A Dance Ballet on Gautama Buddha: By Vinatha-ji

Buddham Sharanam Gachaami


(We seek the Lotus feet of the Enlightened ‘One ‘)

A Kuchipudi DanceDrama on the Life of Gautama Buddha , the Ninth Incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu

Who else but Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda , a renowned  Kuchipudi Dancer , an excellent Choreographer and now the Director of Kalamandapam, a Washington based Dance School , could come up with such an Enchanting Evening of Pure Dance and Melodious Music  at the Kennedy Center on June 27th, 2009 ?  This  immaculate presentation on the Life of Gautama buddha entitled ‘ Buddham Sharanam Gachaami’   was narrated within 6 Acts and 15 scenes within a time span of Two and a half hours . From Start to finish, Mrinalini and her troupe of talented men, women and children held the huge audience spellbound with their mastery over this Art Form, Kuchipudi. The spirit of dedication, devotion and discipline that Mrinalini had invested in the production of this dance drama was evident from the first scene where the artists portrayed the ten incarnations of Sri Mahavishnu to the  final Climax scene ,when  DalaiLama took center stage with his Benevolent and Compassionate presence . That was an ingenious touch in choreography for it is Dalai Lama who says ” Kindness itself is a Religion’.

It is said that  Adi shankara bhagvadapada was a Buddhist in disguise and a Mayavadi  . Can we lightheartedly parody on this and say our beloved Vishistadvaitin Mrinalini  is also a Buddhist in disguise  and Lady Maha Maya herself ? ? In her   portrayal of Mayadevi , King Shudhodana’s Royal queen and Prince Siddarth’s mother , Mrinalini  totally stepped into the character of Mayadevi and portayed all the Navarasas beautifully – Mrinalini’s excellent abinaya , immaculate footwork and graceful hand gestures were  outstanding. A  proud grandma looked like an   agile gazelle on stage when she moved all around the stage dancing her way into the hearts of an appreciative audience .


Mrinalini , a Kuchipudi danseuse of Rare Charm and Exquisite Beauty

As the audience was not allowed to use video camera or any other device , i was unable to capture all this on Camera . But , i did manage to get a picture of Mrinalini off stage after the programme was over .  Here is one .

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A Narthaki and Her Rasika ( A dancer and her fan.)

It would not be fair to give all credit to Mrinalini because a Dance Ballet’s success depends on the performance of all the participants .  I never knew ‘artistic’ talent  runs in the family . Dr. Keerthana , daughter of Mrinalini, proved that She is the wave of the Future Kuchupudi Scene in Washington DC.. Young and vivacious  Keerthana captivated the audience as Yashodhara ,  the abandoned wife of  prince Siddhartha .  Keerthana’s fluid and flexible body movements indicated that she has had wonderful  dance training from a young age .  Keertana was able to convey different moods such as love ,  Shyness, Coyness , Modesty ,  Grief , Disappointment , Detatchment , etc very effectively  on stage  with her waist movements , chest movements and eye movements . Keerthana’s role as Yashodhara and mother of young Rahul was a memorable performance for who else but a new mother and a young wife  like Keerthana could portray this role so perfectly ?


Mrinalini’s daughter Keerthana performing the role of  sri ‘Lakshmi’ in another dance ballet

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The three Shaktis – Adi, Keerthana and Laasya

( Iccha , Kriya and Jnana  )

The six month old granddaughter of Mrinalini appeared on stage with her mother Keerthana as Baby Rahul . It was well past 9 ‘o clock and  beyond bed time , Young  Laasya had no stage fright whatsoever and was calm , cool and collected and young Raul was so ‘still’ that you could hear his Father (young  Siddartha’s footsteps .  Only Mrinalini can perform brave feats like this .  In fact , Mrinalini put many child performers on stage in many of the scenes including the Raas lila , The Karate scene ,  the Birds and of course the dancing of Snakes . The children were from all  different age groups from infants to toddlers to pre teens and teens  and exhibited rare skill and prowess  and it is their  unique contributions which made the Show Lively , Vibrant  and Spectacular . Kamalkiran Vinjamuri , the 11 year old nephew of Mrinalini , was outstanding as the young Siddartha and Young Rahul and  was  impressive  in both roles.

