Friday, November 30, 2018

Janani Ninuvina

jananī ninnu vinā amba
trilōka dikkevarammā jagamulōna gāna

O Goddess, the mother (“janani” or “amba”) of the three (“tri”) worlds (“loka”)! Who else is there (“dik evvaramma?”) to take care for me on this earth (“jagamulona gaana”)?

I shed such tears on listening to the renditions of this song, that I can never remember ever. I am not even in a frame of mind to translate. I have verbatim copied a translation from here
Thanks to for this.

You can find the translation of all shlokas of this wonderful composition of the saint musician Subbaraya Sastry.

The rendition that brought copious tears (though others were equally powerful) was that of Maharajapuram Santhanam.

Needless to say that such a song can only be composed in that peerless raga Reetigowla. This raga can melt even ice cold hearts.

And if you want a violin rendition that will play the strings of your heart, listen to this rendition by Shri Chembai K Venkitaraman

O Mother take care of Me, who else is there but You to protect me in this samsara
I yearn to be a baby in your arms, feeling the kindness of your heart, through the warmth in your hands
In that limitless ocean of your womb, I was floating - just a small speck in the vastness - yet you fed me, took care of me. Even today take care of me in such manner, listen to my entreaties and protect me - O Mother.

Well there is one thing I would like to contribute to the translation though.
the first part of anupallavi is: Manasija Maanasa Sammodhini
In this "Manasija" is usually translated as "Cupid" or "Love God" i.e. Kamadeva by most translators. But I think the matter is a bit deeper. "Manasija" literally means "born of manasa" and "manas" can be translated as "mind' or "heart". In our philosophy there is a pretty good idea what "manas" is. Manas is the sheath on the atma, which makes it experience karma. Manas is wherein there is vrittis and samskaras. I think Shri Subbaraya Sastry (who would have composed this in some deep meditation or trance) would have meant that the Divine Mother is One who can entrap the mind - the mind is fast - it is never under control - but if one has Bhakti Bhava to the Divine Mother, then She is so strong, that She will hold the restless, unstable mind by enrapturing it with Her Divine Leela.

Interestingly in Jyotisa i.e. Vedic astrology - the 4H concerns both Mother and Manas and also Moon which is the karaka for 4H and thereby signifies both Mind and Mother. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Nrsimha Mantra Dhyana

Refer: "Nrsimha mantra", Page 373, Brihat Tantra Sara Part 1, Translation by Kapildev Narayan, Chaukhamba Publications

माणिक्याद्रिसमप्रभं निजरुचा सन्त्रस्तरक्शोगणं
जानुन्यस्तकराम्बुजं त्रिनयनं रत्नोल्लसद्भुषणम् ।
बाहुभ्यां धृतचक्रशङ्खमनिशं 
ज्ज्वालाजिह्वमुदग्रकेशनिचयं वन्दे नृसिंहं विभुम् ॥

māṇikyādrisamaprabhaṃ nijarucā santrastarakśogaṇaṃ
jānunyastakarāmbujaṃ trinayanaṃ ra
tnollasadbhuṣaṇam ।
bāhubhyāṃ dhṛtacakraśaṅkhamaniśaṃ daṃṣṭrogravaktrollasa
jjvālājihvamudagrakeśanicayaṃ vande nṛsiṃhaṃ vibhum ॥

māṇikyādri - mountain of rubies
samaprabhaṃ - shining equal to

nijarucā - by whose personal lustre
santrasta - tremble with fear
rakśogaṇaṃ - the demonic class

jānunyastakarāmbujaṃ - whose two hands rest on his thighs
trinayanaṃ - three-eyed
ratnollasadbhuṣaṇam - who is glittering in ornaments full of gems

bāhubhyāṃ - in his two (other) arms
dhṛtacakraśaṅkhamaniśaṃ - who holds the "cakra" i.e. discus weapon and the bejeweled conch

daṃṣṭrogravaktrollasa - whose jaws (daṃṣṭra), fierce visage (ugra-vaktra) are shining brilliantly (lasa)

jjvālājihvamudagrakeśanicayaṃ - blazing flame-like (jjvālā) whose long (udagra) tongue (jihvam), whose mane (keśa) heaped upwards (nicayaṃ)

vande nṛsiṃhaṃ vibhum - Salutations (vande) to that Lord Nrsimha, who is great and all pervading (vibhum)

Whose brilliance is like mountains of rubies
Whose luster makes demons tremble with fear

The Three-eyed Who is glittering in ornaments of gems
Resting two of His hands on His thighs

And in the other two arms carries the discus and conch
Whose jaws and fierce visage shine brilliantly

