Monday, June 30, 2014

The Self in Kashmir Shaivism

Balajinnatha Pandita (1916–2007 ) in his book "Specific Principles of Kashmir Saivism" describes how the Shaiva philosophers of Kashmir understand and experience the Self.

They assert that the Self alone has absolute existence. This Self is within every human being, and in recognizing and experiencing It within ourselves, we are actually at one with the divine. What is more, the Self exists within us at all times, whether or not we recognize and experience It. As living beings we are always aware of our own existence, and the experience of existing is always present in us. Further, we never require the help of any aids in feeling our own existence. Even when we are in a state of deep dreamless sleep in which the senses and the knowing mind and intellect are no longer functioning, the Self continues to experience Itself as a witness to this state. Had the Self not existed as a witness during this time, how could we, upon awaking, recollect the void experienced in deep sleep? Thus the Self is always self-existent, self-evident, and self-conscious, and is Itself Its own proof.

Shaiva philosophers, relying on their experiences of deep revelation (turya) during meditation, assert that the Self is Consciousness, and that Consciousness is actually a kind of stirring. It is not physical or psychic in nature, but it is described as a spiritual stir or urge. All living beings feel in themselves this urge in the form of a will to know and to do, and so we are always inclined toward knowing and doing. We can recognize this urge in all forms of life, even in a healthy newborn baby, or in a chick just hatched out of an egg.

Knowing, the first urge, is itself an action, or something we do. The act of doing, the second urge, cannot occur without knowing. Yet neither of them is possible without willing. Willing is a sort of extroverted stirring of the above mentioned natural and subtle urge of Consciousness (Sivadrsti, I.9, 10, 24, 25).

This stirring appears as a vibrative volition known in Kashmir Shaivism as spanda. It is neither a physical vibration like sound or light, nor mental movement like desire, disgust, or passion. Rather, it is the spiritual stirring of Consciousness whose essential nature is a simultaneous inward and outward vibration. The inward and outward movements of spanda shine as subjective and objective awareness of I-ness and this-ness respectively. The inward stirring shines as the subject, the Self, the transcendental experience of the pure “I”, while the outward stirring illuminates the object, the other, the immanent “that-ness” and “this-ness” of phenomena. Because of this double-edged nature of spanda, the pure Self is experienced in both its transcendental and immanent aspects by yogins immersed in the state of Self-revelation (turya).

Beyond turya, one can experience the state of Paramasiva, known as pure Consciousness (turiyatita). Paramasiva, the Ultimate, is that Self illuminated within us by the glowing awareness of Its own pure Consciousness. There It shines as “I”, which transcends the concepts of both transcendence and immanence. It is “I” and “I” alone. It is the infinite and absolutely perfect monistic “I”, without any sense of “this-ness” at all. Shaivism uses the term samvit to describe this pure “I”. Samvit consists of that superior luminosity of pure Consciousness, which is known as prakasa and as its Self-awareness, known as vimarsa. The “I”, existing as samvit and samvit alone, is absolutely pure ptentiality, and is the real Self of every living being. Samvit is not the egoistic “I”. The egoistic “I” revolves around four aspects of our being: (1) deha, the gross physical body, (2) buddhi, the fine mental body, (3) prana, the subtler life force, and (4) sunya (the void of dreamless sleep), the most subtle form of finite, individual consciousness.


Sunday, June 29, 2014


By Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), a Palestinian poet.

Forgotten, as if you never were.
Like a bird's violent death
like an abandoned church you'll be forgotten,
like a passing love
and a rose in the night... forgotten

I am for the road... There are those whose footsteps preceded mine
those whose vision dictated mine. There are those
who scattered speech on their accord to enter the story
or to illuminate to others who will follow them
a lyrical trace... and a speculation

Forgotten, as if you never were
a person, or a text... forgotten

I walk guided by insight, I might
give the story a biographical narrative. Vocabulary
governs me and I govern it. I am its shape
and it is the free transfiguration. But what I'd say has already been said.
A passing tomorrow precedes me. I am the king of echo.
My only throne is the margin. And the road
is the way. Perhaps the forefathers forgot to describe
something, I might nudge in it a memory and a sense

Forgotten, as if you never were
news, or a trace... forgotten

I am for the road... There are those whose footsteps
walk upon mine, those who will follow me to my vision.
Those who will recite eulogies to the gardens of exile,
in front of the house, free of worshipping yesterday,
free of my metonymy and my language, and only then
will I testify that I'm alive
and free
when I'm forgotten!

Weakness and Power

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Associated Press.

 Sahl Abdullah once went into a state of violent agitation, with physical manifestations, during a religious meeting.

 Ibn Salim said:"What is this state?'"

 Sahl said: "This was not, as you imagine, power entering me. It was, on the contrary, due to my own weakness."

 Others present remarked: "If that was weakness, what is power?"

"Power; said Sahl, 'is when something like this enters, and the mind and body manifest nothing at all."

---From "The Way of the Sufi" by Idries Shah

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Worldly and Unworldly

Buddhist Niramisa Sutta translated by Nyanaponika Thera.

"There is, O monks, worldly joy, there is unworldly joy, and there is a still greater unworldly joy. There is worldly happiness, there is unworldly happiness, and there is a still greater unworldly happiness. There is worldly equanimity, there is unworldly equanimity, and there a still greater unworldly equanimity. There is worldly freedom, there is unworldly freedom, and there is a still greater unworldly freedom.

"Now, O monks, what is worldly joy? There are these five cords of sense desire: forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust. Sounds cognizable by the ear... odors cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body, wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust. It is the joy that arises dependent on these five cords of sense desire which is called 'worldly joy.'

"Now what is unworldly joy? Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, a monk enters upon and abides in the first meditative absorption,[3] which is accompanied by thought-conception and discursive thinking, and has joy and happiness born of seclusion. With the stilling of thought-conception and discursive thinking, he enters upon and abides in the second meditative absorption which has internal confidence and singleness of mind without thought conception and discursive thinking, and has joy and happiness born of concentration. This is called 'unworldly joy.'

"And what is the still greater unworldly joy? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, freed of delusion, then there arises joy. This called a 'still greater unworldly joy.'

"Now, O monks, what is worldly happiness? There are these five cords of sense desire: forms cognizable by the eye... sounds cognizable by the ear... odors cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense desire and alluring. It is the happiness and gladness that arises dependent on these five cords of sense desire which are called 'worldly happiness.'

"Now what is unworldly happiness? Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, a monk enters upon and abides in the first meditative absorption... With the stilling of thought-conception and discursive thinking, he enters upon and abides in the second meditative absorption... With the fading away of joy as well, he dwells in equanimity, mindfully and fully aware he feels happiness within, and enters upon and abides in the third meditative absorption of which the Noble Ones announce: 'He dwells in happiness who has equanimity and is mindful.' This is called 'unworldly happiness.'

"And what is the still greater unworldly happiness? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, freed of delusion, then there arises happiness. This is called a 'still greater unworldly happiness.'

"Now, O monks, what is worldly equanimity? There are these five cords of sensual desire: forms cognizable by the eye... tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense desire and alluring. It is the equanimity that arises with regard to these five cords of sense desire which is called 'worldly equanimity.'

"Now, what is unworldy equanimity? With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of gladness and sadness, a monk enters upon and abides in the fourth meditative absorption, which has neither pain-nor-pleasure and has purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. This is called 'unworldly equanimity.'

"And what is the still greater unworldly equanimity? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred and freed of delusion, then there arises equanimity. This is called a 'still greater unworldly equanimity.'

"Now, O monks, what is worldly freedom? The freedom connected with the material. What is unworldly freedom? The freedom connected with the immaterial. And what is the still greater unworldly freedom? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, and freed of delusion, then there arises freedom."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tripura Bhairavi Stotra

From the Tantrasara

Thus shall I pray to Thee, O Tripurā,
To attain the fruit of my desires,
In this hymn by which men attain that Lakṣmī,
Who is worshipped by the Devas.

Origin of the world thou art,
Yet hast Thou Thyself no origin,
Though with hundreds of hymns.
Even Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara cannot know Thee.
Therefore we worship Thy breasts, Mother of all Śāstra,
Shining with fresh saffron.

