Category Archives: Hinduism

Kashi Vishwanatha ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from commentary on “Soumyakashisha Stotra” by Swami Chinmayananda]

KASHI VISHWANATHA represents the Infinite Reality behind the entire universe of names and forms. Every name and form rises in Him, exists in Him and ultimately disappears into Him. The Sole Ground upon which the projected world of all minds exist and play out, famous in the Vedas as Brahman, is none other than Sri KASHI VISHWANATHA. The ever-present Self, by whose grace alone all activities of perception, feeling and thinking are made possible is KASHI VISHWANATHA. 

Devotion to KASHI VISHWANATHA is the MEANS, the way, to awake into the Supreme State of Pure Awareness; and the Viswanatha-State of Consciousness is the GOAL, the final destination.

KASHI VISHWANATHA as a “sacred symbol” is worshipped so that the wandering mind of the devotee, with the force of his devotion becomes quietened and comes to rest at the Altar of his devotion. The beloved Lord Viswanatha alone is the sole refuge. Seek the Lord and surrender totally unto Him – “O! Mind, seek the feet of Lord Mahadeva. Drink deep the honeyed sweetness of the memory of the fragrance of those lotus feet of the Lord and get intoxicated in its blissful fervour!” 

“Oh Lord! Thou art Ever-Full within and without. Thou art an ocean of kindness and mercy. Thou art the only one who can lift us up from this illusory world of names and forms. Thou art ever shining in Thy self-effulgent glory in the lotus of our heart like the ever-brilliant Sun. Only by realising Thee, as the very nature of the Supreme Self within, by transcending the body, mind and intellect, one can attain true Liberation, and remain ever in True Shanti.” 

“The final goal of all meditations, the blissful Self, is KASHI VISHWANATHA. May His auspicious form ever rise in our heart!”

Hara Hara Mahadev! Gange Hara Hara !

(Source : Sri Soumyakasheesha Stotra by Sri Swami Tapovanam. Commentary by Swami Chinmayananda.)

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Bhagavad Gita Messages-1 by Swami Chinmayananda

The act of understanding himself as different from his matter-vestures is man’s highest Art – the Art of Unveiling the Infinite through the finite. The technique of this ART is the theme of the GEETA!

BHAGAVAD GEETA is an enchanting impossibility; it is at once a SCIENCE and a PHILOSOPHY, and yet, strangely enough, it is neither a scientific philosophy nor a philosophical science. In its eighteen chapters, it explains a PHILOSOPHY-of-LIVING, and while doing so, it expounds and demonstrates the SCIENCE-of-LIVING. When a perfect combination of both SCIENCE and PHILOSOPHY is sung to the “melody of perfection” that KRISHNA was, we have this piece of work – the BHAGAVAD GEETA – an appeal both to the head and to the heart — the secret charm of the Lord’s Song that had enthralled generations, from the day of its production!

GEETA is a PIECE OF ART of strange beauty and it stands apart from everything else in a class all by itself. It is liquid poetry, expounding solid philosophy! In the fluidity of its metre, it crystallizes some of the rarest gems of moral and spiritual values. Its breezy discourses have a solid style. The fluidity of its eloquence falls like merciful rain upon every broken personality, making it whole by its magic touch. It is not a book of science, and yet, it is very scientific in its approach to the theme. It has not the airy nothingness of the familiar philosophical discourses, and yet, all philosophies seem to meet within its ample stretch. An inviting Art of Divine Beauty — every word in it is a detail, at once revealing and inspiring. The pause between the verses is not merely an inevitable blank-period of literary necessity, but something that suggests many a hidden truth!

The PHILOSOPHY of the Geeta reveals to us the glorious purpose in life, inspires and thrills the thinking aspect in man, and the VISION of the smiling Lord of Vrindavan “behind” every name and form, “beneath” every experience, “under” every situation, adds a life-giving joy and maddening ecstasy to the drunken heart of love!!

GEETA is the Lord’s own song, sung to revive His devotees! GEETA sings its song directly to us!! The GEETA serves us!