Whose long tongue is like a blazing flame and mane heaped upwards, 
I salute That Lord Nrsimha who is great and all pervading

Friday, April 20, 2018

The strength of the elephant
The heart of the lion
As humane as the pachyderm
As noble as the regal feline
The wisdom of the Guru
The compassion of Chandra
As valiant, brilliant as Surya
Full of Sattva, Bhakta of Hari

Fights valiantly with

The dragon, the snake
Heart is cold blooded devious like Rahu
Yet breathing fire thru mouth like Ketu
Full of Vayu, full of Agni

Sura so pehchaniye

Guru Gobind Singh said:
"Sura so pehchaniye jo lade din ke het
Purja Purja kat mare tabo na chhade khet"

Now a Bhagavad Gita Karma Yoga form of this in contemporary Hindi
Shur use pehchano
Jiska yuddha hai dharmakshetra
Har purza kat Jaye
Phir bhi na chhoDe Kurukshetra

Who fights for his cause
Know him to be brave
Though cut to pieces
He fights to his grave

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Motivating quote

From the trailer of Subedar Joginder Singh (film)

Jang jitne de liye asla nahi hosla chahida
To fight a battle, more than ammunition, you need spirit.

So true! battles are won and lost due to presence or absence of courage and not just due to superior resources or tactics. The resolve must be deep, the determination firm under any attack. Once you decide to the last bullet, there is no looking back. Either you shall win gloriously or die heroically - in either case your name shall be remembered, your examples would be given and people down the ages would be inspired by what you did and how you did it.

And mental strength comes from being righteous. A righteous battle fought for greater good gives one unshakable confidence.

Guru Gobind Singh said:
"Sura so pehchaniye jo lade din ke het
Purja Purja kat mare tabo na chhade khet"

Know him to be a hero, who fights for the righteous cause
Even though cut down to pieces, fights on without a pause

The battle is not just an external battle with a physical enemy, but the biggest enemy of all is Shadripu - the six weaknesses in a man, which gives rise to baser instincts.

Rahu is that enemy - the snake with many heads. Jupiter is the lion, full of purity, virtue, righteousness.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rama - the protector

From Rama Raksha Stotra

आपदामपहर्तारं दातारं सर्वसंपदाम्।
लोकाभिरामं श्रीरामं भूयो भूयो नमाम्यहम्॥३५॥

āpdāmapaharatāram dātāram sarvasampdām ''।
''Lokābhirāmam ShriRamam bhūyo bhūyo namāmyaham ''॥35॥

 ApadA - calamity
hartAram - destroyer
dAtA - giver
sarvasampadAm - all resources, wealth

lokAbhi - the people
rAmam - (who) charms, pleases
Sri Rama - Sri Rama
bhuyo bhuyo - again and again
namAmyaham - I salute

The destroyer of calamities,
The giver of all prosperity
The one who pleases one and all
O Sri Rama, I offer thee my curtsey
Again and again.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Vicara - in Yoga Sutras

A large proportion of what I understand of Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is through Swami Venkatesananda's commentary which I mention either verbatim or paraphrase it or mention it's essence below. Wherever it's verbatim, I will indicate the page no, sutra no.

YS 1.2 states "yoga citta vritti nirodah" - quite a famous sutra
YS 1.12 states "abhyasa vairagya tan nirodah"

J Glenn Ingersoll ( in Pg 82 (catvari aryasatyani) of his work "Mechanics of Mind: Subject - Object Relationships" states:
"Both verses 1:2 & 1:12 end with the same word, nirodha. All commentators agree that the word tan (1:12) refers to the chitta vrttis (1.2). Therefore, yoga, as remedy, is the union of abhyasa & vairagya."

So the way to attain yoga is through "abhyasa vairagya"

and how can you do abhyasa? This is explained by Sutra 1.17 (this is after defining abhyasa and vairagya in the previous few sutras - Abhyasa: 1.13, 1.14 & Vairagya 1.15) which states -

"vitarka vichara ananda asmitaroopa anugamat sanprajnatah"

This is defined as 4 different types of samadhi by various commentators, but Swami Venkatesananda has a different take on it - he doesn't define them as samadhis, but just defines what they are i.e. what these technical words mean.

Out of this - he spends a lot of words explaining vicara specifically. Basis this, it emerges that to do abhyasa the way is vicara, at least it is the starting point. If you are able to do vicara in a disciplined manner, you get self-realization, then and there! The other way (in case the path of vicara doesnt suit you) is ishwara pranidhana (see in same sutra Swamiji's explanation in Pg 85). In a manner, he equates vicara with "jnana yoga" and ishwara pranidhana with "bhakti yoga". What Ramana Maharishi did was vicara.