How can we forget the main character Gautama buddha ? This role was performed by none other than Mrinalini’s niece,  Ramadivya Vinjamuri . Of all the Navasrasas , Karunyam ( compassion) , and Shantam ( Peace and Tranquility)   are hardest to portray  and these two expressions are best portrayed through eye movements , facial expressions and body language .  Divya came out with flying colors in all the scenes where as a Young Gautama she saved a bird from a hunter’s arrow , rescued the goat from being slaughtered at Kali’s altar , while witnessing the funeral procession of a dead man . and finally taking ‘Sanyasa’ .  Divya did not merely dance – she lived the role of Gautama buddha  and displayed the Buddha nature of compassion and kindness through her  luminous expressive eyes. This was a challenging role and Divya accepted the challenge with courage and confidence .

Divya as Gautama Buddha

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A  Court dancer and a Mortal woman asking for Buddha’s Sangham ( Benediction)

All in all , it was an evening of Truth , Consciousness and Bliss – Sat- Chit- Ananda .  Mrinalini’s forte is her excellent choreographic skills and this was evident throughout the two and half hour performance and my favorite ones were  Scene 2 (Brindavana) , scenes 7 and 8 ( Wedding)  and scene 11 . ( Siddartha’s waking up to Reality) . Mrinalini’s choreography has sophistication , refinement and above all complexity and creativity .  The Costumes were well designed  and every dancer looked his/her part. Aniket Sidhaye , Keerthana’s husband , did a great job as a Master of Ceremonies – he had ready wit and humor and pronounced all the Sanskrit  words/names  correctly – lol:-)

This review  will not be complete if we do not mention about the excellent Live orchestra who gave wonderful support to Mrinalini and her troupe . Without a Live Orchestra and Melodious  Music ,  a dance performance is limp and lifeless. While the dance sequences were entertaining , the melodious music was enlightening.

We need to thank cultural ambassadors like Mrinalini Sadananda  who came to Washington as a young bride in 1971 and have taken a rare Art Form from a village in Andhra pradesh and has given the Art Form a new dimension by putting it on a world stage  like the Kennedy Center. Indeed, a Remarkable Achievement . Guru Vempatty Chinna Satyam has every reason to be proud of his sisya, Mrinalini.

Who  is behind the Success of Mrinalini, the dancer ?  None other than her Husband , Dr. Kuntimadi Sadanananda , well known in Washington circles as  Vedanta Teacher of Chinmaya Mission . While Sadaji is doing selfless service by preaching about Hinduism ( Santana Dharma ) to young and old alike through the platform of Chinmaya mission, his wife Mrinalini is engaGed in the task of exposing second generation immigrant Indians to HinduCulture and Art forms. Our Thanks to this Noble Couple .

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A Vedanti and an Artharthi

What is the eternal message that comes out of this dance Ballet,   Buddham Sharanam Gachaami ? The following lines from Noble Laurette Rabindra Nath Tagore  comes to mind !

When I thought I would mould you, an image from my life for men to worship, I brought my dust and desires and all my coloured delusions and dreams.
When I asked you to mould with my life an image from your heart for you to love,
you brought your fire and force, and truth, loveliness and peace”

Srimad Bhagvad Gita ( chapter 14 , verse 20)

gunan etan atitya trin
dehi deha-samudbhavan
vimukto ’mrtam asnute


When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.

flying swans
Those of you who are interested in learning this rare Art Form called ‘ Kuchipudi ‘ please contact Smt. Mrinalini  at  http://kalamandapam.org/ and if you are interested in knowing about Vedanta , pl join  http://www.advaitaforum.org/

The Self is Never Born: Bhagavad-Gita 2.20

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na jaayate mriyate vaa kadaachin-
naayaM bhuutwaa bhavitaa vaa na bhuuyaH |
ajo nityaH shaashwato.ayam puraaNo
na hanyate hanyamaane shariire ||


The Self is never born, nor does It ever die;
never It came into existence nor will It cease to be –
It will not take rebirth, It is unborn, eternal and changeless;
It is timeless and is never killed when the body is killed (BG 2.20)


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Several Gita sources for English transliteration of the sanskrit, for English translation of the words and purport are utilized to create these Holy Gita Inspirations. It includes an eclectic yoga, as it were, among several sources, Swami Chinmayananda, Swamy Gambiranda, Prabhupada, and Swami Sivananda,  each coming from slightly different traditions, fueled by One Spirit.  If you go to the links, you can find additional articles there to enhance your appreciation and understanding of this shloka or verse from the Holy Gita.





Light a Fire Within the Heart: By Swami Sadasivananda

Posted by Swami Sadasivananda on his blog and reproduced here with his permission.
For more information on Swamiji, click here:   About Swami Sadasivananda


Prior to lighting the fire on Arunachala (said to be the heart of the universe), the arduous effort of ascending the sacred hill with all of the implements required was needful. This fact is symbolic of the effort required by us to light a fire within the heart. The Sanskrit word “sadhana”, coming from the root “sadhan – implements or tools”, actually means the way we use the tools that the masters and the scriptures have shown us by example. Without the needful preparation (sadhana), no fire will appear.