O Tripurā, we adore Thee,
Whose body shines with the splendour of a thousand risen suns,
Holding with two of thy hands a book and rosary of rudrākṣa beads,
And with two others making the gestures
Which grant boons and dispel fear.
With three lotus eyes is Thy lotus face adorned.
Beauteous is Thy Neck with its necklace of large pearls.

O Mother, how can the ignorant, whose minds are restless with doubt and dispute,
Know Thy form ravishing with its vermilion,
Stooping with the weight of Thy breasts,
Accessible only by merit,
Acquired in previous birth?

O Bhavānī, the munis describe thee in physical form;
The Śruti speaks of Thee in subtle form;
Others call Thee presiding Deity of speech;
Others, again, as the root of the worlds.
But we think of Thee
As the untraversable ocean of mercy, and nothing else.

Worshippers contemplate Thee in their heart
As three-eyed, adorned with the crescent moon,
White as the autumnal moon,
Whose substance is the fifty letters,
Holding in Thy hands a book, a rosary, a jar of nectar, and making the vyakhya mudrā.

O Tripurā, Thou art Śambhu united with Pārvatī.
Thou art now Viṣṇu embraced by Kamalā,
And now Brahmā born of the lotus.
Thou art again the presiding Devī of speech,
And yet again art the energy of all these.

I, having taken refuge with the four–
Bhāvas, Parā, and others born of the vāgbhava (bīja),

Shall never in my heart forget Thee, the supreme Devatā,
Whose substance is existence and intelligence,
And who expresseth by Thy throat and other organ
The bhāva appearing in the form of letters.

The blessed, having conquered the six enemies,
And drawing in their breath,
With steady mind fix their gaze on the tip of their nostrils,
And contemplate in their head Thy moon-crested form,
Resplendent as the newly risen sun.

The Vedas proclaim that Thou createth the world,
Having assumed the other half of the body of the enemy of Kāma.
Verily is it true, O Daughter of the mountain and the only World-mother,
That had this not been so,
The multitude of worlds would never have been.

In company with the wives of the Kinnaras,
The Siddha women, whose eyes are reddened by wine
Having worshipped Thee with the flowers of celestial trees
In Thy pītha in the caverns of the golden mountain,
Sing Thy praises.

I worship in my heart the Devī whose body is moist with nectar,
Beauteous as the splendour of lightning,
Who, going from Her abode to that of Śiva,
Opens the lotuses on the beautiful way of the suṣuṁnā

O Tripurā, I take refuge at Thy lotus feet,
Worshipped by Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara;
The abode of bliss, the source of the Vedas,
The origin of all prosperity;
Thou whose body is Intelligence itself.

I shall never forget Her who is the giver of happiness;
She it is, O Mother, who, in the form of the Moon,
Creates the world full of sounds and their meanings,
And again, by Her power in the form of the Sun,
She it is who maintains the world.
And She, again, it is who, in the form of Fire, destroys the whole universe at the end of the ages.

O Mother of the world, such as worship Thee with twelve Verses of this hymn attain to Thee, and gain all powers of speech and the supreme abode.

Hanuman Chamatkaara

HanumAn ChamatkAranushtAn

OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, vAyu-sutAya, anjanI-garbha-sambhUtAya, akhaNDa-brahmacarya-vrata-pAlana-tatparAya, dhavalI-kRta-jagat-tritayAya, jvaladagni-sUrya-kOTi-samaprabhAya, prakaTa-parAkramAya, AkrAnta-dig-maNDalAya, yaSOvitAnAya, yaSOlaMkRtAya, SObhitAnanAya, mahA-sAmarthyAya, mahA-tEja-pu~nja~h-virAjamAnAya, SrIrAma-bhakti-tatparAya, SrIrAma-lakshmaNAnanda-kAraNAya, kavi-sainya-prAkArAya, sugrIva-sakhya-kAraNAya, sugrIva-sAhAyya-kAraNAya, brahmAstra-brahma-Sakti-grasanAya, lakshmaNa-Sakti-bhEda-nivAraNAya, Salya-viSalyaushadhi-samAnayanAya, bAlOdita-bhAnu-maNDala-grasanAya, akshakumAra-ChEdanAya, vana-rakshAkara-samUha-vibha~njanAya, drONa-parvatOtpATanAya, svAmi-vacana-sampAditArjuna, saMyuga-saMgrAmAya, gambhIra-SabdOdayAya, dakshiNASA-mArtaNDAya, mEru-parvata-pIThikArcanAya, dAvAnala-kAlAgni-rudrAya, samudra-laMghanAya, sItASvAsanAya, sItA-rakshakAya, rAkshasI-saMgha-vidAraNAya, aSOka-vana-vidAraNAya, laMkA-purI-dahanAya, daSa-grIva-Sira~h-kRnttakAya, kumbhakarNAdi-vadha-kAraNAya, bAli-nirvahaNa-kAraNAya, mEghanAda-hOma-vidhvaMsanAya, indrajita-vadha-kAraNAya, sarva-SAstra-pAraMgatAya, sarva-graha-vinASakAya, sarva-jvara-harAya, sarva-bhaya-nivAraNAya, sarva-kashTa-nivAraNAya, sarvApatti-nivAraNAya, sarva-dushTAdi-nibarhaNAya, sarva-SatrucChEdanAya, bhUta-prEta-piSAca-DAkinI-SAkinI-dhvaMsakAya, sarva-kArya-sAdhakAya, prANi-mAtra-rakshakAya, rAma-dUtAya-svAhA
OM namO hanumatE, rudrAvatArAya, viSva-rupAya, amita-vikramAya, prakaTa-parAkramAya, mahA-balAya, sUrya-kOTi-samaprabhAya, rAma-dUtAya-svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya rAma-sEvakAya, rAma-bhakti-tatparAya, rAma-hRdayAya, lakshmaNa-Sakti-bhEda-nivAraNAya, lakshmaNa-rakshakAya, dushTa-nibarhaNAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya sarva-Satru-saMhAraNAya, sarva-rOga-harAya, sarva-vaSIkaraNAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, AdhyAtmikAdhi-daivikAdhi-bhautika-tApa-traya-nivAraNAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, dEva-dAnavarshi-muni-varadAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, bhakta-jana-mana~h-kalpanA-kalpadrumAya, dushTa-manOratha-stambhanAya, prabha~njana-prANa-priyAya, mahA-bala-parAkramAya, mahA-vipatti-nivAraNAya, putra-pautra-dhana-dhAnyAdi-vividha-sampat-pradAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, vajra-dEhAya, vajra-nakhAya, vajra-mukhAya, vajra-rOmNE, vajra-nEtrAya, vajra-dantAya, vajra-karAya, vajra-bhaktAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, para-yantra-mantra-tantra-trATaka-nASakAya, sarva-jvaracChEdakAya, sarva-vyAdhi-nikRnttakAya, sarva-bhaya-praSamanAya, sarva-dushTa-mukha-stambhanAya, sarva-kArya-siddhi-pradAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, dEva-dAnava-yaksha-rAkshasa-bhUta-prEta-piSAca-DAkinI-SAkinI-dushTa-graha-bandhanAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, pa~Mca-vadanAya pUrva-mukhE sakala-Satru-saMhArakAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, pa~nca-vadanAya dakshiNa-mukhE karAla-vadanAya, nArasiMhAya, sakala-bhUta-prEta-damanAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, pa~nca vadanAya paScima-mukhE garuDAya, sakala-visha-nivAraNAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, pa~nca vadanAya uttara mukhE Adi-varAhAya, sakala-sampat-karAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, urdhva-mukhE, haya-grIvAya, sakala-jana-vaSIkaraNAya, rAma-dUtAya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, sarva-grahAna, bhUta-bhavishya-varttamAnAn- samIpa-sthAn sarva-kAla-dushTa-buddhInuccATayOccATaya para-balAni kshObhaya-kshObhaya, mama sarva-kAryANi sAdhaya-sAdhaya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, para-kRta-yantra-mantra-parAhaMkAra-bhUta-prEta-piSAca-para-dRshTi-sarva-vidhna-tarjana-cETaka-vidyA-sarva-graha-bhayaM nivAraya nivAraya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, DAkinI-SAkinI-brahma-rAkshasa-kula-piSAcOru-bhayaM nivAraya nivAraya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, bhUta-jvara-prEta-jvara-cAturthika-jvara-vishNu-jvara-mahESa-jvara nivAraya nivAraya svAhA
OM namO hanumatE rudrAvatArAya, akshi-SUla-paksha-SUla-SirObhyantara-SUla-pitta-SUla-brahma-rAkshasa-SUla-piSAca-kulacChEdanaM nivAraya nivAraya svAhA

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shiva Stuti By Parashurama

From Brahma Vaivarta Puranam, Ganapati Khanda, Chapter 29 " Parashurama's visit to mount Kailash". Translated by P.R.Ramachander

Sri Parasurama Uvacha:
Eesa, thwam sthothum icchami sarvadha sthothum akshama
Akshara Akshaya bheejam kim vaa stoumi nireehakam.

