Lord Ganesha – The Hidden Messages in His Form

Hari Om! Welcome back. 🙂 Thank You for all your love and support for the previous blogs.

This one is a celebration of the magical form of our favourite Lord Ganesha. Happy Reading and Happy Ganesh Chaturthi! 😀

Ganesh Chaturthi as a festive celebration was introduced by Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak as a means of unifying the Indian society during the Independence movement. Today, more than ever before India’s countless communities celebrate this joyous festival with great enthusiasm. 

I have always been fascinated by the mysticism in the literature and traditions of Sanatana Dharma. With this story, I hope to take you through yet another beautiful journey! 🙂 

ऊँ गम गणपतये नमः

Little Devika watched as an enigmatic idol of Lord Ganesha made its way into her society – accompanied by loud cheers and songs of happiness from all members. She smiled as she looked at His form adoringly. 

Then she frowned, deep in thought. She had a penchant for wanting to know the symbolism behind Hinduism’s mystical forms and traditions. As she looked closely at Ganesha’s statue, beyond the happy and friendly Lord – she wondered what was it that his form represented? 

Now, this little girl had a special gift. She could converse with the Lord of her heart whenever she wanted! As if he had heard her confused mind, Lord Ayyappa appeared right next to her, smiling his divine smile. 

“Fascinated by my elder brother’s form?” He whispered, jolting her out of her thoughts. 

“Ayyappa!!” she exclaimed happily, surprised. 

Bhagawan giggled while she composed herself to launch a tirade of questions. “Yes yes. You know whenever I look at Ganesha I can’t help but feel happy because he brings such joy and peace! But then his form is so different, like most unique in all of our culture. Outsiders, even our own people might find it weird because no one knows what he represents. I can’t help but wonder..” She rattled off. 

“Well, firstly every form is an indication of the formless. Beyond the form, lies the formless.” Bhagawan said as he gazed at Lord Ganesha’s form with deep reverence in his heart. 

“But let us go step by step.” He chuckled looking at Devika’s confused face.

“What do you think of when you look at Lord Ganesha’s huge head?” He asked her. 

“Umm…well its an elephant’s head. And an elephant is one of the most powerful animals, always leads from the front. So leadership?” 

“Most certainly. Primarily his head represents the evolved intellect of what we call a Man of Perfection or a Rishi. This is the pinnacle that every man aspires to reach after a period of continuous sadhana and reflection. This intellect is rooted in the powers of knowledge and discrimination. It helps man take the right decisions in the world outside and unravel the layers of his own inner personality too.” Bhagawan replied impressed with her line of thought. 

“Wow. That is intense. What about his trunk? I know an elephant’s trunk can pick the tiniest blade of grass and uproot the mightiest tree,” she pondered. 

“Perfect. Similarly a wise man can perform the most difficult task with ease and go into the tiniest of details. He does not get perturbed by either. His focus is unbreakable.” Bhagawan smilingly shrugged. 

Devika paused to absorb this message before launching her next question. “And his broken tusk? I can’t wrap my mind around what that could tell us,” she complained. 

Bhagwan laughed at her expression. “My Dear, what does the power of knowledge and discrimination give you? Tremendous inner strength and understanding is it not?” He questioned. 

She nodded eager to know more. 

“With this understanding you go beyond the pairs of opposites. As in, look the world is made up of heat and cold, joy and sorrow and so on. That is its nature. Can you help it? No. But what you can certainly help is how you react to it. Right?” He searched her face for an understanding. 

“Yes. I can slowly get my mind to not complain about these things because they are what they are. They are not going away..But I can live happily despite that if I have the right understanding,” she was quick to reply. 

“On point. Perhaps this duality does not even exist, but that is for another day. Now Lord Ganesha’s broken tusk represents he who has gone beyond this duality and remains established in that subtle oneness which pervades this entire universe. The vision of love. There is no hatred or anger left in him. He is full of love and calm alone,” he explained making Devika wonder what that state would be like. 

“Such large ears he has! He can listen to all the love the entire world has for him na?” She asked. 

“That’s exactly what his super-large ears are for. To listen keenly. A wise man listens to all those who come to him with compassion, with a keen sense of being present in the moment – not allowing any prejudice to colour the mind. When he listens keenly, he makes the right decisions, when he does that he acts well and finally lives well!” Bhagawan winked. 

“Wow..quite a skill to pick up from Ganesha.” She smiled. “Now, in this stupid world of perceived right sizes, what about his large stomach?” She quizzed sheepishly. 

