Birthdays – The Indian Ways of An Uplifting Celebration

Hari Om! 🙂 My heartfelt gratitude for all the wishes and blessings on this beautiful day. Hope you like this special blog! 😀

Birthdays bring with them excitement, love and happiness. 🙂 

How do we generally celebrate our birthday? By cutting a cake, celebrating with friends and family or going out for dinner and partying, right? 

If this is what a birthday celebration means to you, maybe that is fine. 

But today, we are going to look at a subtler and more beautiful perspective of celebrating this special day – or should I say days? 

Because as per the Indian tradition or the lunar calendar, we celebrate our birthday on what is called the “Janma Tithi”, where the constellations of the astronomical bodies are similar to what it was during the time of our birth. 

Earlier I personally had zero belief in the “Tithi or Nakshatram(Star)” birthday as we call it – simply because I never understood this tradition. 

In 2019 however, I could sense a deep spiritual happiness the moment I woke up on the day of my star birthday, hence I spent time reading about it. I’ll simplify that bit of information here. 

The vibrations present in the surroundings on the Tithi are most supportive for true inner growth – because they match the vibrations we were actually born with, which make up our subtle body. 

Thus the ancient seers came up with celebration rituals that can enhance the person’s capacity to absorb these spiritual vibrations around him and evolve in all the aspects – spiritual, mental and emotional.

These celebrations are inherently Sattvic or purifying in nature. They enhance the qualities of purity and awareness in us and strengthen the vibrations of the subtle body. 

Whether you celebrate the date of birth or the Tithi or you actually choose to do both like I do – do it mindfully, integrating the best of Indian cultural practices on both days. Thus, both the special days can be greatly elevating. 

How? Let’s see! 

Abhayangasnan – Ah, how does it sound to begin the day early with a calming ritual of a gentle oil massage followed by a warm water bath? This Ayurvedic ritual helps wash away stress, fatigue and dead skin cells, is known to increase circulation to the nerve endings and levels mental alertness, amongst many other proven benefits. It is a complete nourishment for the physiological and psychological systems of the being.

Holistic Well-being – Remember how the mind automatically calms down due to divine vibrations when Arati is performed at home or at a temple? Similarly, here the individual sits near the altar at home and the elder performs the ritual of Aukshan – where subtler frequencies are activated by a lit lamp is waved in a circular motion in front of the person with a prayer for his/her well-being. It is completed by sprinkling unbroken grains of rice (Akshata) on the child’s head. 

Sattvic Inspirations – In the earlier days, parents used to invite evolved beings like the Rishis and saints to bless the child for spiritual and material growth. Today, such a blessing is rare. If you receive it, cherish it with all your heart! Visiting the temple apart from engaging in listening to and reading greatly inspiring material and holding stimulating discussions with a like-minded person on this day, can be highly elevating.

The Birthday – By S.Aravind Raghavan (AKA Aravind Bhaiya! 🙂 )

Cakes Delight – This is something all of us love! But perhaps we can avoid blowing a candle off because it corresponds to extinguishing light. Instead say a simple heartfelt prayer and then cut the cake. That will enhance the positivity of the ritual! 

Light Lamps – What better than lighting colourful lamps and making it a mini-Diwali celebration? Light lamps of knowledge, love, happiness and well-being. And radiate light to all! 

Celebrations with Family – Again, an aspect all of us love. Birthdays are beautiful occasions for family get-togethers too. 

And a perfect day to seek the blessings of the parents, grandparents and other elders you revere! For it is said that the feet of an elder stands for the values he has lived through an entire lifetime.  

Give Gifts – Eh? Birthdays are all about receiving gifts right? Absolutely! But don’t forget you too were gifted to the world on this day. Gifts when given become more special. Make a gift of all the love you have to the world around. Give a donation, visit an orphanage, teach a child, grow plants, feed animals – or choose anything else! 

Make this day and life special for everyone around. 

