Friday, October 16, 2009


First Day of Karthika Maasa Vikram Samvat 2066

Deepavali (or Diwali in north India ) is perhaps the most important Hindu festival of the year .
It is celebrated by all hindus , Jains , sikhs etc .
Deepavali ( which means row of lights )

marks the victory of good over evil ,

the victorius return  of Lord Rama to Ayodhya , marked by lighting of thousands of lamps   ,

of the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasura .

 is celebrated by lighting lots of oil lamps ,lighting fire crackers ,

wearing new clothes , eating sweets , celebrating with friends and family , and prayer .

Its a three day festival , starting with Narakachaturdasi and ending with Balipadyami .

In the north , the first day is called Dhanteras and ends with Diwali on the third day .

In many parts of south India , people wake at 4 am ( 4 am to 6 am is the auspicious Brahma Muhurta )

take an oil bath with a few drops of water added from the river Ganga

and celebrate with lights and fire crackers before dawn .

The hindus have several calendars ...

Perhaps the most important is the Vikram Samvat , which began in 57 BC

when the celebrated Emperor of India Vikramaditya defeated the Sakas .

Deepavali marks the beginning of the new year in the Vikram Samvat calendar ,

the first day of the first month of Karthika .

Businessmen open their new account books on this day with Lakshmi Puja , and pray for prosperity .

Deepavali is a day of joy , of forgiveness , of starting afresh , of hope in the future .

It is a day of gratitude to the Gods and life itself .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

from Nammalvar's Thiruvaymozhi

Instead of getting his praises

sung by the great poets...


comes here today ...

and gently ,

makes me over into himself ,

and gets me to sing

of him ,

my lord of paradise ....

---------Nammalvar , 8th Century , in Tamil .

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Guru

The Guru , or the Teacher , plays a crucial role in the Sanathana Dharma .

A spiritual aspirant finds his path far easier if he or she is guided by the right Guru .

Hinduism gives a very high status to the guru , he or she is only next to God , since the Guru leads us to Godhead .

I have been fortunate in having several good teachers .

My late Paternal Grandfather , who taught me the traditional Aradhana or the Puja as per our denominational traditions , and who also taught me the Sri Stuthi , the Sudarshana Ashtaka and the Hayagriva Stotra .

My late Maternal Grandfather who taught me the Vishnu Sahasra Nama and the Venkatesha Suprabhatha.

My late father in Law , who set a wonderful example and inspired me by the way he lead his life and by his constant equanimity , who reminded one of Siva Dakshinamurti , the divine Silent Teacher .

My weekend Gita Teacher who persuaded me to write the first two exams on the Bhagavad Gita .

My sanskrit teacher at school who taught me the basics of the sacred language , the most beautiful in the world .

My 82 year old Veda teacher ,
who formally taught me the basic fire sacrifices - the Agnihotra , the Aupasana , the Vichinna Aupasana , and the Sthali Paka Homa , and from the divine Vedas , the Pancha sukta , ( The Purusha Sukta , the Narayana Sukta , the Sri Sukta , the Bhu Sukta , and the Nila Sukta )
the Vishnu Sukta , the Pancha Shanti's , the Naasadiya Sukta , the Hiranyagarbha Sukta , and importantly from a philosophic point of view --- the Taitariya Upanishad from the Shukla Yajurveda .

And last but most importantly , my mother , who taught me all my basic prayers and slokas on her lap , who gently , but steadily , has reminded me of the importance of spiritual goals , and also of faith , of truth , of simplicity , of virtue , of detachment and so on .
( I am yet to make headway on the simplicity and detachment ).

Many many individuals, big and small, from PhD holders to our maid , have also taught me numerous little things by their actions , by their personalities , and their behaviour.

Last but not the least , I am profoundly grateful to the Supreme Being , the first Guru , who has shown me the right path .

For all my teachers , I am immensely grateful .

But I still have a very long way to go .......

However , I pray that I will continue to get guidance , directly or otherwise .

"Brahma praavaadhishma thanno maa haaseeth. "

"I have chanted the sacred Veda , may it not abandon me ."