Oh God, I desire to pray you and pray you always impatiently, You are the never decaying and never dying seed and how do I pray you without any desire.
Na yojanaam karthum Eso devesam sthoumi Mooda dhee
Vedaa na sakthaa yam stothum ka sthowam iheswara.

I am planning as to how I can with a foolish brain pray you God, and not being devoted to Vedas can I pray this way or how should I pray you, Oh God.
Vag Budhi Manasaam dhooram saraath saram, parath param
Jnana mathrena sadhyam cha sidham sidhair nishevitham.

Far away from words , brain and mind, essence of essence, superior to the best, possible to reach just by thought , and attained by Sidhas using their divine power.
Yamakasam ivadhyantha Madhya heenam thadha avyayam,
Viswa thanthram athanthram cha swathanthram
thanthra bheejakam.
Like the sky of great restraint, without having beginning, middle and end and also imperishable, having universal system, without system , independent of a system and see of a system.
Dhyana asadhyam duraradhyam athisadhyam krupa nidhim,
Thrahi maam karuna sindho dheena bandho athi dheenakam.

Oh God impossible to meditate , difficult to approach and easily approachable treasure of mercy, Oh ocean of mercy, please save me, the friend of the oppressed and the greatly miserable.
Adhya may sapham janma, jeevitham cha sujeevitham,
Swapne apya drushtam bhavathaisha aadhunaa pasyami chakshusha

If I want this birth to be fruitful and make this life in to a good life, I should be able to see you even in dream and in water oh Lord and now be able to see by my eyes.
Sakradhaya sura ganaa kalayaa yasya sambhava,
Charachara kalamsena tham namami maheswaram.

If Devas and Indra are to happen and present along with the moon, by the crescent portion of movable and immovable.
Sthree roopam, kleeva roopam cha
pourusham cha vibhibharthi ya
Sarvadharam sarva roopam tham namami Maheswaram.

He bears the feminine form, the form of the impotents and also the form of a man, He is the support of all and He has the form of all and I salute that great God.
Yam Bhaskara swaroopam cha sasi roopam huthasanam
Jala roopam, vayu roopam tham namami Maheswaram.

He takes the form of the Sun, he takes the form of moon, fire, water and wing and I salute that great God.
Anantha Viswa srustinaam samharthaaram bhayankaram
Kshanena leela mathrena, tham namami maheswaram.

He horrifyingly destroys all the creations in this wide world, in a second, just like a sport and I salute that great God.


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Mysterious Home of the Dakini

From "Teachings Tilopa gives to Naropa".

This rope of the three worlds, Samsara,
Should be cut, Naropa. Look
Into the mirror of your mind, the place of dreams,
The mysterious home of the Dakini…

This rock of your body believing in an I
Must be ground to powder, Naropa.
Look into the mirror of your mind, the radiant light,
The mysterious home of the Dakini…

Naropa, you should strive
For Samsara and Nirvana’s unity.
Look into the mirror of your mind, which is delight enternal,
The mysterious home of the Dakini…

You are worthy of bliss eternal Naropa,
On the path to infinite Reality.
Look into the mirror of your mind, which is Mahamudra,
The mysterious home of the Dakini…

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How Could a Lover Fall?

By Sant Tukaram

What could have caused your grip to weaken
that allowed creation to be?

How could a lover fall to his death
from the arms of infinite

How active you are in the mind sustaining such a great wall
that the sun can cast a frightening shadow
the world believes.

No one has ever really known sadness. No real God
would ever allow pain.

How then can a heart feel it is broken and in need
If we are held in the arms of infinite
compassion and

The mirror you (God) stand before -
we need to gaze into it also.

That name you called Beloved
as I fell from your lips -
I suffer

because I did not quite
hear it;

so tell me again dear One
so clear:

I am

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ardhanarishvara Stotram

By Adi Shankaracharya, translated by Ravi Mayavaram.

chAMpeyagaurArdha sharIrakAyai
karpUragaurArdha sharIrakAya |
dhammillakAyai cha jaTAdharAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
One half shines with golden yellow color like champeya flower and other half shines in bright white of karpura. One side of the head is adorned with a beautiful braided decoration and other sports an unkempt jataamakutam. I bow to Shivaa and Shiva in the form of Ardhanarishvara.
kasturika kumkumacharchitAyai chitArajaHpunja vicharchitAya |
kRitasmarAyai vikRitasmarAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
The left half of Ardhanarishvara which is occupied by Ambal is adorned with musk and kumkumam. The other half occupied by the Lord is smeared with ashes from the funeral pyre. The Ambal aspect is well adorned and pleasing to reflect on, the Lord's half is ill adorned (with ashes, snakes, elephant skin) is dreadful. I bow to this wonderful form, I bow to AmbA Shivaa and Lord Shiva.
jhaNatkvaNatkankaNa nUpurAyai pAdAbjarAjatphaNin UpurAya |
hemANgadAyai bhujagANgadAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
The left side of the Lord, which is occupied by ambAL is adorned with beautiful kankana (bracelets worn on the wrist) and nupura (worn at the ankle). These make very pleasing sounds when they move. The right lotus foot is adorned with a cobra as nUpura. On the left side it is made of gold and on the right side it is a snake. Such is the wonderful form of the Lord. I bow to Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva.
vishAlanIlotpalalochanAyai vikAsipa~NkeruhalochanAya |
samexaNAyai viShamexaNAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
AmbAL’s eyes are often described as long, extending upto the ears. This is indicated by the term vishala. Her eyes (left half) are long and beautiful like nilotpala flower. Lords eyes are radiant like lotus flowers. Ardhanarishvara is a beautiful combination of Shivaa and Shiva. I bow to Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva.
mandAramAlAkalitAlakAyai kapAlamAlA~NkitakandharAya |
divyAMbarAyai cha digaMbarAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
Ambal's forhead is adorned with garlands made of mandaram (hibiscus) and the Lord's neck is adorned with a garland made of skulls. SHE dresses in royal and divine clothes and HE has directions alone as HIS clothes. I bow to Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva.
aMbhodharashyAmalaku.ntalAyai taTitprabhAtAmrajaTAdharAya 
nirIshvarAyai nikhileshwarAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
HER hair is dark like water bearing clouds and HIS hair locks are coppery and radiant like a lightening SHE has none superior to HER and HE is the Lord of all. Such is the wonderful form of ArdhanArishvara. I bow to Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva.
prapa~nchasR^iShTyunmukhalAsyakAyai samastasaMhArakatANDavAya |
jagajjananyai jagadekapitre
namah shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
SHE dances in delight with captivating beauty at face of creation which springs forth from them. His dance of destruction is in fury and the cosmos subsides back in them. SHE is the mother of this world and He is the Father. Such is the wonderful nature of ArdhanArIshvara, I bow to Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva. pradIptaratnojjvalakuNDalAyai sphuranmahApannagabhUShaNAya |
shivAnvitAyai cha shivAnvitAya
namaH shivAyai cha namaH shivAya ||
HER (left half) sparkling ear ring is studded with blazing precious stones and HE (right half) is adorned with a terrifying snake as HIS ear ring. Supreme auspiciousness is the essence of both Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva. Such is the wonderful form of ArdhanArIshvara. I bow to Shri Shivaa and Lord Shiva. etatpaThedaShTakamiShTadaM yo bhaktyA
sa mAnyo bhuvi dIrghajIvI |
prApnoti saubhAgyamanantakAlaM
bhUyAt sadA tasya samastasiddiH ||
This final verse is the phala shruti of this stotram. (S)He who reads this stotram containing eight verses with bhakti will obtain all (s)he desires, honor, a long life, and all auspicious things for eternity. One who repeats it again and again will attain all powers and perfection.
| iti shrI sha~Nkara bhagavatpAda virachitam ardhanArIshwarastotram |
Thus concludes the ardhanArIshvara stotram, composed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, disciple of Shri Govinda BhagavatpAda.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Taste of Tea

Photo from here
By Ayn al-Qozat Hamadani (1098 – 1131).