To Be Continued…

I’ll be back next Sunday with Part 2 (the concluding part) of the story!

I am leaving you with this soothing bhajan by Shri Shankar Mahadevan on Bappa. Do listen – https://youtu.be/nwmaPaf6Bac

Ganapati Bappa Morya! 

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 

Sanatana Dharma – A Poem

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂

I hope all of you a wonderful Independence Day. 😀 Let us strive to become spiritually independent individuals, for in our transformation lies the nation’s transformation!

On that patriotic note, today I am publishing this poem I had penned some time ago on the rock-solid foundation of India – her eternal spiritual and cultural tradition – Sanatana Dharma.

Sanatana Dharma is a tradition conceived of as inherent in the cosmic mind, arising with the dawn of creation itself.

Dr David Frawley

Today, this great tradition is popularly known as Hinduism or Hindu Dharma. It is vast, it is ancient, it is extremely rich and home to various schools of thought including Yoga and Vedanta. However, at the core it is all about knowing and experiencing that Cosmic Truth, that self-existent reality that pervades all.

I will keep talking about this great tradition in future blogs. For now, let’s get to the poem! 🙂

I have been ravaged by time,
Yet I know no harm,
For I am eternal, I am timeless.

I have been looked upon with angry ignorance,
My temples have been destroyed,
My scriptures have been burnt away,
I have been looked down upon by generations
Of the country I have nourished.

Yet I know no hate,
For I am Supreme Love Itself.

Monarchs have tried to vanquish me,
Invaders have tried to bury me,
Politicians try to push me into the past,
Yet I remain smilingly infinite,
Ever safe in the hearts of those who uphold me,
Ever ready to help even those who try to destroy me.

Yes, I have been torn apart many a times,
It pains me when my own children do not understand me.

Yet I look up with hope at Him, the Lord of All,
Who has graced this sacred land with his Feet,
Each time to save me from the hands of evil.
In the Yugas gone by as Rama and Krishna,
In this Yuga as great saints and Realized Masters,
As men and women who strive to discover me in their hearts.

Do you wonder who am I?
I, My Dear Children, Am Your Mother.
The Root of Love and Truth in the tree of your lives.
I am Dharma, Sanatana Dharma,
The timeless tradition that nourishes this Universe.
That which is the backbone of your sacred motherland, Bharat.

This poem is extremely special for a reason I am unable to articulate well. But that reason has given me a vision – an aim.

To not only learn more myself, but also create awareness and build up knowledge about our incredible tradition through whatever I write. I hope to have all of you and many more with me on this journey! 😀

Here’s a book you can start your journey of knowing more about Sanatana Dharma with – trust me it is an extremely enriching read! (https://www.amazon.in/What-Hinduism-Guide-Global-Mind/dp/9388038630)

I leave you with this beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by the People of India from the pristine land of Arunachal Pradesh to the golden shores of Tamil Nadu – a Sounds of India initiative by Prasar Bharati. – https://youtu.be/DttAX2OFoN0

See You Next Sunday,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 🙂

Sadhana – Uplifting the Mind – Part 2

Hari Om and Welcome back! 🙂 Thank you so much for all the love on the previous blog – Sadhana – Uplifting the Mind. It really means a lot when your audience reads and relates to what you write. 

I missed putting up a blog last Sunday due to other engagements. I hope not to do that again. 🙂 

The last blog had spoken about 4 Sadhanas that can help our mental and spiritual well-being – Japa, Yogasana, Meditation and Arpana Buddhi. Today I’ll be writing about 5 more of them to conclude this series. 