Reflections and Growth – As we have already seen, this is a day with greater spiritual significance than we realize. This is when you can take time off, and reflect upon the year that has gone by. Where we fell and grew, the achievements and improvements to be made – this is a good day to see where you are and where you want to be in all aspects.  

Offering Gratitude – Finally offer heartfelt gratitude to Bhagavan for all the hits and misses,the sorrows and joy and for the beautiful life and birthday celebrations, for just about everything!

Thus, a birthday celebration in Bharat’s advanced culture, is more like a spiritual fest of inner growth, seva and gratitude! It is truly a day for the seeker to be born again with fresh vigour. 

Incidentally both 2020 and 2019 were super special for me, because I could include most of these aspects in the celebrations on both days! The Star birthday especially in 2019 was truly special because I discovered an Ayyappa temple somewhere in a corner of Jaipur. It was indescribable for I also share my Nakshathram with Him. Let’s see what this year’s star birthday brings! 😀

Hope you like this blog and include some of the aspects mentioned in your celebrations too! And don’t forget to ask your elders when your Tithi or Star birthday is. 🙂 

Until Then,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 🙂

The Significance of Lord Shiva’s Three Eyes

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 Thank so much for all the love and encouragement you shower upon this blog! It helps me become a better instrument. 🙂

In Sanatana Dharma, there is an ocean of knowledge consisting of cultural traditions analogies, statements, tales and symbolisms to hold the seeker’s attention and curiosity for a hundred lifetimes. 

One such form that enchants me is Lord Shiva’s. Imagine my joy which my Guru, Swami Tejomayananda started discoursing on the Vedasara Shiva Stotram composed by Shri Adi Shankaracharya earlier this week! 🙂 

Today, I am going to be writing about one aspect of Bhagavan’s form. The Lord ‘s fascinating three eyes. 

Hope you enjoy the read! 🙂 

This is a verse from the Vedasara Shiva Stotram –

विरूपाक्षमिन्द्वर्कवह्नित्रिनेत्रं – सदानन्दमीडे प्रभुं पञ्चवक्त्रम् ।

विरूपाक्षThe One with Unique Eyes

इन्दु – The Moon

अर्क – The Sun

वह्नि – Fire 

त्रिनेत्रं – Three Eyes

“Trinetra” or the One with three eyes – is an epithet that we immediately associate with Lord Shiva. But what do these three eyes signify? This is what I very joyously discovered this week during Guruji’s talk. 🙂 

Lord Shiva has the sun, the moon and fire for his three eyes – with fire being the third one at the centre. Weirdly fascinating is it not?  

Now for someone who may not know, the third eye might be taken as some appendage or a crack on the forehead – what a scary sight to look at! 

But it is nothing like that. In fact, it is a very subtle symbolism to indicate an awakening to Higher Consciousness. With the light of these three eyes, He illumines the entire world!

Let us go back to the famous story associated with Shiva’s Third Eye. After his consort Devi Sati immolates herself due to her father’s insults healed upon her husband, Shiva destroys Daksha and shuts himself up in a cave, withdrawing within – away from the anger and sorrow caused due to Sati’s immolation. 

In the meantime, Sati re-incarnates as Mother Parvati – an apt epitome of the seeker. For she upon the advice of Sage Narada undertakes severe austerities to obtain Lord Shiva as her husband. Much like a seeker undertakes in his quest for knowledge – the source of which is Shiva Himself. 

The Devas exasperated on seeing the Lord remaining oblivious to the Mother’s penance approach Kamadeva (The Lord of Desire) who from behind a tree shoots one of his arrows at Shiva seated deep in meditation. 

A furious Shiva, his contemplation disturbed, opens his Third Eye and burns down Kamadeva into ashes much to the shock of the Devas and Rati, the wife of Kamadeva. They turn to the Mother Parvati who is Shakti – the other half of Shiva. 

The Lord having calmed down and heard Parvati’s arguments and the pleas of Rati, told her that although he cannot restore her husband ‘s entire form – he will exist in the mind of every human being. Now, is not desire a part of all of us? 