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Deepavali & The Light of Knowledge ~ by Swami Chinmayananda

DEEPA – AVALI  means rows and rows of light. A readiness to make sacrifice and win over the lower nature is to light up the Lamp of Knowledge, Wisdom and Beauty in yourself. So DEEPAVALI is a reminder to the community that there is a greater way of cultured living than the mere animal level. That means you have to conquer your own selfish immediate demand for the sake of the others. This is what DEEPAVALI really stands for. Whenever thus, the lower nature in us is conquered and we maintain the higher values of life and come to live them, there is a glow of beauty in you – that is DEEPAVALI. To tune our minds to divinity and start new, we welcome the new year with an evening of soulful bhajans by our very own families welcoming the Festival of LIGHTS! Let us remind ourselves at least on this great day that we can be victorious over our impulses and come to illumine for the world around, the Lamp of Wisdom from the Land of Spiritual Light

On this sacred day of DEEPAVALI, at the dusk when darkness gathers round, all homes are illumined by lights in tiny mud pots with oil and wick. This indicates a society wherein each member is a ‘lamp’ of peity, goodness, love and mutual understanding – and in such a society alone, real goodwill and enduring prosperity can come to stay – victoriously. This day is a day of prayer and expression of love; a day dedicated to inner purity and noble character. Get out of your homes in the evening and embrace every other individual in society…. because they too are small flames of the same Light Divine. May all your thoughts be trimmed to light up in cheer and joy, and burn steadily dipped in the oil of devotion. Once a year we must check up our thoughts – some must be smoky, some gone off. Refill with oil and re-light with the Light of all Lights. May this day be considered a day of peace and cheer, reassuring man that he is essentially divine. When the veiling vulgarities in us are cleansed, the pure Divine Light can impart a joyous sense of PERFECTION.

In our bosom, the WICK of the mind is maintained by the OIL of vasanas. When the oil of vasanas is over, the distinct FLAME of Existence flutters to become one with the elemental Fire. Remember this significance when you light the little clay saucers, which our bodies are. Keep in mind, the significance of the oil and the wick!

The lamps are different but the Light is the same; it comes from beyond. If you keep looking at the lamp you are lost; for from it rises the appearance of number and plurality. Fix your gaze upon the Light — and you are delivered from the dualism inherent in the finite body.

When a lamp is lit, it throws concentric circles of light of lessening intensity around it. The farther circles have the least light. As we slowly move our eyes nearer to the centre we find more and more light, until at last in the flame is all LIGHT: the FLAME is the source of all the LIGHT. From it the light has come. In it the light exists. And into it the light will finally merge when the flame is extinguished! So too, God or Reality. The external Universe, the Jagat, comes from Him alone — but the Jagat is the farthest removed. It has the least manifestation of His Divinity. The seeker through Sadhana is seeking Him — the FLAME. Slowly he has to move his gaze from the dim distant circles of light to the nearer points (as body, mind or intellect) and then lastly the Soul, the Atman, the Essence.

In the Darkness of Ignorance we attach ourselves to the unreal and the fleeting world; in the Light of Knowledge, we identify ourselves with the Real and the Permanent. Knowledge is a lasting inner wealth with which all can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. The Light, by whose power all luminaries get illumined, by whose Light the whole universe is lighted up, may this Light enlighten us all !!

“The lamp is lit. Hearken, Ye Devotees! It is for you to keep the light as a never-dying flame! Be yourself a SANDEEPANY: one who lights the Lamp of Truth in the hearts of all!”

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Significance of Navaratri ~ by Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from a letter by Swami Chinmayananda]

The DUSSEHRA festival is celebrated throughout the country. During this festival, everyone spends his time in worship, devotion, and study of the Sastras, and every house assumes the sanctity of a temple. The ten days are divided into three stages of three days each, for worship, and the culmination of the festival on the tenth day is called VIJAYA DASAMI.