  1. Satsang – This is a practice at one level but from a higher standpoint – it is a blessing that gradually unfolds. Which allows us to unfold the layers covering our true nature. Satsang translates to company of the good and noble. In the beginning we associate ourselves with brilliant books that elevate our minds and with seekers who are determinedly walking this path of inner upliftment – this itself causes tremendous spiritual growth. At one point with grace alone, we are blessed with the company of spiritually elevated Masters – a sage or a Guru as we know them. In Sri Ramcharitamanas it is said, “Binu Satsang Vivek Na Hoyi” – Without Satsang, you will not be able to discriminate between the Real and the Unreal! 
  1. Svadhyaya – Translating to Study, this practice takes time and patience. Here, we reflect upon the scriptures of Sanatana Dharma – like the Bhagavad Gita for instance. By slowly absorbing what these manuals for right living are trying to convey – we bring their instructions into our lives, thereby enriching it. It requires guidance after a point – which in my own experience comes by itself if we are sincere in our efforts. One doesn’t need to start right from the top – for today we have tons of material online in different formats. Below is a list of 3 books you can begin with. In my humble opinion and experience – the Bhagavad Gita is a scripture all of us can begin our study with to know our own selves better. 
  1. Bhajana – In popular parlance, Bhajana or Bhajan is devotion expressing in the form of divine music and dance, which is a beautiful sadhana and experience by itself. Another interpretation is given by Shri Adi Sankaracharya in his famous composition, the Bhaja Govindam as whatever we do with an attitude of service to Bhagawan with our body, mind and intellect. That could be singing or any other action – what matters is the attitude of loving service. True Bhajana is therefore becoming an instrument of that Universal Consciousness – knowing, experiencing and living it! 
  1. Prasada Buddhi – After Arpana Buddhi which is offering of actions – we come to Prasada Buddhi – that is acceptance of actions. It is a Sadhana that applies to both the practical and emotional mindsets. It means accepting the fruits of our actions as Bhagawan’s Prasada or as the natural fruit of whatever we ourselves had sown. This mindset bestows peace and humility, for we do not dwell too much upon the should-haves and could-haves, the pain or failures then. Imagine the amount of stress we could reduce! 

I had thought of including Shravanam (Listening) but that will take another extensive blog. It also led me to Mananam (Reflection). It will only make sense if I give justice to both of them in the upcoming blogs.

I hope this piece adds value to your life and inspires you to keep working on connecting with your inner Self! For me, all these practices have been helping in fine-tuning my mind to be more receptive to the cosmic energy and make it relatively much more peaceful than it was say a few months ago. 

But my favourite is Satsang! People who know me would know why. 🙂 For associating with the good, is extremely powerful. 

Since we spoke about Bhajana, whenever you find time, do listen to this beautiful song on Shri Krishna as we approach Janmashtami. 

See You Next Sunday! 🙂

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 

Sadhana – Uplifting the Mind

Hello! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 Thank You so much for the wonderful response on Towards True Mental Well-Being! It truly means a lot. 😀

Last Sunday, I had blogged about how the mental health of every individual needs to be addressed with a holistic understanding. 

By Sadhana we give the mind healthy and favourable surroundings, enough nutrition, restful repose, a direction etc. It must revive and grow by itself

Swami Chinmayananda

Today I will be writing about the practices – which we call Sadhanas on the spiritual path – that have helped my mind tremendously. Spirituality is a science that addresses life as a whole – the mental, physical and subtler aspects that we may not be aware of now. Thus, its practices has a deeper, profound healing effect on the mind and body. 

I am breaking this blog into two parts, the second one will be posted next Sunday. What I will be writing about is a very basic introduction because each of these Sadhanas need in-depth examining and experiential understanding too. 

  1. Japa – A powerful practice probably found in all major world religions – Japa is traditionally performed in the beginning with the help of Tulsi mala/Rudraksha mala of 108 beads. You begin by chanting out aloud the sacred mantras of your favourite deity (Ishta Devata – for example Om Namah Shivaya) or the Savitur Gayatri Mantra preferably in the morning hours. As your mind becomes more and more silent – this chanting will become a mere murmur within. It is a sadhana which builds our concentration and gain access to greater potential buried in the mind.

2. Yogasana – I mention Yogasana – because Yoga by itself has a multitude of definitions in different contexts. But here it would mean integrating the body and the mind with breath awareness and a set of practises called Asanas. Each Asana works on parts of the body, enhances one’s awareness and alertness and helps quieten the mind – thereby preparing it for higher flights into meditation. You may check out my trainer’s profile here (she is AMAZING!) and contact her if you have queries. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Health—Wellness-Website/Yogatainment-612506432515155/ 

3. Meditation – One point that I have come to realise is that meditation begins as a practise we perform with closed eyes and slowly becomes a state of being. From 5 minutes of sitting straight, fidgeting and watching our thoughts to going deeper and deeper – we finally reach a calm state that penetrates into what we do with our eyes open too. 

While there are guided meditations on YouTube and Apps that you can check out – what has worked best for me so far is a slow chanting of Om.

4. Arpana Buddhi – This translates to maintaining a mindset of offering all that you do at a Higher Altar. This altar could be Bhagawan, Guru, the nation, your parents, your goals, etc. In the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna asks Arjuna to surrender all his actions and thoughts at His Feet. When we bring this sadhana in our day to day life – the mind stops pondering over the fruits of its actions and loses all attachment with it. While performing the action itself, there is no anxiety for we are completely immersed in the present while being detached from the outcome. The mind is gradually lifted up into serene channels of inspiration. 

