Tag Archives: sanatana dharma

Guru Poornima ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from articles, letters and commentaries by Swami Chinmayananda]

GURU POORNIMA is the DAY of AWAKENING!

Guru Poornima — this full moon day is considered as the sacred day dedicated to Guru, and all seekers and disciples invoke their Masters and try to reach him. The Gurus are an institution and not an individual. On Guru Poornima Day, all the Gurus are on the Altar! Ordinary days they should be always your Guru and your Grand-Guru. 

Guru Poornima, though we celebrate on this specific day — and have glorified it as the day of Vyasa; as a sacred day to start studies of Brahma-sutra and our Upanishads; a day elected for the prayerful worship of the Teacher etc — it has a deeper significance. Guru Poornima is not a day, an occasion, a ritual, but a STATE of CONSCIOUSNESS, when the students try to tune in their minds to the Inner State of the Teacher. The darkness within gets​ lit up with the full understanding and Knowledge Supreme (Full Moon). Let us tune our mind to Sri Gurudev. Invoke Sri Swami Tapovana Grace and let us prostrate to Sri Vyasa Bhagavan.

Guru is not an individual. He is an institution. He is not a person. Guru is a personality. He lives the Essence, and we have to discover this in our direct insight. When in contemplation we merge our thoughts, there we dive into the depths of the Guru and meet there the Essence; to be one with It is the Goal. This “Awakening” is to be attained by the disciple through devotion, surrender and recognition of the Glory that is the “Guru in-depth”. That day is Guru Poornima.

The declarations​ of the scriptures, your own logical thinking, and Guru’s explanation are the main three sources of knowledge available for a spiritual seeker. All these but give an intellectual appreciation of what Truth is. It has to be confirmed in one’s own direct and personal experience that “I am this Self”. Then alone a healthy intelligent seeker’s scepticism will end. For this direct experience, the seeker will need repeated encouragement from his Guru. Hence the Guru’s impatience to spiritual seekers. The day dedicated to Guru-worship is the Guru Poornima day. Let us all prostrate to Sri Swami Tapovanam. His grace is sure and unfailing.

On this auspicious day of Guru Poornima, let us ask of the Rishis only one thing: “You have made for me a soft path and spread roses over it, solicitously removing all thorns. I walked on, in ease and comfort. Master Pioneer! Now, teach me how to pave the path and make it easy for others! You have given me a voice and lend melody to it. I sang of the Joys of the world to my heart’s content. Master Musician! Now teach me your divine music…..to pass on the harmony to all others!”

Guru Poornima offerings​ should not be ended with a mere physical expression of presenting a material thing. That which is offered​ would contribute as a symbol of the offering of the head and heart to the things expressed and sought after by your Teacher. Then alone the Guru Poornima offering has got a meaning and a message. Offer your spiritual devotion in humble surrender to Sri Gurudev and the Lord-of-the-Universe, Sri Jagadeeswara. May their blessings be upon all your spiritual efforts and reach you to the State of Pure Effortlessness. Let the words of the Guru, the ideas of the Teacher, the Truth of the scriptures, all remain with you for all times. Make the whole year an “Year of Tapas”. Every member must spend one hour each day reading scriptures, japa and attempts at meditation. Offer it all, at each day’s end as GURUDAKSHINA to Sree Gurudev.

The human GURU whispers the sacred formula into the ear! The DIVINE GURU breathes the Spirit into the soul!!

सदा शिव समारमभां शङ्कराचार्य मध्यमाम्॥
अस्मदाचार्य पर्यन्तां वन्दे गुरु परम्पराम्॥

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Sri Veda Vyasa ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from articles and commentaries by Swami Chinmayananda]

VYASA is the Pivotal Truth, the Substratum, the very Rock-Foundation of the entire spring of the Indian Culture based on the Vedantic Philosophy. Vyasa is a great poet-philosopher and has become an institution representing the Hindu heritage. He was a great student of the Vedas and a Man of Realisation. Not only was Vyasa’s intellect mighty, but he was completely tolerant, holding in his embrace of love the entire universe of living beings. No scriptural study or Vedic chanting is ever started without prostrations unto this greatest of Seers. If we must attribute Hinduism to any single individual there is none else to whom we can most appropriately attribute its present existence and past glories except to Veda Vyasa.

Vyasa was not merely a man of realisation and perfection, but was also one who had the spirit of adventure to serve his generation throughout his life. He was a revivalist who contributed the maximum to the Hindu Renaissance of that critical era. He was the most daring religious revolutionary that ever appeared on the horizon of Hindu cultural history. Vyasa was one of the sages who had a vast vision of the past and the great imagination to see the future both of which he brought forth in order to tackle the problems of decadence in his immediate present. 