In ancient times, tea was not known outside China. Rumours of its existence had reached the wise and the unwise of other countries, and each tried to find out what it was in accordance with what he wanted or what he thought it should be. The King of Inja (here) sent an embassy to China, and they were given tea by the Chinese Emperor. But, since they saw that the peasants drank it too, they concluded that it was not fit for their royal master: and, furthermore, that the Chinese Emperor was trying to deceive them, passing off some other substance for the celestial drink. The greatest philosopher of Anja (there) collected all the information he could about tea, and concluded that it must be a substance which existed but rarely, and was of another order than anything then known. For was it not referred to as being an herb, a water, green, black, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet? In the countries of Koshish and Bebinem, for centuries the people tested all the herbs they could find. Many were poisoned, all were disappointed. For nobody had brought the tea-plant to their lands, and thus they could not find it. They also drank all the liquids which they could find, but to no avail. In the territory of Mazhab (sectarianism) a small bag of tea was carried in procession before the people as they went on their religious observances. Nobody thought of tasting it: indeed, nobody knew how. All were convinced that the tea itself had a magical quality. A wise man said: "Pour upon it boiling water, ye ignorant ones!" They hanged him and nailed him up, because to do this, according to their belief, would mean the destruction of their tea. This showed that he was an enemy of their religion. Before he died, he had told his secret to a few, and they managed to obtain some tea and drink it secretly. When anyone said: "What are you doing?" they answered: "It is but medicine which we take for a certain disease." And so it was throughout the world. Tea had actually been seen growing by some, who did not recognize it. It had been given to others to drink, but they thought it the beverage of the common people. It had been in the possession of others, and they worshipped it. Outside China, only a few people actually drank it, and those covertly. Then came a man of knowledge, who said to the merchants of tea, and the drinkers of tea, and to others: "He who tastes, knows. He who tastes not, knows not. Instead of talking about the celestial beverage, say nothing, but offer it at your banquets. Those who like it will ask for more. Those who do not, will show that they are not fitted to be tea-drinkers. Close the shop of argument and mystery. Open the teahouse of experience."The tea was brought from one stage to another along the Silk Road, and whenever a merchant carrying jade or gems or silk would pause to rest, he would make tea, and offer it to such people as were near him, whether they were aware of the repute of tea or not. This was the beginning of the Chaikhanas, the teahouses which were established all the way from Peking to Bokhara and Samarkand. And those who tasted, knew. At first, mark well, it was only the great and the pretended men of wisdom who sought the celestial drink and who also exclaimed: "But this is only dried leaves!" or: "Why do you boil water, stranger, when all I want is the celestial drink?", or yet again: "How do I know that this is? Prove it to me. Besides the colour of the liquid is not golden, but ochre!" When the truth was known, and when the tea was brought for all who would taste, the roles were reversed, and the only people who said things like the great and intelligent had said were the absolute fools. And such is the case to this day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Want to Circle

Poem by Mechthild of Magdeburg , a German medieval female mystic.

I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me.
If you want me to leap with abandon,
You must intone the song.
Then I shall leap into love,
From love into knowledge,
From knowledge into enjoyment,
And from enjoyment beyond all human sensations.
There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nourishing the Pearl

From the Zhouyi cantong qi 周易參同契 (The Seal of the Unity of the Three), the earliest and the most important Taoist treatise on inner Alchemy, attributed to the master Wei Boyang.

Innerly nourish yourself,
serene and quiescent in Empty Non-Being.
Going back to the fundament conceal your light,
and innerly illuminate your body.

"Shut the openings"
and raise and strengthen the Numinous Trunk;
as the three luminaries sink into the ground,
warmly nourish the Pearl.

"Watching, you do not see it" -
it is nearby and easy to seek.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Way to Cold Mountain

Han-shan was a legendary Chinese poet of 9th Century. His name means Cold Mountain or Cold Cliff. Both Toaists and Zen Buddhists claim Han-shan as theirs, but no one knows who he was, or when he lived and died.  As well as the Cold Mountain.

The path to Han-shan's place is laughable,
A path, but no sign of cart or horse.
Converging gorges - hard to trace their twists
Jumbled cliffs - unbelievably rugged.
A thousand grasses bend with dew,
A hill of pines hums in the wind.
And now I've lost the shortcut home,
Body asking shadow, how do you keep up?

In a tangle of cliffs, I chose a place -
Bird paths, but no trails for me.
What's beyond the yard?
White clouds clinging to vague rocks.
Now I've lived here - how many years -
Again and again, spring and winter pass.
Go tell families with silverware and cars
"What's the use of all that noise and money?"

In the mountains it's cold.
Always been cold, not just this year.
Jagged scarps forever snowed in
Woods in the dark ravines spitting mist.
Grass is still sprouting at the end of June,
Leaves begin to fall in early August.
And here I am, high on mountains,
Peering and peering, but I can't even see the sky.

I spur my horse through the wrecked town,
The wrecked town sinks my spirit.
High, low, old parapet walls
Big, small, the aging tombs.
I waggle my shadow, all alone;
Not even the crack of a shrinking coffin is heard.
I pity all those ordinary bones,
In the books of the Immortals they are nameless.

I wanted a good place to settle:
Cold Mountain would be safe.
Light wind in a hidden pine -
Listen close - the sound gets better.
Under it a gray haired man
Mumbles along reading Huang and Lao.
For ten years I havn't gone back home
I've even forgotten the way by which I came.

Men ask the way to Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain: there's no through trail.
In summer, ice doesn't melt
The rising sun blurs in swirling fog.
How did I make it?
My heart's not the same as yours.
If your heart was like mine
You'd get it and be right here.

I settled at Cold Mountain long ago,
Already it seems like years and years.
Freely drifting, I prowl the woods and streams
And linger watching things themselves.
Men don't get this far into the mountains,
White clouds gather and billow.
Thin grass does for a mattress,
The blue sky makes a good quilt.
Happy with a stone under head
Let heaven and earth go about their changes.

Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the word's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?

Rough and dark - the Cold Mountain trail,
Sharp cobbles - the icy creek bank.
Yammering, chirping - always birds
Bleak, alone, not even a lone hiker.
Whip, whip - the wind slaps my face
Whirled and tumbled - snow piles on my back.
Morning after morning I don't see the sun
Year after year, not a sign of spring.

I have lived at Cold Mountain
These thirty long years.
Yesterday I called on friends and family:
More than half had gone to the Yellow Springs.
Slowly consumed, like fire down a candle;
Forever flowing, like a passing river.
Now, morning, I face my lone shadow:
Suddenly my eyes are bleared with tears.

Spring water in the green creek is clear
Moonlight on Cold Mountain is white
Silent knowledge - the spirit is enlightened of itself
Contemplate the void: this world exceeds stillness.

In my first thirty years of life
I roamed hundreds and thousands of miles.
Walked by rivers through deep green grass
Entered cities of boiling red dust.
Tried drugs, but couldn't make Immortal;
Read books and wrote poems on history.
Today I'm back at Cold Mountain:
I'll sleep by the creek and purify my ears.

I can't stand these bird songs
Now I'll go rest in my straw shack.
The cherry flowers are scarlet
The willow shoots up feathery.
Morning sun drives over blue peaks
Bright clouds wash green ponds.
Who knows that I'm out of the dusty world
Climbing the southern slope of Cold Mountain?