Vitarka is analysis - say you have some psychological complex, you assess it logically, rationally. As Swamiji explains if say someone's wife leaves him, then it is the wife's problem, why is the person agitated. Because he has an attachment to the wife, some expectations. This kind of approach only helps to an extent. At times, we are beset with a deep seated fear or anxiety. If we start analyzing it, the fear or anxiety gives some rational explanations for it's existence - like you may not succeed in something important could be reason for the fear, if you try to logically attack it (if you can), then it will find some other reason. The point is the fear will find some target or other. What you have to address is the fear itself. It's like that snake in the dark, which is not a snake but a rope. Vicara is the method of directly looking at the fear, encountering it, not running away from it, not analyzing it, but seeing it for what it is. Frankly despite the difficulty of even comprehending what this means, this approach really appeals to me. Over last few days, to an extent, I have been able to do this (I dont know if what I did was what is explained by Swamiji - but it felt good!).

Presenting below Swami Venkatesananda's explanation of Vicara is his book: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg (50-56)

"When you try to meditate, the first thing is that the mind throws up all kinds of arguments - pro and con. As this happens, you confront these arguments with counter arguments. So, argument and counter argumentation is the first stage in this meditation. This goes on for some time until the mind reaches its own barrier, which is the rational barrier. The intellect does not function beyond ratiocination, the logic barrier, and logic comes to its own conclusion. You have no logic or rationalising intellect now, so you begin to watch and look - not inquiring in the sense of using the mind, because that vitarka stage is past. Now you see no argument at all for or against the existence of this indwelling intelligence, you see no reason for or against the truth or the falsity of the ego.
The intellect is helpless and so it stops functioning there. When this happens, the intelligence which is reflected within you begins to function. You cannot rationally discover this intelligence. Now you can only look - vicara.

Then another movement in consciousness begins. It is not mental activity, but pure attention. It is not a movement in consciousness which proceeds from what is called ‘me’ towards the other. It is a movement in the consciousness which seems to flow towards its own centre. It is neither mental activity, thought nor reasoning, but enquiry, a direct observation within. What is ‘within’? What is ‘without’? We don’t know. For the present it looks like within, because a moment ago ‘that’ looked like without – otherwise there is no within, no without. When the enquiry starts there is a feeling that the attention is moving within towards the centre. That is called vicara!

Vicara starts when you feel trapped, you experience bondage, unhappiness. Vicara has no proper translation in English, though it has been translated into 'enquiry', which has unfortunately been misunderstood to be intellectual pursuit. It is not enquiry in the sense of asking questions, etc. You may ask once, 'What is happening in me, who is repeating the mantra?', but once that asking has been done, it is merely looking at it. If that is the meaning of the English word 'enquiry', marvellous! If it is not, the proper meaning has to be discovered. It is merely looking without thought, without thinking.

'Car' in sanskrit means movement, and 'vicara' means to move efficiently. Without vicara there is no spirit in yoga practice. In vicara there is neither argument nor rationalisation. There is no anxiety to get rid of unhappiness - then you avert your gaze from the unhappiness and you cannot understand what it is, nor is there a desire to grin and bear it - again you are not looking at it. There is a
third alternative - to look within to discover where this unhappiness is. 

The question of 'what' is the essence of vicara. Here one merely looks at it and enquires 'What is this sorrow?', not 'Why is it there?', or 'How did it arise?' There is no 'my' sorrow and 'your' sorrow, there is just sorrow. You must be able to extricate this phenomenon of suffering or sorrow - which is independent of the personality and the circumstances, and see the phenomenon as it is.

Here tremendous concentration is needed, so that you can focus your whole attention upon this phenomenon of suffering and let the energy of the mind flow in that single direction. Then you have forgotten why you are unhappy, you are only aware of sorrow. It is in you.

If you are aware of sorrow, are 'you' and the 'sorrow' two different entities, or are they the same? When you use a mantra in meditation and mentally repeat it, you can hear it. Who is saying it, and who is hearing it? Suddenly you realise that you are also there, you are watching both these. The sound is emanating from somewhere. Someone is saying this mantra, someone is listening to it, and
someone is watching both these fellows! Similarly, here you are merely observing this phenomenon of sorrow, and you say, 'I am aware of sorrow'.

Try this. Stand in front of your electric stove. You can see that the water is boiling in the kettle, but you do not have to boil, do you? No. So similarly, you can see sorrow, observe sorrow and become aware of that sorrow. You observe that you are aware of sorrow. As you are becoming more and more intensely aware of sorrow, you suddenly become one with that sorrow. You are not sorry any more, you are not suffering any more, you are sorrow. The fire itself does not feel hot, it is hot. So that, if you are sorrow, you do not feel sorrow any more. You are free.