It is quite a beautiful sight to watch this episode being performed in dance dramas! 

Kamadeva represents the constant pulls of desire in our own minds. Desire by itself is never a problem, it is our attachment to it, our insistence upon its fulfillment – that causes great sorrow and anger. 

It is this self-annihilating attachment that Shiva destroys upon awakening to the state of Higher Consciousness.  It is this constant pull, these sorrows that are destroyed when we come to realise and abide in our true nature. 

The next time you think your emotions and desires are overwhelming – try surrendering them at the feet of Shiva – a path to progress will automatically open itself up. 

Thus Lord Shiva’s Third Eye – is the eye of Wisdom and Courage. It represents the ultimate inner awakening – where one transcends the realm of the known and enters the Unknown. Where there exists nothing but life as It is. 

Activating this energy center also known as the Ajna Chakra helps us experience spiritually exalted stages of existence. 

One technique that has been taught to me in Yoga class is to focus on this pivotal center and chant Om – the vibrations felt are deeply calming and blissful. 

The Lord ‘s right eye is the sun – which is symbolic of brightness and hope. Doesn’t sunlight bring with it a new beginning? Doesn’t it lighten up the entire world around? This is also the eye of justice, of objectivity.

Thus in our lives, it represents the ability to know and do what is right – to fulfill our potential and serve the world. 

The Lord ‘s left eye is the moon – which has a soothing and re-assuring effect on all of us. It is also symbolic of how beautifully the nurturing aspects of creation work. 

In our lives, it represents the ability to sympathize, to care and to uplift. 

Beyond them – lies the Third Eye, the opening of which bestows complete inner integration of the mind and intellect and consequently an awakening to your true Self. 

This is the Eye of Viveka or discernment – which helps us balance the objectivity of the right eye with the compassion of the left and thus function in this world in perfect equilibrium – just as the Lord does. 

To truly know, to have true clarity and vision, to become truly alert to each moment, you must always look inward. There lies all wisdom. There resides the infinite power of Lord Shiva.

Here is the Playlist link to the Talks on Vedasara Shiva Stotram – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLm6DKuwwu5zrUjfKu0UDvtm3ZbKXuuuq0

And a melodious bhajan on Lord Shiva for you to listen to – https://youtu.be/WBzeTz_UpQ4

Do Read, Like and Comment – Cherish a dream with me!

See You Next Sunday,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 🙂

A Message on Dussehra – My Beloved India I Promise

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 Hope all of you are doing well and had a great Navaratri! We had an amazing one, despite the pandemic. 😀

I am back here after two weeks, hope you like the blog that follows! Do Read, Like and Cherish a Dream With Me. 🙂

Since centuries India had been suppressed and subjected to great atrocities. Yet this country withstood all of it and rose above to become the vibrant democracy she is today. 

Yes, we have multiple problems even today. And we are tackling them, many we still need to tackle effectively. But one of the greatest battles that India has fought and continues to fight is the one against her very foundation – her eternal cultural and spiritual knowledge tradition of Sanatana Dharma. 

We don’t need to look outside – we have masked heartless enemies within the nation itself who threaten everything we hold dear! 

Through the last few decades their attacks were not as visible as it is today. Today many Indians see through their propaganda, their “liberal” ideologies.

As India awakens to newer horizons – this Vijayadashami let each of us pledge to protect, serve and love our loving motherland – She who is an amalgamation of the Powers of Durga (Destroyer of Injustice), Lakshmi (The Custodian of Great Virtues and Material Prosperity) and Saraswati (The Bestower of Supreme Spiritual Knowledge). 

Here’s a poem I had penned when my heart felt like bursting with the amount of emotions inside it. 

My country is crying,
Choked by those who walk as her saviours. 

Listen, pay heed! Awake, Arise!
She is calling out to us,
Her beloved children,
To be warriors of her Light! 