Cold Mountain has many hidden wonders,
People who climb here are always getting scared.
When the moon shines, water sparkles clear
When the wind blows, grass swishes and rattles.
On the bare plum, flowers of snow
On the dead stump, leaves of mist.
At the touch of rain it all turns fresh and live
At the wrong season you can't ford the creeks.

There's a naked bug at Cold Mountain
With a white body and a black head.
His hand holds two book scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
His shack's got no pots or oven,
He goes for a long walk with his shirt and pants askew.
But he always carries the sword of wisdom:
He means to cut down sensless craving.

Cold Mountain is a house
Without beans or walls.
The six doors left and right are open
The hall is sky blue.
The rooms all vacant and vague
The east wall beats on the west wall
At the center nothing.

Borrowers don't bother me
In the cold I build a little fire
When I'm hungry I boil up some greens.
I've got no use for the kulak
With his big barn and pasture -
He just sets up to a prison for himself.

Once in he can't get out.
Think it over -
You know it might happen to you.

If I hide out at Cold Mountain
Living off mountain plants and berries -
All my lifetime, why worry?
One follows his karma through.
Days and months slip by like water,
Time is like sparks knocked off flint.
Go ahead and let the world change -
I'm happy to sit among these cliffs.

Most T'ien-t'ai men
Don't know Han-shan
Don't know his real thought
And call it silly talk.

Once at Cold Mountain, troubles cease -
No more tangled, hung up mind.
I idly scribble poems on the rock cliff,
Taking whatever comes, like a drifting boat.

Some critic tried to put me down -
"Your poems lack the Basic Truth of Tao."
And I recall the old timers
Who were poor and didn't care.
I have to laugh at him,
He misses the point entirely,
Men like that
Ought to stick to making money.

I've lived at Cold Mountain - how many autumns.
Alone, I hum a song - utterly without regret.
Hungry, I eat one grain of Immortal medicine
Mind solid and sharp; leaning on a stone.

On top of Cold Mountain the lone round moon
Lights the whole clear cloudless sky.
Honor this priceless natural treasure
Concealed in five shadows, sunk deep in the flesh.

My home was at Cold Mountain from the start,
Rambling among the hills, far from trouble.
Gone, and a million things leave no trace
Loosed, and it flows through galaxies
A fountain of light, into the very mind -
Not a thing, and yet it appears before me:
Now I know the pearl of the Buddha nature
Know its use: a boundless perfect sphere.

When men see Han-shan
They all say he's crazy
And not much to look at -
Dressed in rags and hides.
They don't get what I say
And I don't talk their language.
All I can say to those I meet:
"Try and make it to Cold Mountain."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mahadeva Stutih

Mahādevastutiḥ from Kāśī Khaṇḍa of Skanda purāṇa.

Be victorious, O Shankara, Who is placid, Whose complexion is fair like the moon, Who is the bestower of pleasant objects, Who is the bestower of everything, Who is pure in every way, Who accepts offerings from devotees with pure emotions, and Who is the absolver of excessive afflictions of devotees!

Be victorious, O Shankara , Who pervades the sky-like heart of everyone, Who is the bestower of boons on devoted ones, Who burns the forest of sinful aggregations of devotees like forest-fire, Whose various forms perform different sport (līlā), Whose form is beautiful, and Whose treasure of patience (easily) tolerated the arrows of Kamadeva!

Be victorious, O Shankara , Who is free of death and other changes, Who frees His devotees from death and other changes as well, Who fulfils the wishes of virtuous devotees, Who holds snakes, Whose left-half is adorned by the daughter of Himālaya, and Whose all-pervading form has filled the entire universe!

Be victorious, O Shankara , Whose forms fill the entire three worlds, Who is formless, Whose glance is beautiful, Whose opening and closing of eyelids causes the creation and the destruction of the world, Who is Bhava, Who is the Lord of ghosts, Who is the Lord of tormentors, and Who keeps extending His hands to the fallen ones!

O Shiva, Who contains the entire extended material surfaces, Who is the home to praṇava sound (oṁkāra), Who holds the moon (at forehead), Who is entirely satisfied by the presence of Para - the daughter of mountain king Himalaya! I am saluting You.

O Shiva, Who is noble, Who is the Lord of Himalaya, Who is Mahesha, Who is Vibhu, Who is the bestower of wealth, Who dwells in the mountains, Who is the Lord of bliss, Who is compassionate, and Who is the consort of Parvati (eyes full of water with compassion)! Protect the three worlds from those who destroy devotees (or devotion).

O Hara! I do not even fear this death. O Hara, Whose mind is unfailing! Quickly absolve (take away) my great sins. Apart from bowing to Shiva, I do not consider any other thought to be auspicious. Therefore, I am fallen at the feet of Shiva.

In this extended and large world, I consider the satisfaction of Hara as the supreme means of getting rid of sins. O Lord! Therefore, I salute to Shiva, Who is qualityless, Whose bracelet is made of the great snake Vāsukī, and Who is the destroyer during deluge.

Having eulogized Mahadeva in this manner, the son of Angira (Brhaspati) became quiet. Satisfied by this eulogy, Lord Mahesha gave a lot of desirable boons and said. O Brahman! Because of this elaborate penance, you should become the chief of important demi-gods. With the name of Brhaspati, may You be prayed as a planet.

He who recites this stotra for three years during the trikālasandhyā, Saṁskṛtā Vāṇī (wise and perfected speech) will become of him. In my sannidhi (nearness), if this stotra is regularly recited, then there is no activity towards vice (crime) of the men who cannot judge properly (between vice and virtue).

A being reciting this stotra will not receive the afflictions present due to a bad planetary position (graha). Therefore, a being should chant (recite) this stotra in my nearness. Having woken up in the morning, he who recites this stotra daily (regularly), I will take away any potent hurdles appearing on him.

Having offered persevering prayers to the liṅga established by You (in Kash), he who reads this stuti will receive anything that he desires.

Translator: Animesh Kumar


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ganesha Ashtakam by Vyasa

shrIgaNeshAya namaH |

gaNapati\-parivAraM chArukeyUrahAraM
giridharavarasAraM yoginIchakrachAram |
bhava\-bhaya\-parihAraM duHkha\-dAridraya\-dUraM
gaNapatimabhivande vakratuNDAvatAram || 1||

I adore Ganapati, Who is a dependent of Shiva, Who has a beautiful garland of Keyura flower, Who is the epitome of Giridhara, Who is practising the Yogini Chakra, Who absolves the fear of metempsychosis, Who is far from grief and poverty, and Who incarnates as Vakratunda.
akhilamalavinAshaM pANinA dhvastapAshaM var hastapAshaM
kanakagirinikAshaM sUryakoTiprakAsham |
bhavabhavagirinAshaM mAlatItIravAsaM
gaNapatimabhivande mAnase rAjaha.nsam || 2||

Adore Ganapati, Who is everything, Who is indestructible, Who holds a hand-noose by hands, Who resembles the golden mountain Meru, Who is blazing like millions of Sun, Who destroys the mountain-like metempsychosis, and Who lives of the banks of River Malati. I adore Ganapati, Who is the king of swans in my mind-lake.
vividha\-maNi\-mayUkhaiH shobhamAnaM vidUraiH
kanaka\-rachita\-chitraM kaNThadeshevichitraM |
dadhati vimalahAraM sarvadA yatnasAraM
gaNapatimabhivande vakratuNDAvatAram || 3||

I adore Ganapati, Who is being resplendent by the fire of various gem stones which are from distant places, Whose appearance is made golden, Who holds a spotless variegated garland at the neck, Who is always the cause behind performance, and Who incarnates as Vakratunda.
duritagajamamandaM vAraNIM chaiva vedaM
viditamakhilanAdaM nR^ityamAnandakandam |
dadhati shashisuvaktraM chA.a~NkushaM yo visheShaM
gaNapatimabhivande sarvadA.a.anandakandam || 4||