Such a question of, “How to light a fire within the heart?” will only arise to one who is seeking spiritual growth. But a common error also simultaneously arises. In essence, this error is a trick of the ego, whose very life depends on being as far away from the heart as possible. So the ego says to us, “Go my dearest, visit the playground of the heart, I will help you, for I know a short-cut.” This short cut is in truth a bypass, right around the mind.

We cannot even collect the firewood; much less light a fire in a place where we have not yet found the path. We need to make the mind a guiding light, which will illumine our vision and our way towards the heart. But there are obstacles.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi stressed practice that produces purification (removal of that fog of ignorance, the obstacles and habits of the mercurial mind which diminish our pure vision) as well as the grace of the knowledge of the Self as the eternal companions of those who would be led:

From the unreal to the Real,
From darkness to Light
From death to Immortality!

This place of the Real, the Light and Immortality is a firm stance within the heart. But first the obstacles must be removed. So Bhagavan tells us outright what is needful. The mind must first become free of restlessness. In fact it must first be transcended: “How to transcend the mind?” The Master answers: “Mind is by nature restless. Begin liberating it from restlessness: give it peace; make it free from distractions; train it to look inward; make this a habit. This is done by ignoring the external world and removing all obstacles to peace of mind.” (Reflections on Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 26 p. 129.)

“The obstacles that hinder realization are habits of the mind (vasanas), and the aids to realization are the teachings of the scriptures and of realized souls.” (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 13, p. 5.)

The teachings of the scriptures and of realized souls tell us that meditation, daily meditation, without interruption is the way. Through meditation an awareness and recognition of the intoxicating addiction to heedlessness is brought to light together with a resolve to strive for true spiritual growth. Thus the all-knowing God begins by infusing into us the will to change and seek a pure life.

Far before we even get close to the heart, we must begin to change our habits and train our mind to look inwards. This means that we must bring about change through a determined and protracted effort to purify, and thus literally dismantle our vasanas. Yes, this not only can be done, but this must be done. Grace is our essential source of guidance that illumines our path to true ‘spirit life’. We attract the Grace of God mainly through prayer and meditation! “The quality of soul that makes it possible for man to rise to spirit life is purity…that which one wills to do, he has the power to do. Knowledge of that power is faith; and when faith moves, the soul begins its flight.” (The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi)

The Path of Ascent through the Sky of the Heart (the mind!) We have begun; we have made a start. In the truest sense we have now set our hands to the plough. In the entire Srimad Bhagavatam Sri Krishna reveals the quintessence of His teaching in one statement:

“Shake free of sloth, and merge your mind within Me.”
(Srimad Bhagavata, Book Eleven, Uddhava Gita.)

Though we might believe that only a simple start has been made, the shaking free of slothful heedlessness is declared by God to be half the battle. We have recognized that there is a fog that clouds our vision, and obstacles (restlessness and slothfulness), that literally obscure the manifestation of the light of the Self in abode of our true consciousness; within our spiritual heart!

Regardless of whatever label we choose to call this effort, whether it be deemed purification, removal of defilement, awakening, being in oneness or even becoming still, it should be known that Bhagavan said it is “effort that instills purity” and stressed that without it the goal of lighting a fire within the heart will not be reached.

Prior to lighting a fire in the heart, we must light a fire within the mind to burn down sloth, anger, and ultimately all fear. This being done, we will have the doors of the heart flung open to reveal that God has already created a bonfire, the flames of which will be our love of Him.


The fire within the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary blazes forth to illumine the path all human souls must progress through. This became possible only through Her willingness to, like Her Son, take upon Herself the image of our likeness and endure patiently the suffering that instills spiritual perfection, signified by the sword piercing Her most pure heart. Sri Ramana Maharshi echoed this truth when asked by Paramahansa Yogananda if God could not have ordained it differently, so we would not suffer so? Bhagavan replied: “Suffering is the way to self realization.” (Talks #107) 

Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi web site: http://www.ramanateaching.org
Ask your question in relation to Bhagavan’s teachings, meditation and spirituality at:
To contact Swami Sadasivananda:


Pushpanjali – A Floral Tribute – 2

The Offering Of Floral Garlands to
Deities in Ritualistic Worship – Part -2


Sri Anantasayanam Padmanabha Swami
with his eternal consort , Sri Lakshmi devi

Shanta Karam Bhujaga Shayanam
Padmanabham Suresham
Vishvadharam Gagana Sadrsham
Megha Varam Shubhangam
Lakshmi Kantam Kamala Nayanam
Yogibhir Dhyana Gamyam
Vande Vishnum Bhava Bhaya Haram
Sarva Lokaiaka Natham

I worship that Lord Vishnu who has a peaceful body (postures); who rests on Sheshanaga (the mighty serpant – cobra); who has a lotus in his navel, who is the base of the world, who is like the sky; who has a colour like cloud, who is the lord of Lakshmi (wealth); who has eyes like lotus; who is seen by yogis in their meditation; who is the remover of all the differences and who is the only Lord of all the three Lokas (Worlds), I worship such Lord Vishnu.
Listen to this slokam at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6OtCervaAs

Puja to Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu is fond of Alankaram – being dressed in resplendent silks and wearing  Gold Ornaments . Thus , the popular saying – Alankara Priyo Vishnoh and Abhisekha Priyo Shambuh! So Lord Shiva is pleased with simple Abisekha  and  Sri Maha Vishnu is fond of ostentatious pageantry.

Here is a picture of Lord Vishnu dressed in the best of Silks , wearing Gold Ornaments and wearing  flower garlands. Sri Vishnu is fond of Lotus Garlands  but is equally pleased if offered Tulasi Garlands.  For Tulasi Devi is none other than Sri Lakshmi Devi.  Sri Lakshmi Devi lives in the heart of Sri Vishnu. That is why one of the names of Sri Vishnu is “Sree Nivasa” ( In whose heart Sree Devi resides )


The Four- Armed Shriman Narayana

Why is the best of the best offered to Lord Vishnu?  This is because Sri Vishnu is called ‘Bhagwan’ – the root word Bhaga means Fortune,   Prosperity etc .

Vishnu Purana (6.5.79)describes Bhagvan thus :
aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva ṣannāḥ bhaga itīṇganā

Maha Vishnu has six opulences – Riches, Potency, Fame, Beauty,  Knowledge, and  Detachment!  The meaning of offering everything to Lord Vishnu is that nothing really belongs to us. What we offer to Bhagwan is what really is His to begin with.

The very first verse of Isa Upanishad emphasizes this:

Om Isavasyam-Idam Sarvam
yat-kimcha Jagatyam-Jagat
Tena Tyaktena Bhunjeethha
ma Gridhah Kasyasvid-dhaman

The Lord inhabits all this (that is perceivable)–whatever moves in this moving universe. Therefore by renunciation, you can enjoy all things. Do not covet any one’s wealth. So, Hindus always say ‘offer Tan, Man and Dhan – Body, Mind and Wealth to the Lord!


Viraat Rupa – The Cosmic Manifestation of Lord Vishnu

sahasra SIrshA Purusha:  |  sahasrAksha: sahasra pAt  |
sa bhUmim vishvato vRtvA  | atyatishTad daSAngulam  ||
Thousand head has Purusha
Thousands of  eyes has he
Thousands of legs has He
He is manifested in the earth and all through the universe.He stands beyond the count of ten fingers.

In Sri Vaishnavism , nine modes of Worship are highly recommended !
They are called Nava Vidhis

  • 1) Sravanam- Listening to the names of Lord Vishnu and reading Vishnu Purana , Srimad Bbhagvatam , Padma puranas etc.
    2) Kirtanam – Singing God’s praise and reciting His name. Reciting the 1000 names of Lord Vishnu. (Vishnu Sahasaranama )
    3) Vishnum smaranam- Always Meditaing on the name and form of Lord Vishnu.
    4) Pada Sevanam -. To do service at Lord Vishnu’s Feet
    5) Archanam -Archana or offering flowers to Lord Vishnu
    6)Vandanam – To do namaskar or paying obeisance to Lord Vishnu
    7) Dasyam- To do service to Lord Vishnu
    8. Sakhyam -To Look Upon Lord Vishnu as A friend
    9) Atma Nivedanam – To surrender everything to Sri Vishnu including one’s Self .


Worshipping  The Lotus Feet of Sri Vishnu



Sage Narada

yallabdhva pumaan siddho bhavathi amritho bhavathi triptho bhavathi

That by attaining which a person attains perfection, immortality and contentment, that is pure devotion or bhakthi. (Narada bhakthi sutra , chapter 1 , verse 4)

Bhakta Dhruva,
meditating on Shri Vasudeva


“Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya”


Bhakta Prahlada  garlanding Lord Narasimha deva
( an avatar of Lord Vishnu)  after the lord killed
the demon king  Hiranyakashyapu , a  Non-believer

Prahlada varadam, srresam, daithyeswara vidharinam,
Sri nrusimham mahaveeram namami runa mukthaye.