Even though something as simple as a walk, an affirmation or even music can help our mind – I wanted to blog about these Sadhanas which have helped me at levels – more profound than I can fathom. I believe they are long-term practises which while requiring tremendous patience and consistency – transform us from within and lift our minds to quieter channels. 

Next week, we’ll look at 5 more practises – and in the future examine these in-depth too.

Until then, please feel free to connect with me if you have questions on lakshstar97@gmail.com. I am a novice too – trying to blog, express and share so that all of us can grow together! 🙂

From now on, I’ll try to ensure that every blog leaves you with a simple resource you can use to uplift yourselves.

As we are in the Shravan month which is dedicated to worship of Lord Shiva – click here for a super-calming Mantra that will leave you feeling refreshed at any point in the day. 😀

See you Next Sunday! 😀

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 

Towards True Mental Well-Being

Hellooo! 🙂 Now this marks a humble new beginning in the journey of creating content from the heart with two goals – to share and to enhance our growth. Do join me on this quest, I promise we will shine together! 🙂

Today as I woke up in the morning – a thought struck me. What is mental health? Do we actually understand what it means? 

We watch awareness campaigns rise for depression and mental well-being when someone close to us struggles or someone who has achieved a considerable amount of what is regarded as success also fights hard battles inside his/her mind. 

But, is mental health only about creating awareness around Depression, Anxiety or Suicide? No doubt, it is an extremely vital part. Tell me, do we understand physical health merely as being aware of various illnesses and the absence of those? Or is it much more holistic? 

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as, “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively or fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” 

Mental health is more than mental disorders. Treatment is only a part of the whole. The focal point is enabling a person to function at his optimum mental capacity and help him discover that mental fortitude which can stand by him in times of challenges. Mental health is as much about being at peace as it is about having the strength to face life’s struggles. 

We often notice that maintaining physical fitness comes quite naturally to us. While the mind does benefit in this process – why do we not recognize that the mind is far subtler and needs more care and understanding? The mind and body go hand in hand. What affects the mind, affects the body and vice versa. You can’t neglect either – for they are sacred vehicles we are blessed with. 

mental health - as your mind so your vision

In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda says, “Mind is man. As the mind, so is the individual. If the mind is disturbed, the individual is disturbed. If the mind is good, the individual is good.” 

He explains the working of the Objective Mind (the Manas in Sanskrit) as that which faces the world outside and the Subjective Mind (the Buddhi in Sanskrit) as that which faces within and reacts to this stimuli received from outside. 

“That individual is whole and healthy in whom the objective and subjective aspects of the mind work in unison, and in moments of doubt, the Objective Mind readily comes under the disciplining influence of the Subjective Mind.” he elaborates. 

However, in the majority of us this is split and does not work in unison many times – due to our own delusory attachments and desires – which leads to inner confusion. 

To do each day what it takes to bring these two aspects together and minimize that layer of false notions will bring in mental health into our daily lives. 

I’ll talk in my next blog on 26th July 2020, about those practises which have been working well for me, in my quest. 

Until then, Keep Smiling and Shining!

Do click Like, Follow and leave your comments – cherish this dream with me! 😀

Love and Om,

Lakshmi.

Shri Adi Sankaracharya – The Youth Icon

Hari Om, Namaskaram and Hello! I had written this special piece on Shri Adi Sankaracharya’s Jayanti which was on April 28th in 15 minutes – at midnight for a competition held by Chinmaya International Foundation just before the deadline ended! And it did receive the 3rd prize with His Grace. 🙂

Do have a read, and let me know how you find it. 😀

I do not know much about Shri Adi Sankaracharya’s life history.
I do not know much about his spiritual education or sojourns.
But I do know what Bhagawan stood for, where his heart was and what was in his heart.


In one of his devotional music videos, Shri Kuldeep M Pai, a popular classical singer says how we would be much stronger and fulfilled human beings if we would worship iconic real heroes like Bhagawan Sankaracharya instead of mythical ones like Superman and He-man!

Shri Adi Sankaracharya at Chinmaya Vibhooti, Kolwan, Maharashtra


That sentence has stuck in my heart. Much like how Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda extols this great Master – for that is what he is – The Icon of All Icons! And for us youngsters, A YOUTH Icon.

How is that possible you ask? How can some Master of an age gone-by be our Icon? Well, the fact that he lives on millennia later, is proof enough of a life of incomparable greatness! And that is what we crave for isn’t it? A life of purpose.