I adore Ganapati, Who is a difficult elephant, Who is unsteady, Who is the Truth, Who is well-known, Who is the Nadabrahman, Whose dance is like a cloud of happiness, Who holds a crescent-moon on forehead and a special whip, and Who is always a cloud of eternal bliss.
trinayanayutabhAle shobhamAne vishAle
mukuTa\-maNi\-suDhAle mauktikAnAM cha jAle |
dhavalakusumamAle yasya shIrShNaH satAle
gaNapatimabhivande sarvadA chakrapANim || 5||

Of Whose head is in the middle of the following: a large resplendent forehead with three eyes, a crown shielded by jewels, a net made of pearls, a garland of white flowers, and a hand fan - I adore that Ganapati, Who holds a chakra in His hands.
vapuShi mahati rUpaM pIThamAdau sudIpaM
tadupari rasakoNaM yasya chordhvaM trikoNam |
gajamitadalapadmaM sa.nsthitaM chAruchhadmaM
gaNapatimabhivande kalpavR^ikShasya vR^inde || 6||

I adore Ganapati, Whose form is the best among handsome, Whose seat is the first and lighted, above Whom the triangle is present, and Who is situated with beautiful appearance on an eight-petalled lotus in the group of Kalpavrksha trees.
varadavishadashastaM dakShiNaM yasya hastaM
sadayamabhayadaM taM chintaye chittasa.nstham |
shabalakuTilashuNDaM chaikatuNDaM dvituNDaM
gaNapatimabhivande sarvadA vakratuNDam || 7||

Of Whose right hand is fortunate and splendid in giving boons, of Whose right hand is full or mercy and bestows fearlessness - I meditate upon that Ganesha , Who is situated in intelligence. I adore Ganapati, Who has a variegated and curved trunk, Who has one trunk, Who has two mouth, and Whose trunk is always curved.
chintAmaNiM dakShiNapANishuNDam |
bibhrANamatyadbhutachittarUpaM yaH
pUjayet tasya samastasiddhiH || 8||

He who prays to this splendid mental picture of Ganesha, Which is the wish giving Kamadhenu situated below a wish-giving Kalpavrksha, Which is the wish-giving jewel, Which has trunk carried in right hand — of him are all the siddhi.
vyAsAShTakamidaM puNyaM gaNeshastavanaM nR^iNAm |
paThatAM duHkhanAshAya vidyAM sa.nshriyamashnute || 9||

Those men who study this pure eight-canto eulogy on Ganesha, written by Vyasa, reach knowledge and every wealth for the destruction of grief.
|| iti shrIpadmapurANe uttarakhaNDe vyAsavirachitaM gaNeshAShTakaM sampUrNam ||


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bhartrihari's Walk on a Sword

"Walking on a sword" is often repeating expression in the Bhartrihari's "Niti shatakam". And the author correlates this dangerous exercise to our "usual" life. Unlike more religious Vairagya Shakatam , this book is like the collection of wise quotes and it is interesting to meditate over each of them. For to walk skilfully on a sword.

I bow to God, the self-enlightened, the peaceful, free from the bonds of space and time, the infinite, the pure consciousness personified and experienced by Self.
A fool can be pleased easily, and it is even easier to please the wise. However, even Brahma (the creator) cannot satisfy a conceited person with a bit of knowledge.
 It may be possible to forcibly retrieve a gem from the fanged jaws of a crocodile; one may even swim across the sea full of turbulent waves, or place an angry serpent on one's head like a flower, but it is impossible to please a conceited fool.
 Wanting to reform the wicked with nectar-sweet advice, is like trying to control an elephant with the pith of a lotus-stem, or cutting a diamond with delicate petals of the Shireesh flower, or sweetening the salty ocean with a drop of honey.
The creator has provided only one means for hiding one's ignorance which is always under his own control. It is to keep silent, particularly, in the company of the learned.
When my knowledge was limited, I assumed that I was fully proficient. I was blinded by pride like an elephant in frenzy. However, when I started learning in the company of the erudite and realized my short comings, the conceit of mine disappeared like fever.
 A dog is not afraid even if Indra, the lord of Gods, is standing near, so long as it is devouring a donkey's bone which might be vermin-infested, loathsome, saliva-doused, stinking and flesh-less. Similarly, a wretch will never pay heed to the unworthiness of his acquisitions.
The Ganges descended from the heavens upon the head of the Shiva, and thence, to the mountains. From the high mountains, she flowed down the plains to finally lapse into the sea. Thus, the Ganges kept drifting downwards from one level to another. Similarly, those who have lost their sagacity plunge downwards in a hundred ways.
 With water, a fire can be extinguished; an umbrella protects one from the heat of the sun; a frenzied elephant can be tamed by a mahout's sharp iron goad, and so can a cow and a donkey with a stick; diseases can be cured by an assortment of medicines, and the incantation of various mantras is an antidote to toxicants. The scriptures contain remedies for all, but there is none for a conceited fool.
Knowledge is certainly a man's greatest beauty. It is a safe and hidden treasure. It provides prosperity, fame and happiness. Knowledge is the guru of all gurus. It acts as one's friend in a foreign country. Knowledge is the Supreme God. It is the knowledge, not wealth, which is adorned by kings. Without knowledge one remains an animal.
Why should he need to wear an armour, if he himself is compassionate and forgiving? What more harm can his enemies do to him, if he is being consumed by his own anger? If his relatives pester him, then a fire is not needed to burn his wealth. Of what need is a medicine chest to him who has good friends by his side? On the other hand, falling in the company of the wicked is like falling in a snake-pit. What is the importance of material wealth for him who possesses immaculate knowledge? Is there any need for jewelery when a man treasures modesty in his heart? Will the rule of a kingdom hold any charm for a man who has the gift of the Muses?
Base men do not undertake any work apprehending obstacles. Mediocres make a start, but cease working when they encounter hindrances. The men of excellence, however, after commencing a job do not give up despite recurrence of impediments.
To be judicious and amicable, to desist from committing evil even in the face of death, to refrain from soliciting favours from the wicked, to avoid asking for help from a destitute friend, to remain steadfast in adversity and to follow in the footsteps of the great men, who taught these habits to good people which are as difficult as the vow of walking on a sword?
A dog wags its tail and crawls at the feet of its master, and shows him its mouth and belly to get food. However, a mighty elephant looks as its patron with composure, and eats only after a lot of coaxing.
Like a bunch of flowers, the great thinkers are ordained for only two kinds of existence. Either they are placed over the heads of the people or they perish in the forest.
There are five or six revered planets in the sky like Jupiter, but the swash-buckler Rahu does not contend with them. Look O Brother! Rahu, the lord of demons, which is surviving merely on a truncated head, swallows only the Sun and the Moon watching the appropriate time (i.e. Amavasya and Poornima, the darkest night and the full‐moon night of the month respectively) and none else.
There are only three ends of wealth – charity, enjoyment or destruction. One who neither gives, nor enjoys, leaves open only the third course for it.
When a man is in penury, he pines for a handful of barley. After he becomes abundantly rich, he considers the entire world, no more than straw. There is no consistency in the greatness or smallness of material objects. It is the fluctuating fortune of wealthy men which overrates or underrates the material things.
 If one is possessed by cupidity, then he may have no other vices; if one is in the habit of backbiting, then there is no need for committing sins. Austerity is not required for him who is truthful. He need not go on pilgrimages who has a clear conscience. If one has a gentle disposition, then he need no other strength. One who possesses dignity, for him there is no use of any ornaments. If one has acquired good knowledge, riches are not necessary for him, and if one has begotten ill-repute, then death is not necessary for him.
 Those kings who suffer from excessive anger, alienate even their own kinsmen. The touch of fire burns even the performer of a fire sacrifice (havan).
Can anyone ever be happy under the domination of that mean fellow who envies the virtuous, who under the fortuitous gain of prosperity has entirely forgotten his own previous deeds of depravity, one who is unrestrained, and who has raised the stock of the vile?
Friendship with the wicked and the virtuous is like the shadow of the forenoon and the afternoon, respectively. The one is long in the beginning and then gradually shrinks. The other is short at the commencement but progressively lengthens with the passage of time.
A deer, a fish and a gentleman subsist on grass, water and contentment, yet a hunter, a fisherman and a backbiter are hostile to them respectively without rhyme or reason.
Patience in adversity, magnanimity in ascendancy, eloquence in assembly, bravery in battle, aspiration for eminence and engrossment in the Scriptures are the self-evident attributes of great men.
To give secret charities, to extend hospitality to visitors, to keep silent after doing good to others and to extol publicly the favours received from others, to restrain from pride after acquiring wealth and to avoid contempt while speaking about others – who has taught this difficult practice of "walking on a sword" to good people?
Giving of praise‐ worthy alms is an ornament for the hands, bowing at the feet of the guru is that for the head; the ornament of the mouth is truthful speech, that of the arms is invincible bravery; clean conscience is the ornament of one's heart and the attainment of knowledge is the ornament of the ears. These ornaments belong to men who are great by their own natural tendencies, though they may be without opulence.
In opulence the heart of great men is as soft as that of a lotus flower, but in adversity the same hardens like a rock of a big mountain.
Water when dropped on a hot iron, evaporates leaving no trace of itself. The drops of water that nestle on lotus‐leaves gleam like pearls. The same when they fall in the oyster shells of the ocean during the swaati, these generate pearls. Base, mediocre and superior attributes are generally cultivated by the different types of company one keeps.
Indeed, a son is he who makes his father happy with his good deeds. The woman who is a well‐wisher of her husband is a wife in the real sense. A friend who remains alike in times of happiness and misery, is a true friend. Verily, men obtain these three only as a result of their good deeds.
How many good persons are there in this world whose mind, body and speech are filled with the nectar of piety, who keep all the three worlds gratified by their benevolent acts, who magnify even the minute atoms of virtue in others to mountaineous proportions, and who are always cheerful at heart?
The gods did not rest content with the jewels obtained by the churning of the ocean, nor were they stupefied and awed, with getting the deadly poison. They did not seek repose until they had acquired the nectar. Similarly, men of determination do not rest on their laurels until they achieve their objective.
Discerning men may slight or laud them, the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, may come or go as she likes, death may occur today or after ages; but strong-willed men do not deviate from the path of justice.
A tree grows again after pruning, and the moon also waxes after waning. Contemplating this, the righteous men do not grieve in suffering.
Civility is the ornament of prosperity, restrained speech of valour, mental tranquility of knowledge, humility of studying the scriptures, charity to the deserving of wealth, control over anger of austerity, forgiveness of power, and sincerity of righteousness. Moral conduct is the root cause of all this – and it is the most precious ornament of all.
Of what consequence are Sumeru, the mountain of gold or Kailash. The silvery mountain where the trees remain unchanged for ever. We consider the Malaya mountain (on the western ghats) as greater where even the thorny and bitter (like the neem) trees acquire the fragrance of sandal wood.
Sometimes they sleep on the ground, sometimes on beds; some times they survive by eating herbs and vegetables, sometimes they get to eat delicious rice dishes, sometimes they barely cover themselves with rags and sometimes they wear beautiful silken cloths. Single-minded persons striving for their goals are unmindful of interim weal and woe.
Just as a ball bounces back after hitting the ground, similarly, the suffering of righteous men is temporary.
Indolence, indeed, is like the great enemy inside men's body; and there is no friend as good as diligence. An industrious man never suffers.
A snake, stricken with hunger and despair, lay coiled in a basket. In the night a mouse gnawed a hole in the basket, and on its own fell into the mouth of the snake. The snake gratified its hunger with the flesh of the mouse, and quickly crept out of its captivity through the same hole. O men! Be patient, destiny is the main cause of one's rise and fall.
The result of men's efforts depends upon fate. Intelligence is also determined by fate, yet wise men should think before acting.
My salutation to gods, but they live under the control of the Creator, Brahma. I pray then to Brahma, but he rewards according to one's actions. If the results depend upon actions alone, then is there any purpose in propitiating the gods or the Creator? Thus, I salute the actions only which even Brahma cannot defy.
I salute immutable causation, which made Brahma mould the universe like a potter; which compelled Vishnu to undergo the harrowing experience of ten intricate incarnations; constrained Shiva to beg for alms carrying a human skull in his hand; pushes the sun to traverse the sky eternally.
A beautiful body bears no fruit, nor high family or good character, knowledge or diligent service. It is the accumulation of merit through a man's previous austerities which alone fructify even as the trees in due season.
Whether one is in a battlefield or in a forest; whether one is in the midst of enemies, water or fire; in the sea or on a mountain peak; in slumber or in senselessness – in whatever difficult plight a man may be, it is his past meritorious deeds that really, protect him.
The virtuous deeds which inspire the vile to behave like saints and groom nincompoops to be learned; turn the envious into well-wishers and the implicit into the tangible; and which instantly metamorphose venom into nectar – O gentleman, take the shelter of such virtuous deeds to enjoy the fruit you cherish, instead of depending upon other means entailing miseries.
What is gain? It is the companionship of the virtuous. What is grief? It is the company of fools. What is loss? It is the dissipation of time. What is prudence? It is devotion to virtue. What is valour? It is the conquest of the senses. Who is the beloved wife? One who is devoted to her husband. What is wealth? It is knowledge. What is happiness? It is to remain settled in one's own country. What is rulership? It is to command obedience.