God who was kind to Prahlada,
The lord of Lakshmi and he who ripped apart the king of demons,
Oh Narasimha who is a great warrior,
I salute you to get rid of my debts



geyam gItA nAma sahasram
dhyeyam shrIpati rUpamajashram
neyam sajjana sange cittam
deyam dInajanAya ca vittam

The Bhagavatgita and the Vishnu  Sahasranama should be sung;
the form of the lord of Lakshmi ( Vishnu) should be always
meditated on;
the mind should be led to the company of the good;
and wealth should be distributed among the indigent.

Please listen to the recitation of 1000 names of Sri Vishnu at


Dasa Avataara of Sri Maha Vishnu

  • vedan uddharate jaganti vahate bhu-golam udbibhrate
    daityam darayate balim chalayate ksatra-ksayam kurvate
    paulastyam jayate halam kalayate karunyam atanvate
    mlecchan murchayate dasakrti-krte krsnaya tubhyam namah

    O Lord Krsna, I offer my obeisances unto You, who appear in the forms of these ten incarnations. In the form of Matsya You rescue the Vedas, and as Kurma You bear the Mandara Mountain on Your back. As Varaha You lift the earth with Your tusk, and in the form of Narasimha You tear open the chest of the daitya Hiranyakasipu. In the form of Vamana You trick the daitya king Bali by asking him for only three steps of land, and then You take away the whole universe from him by expanding Your steps. As Parasurama You slay all of thewicked kshatriyas, and as Ramachandra You conquer the rakshasa king Ravana. In the form of Balarama You carry a plow with which You subdue the wicked and draw toward You the River Yamuna. As Lord Buddha You show compassion toward all the living beings suffering in this world and a the end of the Kali-yuga You appear as Kalki to bewilder the mlecchas

OM Namo Narayana

Pilgrim Finds Friends on the Path: By Alan Adam Jacobs



Our Mother Divine lifts her sacred cup,
She pours pellucid, precious, potent balm,
Curing, healing, lifting pilgrim’s spirit up.

With power of Love, perfect, peaceful, calm,
She holds poor palsied pilgrim in her palm,
And plies him with pure nectar, honey sweet,

So pouring from her silver grail a potion warm,
To soothe all cares and salve his blistered feet,
With Love’s ointment: oh, perfect Paraclete!


Feeling his fiery steed between his knees,
He watches restless spirit’s breathing flow;
The stallion settles and he reins with ease.

Now tamed, he canters where he wants to go,
To Himalayan summits crowned with snow,
A pure white splendour glowing bright in light,

Above dark turmoil of dormant worlds below.
He arrives at awesome Selfhood, blazing bright,
Sun burst of splendour, ends soul’s dark night.

Now, White Knight hoists on high his pointed lance,
To joust with Death, a fierce Titanic tilt.
As he mounts his steed in martial prance

He strikes hard at dragon, up to the hilt,
To end all dark sorrow, fear and guilt.
Free from sense of doership, an act replete

With holy knowledge, a temple truly built
To worship God, he kneels to kiss the feet
Of Death’s slayer; such a sacred blessed feat.


Wielding his spear of sharpest concentration,
The God-love soldier plunges its silver blade,
With mighty force of lucid sheer attention,

Deep into the dragon’s heart. Unafraid,
Delivering the coup de grace, vile ego’s laid!
Well honed with dispassionate discrimination,

Whetted with ardent zeal, no wavering shade
Of cowardice, his steel, with keen anticipation,
Slays his wayward mind of Self alienation.


He twangs the bow of Self-Enquiry, to enter
A sharp arrow of clearly aimed insight,
Zinging to the bull’s eye of Truth at centre.

Dispelling all doubts in error free flight,
He finds Love, a beckoning beacon light,
Glowing within his inner cave of heart.

Such marksmanship is God-Warriors right,
To win this vision, the true martial art,
Holy war, waged ‘til soul and body part.


Water bearer draws deep from Rachel’s well,
A jar of truth for pilgrim’s thirst to slake.
Raising the cup he hears the temple bell

Which calls him home to pray and penance make
To God, whom he adores for His own dear sake
Alone, and free from lust for selfish boon.

His love showers rain of grace, and fills the lake
Where sails the white swan of devotion, soon
To glow beneath the golden harvest Moon.