Save my country, she is crying,
From those arrogant lobbying fools,
Who with the power of blue ticks seek to break her into pieces,
And destroy her immortal timeless legacy!

Save my country, she is crying,From those "journalists" 
Who claim to be her 4th pillar,
But have sold their souls at the altar of greed,
For they celebrate deaths of her brave children,
And encourage burning riots,
Just for mere money and TRPs! 

Save my country, she is crying, 
From all those heartless politicians,
Who use crime and violence as vote cards,
Who consider people as statistics,
Who care nothing about the nation,
Who drown under the weight of their own inhuman egos! 

Save my country, she is crying,
From the mud-slinging on her foundations,
From being buried under falsely "liberal" narratives,
From agendas that undermine her greatness,
From the dungeons of selfishness and power play! 

Save my country, she is bleeding, 
Demons masquerade as her protectors,
Wanting to destroy all that is left of her,
Wanting to stop all those who seek to re-build her!

Look, she is glancing at us,Her eyes shine with renewed hope,
For she knows this immutable truth,
Until even one of us who loves her lives,
She will be saved, she will be healed. 

Let us her children become,
The Warriors of her Eternal Tradition,
Born on this sacred land of Dharma,
Let us now live up to our grand legacy! 

Let our vision be so high,Our intent so pure and wise,
Our actions so selfless and loving,
Our voices so confident and strong,
That the cabals fade into oblivion. 

Let us come to re-discover our roots,
Let us nourish them once again with care,
Let us take such pride,
That our country shines brighter,
And the demons are destroyed in their own games! 

My beloved India I promise,
Until the last of us who loves you lives,
The truth will never perish,
Your legacy will never die.

This Dussehra, Let us pledge to gain victory against every internal and external enemy, and become children that our Mother Bharat will be proud of!

That will be the True Vijayadashami – for when the country shines, we shine. When we rise, India will rise! 

I Leave You with two YouTube Channel recommendations :

  1. Virtual Bharat – For Amazing Short Films on Untold Stories from across the country https://www.youtube.com/c/virtualbharat/videos

2. Sangam Talks – For Authentic Information on Indian History, Achievements, Wisdom, Contemporary Narratives and More – https://www.youtube.com/c/SangamTalks/videos

See You Next Sunday, 

Until Then,

Love and Om,

Happy Dussehra, 

Lakshmi. 🙂

To Shiva I Bow – The Significance of Om Namah Shivaya (Part 1)

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 A big thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and encouragement you shower on the blog! 

Today I am putting into words the compulsion I have been feeling from within – to begin to write on Lord Shiva. 

Although I have been with Shiva through dance all my life, my fascination for the mystical Lord deepened when I was all of 16. From then to now – working at a place which has a beautiful Lord Shiva temple in its premises – the journey continues! 😀 

This is a different territory of knowledge for me to be exploring. Hope You enjoy the Read! 🙂

Although it had a normal beginning, it was going to be quite a remarkable day for young Devika as she sat staring at Lord Shiva at her favourite temple – the Jagadeeshwara Temple in Powai, Mumbai. 

Her elder brother Shivaansh whom she had gotten here for the first time early in the morning was seated beside her, immersed in meditation. For the hundredth time, she couldn’t help but wonder at the serenity that shone on the Lord’s smiling face. 

Shivaansh opened his eyes and saw her lost in the Lord. He smiled. He was a Shiva devotee himself and had been on some wonderful pilgrimages, but this place had taken his heart away. There was this incredible aura of divinity, the white marbled Lord a sight to behold.  

“Quite divine isn’t he?” he whispered. 

“Anna, there is something about Shiva that is so fascinating. That has always touched my soul. He has an aura, an energy that completely dissolves all your false notions – that completely dissolves “you” as an entity. I don’t think I can comprehend this completely.” she said still lost in the Lord. 

He was surprised at the intensity of her words. There was no one in the temple apart from them. It only added to the piercing silence. Suddenly she turned towards him. 