Friday, June 6, 2014

To Be or Not To Be

Krishna and Arjuna in Peter Brook's film "Mahabharata"

 From "Hamlet"of William Shakespeare (act 3, scene 1).

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Wound of Love

Charles Mellin "St Francis de Sales in ecstasy"
From "Treatise on the Love of God", the work of Francis de Sales (1567-1622), a Catholic saint.

Now the painful wounds of love are of many sorts. 1. The first strokes we receive from love are called wounds, because the heart which appeared sound, entire and all its own before it loved, being struck with love begins to separate and divide itself from itself, to give itself to the beloved object. Now this separation cannot be made without pain, seeing that pain is nothing but the division of living things which belong to one another. 2. Desire incessantly stings and wounds the heart in which it is, as we have said. 3. But, Theotimus, speaking of heavenly love, there is in the practice of it a kind of wound given by God himself to the soul which he would highly perfect. For he gives her admirable sentiments of and incomparable attractions for his sovereign goodness, as if pressing and soliciting her to love him; and then she forcibly lifts herself up as if to soar higher towards her divine object; but stopping short, because she cannot love as much as she desires:--O God! she feels a pain which has no equal. At the same time that she is powerfully drawn to fly towards her dear well-beloved, she is also powerfully kept back and cannot fly, being chained to the base miseries of this mortal life and of her own powerlessness: she desires the wings of a dove that she may fly away and be at rest, and she finds not. There then she is, rudely tormented between the violence of her desires and her own powerlessness. Unhappy man that I am, said one of those who had experienced this torture, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? In this case, if you notice, Theotimus, it is not the desire of a thing absent that wounds the heart, for the soul feels that her God is present; he has already led her into his wine-cellar, he has planted upon her heart the banner of love: but still, though already he sees her wholly his, he urges her, and from time to time casts a thousand thousand darts of his love, showing her in new ways, how much more he is lovable than loved. And she, who has not so much force to love as love to force herself, seeing her forces so weak in respect of the desire she has to love worthily him whom no force of love can love enough,--Ah! she feels herself tortured with an incomparable pain; for, as many efforts as she makes to fly higher in her desiring love, so many thrills of pain does she receive.
  This heart in love with its God, desiring infinitely to love, sees notwithstanding that it can neither love nor desire sufficiently. And this desire which cannot come to effect is as a dart in the side of a noble spirit; yet the pain which proceeds from it is welcome, because whosoever desires earnestly to love, loves also earnestly to desire, and would esteem himself the most miserable man in the universe, if he did not continually desire to love that which is so sovereignly worthy of love. Desiring to love, he receives pain; but loving to desire, he
receives sweetness.
 My God! Theotimus, what am I going to say? The blessed in heaven seeing that God is still more lovable than they are loving, would fail and eternally perish with a desire to love him still more, if the most holy will of God did not impose upon theirs the admirable repose which it enjoys: for they so sovereignly love this sovereign will, that its willing stays theirs, and the divine contentment contents them, they acquiescing to be limited in their love even by that will whose goodness is the object of their love. If this were not so, their love
would be equally delicious and dolorous, delicious by the possession of so great a good, dolorous through an extreme desire of a greater love.
God therefore continually drawing arrows, if we may say so, out of the quiver of his infinite beauty, wounds the hearts of his lovers, making them clearly see that they do not love him nearly as much as he is worthy to be beloved. That mortal who does not desire to love the divine goodness more, loves him not enough; sufficiency in this divine exercise is not sufficient, when a man would stay in it as though it sufficed him.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Loved You in Numberless Times

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms,
numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade
the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift,
Wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age-old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream
That brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting,
The same distressful tears of farewell -
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -

And the songs of every poet past and forever.