Primordial Sage, in silence, takes his seat,
Emitting waves of God-like love to those
Who sit surrendered at his lotus feet.

His mystic vision’s sure, and truly knows
The sure destruction of all disciples’ woes,
That halt the climb to Self’s most blissful place.

His merciful love abundantly flows,
Ever granting pilgrim power to trace
His own Self ablaze, in a sea of grace.


So bold pilgrim ascends the mountain path,
His friends are unconditional faith and trust.
Gentle compassion rains, a healing bath

Of grace, cleansing his feet of mundane dust,
Freeing him from greed, ego, anger, lust.
Fearless he walks, awakened, to his goal,

Unattached, discriminating, and so just,
‘Til attaining consummation with the Whole,
He finds, hidden deep at heart, Eternal Soul!



Removing the Dross from the Mind in Meditation: By Swami Sadasivananda

Posted by Swami Sadasivananda on his blog and reproduced here with his permission.
For more information on Swamiji, click here:   About Swami Sadasivananda


Fiery Gem, shining in all directions,
do Thou burn up my dross, Oh Arunachala!”
Five Hymns to Arunachala

In Talks, Sri Ramana Maharshi is being questioned concerning how to remove the obstacles (dross) within meditation.
D.: Impurities of limitation, ignorance and desire (anava, mayika, and kamya) place obstacles in the way of meditation. How to conquer them?
M.: Not to be swayed by them.
D.: Grace is necessary.
M.: Yes, Grace is both the beginning and the end. Introversion (meditation) is due to Grace: Perseverance is Grace; and Realization is Grace.


“Significance of Om, unrivalled — unsurpassed!
Who can comprehend Thee, Oh Arunachala?”
Five Hymns to Arunachala

“The purport of prescribing meditation on the pranava (OM) is this. The Pranava is Omkara…the advaita-mantra which is the essence of all mantras such as Panchakshara. In order to get at this true significance, one should meditate on the Pranava. This is meditation which is of the nature of devotion consisting in reflection on the truth of the Self. The fruition of this process is samadhi which yields release moksha  [liberation from all aspects of mental dross, ed. note], which is the state of unsurpassable bliss.” (Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, 6th edition, Self Enquiry #28 p. 23-24)

Further in Talks #59, Bhagavan teaches us:
D.: Was Visvamitra a rishi?
M.: When contaminated [dross produced by excessive worldly attachment, ed. addition] he was not a rishi.
D.: Can he become a rishi even afterwards?
M.: Yes. By proper bhakti he could become a good rishi. Repentance and prayer will set him right.
D.: With all your penance for so many years what have you got?
M.: I have got what need be got. I see what need be seen.
D.: Can all see the same?
M.: I see only just what all do. It is immanent in all.
D.: Is this the way for seeing It?
M.: Method may be anything. From whatever directions the pilgrims may foregather, they must enter the Kaaba only by one route (passage) or all gather only to enter the Kaaba.
D.: Please tell me two upadesas on the way to salvation as known by you.
M.: What upadesa do I know? Everything is upadesa. Worship of God is the only upadesa.


About Swami Sadasivananda


Sometime in early 2009, Alan Jacobs posted his first note to the Harshasatsangh group authored by Swami Sadasivananda.  In it Alan mentioned that Swamiji was available privately to answer any questions people might have, which I thought was quite generous of him, as time is such a limited commodity for most people, even those who populate the spiritual egroups.  Alan then followed this note with the first in a three part series on Surrender written by Swamiji, and I was touched by his combination of wisdom and wit, and his compassionate nature.   Since then, he forwarded a number of his articles to us and I began posting them to the blog with his permission not long afterwards. ( I do take the liberty of changing the format and the photos, but his words remain his. ) I look forward to them, because they are uplifting and sincere, and reach out to the reader with an honest clarity of expression. I always feel uplifted after I have read something he has written.  And I always feel as if he has included everyone…no student left behind!   His bio is below…

Swamiji was born in Florida in 1950. He studied comparative religion at a University in Colorado. He visited Sri  Ramanashramam in 1971. From that Darshan of Arunachala he determined to take Sanyas.In 1974 he received initiation in the disciple lineage of Puri Sankaracharya. He visited Anandamayi Ma’s Ashram while she was still alive and received the golden touch of this Joy-Permeated Mother, and remained under her guidance until her passing. He was there for thirty years giving service and practicing sadhana. Since then he has been living in Tiruvannamalai and is a frequent visitor to Ramanasramam where he is available, and gives advice to questioners. He has made a thorough study of Bhagavan’s teachings as well as those of Sri Ramakrishna.