So, vicara is a movement in consciousness. It is pure attention. It does not proceed from what is called 'me' towards the other, but is a direct observation within. You can focus it on sorrow, pain, fear, hate or anything you like. Unless there is a feeling that the attention is moving within towards the centre, these words have no meaning. There is pure observation, and that observation itself
discovers the true nature of experience. 'Discovers' is meant in its almost literal sense - you had covered that pure experiencing with a big label called 'sorrow', and when this light of observation shone on it, it dis-covered or peeled that label off. That is discovery - 'un-covery'. There is an endeavour to merely observe the reality or the content of that experience. This is like flashing a torch on the shadow on the wall. When the shadow is illumined, its background or substratum is seen. In that observation there is great stillness, and the object of observation alone exists.

Because of the extreme importance of vicara, let us look at another example - of pain, for instance. Pain, sorrow and suffering are really a blessing. But in ignorance we turn them into a sorrow by blaming someone or something else - the psychologist blames one's childhood and the oriental religious man blames one's previous birth, for instance. Instead of listening to these ideas, if you look at the pain immediately, you may be able to deal with it. A wise man need be hurt only once.

What is pain, what is it made of? When you begin to inquire seriously, the first thing you notice is that the mind is absolutely calm and quiet. You have pulled away from the pain, and therefore the pain is not terribly painful. You are observing it, inquiring into it, and in the meantime the body takes care of the pain, or whatever it is. There is no pain, only the mind-stuff. In the light of that observation, it becomes absolutely clear that there is only the wall - the screen; there is no shadow at all, just the background. There is no wave, there is only the water.

The observation still continues, it does not come to an end, because there is one question which we have not answered. We are using such expressions as 'I observe the mind', 'I am meditating', knowing that all these are mental modifications. Even if these statements are the fruits of direct observation, there are still these questions, 'What is I. Who is the experiencer or observer? Is the observer a totally independent entity, independent of the experience? Is I a completely different and independent being standing apart from the mind-stuff?'I do not know.

The whole area of observation has narrowed down completely. The object has gone, the experience has gone, the only thing left now is the observer. If this pure observation asks this question and gets the answer 'I do not know', then 'I' and 'do not know' are the only things left, and these are not two completely different factors, but two sides of the same thing. Here, there is no logic and no observation, there is total stillness.

Vicara is essential in the practice of Raja Yoga and meditation. Meditation helps the vicara and vicara helps the meditation, because vicara needs one-pointedness and introversion of the mind. The mind must be introverted so that both during the practice of meditation and at other times the yogi must be aware of the thoughts and the emotions that arise in him. That makes it very clear that the yogi is not looking for a blank mind and an emotionless heart!"

I can post the next few paras on Vicara here, but just pause and meditate on the beautiful explanation by Swami Venkatesanandji given above, before you go further.

"The Buddha said, 'Live in this world as you would if you were living in a room with a deadly cobra.' As soon as you become aware of it, you begin to observe - not thinking about it, knowing that your thinking or not thinking does not alter the situation. You are wide awake and full of energy, perfectly concentrated. You may panic for a couple of minutes, but once you realise that you are caught in it,
the mind is absolutely calm and alert, looking actively but passively. All this is involved in that single instruction of living with the cobra.

If you can dramatise the whole thing within yourself for five minutes, you have learnt all about meditation and vicara. You know what it is to enquire into, to look into, to observe. In the same way, if you are able to observe pain, either physical or psychological, and you have pulled yourself away from it, there is this inner feeling, 'I am here, I am not affected by this.' It is not verbal, and you are
not trying to bluff yourself. The pain seems to go away, because you are acting as an observer now, you do not really experience the pain that the body is experiencing. But this does not last long. Once this observation comes to an end, you get caught up in the pain again.

If you are serious about this enquiry, if your mind, heart, emotions and life itself all come together and 'functionise' vicara, then you have tremendous energy which is derived from the non-dissipation of the mind. There is nothing that you cannot achieve. Use whatever pleasure and pain life brings you every day for your enquiry, and if you are sincere and earnest about it, then there is not a single moment in your life when this enquiry need be really absent. For example, when you are singing, can you forget about everybody else and listen to your voice? How and where does it
originate? How does it feel inside? Even as you are listening you, can look at the process of listening - not the anatomical and physiological aspects, but how listening takes place. If, while you are singing, you are merely observing the singing, neither thinking about it, analysing it nor examining it, it is a beautiful sensation. So, whatever the experience - singing, walking, driving, eating or having a shower - you can utilise it for pure awareness or vicara.