Shri Sankara was the epitome of fearlessness and national pride. When our beloved Bharat was lying decapacitated in the hands of Pundits who loved the Word more than the essence, a society that was struggling in the clutches of decaying Buddhism and ritualistic Hinduism – with no real soul to it – it is in this state that Sankara found his dear country and its people. His heart bled at that young age. And he fought. He fought his entire life to re-establish the essence of Hinduism in the lives of people.

He went across the country, defeating self-acclaimed Pundits and reclaiming Sanatana Dharma from their clutches – with his debating skills and experiential knowledge of the Highest! He composed basic texts explaining the highest philosophy of Advaita Vedanta in the terminology of us common people.

Commentaries on the Upanishads, establishing 4 Mathas and much much more- his life was one of invincible love for the timeless tradition he belonged to, of Oneness with the Supreme, of great compassion and love for his people and of utmost humility!

To us he is an exemplary example of how we must live a life of Integrity, Love, Oneness, Absolute Fearlessness, remaining strong in our convictions and offer ourselves at a Higher Altar – only then will the subtleties of life reach us in our meditation!

Perhaps, I do not know much about Bhagawan Sankara, but I do know that I want to know more and more of this Great Guru – until I attain His lotus feet! What about you?

A Day With Lord Ayyappa- Chapter 5: Timeless Moments

As she dusted her hands, she heard a grumbling sound. When she turned to investigate the cause of that sound, she found Shabareesh grinning sheepishly.
“Hungry!”
“What? You just had so much chaat!” she laughed much to his exasperation.
“Huh! So what? That was a while ago. After that, you made me run around and build this castle on top of that. So..” he shrugged, quite proud of his answer.
“Oh really?” Karthika smiled sweetly making him gulp. The next minute all the sand covering her hands were on his head!
“What the..” his jaws dropped open as he surveyed himself while Karthika laughed away to glory.
That was it. The next moment her clothes were splattered with more sand.
She glared at him but Shabareesh smirked widely, his eyebrows jiggling in a teasing expression. The duo stared at each other for a second. The next second they broke into laughter.


“We look like drenched monkeys!” Karthika exclaimed struggling to catch her breath.
“Well I always thought you were a cute little monkey!” he chuckled.
“Hawww! I am not talking to you.” Karthika stalked off.
“Hey! You only keep sending that monkey on WhatsApp!” he remarked falling in step with her.
“Shabareesh I never expected you to be such a tease!” she huffed.
“Oh come on that’s not just your job, I am more talented. And by the way, I am everything yet nothing. You only need to REALIZE.” he winked mysteriously and went ahead, leaving Karthika to her thoughts.

On their way home, she was lost in him. The flowers he touched lightly, bloomed with life, a smile always played on his lips. The smile that had never left her heart since the day had begun.
The driver of the rickshaw they rode back home was delighted at his company.

“Can I sing for you later?” she asked softly.
He had been busying caressing the tiny head of a myna that was perched on his shoulder as they walked to her home. Her request made him grin wide.
“Sureee! I am waiting.” His eyes shone with excitement.

Her heart almost swelled with happiness at that love in his eyes. On entering her home though her face suddenly fell.

“What happened ma?” he asked noticing her crestfallen expression.

“There is nothing at home to eat. And you’re hungry!” she whispered almost in tears.

“Hey! Don’t sound so sad. Give me anything with all the love in your heart, even if it is a simple fruit. That’s more than enough to satisfy me.” he said holding her by her shoulders gently.

“But I wanted to prepare so much for you!” Karthika cried.

“Remember, Sudama’s handful of puffed rice made Lord Krishna happier than the largest dinner banquet. Sabari Maata’s pure love, overflowing into those half-eaten fruits brought tears to Sri Rama’s eyes. Give me whatever your heart wills and time allows.” He wiped away her tears, reminding her of the stories of the Lord’s greatest devotees

Karthika managed a small smile and quickly went to the kitchen. With whatever little was available in the house, she began preparing a meal while Shabareesh stood by, observing her. No words were spoken. He could see how she poured all her concentration and devotion into the food that she was making. As for her, she had completely dissolved into the act of cooking, into the very love that was the key ingredient of her preparation!

After an hour, he sat down famished and eager while she served the dishes lovingly on a silver plate that she used to first serve food for the Lord. Today however she was mysteriously directed to serve Shabareesh. By now, her intellect had completely given up reasoning. It had accepted that whatever was happening was way beyond its comprehension.

“Ahh! What a lovely lunch and my favourite Chadachadayam [ I know it is difficult to pronounce! 😛 Made of jaggery, this variety of kheer is traditionally offered at Lord Ayyappa’s Pujas. It is considered to be his favourite. 🙂 ]

He chanted his prayer and dug into the simple yet delicious spread.