“Don’t you think that when you look at Shiva, when you meditate on Shiva – you are looking at Life itself as it is. Like you are meditating upon your true nature?” she asked. 

“Absolutely.” He replied having just experienced what she was speaking about. “Now that we are having this conversation, I have a question for you. Up for it?” He winked. 

Devika smiled. Her brother and his ways of having insightful conversations. How could she forget that as an advanced seeker, he was an inspiration for her! She jumped at the chance. 

“Yes, yes.” she replied excitedly. 

“Alright. You recently started chanting Om Namah Shivaya isn’t it? Do you know it’s origins?” Shivaansh questioned. 

“No..but what I have realised in these months is that the chant is one of the most simple yet potent ways to attune our energy to Shiva’s universal energy,” she answered. 

“Rightly said. So, this is a powerful Mahamantra the origins of which goes back thousands of years. It originates in Shri Rudram of the Yajurveda. Do you have your diary with you?” he knew her habit of carrying around a journal wherever she went. 

“The Mantra appears appears in the eighth hymn of Namakam ( TS 4.5.8.1) of Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7) of Krishna Yajurveda. Like this, look.” he wrote the mantra to show her. 

Namaḥ śivāya ca śivatarāya ca ( नमः शिवाय च शिवतराय च । )

“Now, Om Namah Shivaya means, “I Bow down to Shiva” – who is the Supreme Reality, my own true Self. Thus it is a worship that allows you to move closer to the Source of all energy, lying in the cave of your own heart!” he grinned. 

Devika was listening intently. “So Anna, one of the most popular interpretations we come across is in Bhagawan Adi Sankaracharya’s Shiva Panchakshari Stotram isn’t it? Where Na, Mah, Shi, Va and Ya represent the five elements through which the Absolute manifests in the form of this universe.” she questioned eagerly. 

“Yes. These five elements are the building blocks of the universe and of our own beings as well. Let me write the breakdown for you. There is one more interpretation which I’ll talk about after this.” he said picking up the pen again. 

Om – The first vibration or sound that arose from the void of pure existence to begin the creation of the universe.

Na – Earth (solidity of the human body)

Mah – Water (manifests as blood in our body)

Va – Air (the process of breathing)

Shi – Fire (temperature of the body)

Ya – Sky or Space (the body occupies space)

“Can you tell me some more about this?” a curious Devika asked. 

“Alright so, in ancient times the metaphors the Rishis had to describe their experience of Consciousness were condensed and subtler, possibly even more than what we have today in the form of modern physics. Their metaphor was Shiva.” he paused gauging her expressions.

In their deep meditations, the sages experienced Shiva as the entire universe and Shiva as their own Self. Thus, this mantra when chanted becomes a powerful vibration that allows us to tune into our own true self, that is Shiva. Tell me, you have started the Japa. What have you noticed?” he questioned after explaining. 

“Hmm..What I have felt when I chant, and as the practice is getting deeper is a powerful silence and a cleansing of emotional baggage. I feel a lot more calmer than I ever was. And I also believe that knowing the entire meaning and significance of the chant helps deepen the practice.” she answered thoughtfully. 

“Wonderful!” Shivaansh replied, visibly thrilled. “Now, before getting in further, I forgot to ask you a basic question. Do you know the meaning of the word “Mantra”? 

To Be Continued…

I leave you with two links. Here’s one to listen to the Shiva Panchakshari Stotram – https://youtu.be/CYJ4udIsfBc.

Here’s another link, a magnetic Om Namah Shivaya chant to help you begin your own journey with the Mantra – https://youtu.be/9jScRVIZLic

See You Next Week with Part 2 of the story! 🙂

Love and Om,

Lakshmi.

The Ekasloki – Infinity Weaved Into A Single Verse

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 Thank You once again from the bottom of my heart for all the love and encouragement for the blog. It always means a lot. 😀 

In one of his talks on the Kathopanishad, Swami Tejomayananda explains in the most simple manner, the subtlest philosophy of Vedanta encapsulated in a single verse by Bhagawan Adi Sankaracharya.