Swami has also completed a new book regarding Bhagavan’s teachings on “Practical Sadhana” that isto be published by Sri Ramanashramam this spring. This book, as well as a great deal of additional works by direct disciples of Bhagavan including various other aspects of spiritual instructions are  posted on a website that is maintained by the Swami.

Are You Letting God In? by Swami Sadasivananda

As posted by Swami Sadasivananda on his blog   http://www.ramanateaching.org/


There is one mystical understanding of life that runs through the very core of all major religions. This is the belief, and to many the cherished experience, that our sojourn on earth is not true life. These most ancient scriptures and Masters teach that everything appearing to us here is a mere appearance, behind which we should penetrate, or that it is only a forecourt of the true world, a forecourt which we should cross without paying much attention to.

    Hidden within these very scriptures, though obscured through individual bias or misinterpretation, is a profound truth that utterly refutes this belief. The Vedas, and their essential distillation given in the Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Bible, the Torah, and the Koran definitively proclaim that what a man does here and now with holy intent is no less important, no less true – being a terrestrial indeed, but non the less a factual, link with Divine Being – than the life in the world to come.

    Unfortunately, there is a universal acceptance that the highest gift of grace bestowed upon mankind is a “One way ticket to heaven”. Some call it “salvation”, some say “realization”, some “awakening”. In our modern era this ticket is on sale – being reduced to just a fleeting thought of “oneness” while ferociously consuming whatever is in reach with the righteous indignation permitted within “the present moment”.

    One hallmark of a real spiritual aspirant is an acute awareness of active evolution. Yes, “religion” does mean moving into purity and union through change and improvement.  Although a higher world is perceived, it is erroneous to conclude that we are separated and severed from it. When the day of even partial attainment dawns, we begin to experience that the two worlds are essentially one and shall in fact become one.

    In their true essence, the two worlds are one. They only have, as it were, moved apart. But they shall again become one, as they are in their true essence. Man was created for the purpose of unifying the two worlds. He contributes towards this unity by holy living, in relationship to the world in which he has been set, at the place on which he stands.

    How is it then true that when we suffer in our attempts to live a holy life we are told that such is a gift of grace? Sri Ramana Maharshi declared, with seeming sternness, to Paramahansa Yogananda (in Talks #107), that: “Suffering is the way to Self-Realization.” The Masters of all religions, upon seeing the great misery among the needy, raise their heads and cry out to us and say: “Let us draw God into the world, and all need will be quenched!”

    But is this possible, to draw God into this world? Is this not an arrogant, presumptuous idea?

    The advent of God, His actual gracious Presence, abides within the law that He Himself created and abides by. This law consists precisely in this, that God wants to let Himself be “won” by man, that He places Himself, so to speak, into man’s hands. God wants to come into this world factually, never being satisfied to remain a theory or at best an illusive and flighty “friend in need”. God wants to come to this world, but he wants to come to it through man. This is the mystery of our existence, the superhuman chance of mankind!

    The Masters and their scriptures entice us with the perplexing question: “ Where then is the dwelling of God?” The human mind really does not waiver with the passing of centuries. Therefore the answer to this question from ancient to modern man is: “What a thing to ask! Is not the whole world full of the glory of God? We are then perplexed when the these very saints reply:
                             “God dwells wherever man lets Him in!”

    This is the ultimate purpose; to let God in. But we can let Him in only where we really stand, where we live, where we live a true life. If we maintain holy intercourse with the little world entrusted to us, if we help the holy spiritual substance to accomplish itself in that section of Creation in which we are living, then we are establishing, in this our place, a dwelling for the Divine Presence.
Some of the ideas expressed in this article are paraphrased excerpts from the writings of Martin Buber.


The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: By Dr. Mourad Rashad

How did eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil change Adam and Eve?

According to the literal text of the scriptures, the sole cause for the dismissal of Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden was eating from the forbidden tree, against God’s warning.

A warning stating that if you eat from this tree, you will surely die -And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”- (Genesis 2:16, 17).

God created Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend & keep, this was the sole concern of Adam & in return Adam would enjoy permanent residence in the Garden & immortality. God created Man’s consciousness in a way that leads Man to witness & appreciate God’s Perfection, manifest in the Garden of Eden, and to be perpetually enjoying God’s Grace, and God knew that as soon as Man eats from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, Man will use this knowledge wrongly, in the sense of trying to become like God. To put it in other words, Man will use this knowledge of good and evil to feel Unique and Capable, through Man’s claimed capabilities that results from the wrong use of this knowledge; Man will achieve this Uniqueness. While God is the only Unique and the only Capable Being there is.

