Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The modern world &lack of Santushti

In the modern world we have a very consumerist mindset which is different from the days of our childhood and infinitely different from that of our parents who lived a life of frugality.
We have a great need to acquire objects, gain experiences and do a lot more before we touch our mid thirties. Not many of us understand that life is also a part of nature and gains and losses have to be cannot replace ill health by money and neither can one replace a broken family with a jet setting career. One needs to look at what one needs as a family terms of life goals; lifestyle; money with a differentiation of must haves &good to have.
Some time tested benchmarks are in a Hindi saying-Pratham Sukh –Nirogi Kaaya, Duja Sukh -Laxmi Ki Maya .In the current scenario, one needs to enjoy the simple things of life  and thank god for it...for so many do not have what you have. We are so caught up in the next holiday, car and assorted baubles that we focus on too many goals resulting in making a mismatch on a grand scale.
Across religious beliefs, we have been taught to thank god for the necessities of life-food, clothing and shelter, yet how many of us do that?  We need to be happy with what we have and enjoy it even as we strive to increase our drivers for success.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life and its values

Life in the modern world  is a microcosm of the universe where one sees high's and low's in all spheres of life , making it even more true to the old adage that times change ,but core values do not. Some values epotomised in our cultures are:

  • Living within our means: In today's world of instant gratification,one is often attracted by personal loans,EMI's and credit cards to purchase goodies which we enjoy but repent in leisure when we have to repay the loans.A more nuanced strategy is to save money every month( 10%-50%)and salting it away so that when one needs it because of an emergency etc,one can tap into the hidden source of monetary strength .
  • Understanding Risk in its most basic form: One needs to understand that the world is full of inherent changes,so one should not put too much in store for the baubles that attract.A high paying job may go any time,but money saved and a low debt is sure to make things easier.As a matter of principle ,other than for a home ,one should not take mortgages for anything-car,holiday's,electronics etc.It makes sense to take one for a house because for a small contribution up to 85% of the cost of the house is paid for by the lender,who also does a due diligence of the property before giving a loan,reducing  the chances of a fraud. Many of us had read the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper in our kindergarden...and have conveniently forgotten it,often taking help from parents-emotionally and financially  when our indulgences catch up with us.One wonders if the next generation will have it as good as us!!
  • Simple Pleasures: One should value everything the Almighty has bestowed on us and not bemoan what we do not have. The simple pleasures of life are the best-the cool breeze,the taste of the food that one eats,the essential joy of sharing a good laugh with a friend ,wife,family or child -these are things that one should value and not some thing like-his car is bigger than mine.We should be grateful to God for what he has given us and not bemoan him for what he has not given us.Often he passes us through fire in our life to temper us and convert us from pig iron to finely honed steel as we have some inherent weaknesses which only the heat of actual experiences can remove.
  • Conditioning : The mind is a flexible tool that thinks the way we condition it to. Understanding that tough times do not last for ever is as important as understanding that this if one looks as Hindu philosophy is probably preordained. I have had drastic changes in my life and have come out of them by following one principle-that of looking ahead at life and not looking at what is now history.
More on this later...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bhramagiri Parvat

Brahmagiri Parvat is the name given to the towering mountain ,at the base of which lies the Triyambakeshvar Jyotirling and which is the source of the Godavari.The mountain is sacred and there is but a track chiseled through the rock face that one climbs up.

Due to the absence of a motor able road it is one those few religious places in India that do not reek of crass commercialisation of religion and the filth that invariable accompanies it. There are umpteen monkeys on the mountain ,so it is good to carry a stick to scare them and ideally,one should travel in a group to scare the intrepid monkeys.The climb up a sheer rock face is indeed tough and one mentally thanks the individuals who had  donated money to chisel the steps many decades ago.

There are shrines to Hanumana and cave shrines with beautifully carved statues as dwarpals as one reaches the top of the mountain to see the eternal spring that is the source of the river Godavari.I reached the shrine early in the morning,before the pujari's had made their way up and had a hot cuppa from the enterprising shopkeeper as I marvelled at the beautiful bounty of nature all around me.

The pujari came and dressed the beautifull idol of Devi Godavari in her finery as I just soaked in the moment in utter peace and devotion.Next to the Godavari idol is a small shiva lingam,an exact replica it is said of the lingam at the Triyambakeshvar temple at the base of the brahmagiri mountain.A little distance from there is the place where Lord Shiva hit his Jata's on the ground to change the direction of the Godavari, so that the people of peninsular India could benefit from her life giving waters.The rock formation has an uncanny resemblance to the matted Locks of Lord Shiva, with huge depressions on the rock face where lord Shiva placed his knees. Indeed the Godavari is also called as the Godavari Ganga as she was brought here by Neelkanth himself on the request of his ananya devotee.

In earlier times, it was said that a devotee would get full punya if he visited both temples,but with the passage of time,this ritual is not followed by many-as only the fit can climb the mountain and the long lines at the very accessible Triyambakeshvar temple demotivate a lot of people.

Having visited places like Haridwar & Pushkar in North India,one was struck by the lack of Panda's and pujari's out to fleece devotees at Triyambakeshvar.The temple of the swyambhu Gayatri mata and the Kushartha teerth where the holy waters of the Goadavari Ganga washed away the sin of killing a cow by the kusha grass are places located close to the Triyambakeshwar temple.

It was a welcome sight and one wishes that the authorities and more importantly,residents of these temple towns take steps to ensure  a good experience for devotees.


Lord Hanuman is a much beloved god who is a Ansha avatar of Lord Shiva. He is a living god,blessed to be a chiranjeevin-one who lives an exceptionally long life by Lord Rama.This does not mean that he is immortal. At the end of the kalyuga, he will move to be a part of the lords creation.

I recently visited Anjaneya, the birthplace of Lord Hanumana , near Nasik in Maharashtra. On the road to Triyambakeshwar lies the Anjaneri Parvat,where folklore says Pavan Putra was born in a cave. Lord Hanumana eptitomises the essential spirit of the human race ,of optimism and the eternal truth of ,"Aham Bhramasme" ie the Universe is within me,I have to but grasp it to gain all the world has to offer. Being the son of the god Pavan, he is present everywhere,willing to encourage and motivate his devotees and to protect them in times of adversity.One needs to just think of him anywhere and he is sure to address a devotees problems, with the caveat being a pure mind and noble intentions.

His life itself is an inspiration to many-of the limitless potential that is inherent in all of us,but which needs to come out and blossom in the guidance of a kindered soul-be it a guru, parents,friends or spouse.