It had left a deep imprint on my mind, thus today I am going to attempt to write about what is popularly known as Shri Adi Sankaracharya’s Ekasloki – essentially a conversation between him and a disciple who with reverence arrives to seek the Supreme Knowledge of the Self. 

Kim Jyothisthava bhanumaanahani me ratrau pradeepaadikam.

Syaadevam ravi deepa darsana vidhau kim jyothiraakhyaahi me 

Chakshustasya nimeelanaadi samaye kim dheeh dhiyo darsane 

Kim tatrahamatho bhavaan paramakam jyothisthadasmi prabho.

Seeker – O Master, what is the highest Truth enshrined in our scriptures to be realized in our hearts? How do we experience that state of supreme peace when thou knows, which the Yogis and Rishis revel in? 

Bhagawan – Tell me, how do you see the objects around during daytime? 

Seeker – With the help of sunlight. 

Bhagawan – And at night-time? 

Seeker– With the help of moonlight or by lighting a lamp. (Today, by switching on the tube light 😛 ). 

Bhagawan – Nice. Now how do you know this sunlight and moonlight? 

Seeker– With the help of my eyes. I see this light with my eyes. 

Bhagawan – Does it then not mean that sunlight illumines the objects alone? What then illumines your power of vision? How do you know what you see? How do you see even when your eyes are closed?

Seeker– With the help of my mind and intellect. Sunlight illumines the objects, my eyes see and understand with the help of the intellect. When I am asleep too I am aware of an internal world at play. 

Bhagawan – How do you know the intellect ? How are you aware even in the dream state? What then illumines the intellect?

Seeker– I know. I am aware. I just am. 

Bhagawan – Precisely. It is this self-illumining awareness that knows. That alone is. It needs no other light, no explanation. It shines by itself and illumines all our experiences. It cannot be reached by logic alone. For it is that which illumines even the intellect. Know this, understand this, glide into IT! 

————————

Now the question that arises – if the Self or Brahman as it is known is self-illumining, Then why do we need scriptures and paths to understand it? That is because we need it. The Self doesn’t need anything. It just is. 

We are caught up in the maze of our own likes and dislikes, constantly troubled by pangs of emotions and thoughts going haywire. Hence we need the guidance of the scriptures, of a Guru to walk the path until we grow to experience this state in the cave of our hearts. 

Isn’t it interesting that a table can never see the eyes. The eyes cannot see the mind. And the mind cannot see the Self! The flow of knowledge is unidirectional. Flowing from Brahman. 

What is that silence you experience when waves of the ocean lap at your feet? When you stand face to face with the majestic Himalayas on a trek? When you close your eyes to look within after climbing all the way up to a pilgrimage site like Kedarnath? 

Or simply when you hear a bird chirp?

What is that which shines calmly in the state of meditation? 

Ever given it a thought? Think! In the midst of self-created chaos – such are the moments that offer us a glimpse of that infinity called Brahman. Of that which shines in your own heart. Of that Light which You are. 

Here’s another gem by Bhagawan Adi Shankaracharya – the Nirvana Shatakam. Listen to it. It has the explanation too given in the video itself. https://youtu.be/UrZUQh6SpcQ.

Hope You Enjoyed the Read. Do Like and Leave Your Feedback – Cherish this dream with me! 😀

See You Next Week,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 

Lord Ganesha – The Hidden Messages in His Form Part 2

Hari Om! Welcome back to the journey with Bappa. 🙂 Thank You so much for all the love your poured in for the first chapter in the series. It really means a lot. 😀

Before we begin the concluding chapter, I have this deep urge to start a blog series exclusively on Lord Shiva – do suggest anything on Him that you would like to read about! 🙂

“Haha. My dear, the Lord is the very origin of this world. So forget about so-called right sizes. Think. After an evolved intellect goes beyond the pairs of opposites and remains established in the Infinite, what does life become like?” Bhagawan counter-questioned her. 