The first 3 days we invoke Mother Durga, the “Power Terrible” to help us, by eliminating from within us all negative forces, all weaknesses; followed by the constructive efforts at the organisation of order and security by the patronage and growth of the Divine Forces in us. Lakshmi, she is the Goddess of Aishwarya: Devi Sampath. She is the embodiment of Love, Charity, Kindness, Devotion, Tolerance, Patience, Endurance, Vairagya, Viveka, Peace, Tranquility, Honesty, Courage, Faith, and Mumukshutva! These are to be engendered, and the vacancies created by the elimination of the negative qualities must be filled by these positive traits. Hence the Lakshmi Puja for 3 days following the Kali Puja of the first 3 days. When a Jiva on his march has thus purified himself, and gets recharged with the Devi Sampath, he is a fit Adhikari – a fit student – to be initiated into the philosophical side of Religion, the Supreme Reality, the State of Sat-Chit-Ananda, the Padavi of “Sivoham”. The Goddess of Jnana, Devi Saraswati is invoked. Her Veena is tuned within when the heart-strings are polished “off” its clogs – the Asuric Sampath. The strings are “tuned” when the inner heart-strings are adjusted with the cultivated Devi Sampath. In the resulting shanti, the soft floating tunes waft from within as the Lady of Veena passes Her tender fingers blessingly over the heart-strings. The music is the magic touch that turns the Premi into Prem! the Lover into Love!! The Siva bhakta melts in that MUSIC of the within and becomes one with Siva – the final waking from the dream of samsar into the fact that I am the Knowledge in Itself, Pure Existence beyond Time, Space and Causality. As Sri Saraswati sings Her divine song of Joy, the Kalyana Muhurtha is on! Now, “I am Siva! I am He! He am I !!” This is the great Victory – the Total Victory, the VIJAYAM.

Mother Durga is invoked by worshiping her for 3 days. Man merely invokes his own power which lies dormant within, to discover and destroy the negative forces lurking in his bosom. Destroying one’s evil tendencies is only a negative approach to spirituality. So, the next stage is to practice the positive aspect of the Sadhana. This is done by Sri Lakshmi Puja for the next 3 days. Lakshmi is the Goddess of Aishwarya. Aishwarya is not to be understood in the narrow sense of material wealth and possessions alone but as including the divine wealth of love, kindness, devotion, patience, endurance, charity, ahimsa and the like. Again, these are not to be gained from without, but are to be engendered from within by the invocation of the Goddess within ourselves. By the end of these 3 days, these divine qualities should replace the devilish tendencies which had usurped and enveloped our bosom. With the development of the divine traits, the seeker is fully qualified and becomes an Adhikari for philosophical study, contemplation and meditation. The invocation of Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge, is therefore, the last and the final stage in the spiritual evolution of man. Just as she brings out the music and melody from her well-tuned veena, one can manifest the divinity and harmony with a well integrated mind, by the study of the sastras, constant reflection and meditation. After the 3 stages are gone through, on the last Vijaya Dasami Day, the devil is burnt down indicating the “transcendence of ego”, when man attains the great victory – VIJAYA – over his sense-life and revels in the ecstatic experience of the Transcendental Reality!  

Dussehra indicates as the word suggests, DASA-PAPA-HARA, the end or liquidation of ten sins. The ten sins are attributed to the 10 sense-organs through which the mind contacts and gains knowledge of the phenomenal world, and also reacts to the stimuli received from the world of objects. Therefore the idea is that on this sacred day, the ten sins are ended which signifies the end of the mind and therefore the end of the world of plurality when one becomes rooted in the Transcendental Experience – the Vijaya Dasami Day, the day of Sree Parameswara Prapthi!!          The 9 days Pooja ends in the Great Grand festivity and Joy inexpressible, on the 10th day – the Vijaya Dasami Day. The 9 days Devi Pooja has removed the 9 great sins of man. The 10th day ends the last of his sins and the mortal limited man in himself discovers that he is God! Live thy Life of Dasara! Burn down the ugly monstrous Rakshasa Roopa that we had ourselves built up in the previous nights; and in joy and revelry, dance round the wrecked blazing Monster — the “I”.  The great Victory — the Vijaya! The Home-Coming — the great Vijaya Dasami Day!

“Dasa hara” is the victory over the senses – means, end of Mind; which ends in the disappearance of the dreadful shadow “I”. When the mind is “off”, what remains is the Blissful, the Omnipotent and Omniscient mass of Beauty and Grandeur, the Supreme Mother! Make thy life a Mahanavami Celebration! With songs and dance, with puja and worship, with feasting and illumination, with Japa and Tapa, invoke the Powers of the Self, the Eternal Nature of Thee! Sivoham! Bring about a Dasara in Thy life – celebrate the life’s Vijaya Dasami – through Purushartha, which in the bhakta is not a stupendous task of adventure and strife, but a pleasure Puja Festival — a Mahanavami Celebration

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