Hinduism came to face a great crisis in its spiritual and cultural history created by a decadent society and its own misinterpretations of its great culture. A restatement of the scriptural truths, in a language and spirit understandable to the people, was the demand of the age and Vyasa came to answer this call. At such a crucial juncture in our spiritual history that we find the advent of the great revolutionary reformer, the poet-philosopher, Vyasa. He retrieved the life-giving gems of wisdom that lay almost unnoticed in the bowels of the then existing social confusions and life’s commotions. He collected the Vedic passages and for the first time edited them into four written volumes which constitute today the four great Vedas of the Hindus: the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharvana Veda, and thereafter gave us the dialectics of Vedanta in his Brahma Sutras. Himself a great man of realisation, this ancient seer had both the mastery in the theoretical science of religion in Hinduism and also the practical experience of the Supreme. 

Vyasa was a complete artist. Unhurriedly he works on; nowhere is he hasty. In almost every stanza, he not only exhibits his literary mastery over the use of words, but also employs them with such precision that often his simple-looking words, in their right context, talk volumes to all careful students. The versatile genius of Vyasa never left anything that he touched without raising it to​ the most sublime heights of sheer perfection with his rare capacity of composing incomparable poetry, unique prose-diction, chaste descriptions, artistic literary designs, original innovations both in thought and form. A brilliant philosopher, a consummate man of wisdom, a genius in worldly knowledge — now in the palace, now in the battle field, now in Badrinath, now among the silent snowy peaks — strode the colossus, Sri Vyasa, as an embodiment of what is best in the Hindu tradition and in the Aryan culture. Yet, Vyasa’s philosophical thought is not sectarian or creedal. It is not a philosophy only for Hindus. It is universal in its application and is addressed to all mankind. Such an all round genius has not yet been reported ever to have born, lived or achieved in the History Globe!!

व्यासाय विष्णु रूपाय व्यासरूपाय विष्णवे I
नमो वै ब्रह्मनिधये वासिष्ठाय नमो नमः II

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GURU ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from talks and commentaries by Swami Chinmayananda]

GURU — its sweep of suggestiveness is so vast as to even replace at times the sacred syllable – OM !! What do we know, in our present state of imperfection, about the super-subtle qualities of a great teacher? Truly great souls are indeed, at any given period of history, very rare, and, therefore, it is not always possible for all people to come into contact with such perfect masters. And even when we come in contact with them, it is extremely difficult to recognise their greatness and to tune ourselves fully to them. In case we meet and recognise a master and learn to diligently come under his beneficial influences, they are unerringly infallible.

One who has realised in himself the great “awakening” and has come to experience the one unconditioned Truth beyond the causal, subtle and gross bodies and who, thereafterwards, continues to teach the same Truth to others is the Teacher – the GURU, who helps the disciple to experience the Truth. The great ones, the grand teachers, are those who have realised fully their oneness with the Supreme. When the time is ripe, the Lord in a mysterious way brings about first the communication and ultimately the communion between the teacher and the taught. GURU is that equipment through which we perceptibly hear echoes of our own heart’s Divine Message as though from outside! One who has the “ears” can recognise the foot-steps of the Tandava Dance, that is constantly going on in the heart of the Master!!

If the world is peopled by a generation that requires the service of a Master, the total demand of the community works through him and he comes down to serve. Each seeker must remain where he is, and with true devotion progressively purify himself, keeping constantly a deep and consistent inner demand for a teacher. To such a seeker, living the honest life of a Sadhaka, the teacher will appear to guide him. Whoever be the person, let the seeker understand that the teacher is none other than Sree Narayana in that particular form. No individual mortal is ever a preceptor. The Lord alone is the Teacher, everywhere at all times. Meeting your Guru is a mystery! —- is a miracle!! Guru’s grace itself is God’s grace, since Guru is none other than Narayana Himself. 

Guru is a personality, not a person. He is an institution, not an individual. It is the Sastra that is the Guru, and the Guru is the one who taught you to learn it. He made us understand how to study Sastras and understand it.The true preceptor to all of us is the Lord, and the Lord of our heart talks to us very often through His chosen deputy among us and we revere Him and worship Him as manifesting through that individual. In your attempt to LIVE the Divine Life, your Guru, be he far or near will each time save you from the after-effects of falls and encourage you to continue the sacred pilgrimage towards God-head. Such a living guide alone is a true Sat-Guru. 

To come under the protection of a Mahapurusha……. you can order everything…. you can’t hunt a Guru. None of you can know who is the Guru. The qualities of the Guru are so subtle….greater the Guru, smaller he looks, humble and simple. Real Mahatmas, they always secretly live, nobody knows that he is there. How am I to know….? There is no question of you running after a Guru. The Guru comes to us. Never can a disciple go to the Guru. Guru always comes to you. First you open up yourself. Stay where you are, where the Lord has kept you…. Never mind, stay where you are…open up…..open up……. purify your mind. The right time the Guru comes to you as the bee comes to the flower! In case a Guru takes you in his hands, takes you under his wings, to protect you, guide you, to lead you – that is the Greatest Blessings!