“Eh? Life would be all calm and joyful. Nothing can affect us anymore, because we would have realized that all of it is actually an illusion. This is my understanding so far,” she replied. 

“You got that somewhat right. This has layers to it, so we will see in the future. For now his large stomach tells us how a Rishi can digest all the experiences that life has to offer with a smile on his face. Established in the Truth, he has an unbeatable appetite for life! Because he knows that no problem is unsolvable and life itself is to be lived fully until you are here on this plane,” Bhagawan smile widely, quite satisfied with his explanation, watching the light dawn on his little seeker’s face. 

“No wonder everyone becomes so happy on seeing Ganesha! Because Ganesha symbolises a calm and happy life,” she exclaimed. 

“Haha totally. Now before you ask I have a question for you. Why do you think the Lord rides a mouse?” Bhagawan raised a brow. 

“Hawww! You beat me to this. Not fair. Umm, so the mouse is small. Maybe it represents that for a wise man, his desires which are troublesome for most of us – for him they become small?” She was thinking out loud. 

“Aha. Perfectly put. If you notice, the mouse looks up at the Lord with devotion in his heart. The mouse is small but its teeth are very powerful. They can nibble away at anything and cause destruction. So too our desires in the beginning are small, but when our insistence on their fulfillment goes beyond control – they spell disaster in our lives. Then greed, anger, etc come into the picture.” He paused to let Devika absorb this. 

“But aren’t desires also necessary if we are to live a successful life?” she questioned hesitantly. 

“They are. But like Mooshik surrenders to Ganesha, when our desires and the root cause of it – the mind surrenders to the Lord or to a Higher goal – its potential is turned in the right direction. That passionate insistence on the result vanishes. All that remains is a calm intellect which works with single-pointed devotion. Thus a wise man sublimates his desire and becomes an instrument to work for the welfare of all.” Bhagawan concluded. 

“Amazing this is Ayyappa. Truly amazing. Such depth,” Devika was speechless. 

“Now we have three elements left for the day. The axe, the rope and the modak that he holds. Quickly go and get your materials for your eco-friendly Ganesha. Give me your answer when you get back.” Bhagawan said and went into a meditative posture. 

Devika admired him for a few moments and ran away to get the material, simultaneously thinking about the three elements. 

She got back after a while and saw that Bhagawan was still immersed in meditation. She did not know how to call him back so she quietly sat next to him and wrote down her thoughts about the axe, the rope and the modak. As soon as she was done, Bhagawan opened his eyes much to her delight. 

“So what have you come up with?” He was back to his teasing mood. 

Devika giggled, her mind felt quite fresh after the reflections. “Ayyappa, don’t underestimate me okay. Have some faith in your little girl,” she admonished him. 

Bhagawan shook his head at her innocence while she went on. 

“Bappa tells all of us, 

With the axe when you cut off

your attachments and fears,

With the rope when you reign in

Your past regrets,

Your fanciful future imaginations and distress,

Then you serve the world with love and joy, 

You receive from me Modaks of Peace and Abundance!”  (Thank You Aravind Bhaiya for inspiring me to write this! )

“Wow. A poetess in the making it seems.” Bhagawan exclaimed with pride. 

Devika went red in her face after hearing that from Him. 

“Beautiful my little girl. Keep reflecting, keep walking. I will always be here with you. So will my dear elder brother, Bappa!” He patted her head lovingly before going. 

Devika grinned. She felt like dancing around but decided to sit down and make her Ganesha with all the love she had for Him in her heart. 

As she was finishing she realized her Lord was right all along. It was all about merging into the form to go beyond to the formless!

Ganapati Bappa Morya! May Bappa bestow upon the world all the health and happiness. 🙂 

I leave you with this serene and sublime chant of the Ganapati Atharvashirsha Upanishad – https://youtu.be/ZMRH8KFlHRU

See You Next Sunday with a new blog!

Love and Om,

Lakshmi.

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. 🙂

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?