“Wowww!” he exclaimed in amazement. As he ate, very evidently enjoying the meal, Karthika was unable to contain her bubbling joy within herself. Tears of happiness made their way down her eyes. He glanced at her, blinking in unsaid assurance, a soulful smile playing on his lips.

“Get another plate.” He said.

“Why?” came the immediate reply.

“For once listen to me and get a plate!” he teased.

She frowned and followed his orders. What happened next stunned her out of her wits. Shabareesh served the food onto the plate, that silent smile of infinite love never leaving his lips. He mixed the rice with the sambar well, just as he loved it, made a cute little ball of the morsel and stretched his hand to feed her.

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that her heart strained against her chest wanting to leap out in sheer bliss as he fed her. She shivered, wondering if each moment today was real or a beautiful dream? His serene smile, ancient eyes, unconditional love and eternal wisdom – it felt as if the Lord Himself was sitting there and feeding her. The moment felt timeless, as if she wasn’t herself anymore. As if she and Shabareesh were One, like the oneness a devotee revels in with her Lord.

To Be Continued…

A Day With Lord Ayyappa – Chapter 4: Building Dreams & Memories

Hellooo again! I know I am updating after 10 days, but please bear with me! I am trying my best to get into the habit of consistent writing. 🙂 Thank you so much for all the love and encouragement always! 😀

Karthika and Shabareesh have begun their magical day. Join them once again in this chapter. 😀

“The world needs more kindness and love. Don’t forget to smile at a stranger or a child. Don’t hesitate to say a simple thank you to anyone who serves you in any way.” Shabareesh said, his eyes gazing into the distance, as they rode in the rickshaw.

She stared at him, trying to comprehend him, his words. “Where are we going next?” The next minute he asked with a childlike enthusiasm.
She giggled and forgot her efforts to “analyse” Him. “Maybe I should just let go. These moments are special, not within the understanding of my poor mind. Forget it Karthika, too much analysis leads to paralysis! Breathe and enjoy.” she thought to herself.

“Hellloooo?? Excuse me, don’t get us lost please.” Shabareesh whined.
“With you here, can anyone ever be lost?” the words slipped her lips even before she could think.
He smiled mysteriously. “No.” his reply was even more perplexing but seemed absolutely right to her.

“We are going to the beach.” she smiled.
“What? Arey waah, quite a plan you have made haan!” He grinned.

Shabareesh loved the waters. He was always at ease with the peace that their depths offered. Thus when they reached, he immediately ran towards the sea and let the waves lap at his feet.
Normally Karthika would have laughed at this sight, but today she could only observe him, his antics with adoration in her eyes and heart.
They felt pristine, like a divine Leela.

She never knew when he had pulled her to stand beside him.
“Shabareesh!” she huffed.
“Hahahaahaha!” he guffawed.
Her irritation vanished. Her heart jumped in devotion at the voice of his laughter. It wanted to hold every precious moment of this close.
She could feel the beginnings of tears make their way down her eyes, when,
“Splash!”
“What the hell!” Shabareesh had caught her totally off-guard and splashed water on her while she was lost in another plane.

Scratch all those emotions. This guy!
“Hahahaahaha!” he laughed again and ran off.
“Shabareesh, you are dead.” Karthika screamed and ran after him.

“Wasn’t this exactly how I had visualised my day with Ayyappa?” Karthika realised as she caught up with Shabareesh.

After that cat and mouse chase, the duo settled down to build a sand castle.
Shabareesh observed her keenly as she built that little sand castle with total concentration, frown lines on her forehead and a smile etched on her lips.
“Never give up little one on your dreams.” He whispered firmly. Karthika looked up at him.

“Never lose this focus you have. Like this sandcastle will eventually fall away, challenges will arise on your path. Never lose hope. Just as you would build this again, keep building your dreams and working towards them. Let your Ayyappa’s names always dance on your lips. Trust me, even in the most difficult times you will find peace.” He smiled, helping her bring together the sand and cement the foundation.


Karthika couldn’t stop staring at him in awe. At a time when she was unsure of a path towards her goals, worried for her career and studies, unsure of her will to achieve her purpose, here he was speaking words that touched her very soul. To her it seemed like her Lord Himself was asking her to never give up, assuring her that He would always hold her safely.


” I will never give up. ” she said decisively as the sand castle was completed successfully. Her words made Shabareesh grin widely. His goal had been achieved.

