your worship.  Note: When a devotee totally surrenders to God, then whatever he does is according to God’s will.  He gives up all sense of being a doer and an enjoyer. ( This Translation is by Shri Shastriji, chief moderator of ‘Advaitin’ list.)

To listen to Shiva Manasa puja , go to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCvVjlPAkl8&feature=related&pos=0

Here is a picture of Adi Shankara Bhagvadapada , The Author Of Nirguna Manasa Puja

nirguna_large

This is the first of the Series on how to worship different  Hindu Gods/esses .   Lady Joyce ( aka Radhe ) is the true source of inspiration behind this humble attempt. Bhakti Yoga is the firm foundation on which both Karma and Jnana yoga rests .  Without Devotion or Love,  Jnana is incomplete and without Atma ma Jnanam, Bhakti is not ripe.  Karma yoga is the thread that runs through both Bhakti and Jnana yoga .

Shri Krshna himself says in srimad Bhagvad Gita

yoginam api sarvesam
mad-gatenantar-atmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah ( 6:47)

And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me,
thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me—
he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.

OM Namaha Shivaya

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