Man cannot prevent himself from using the knowledge of good and evil in a way that will establish Man’s alienation from God, through creating Man’s ego  -Unique & Capable- in an attempt to be like God, in the sense that man will claim to himself all the knowledge, merits, virtues etc that will distinguish him from others -Uniqueness- and becomes self-complacent & self-sufficient -Capable- and stops from being in perpetual need for God’s grace and ruins the Garden of Eden which Man was entrusted to tend and keep. Therefore, Man transforms the Garden of Eden – through this change in his consciousness to the world he lives in & consequently looses the Garden of Eden for ever and becomes a mortal being. This is exactly  what the serpent told Eve “if you eat from the tree of good and evil, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4,5)

Therefore, eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is simply a symbol for the process of conditioning and upbringing of Man -in which Man’s consciousness changes from simply witnessing God’s perfection to witnessing Man’s own perfections. This is actually what happens to every infant and child, being created with a virgin consciousness -Adam before eating from the tree of good and evil- to become transformed and molded into an Ego that has capabilities, powers, virtues, merits, ambitions, security, independence etc up to Man’s most consecrated believes. Every Man has to undergo this change, but it is up to Man to retrace his steps -purifying his consciousness from the alleged notions of being unique and capable due to his wrong use of the knowledge of good and evil. If Man succeeds in freeing his consciousness from these two notions, Man will enjoy once more the Garden of Eden and Immortality.

So actually, the story of Adam is every Man’ story.

Kundalini and Visionary Leadership-2: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

The Principles of Leadership in Yoga

There are hundreds of wonderful and ancient texts written by great yogis and sages that have come down to us. These include the Upanishads,  Bhagavad-Gita, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and so many more. If we meditate deeply on the psychology of human truths found in these, the principles of living a successful life and becoming a leader and a benefactor for humanity emerge.

Principles of yoga psychology tell us that human beings, in order to develop their potential, must become fully conscious of their root instinct to survive and channel this phenomenal energy in five areas of life and manage these areas with care.  Our  understanding of  these five fundamental principles and applying them properly determines the extent to which we fulfill our total human potential.

Here are the five principles. These are all tied in some way to our root instinct to survive.  When you read any Upanishads, or a classic yoga text, you will find methods either directly or indirectly referring specifically to these. According to yogis, the secret of worldly and spiritual success and becoming a dynamic leader is a function of how well we manage these five areas of our life.

1. Breath. Proper use and understanding of yoga postures (or other physical exercises) and deep yogic breathing to advance one’s intelligence, intuition, strength, and energize and sharpen one’s leadership vision.

2. Nutrition. Proper use of food, air, water, and the sun to attain abundant energy, to become sensitive to the needs of the body, and to empathize with all living beings in order to embrace them. In this way one gains the humility and compassion and can act as a servant and transformational leader to facilitate the personal growth of others.

3. Sensuality. Understanding the attraction to the root (earth) aspect of life that manifest in the desire for the experience of sensuality and pleasure. Proper engagement in the experience of sensuality is important so that it promote mental balance and health and strengthens one’s leadership. The opposite causes confusion for oneself and others.

4. Sleep. Proper engagement in sleep and understanding of sleep states and different states of consciousness and to eventually attain the transcendental and universal vision that is the basis of appearance and phenomena. Lucid dreaming and super conscious states help a leader gain a feel for the right future goals to pursue that are in harmony with the universe.

5.  Nonviolence. The fifth principle is that of Ahimsa  (nonviolence) and it helps to integrates the other four principles while directly addressing the root instinct to survive.  All other rules of conduct are subordinate to it.  The ideal of Ahimsa should be held firmly in mind and in practice while one pursues to develop one’s potential through the use of other means.

The leaders at the highest level such as  Buddha, Mahavir, Jesus, Gandhi, and others are able to overcome even the root survival instinct through the practice and full development of the ideal of Ahimsa. This makes their compassion for humanity so overwhelming that in the face of very difficult, life threatening, and humiliating circumstances, they have the capacity to forgive without reservation.

While the other principles focus on developing energy, power, and dynamism as a leader, the principle of Ahimsa provides a strong framework for functioning so that the leadership abilities which are developed will be used for the benefit of humanity. Ahimsa is the only way to overcome the fundamental and root fears that every human being has.

See the following article on Ahimsa for a better understanding of its role in removing fear.


I will continue with part III of this series later.