To be continued… 🙂

A Day With Lord Ayyappa: Chapter 3 – A Dream Come True?

Helllooo! Sorry, I couldn’t update on Saturday. Here’s Chapter 3! I felt really happy as I wrote this chapter and the parts ahead, hope you enjoy reading it just as much. 🙂 Love and comments are always welcome! Happyyyy Reading! 😀

Back in the closed space of her room, Karthika sat down on her bed and took a deep breath and grinned widely.

“Ayyappa what is happening? I can’t stop smiling! Okay seeing Shabareesh after a long time and spending a day with him is one of my truest wishes come true. But this is something more than that. What I feel right now, the bliss and joy it’s..okay forget it! Like stop it Karthika. Don’t overthink. Just go with the flow.”

“Okay, what’s your plan, where do we go?” she asked him while adjusting her neckpiece.
“You tell me. Today is going to be completely your call!” He replied making her look up with a jerk.
“Are you serious?” she questioned unsurely.
“Of course.”
“You’ll do whatever I want us to?”
He simply nodded.


“What if I ask you to do sit-ups and run around this building?” it was her turn to smirk.
“Karthika!” He huffed cutely. “I can do the sit-ups, not sure about the running.” He added making her laugh.
“Chill chill. I’ll be back.”
She ran to get some Vibhuti and applied to Lord Ayyappa’s idol, closed her eyes and prayed, unaware that she was being observed by someone with the same amount of love she had for Him.


Opening her eyes she looked back at Shabareesh and saw a Vibhuti mark on his forehead. “You didn’t have that when you came in?” she stated confused.
He simply shook his head and smiled, “Figure that out later. Shall we leave?”
“Yessss! But where to?” she placed a finger on her chin, as if thinking hard making him smack his forehead.

She ignored him, looked at the idol and back at him. Something about the glint of timeless wisdom in his eyes and the kindness in his smile touched her soul like never before. Knowing not why, she decided to do all that with him, what she had imagined she would with the Lord.
“Cool. Let’s go.” she held his hand and they left for their first destination of the day.

……….

As soon as they stepped out of her home, the birds started chirping while the leaves of the trees danced to a gush of wind, while Shabareesh cuddled a small puppy. Karthika looked on, it felt like her surroundings were surcharged with a divine presence.
“Bye puppy, else you see that girl there? She’ll burn me down with her glares!” he chuckled earning a whack on his arm from Karthika. He went on to gently touch the trees and their leaves while two birds perched themselves on his shoulders.

Truth be told she was in awe, her heart seemed to want to burst with joy and reverence at his presence. And this was only the start of the day. She sensed he wasn’t the Shabareesh she had known for 10 years of her life, there was something else. She didn’t hurry, she wanted to live each moment with him.

As they left, the energy of these creatures seemed to droop when Shabareesh turned back with his smile, as if assuring them that He will always be there.

Their first stop was one of the most popular chaat stalls in the sprawling city of Mumbai. Karthika knew how much her friend loved chaat.

“Chaatttt!” Shabareesh exclaimed excitedly.
“Bhaiya inn ke liye ekdum tikha Pani Puri banana!” she giggled as told the stall-owner, knowing what was coming next.
“Nooo! Are you crazy? Bhaiya, medium Haan. Thiki waali isko Dena.” He glared at Karthika who burst into laughter seeing how much he hated spicy food.

As he gorged on the Pani Puri and a plate of Ragda Pattice after that, Karthika couldn’t help but keep looking at him. She felt she could do that the entire day, like these moments wouldn’t ever return and she wanted to capture them forever in the treasure chest of her memories.
Yes, he meant the world to her but..why did everything feel so divine today, almost as if the Lord Himself was standing beside her? Or was it because she saw glimpses of the Lord in him?

“Yummmm! Why aren’t you eating? This is so good!” Shabareesh spoke with his mouth full, distracting Karthika.
She chuckled and didn’t reply. When she looked at the old Pani Puri vendor, she was surprised to see his hands trembling and tears escaping his eyes as he finished serving Shabareesh. Suddenly she had lost all her appetite.

Shabareesh held the old man’s frail hands in his own strong yet gentle hold, looked at him, smiled and spoke with firm compassion, ” Bhaiya, Maine kabhi itni achi aur itni saari chaat nahi khaayi. Aapka bohot bohot dhanyawaad.” But there was more to these words, as if they meant to soothe deeper wounds hidden in the man’s soul, rewarding him for his hard-work.

The man had no words to say. He didn’t even try. Folding his palms together, he wept as Shabareesh held him.