“HIMAGIRI STATION” – it is a 24-hour-relay Broadcast-station! The Mahatmas in Samadhi are even to-day sending out, day and night, Spiritual Waves of Light Power, Wisdom and Grace! Even today, it is an unwritten tradition in the Himalayas, that all Mahatmas there, during the Brahma-muhurtha time, meditate facing South and the seekers in the country are expected to meditate at the same auspicious hour, sitting down, facing North, towards the Himalayas. The Supreme Reality Itself is the Guru. This Truth is Itself conceived as Sri Dakshinamurthi. The Teacher and the Lord are thus considered as one. Thus, the Guru is the manifest symbol of the primordial Truth and to Him our prostrations.

ध्यानमूलं गुरोर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरोः पदम् ।
मन्त्रमूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरोः कृपा ॥  (Guru Geeta)

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Raja Rishi Sri Narahari Tirtha

Shyama Shastri (13-14th century) was an erudite scholar, statesman and the minister of King Gajapati of Kalinga (Orissa) State. When Sri Madhvacharya reached Orissa while returning from Badrikashrama, a Vidvat Sabha was arranged there. Among the galaxy of scholars, pandits and philosophers, Shyama Shastri also was present. Acharya Madhva defeated all the scholars and upheld the supremacy of Dvaita Philosophy. Inspired by the Dvaita philosophy, Shyama Shastri became the disciple of the Acharya and followed him to Udupi. He was initiated into the sanyasa-order and was given the name NARAHARI TIRTHA. 

Narahari Tirtha engaged himself in spreading the doctrines and philosophy of Dvaita. At the time, Madhvacharya sent Narahari Tirtha to Orissa to propagate the Dvaita Philosophy and also to bring back the ancient gold vigraha of Lord Rama known as MOOLA RAMA, along with the vigraha of Seeta. The deities were a part of the Kalinga State treasury. Narahari Tirtha set out to Kalinga and stayed in a remote cave on the outskirts of the city.

Around that time, the king of Kalinga died and his son who was to be the successor was very young. As was the custom prevalent those days, the royal elephant was given a garland and left free to move around. Whomsoever the elephant garlanded would be accepted as the king. The elephant headed straight towards the cave where Narahari Tirtha was residing. Hearing the commotion of people and the elephant’s trumpet, Narahari Tirtha came outside. The elephant immediately placed the garland around Narahari Tirtha’s neck! The people were surprised but happy at the same time because they recognised their own minister, Shyama Shastri in the Sanyasi! Accepting it as the Lord’s Will, Narahari Tirtha ascended the throne. He beautifully integrated his SANYASA DHARMA along with RAJA DHARMA – verily a “RAJA-RISHI”. He diligently and efficiently ruled over the kingdom and its people for a period of twelve years. There are innumerable stone-inscriptions describing the religious as well as the welfare programs undertaken by Narahari Tirtha for the community. When the prince was capable of taking charge of his responsibilities, Narahari Tirtha, the “personification of dispassion”, handed over the kingdom to him and made preparations to leave for Udupi. The young king wished to express his reverence and gratitude to the Acharya who had ruled and looked after the kingdom all these years. He requested Narahari Tirtha to ask for anything that he wanted as a gift, and it would be his fortune and privilege to offer it to the acharya. The Acharya told the king that he did not want anything for himself, but requested for the idols of Moola Rama and Seeta which were in the royal treasury. The king willingly handed over the idols to Narahari Tirtha. 

A contented and fulfilled Narahari Tirtha reached Udupi. He had been able to carry out his Guru’s words and bring the divine idols to Udupi. Sri Madhvacharya was overwhelmed to receive the beautiful Moola Rama and Seeta vigraha-s. The rare and unique idols were crafted by the celestial architect, Viswakarma at the behest of Lord Brahma himself. Through the ages, they reached the Kings of Kalinga and were safely kept in the State treasury. Sri Madhvacharya intuitively knew about the idols and wanted to revive the worship of Moola Rama and Seeta. On receiving the idols from Narahari Tirtha, Sri Madhvacharya placed the idols alongside Sri Krishna and worshipped them. From then onwards, the pontiffs of Madhva Matha have been worshipping the idols. Sri Moola Rama and Seeta vigraha-s were worshipped by Sri Raghavendra Tirtha of Mantralaya who also belonged to the same parampara and the tradition of worshipping and offering services to Sri Moola Rama and Seeta continues to this day by the present Acharya-s. 

Narahari Tirtha was one of the foremost amongst the Haridasa-s of the Bhakti movement. He composed beautiful kirtan-s in the kannada language under the signature of “Narahari” and “Raghupati”. He wrote commentaries on various scriptural texts as well as on Sri Madhvacharya’s works. He built many temples and was instrumental in extensively spreading the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya. It is said that the well-known Art-forms known as “Yaksha Gana” and “Bayalu Aata” (open theatre drama) were introduced by Narahari Tirtha, as a part of Vaishnava Bhakti Movement.

ससीतामूलरामार्चा कोशे गजपतेः स्थिता।
येनानीता नमस्तस्मै श्रीमन्नृहरिभिक्षवे॥

“Prostrations unto Sri Narahari Tirtha, the Great Ascetic, who brought the icons of Moola Rama and Seeta (to the Madhva Matha) from the treasury of King Gajapati”.

“Sriman Moola Ramo Vijayate! Sri Guru Rajo Vijayate!”

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