After bidding goodbye to him, the duo walked along silently. She didn’t ask for any explanation, he didn’t offer any. Her heart felt full with the overwhelming sight she had witnessed. Yes, Shabareesh was an extremely kind person who could offer a shoulder to anyone in need. But what she had seen was other worldly, almost as if the Lord had conversed and offered solace to his broken devotee!

A Day with Lord Ayyappa: Chapter 2: Known & Unknown

Hellooo! Welcome back to Chapter 2 of A Day with Lord Ayyappa. 🙂 Once again, thank you so so much for all the encouragement and love! Means a lot to me. 😀

Before I begin this chapter I would like to share a realization that hit me this morning. Karthika, the name of the young devotee here incidentally also means the Karthikai month, which falls in November-December, brings the festive “Mandalakalam” dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, which is when devotees undertake the Sabarimala pilgrimage and there are constant pujas and bhajans going on. 🙂 I just chose the name because I liked it, didn’t realise the implications! Happy Reading! 😀

Willing herself to calm down, Karthika took a few deep breaths, got down from her bed and held her favourite idol of the Lord close to her heart, shutting her eyes tight.

A few tears made their appearance again along with a small smile as she spoke to Him, “Ayyappa, I don’t know what you were trying to tell me through that dream. All I know is I can feel your presence all around me more strongly than ever. That dream was divine. There’s nothing stronger than my faith in You, Ayyappa. Whatever you have planned, I know it will be beautiful.” A magical sense of peace took over her as she completed her words.


Placing the idol back in its place, she wiped her tears and composed herself. Next she dropped a good morning text to her parents who were away for a wedding. “Their eyes are going to pop out of their sockets when they see the time of my text.” she chuckled at the thought.
As the sun began peeping out and brightening up the sky with tints of golden orange, Karthika felt a surge of happiness pass through her body. She felt something she couldn’t put a finger on, but it was something she had never felt before.


Prancing about she lit the lamp at home and began saying her morning prayers.
“Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa.” she uttered applying holy ash on her forehead.
The doorbell rang. “Who could it be at 6:00 AM?” she wondered glancing at her watch. She opened the door to get the happiest shock of her life!
There at the door stood one of her closest friends with his characteristic high energy and beaming smile, Shabareeshan.


Almost two decades older to her but one of the closest people to her soul. After her parents, he was everything for her, from a friend to an elder brother. She had met him when she had volunteered for a camp and then on they had hit it off like long-lost buddies. Just like her Ayyappa, he knew everything from her biggest achievements, fears and dreams to the tiniest of joys.
“Good morning, ma.” He said when she still stood like a statue, not able to get a word out of her mouth.
“Shabareesh!” she squealed excitedly and crashed into his arms which enveloped her in a strong bear hug, his huge frame always made her feel protected.
Something felt different. Again. In a good way obviously. She frowned and looked up at him. She felt much more protected, happier and at peace than she usually did with him. His smile seemed brighter and his eyes twinkled with an unknown energy. Her mind couldn’t wrap itself around what was happening.

“Are you going to keep me standing outside your home?” His teasing voice broke her reverie.
“Uhh..no! Come in please.” she moved aside flustered.
“I have a surprise for you.” Shabareesh announced with a grin, settling down on the sofa.
“Really? Tell na!” Karthika urged him excited. Truth be told, that he was here at her home after what felt like ages, itself was a lovely surprise for her!
“Not so fast ma. Get me a glass of water first.” He winked. There was nothing like troubling his little friend!


“Not fair!” She exclaimed irritated much to his amusement and quickly got water for him.
“I am going to spend the entire day with you.” He said simply handing the empty glass to her.
“Oh..WAIT WHAT?!” she couldn’t believe her ears!
He continued smiling and remained silent, quite used to her over-the-top reactions.
“Don’t want me to?” He questioned with a subtle tease.


“No no wait. Like what even? Suddenly? Out of nowhere you pop up and say this! How am I supposed to react? Of course I want you to stay! I mean..” she kept talking totally taken off guard.
“Okay okay, calm down.” He chuckled and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, “Go, get ready. I am waiting here.”
She nodded and turned to go when something struck her. “How did you know I am free today?”
“Oh, don’t you know? I know EVERYTHING!” he smirked mysteriously.

Soooo, who is Shabareesh? Surely you should be able to guess the significance of this name too! 😀

Why is Karthika feeling different around him, when she already knows him? What happens next? Will Lord Ayyappa fulfill his little devotee’s wish or is there something else going on? Any thoughts?

Don’t forget to like and leave your thoughts! 😀