---By Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nataraja Stotra (charana shrunga rahita)

By Sage Patanjali

charana shrunga rahita naTaraaja stotram

sadanchita-mudanchita nikunchita padam
jhala jhalam-chalita manju kaTakam
janana-bhanjanakaram |
kadambaruchi-mambara-basam paramamambuda
chidambudhimaNim budhahrudambujaravi
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 1 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. He is called Hara who smashed the three cities. He is worshipped by good people. While dancing he has lifted one foot which is bent. His lovely bracelets are set in motion of dance movements and hence are making a jingling sound. He is like ointment to the eyes of Patanjali by whose application the vision gets clear for receiving knowledge. However, he is free from contamination of any kind. He destroys the cycle of birth (and death). He possesses the loveliness of Kadamba tree; wears the sky as garment. His throat is dark like the multitude of rainy clouds. He is the jewel in the ocean of consciousness. He is the the Sun blossoming the lotus- heart of wise persons.
haram tripura-bhanjana-manantakruta-kankaNam
akhanDadayam antarahitam
taruNachandra makuTam |
param pada-vikhanDitayamam bhasitamnDitatanum
chirantanam amum praNava sanchita nidhi
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 2 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. He is the destroyer of the world, Who destroys sin and grants emancipation. He has destroyed the three cities of demon Tripura, representing the three types of sorrows. He is wearing the great serpent, ananta, like a bracelet. He is incessantly showering compassion and is endless. God Brahma, Indra and the other devatas meditate upon his feet. The crescent moon adorns his crown. The great one has crushed Yama by his feet. His body is decorated with ash. He is inclined to brush aside cupid. His preciousness is saturated in the syllable - AUM.
anantam akhilam jagada bhanga guNatungamamatam
dhrutavidhum surasarit
shamanaDambasuharam bhavaharam |
shivam dashadigantara-vijrumbhitakaram
karalasanmrugashishum pashupatim
haram shashi-dhananjaya-patanganayanam
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 3 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram, Who protects all the world . His lofty place is due to the indestructible good qualities . It is difficult to grasp his nature. He has held crescent moon in his forehead . His matted hair is covetous of holding the multitude of waves of the divine river, Ganga . He has dispelled the vanity of Yama and is capable of delivering men from the pangs of worldly life . The Lord of creatures, the auspicious God, in whose hand a young deer is dancing, has spread his hands in all ten quarters. The great Destroyer has moon, fire and sun as his eyes.
jhala-jhalam jhala-ravam

layadhvanidhimiddhimita-nartanapadam |

parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 4 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Shiva residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. The tiny bells attached to his bracelets which are shining with innumerable gems of nine kinds are making a sweet jingling sound. The dancing movements of his feet are accompanied by the drum in the hands of Mukunda (vishnu) and vidhi (brahma). He is closely surrounded by Vishnu, riding a chariot to which a bird (Garuda) is yoked, by kartikeya, riding a charior to which a peacock is yoked, by a troupe of Gana-s consisting of Srngi, Riti, Bhrngi etc headed by Nandi . Prominent sages like Sananda and Sanaka are saluting his feet.
anantamahasam tridashavandyacharaNam
ravimanju-vapuSham |

anantavibhavam trijagadantaramaNim
trinayanam tripurakhanDanaparam
sanandamuni-vanditapadam sakaruNam
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 5 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, residing in the holy place called Chidambaram. His lustre is beginningless and endless. His feet are revered by the gods. The pure one who is free from all blemishes  resides in the interior of sages hearts. He wields a lovely body made up of the following components - water, sky, moon, earth, wind, fire, sacrificer (atman) and Sun. His riches are infinite; he is the jewel of the three worlds having three eyes, he is incline to smash the three cities of Tripura. The god who takes pity (on the distressed) is saluted by Sage Sananda.
mahikunDala-dharam |
akampam anukampitaratim sujanamangalanidhim
gajaharam pashupatim
dhananjayanutam praNataranjanaparam
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 6 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Shiva, residing in the holy place, Chidambaram. His dark colored throat is attractive with its resemblance to the colour of a multitude of bees. His complexion is white like a bunch of blooming Kunda flowers . He wears a glittering appearance when saluted by Vishnu, gods, and Indra, the killer of the demon Bala. His ear ornament consists of serpent. He is free from fear and hence unmoved. However, he took pity on Rati. He is a reservoir of all auspicious things for good persons. The destroyer of Gajasure is the Lord of creatures, praised by Arjuna. He is inclined to be delightful to persons who bow down to Him.
param suravaram puraharam pashupatim
janita-dantimukha-shaNmukham amum
mruDam kanaka pinglajaTam sanaka-pankaja-ravi
sumanasam himaruchim |
asangamanasam jaladhijanmagaralam
kabalayamtam atulam guNanidhim
sanandavaradam shamitam induvadanam
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 7 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer Shiva residing in the holy place Chidambaram. He is the best among gods, destroyer of the three cities for the benefit of the world. That Lord of creatures has given birth to elephant-headed Ganesha for warding off obstacles and to six-faced Kartikeya for leading divine army. The benevolent God has hair that is brownish like gold . He is like Sun who causes the blooming of the lotus in the form of sage Sanaka . Having a mind kind to all, He weilds the lustre of snow. His mind is not attached to anything, even to Parvati . He has swallowed poison arising out of ocean in order to save the world from its adverse effects . He is a store-house of quailities, not comparable to anyone else . He has given boons to sage, Sananda . Having a face which is delightful like the moon, he has attained the blissful state.
ajam kshitiratham bhujangapungavaguNam
kanakashrungidhanusham karalasat
kurangapruthu-Tanka-parashum ruchirakumkumaruchim
Damarukam cha dadhatam |
mukunda-vishikham namadavandhayaphaladam
nigamabrundaturagam nirupam
sachanDikamamum jhaTiti samhrutapuram
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 8 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, who resides in the holy place, Chidambaram, and He is without birth. The Earth itself is his chariot. The great serpent, Vasuki is his bowstring. The golden peaked Meru is His bow. In His hands shines a deer, a big sword and an aze. He weilds a damaru which has the color of lovely kumkuma. Mukunda himself is his arrow . He effectively grants the desire to those who salute him. The multitude of Vedic texts are his horses (or mind). The incomparable God accompanied by Chandika has quickly destroyed the cities of demon Tripura.
ananga-paripanthinam ajam kshitidhurandhara
karuNayantam akhilam
jvalantam analam dadhatam antakaripum
satatam indrasura vandita padam |
patanjalinutam praNavapanjarashukam
parachidambaranaTaM hrudi bhajey || 9 ||

Heartily resort to the great dancer, Lord Shiva, who resides in the holy place, Chidambaram. Birthless, He is an enemy of Cupid . He bears the burden of the earth, He is intensely compassionate to all. The killer of demon Andhaka is capable of holding buring fire. Gods headed by Indra are constantly falling at His feet. He is having a body which has got the lustre of a group of hundred rising suns and is fragrant. He is praised by Patanjali and is like a parrot in the cage of the syllable Omkara.
iti stavam amum bhujagapungavakrutam
pratidinam paThati yah krutamukhaha
sadah prabhu-padadvitaya-darshanapadam
sulalitam charaNashrungarahitam |

sarah prabhava-sambhava-haritpatiharipramukha-
sa gacChati param na tu janurjalanidhim
parachidambaranaTam hrudi bhajey || 10 ||

Here ends the praise song composed by Patanjali who is an incarnation of the great serpent Shesha. One who learns it by heart and recites it will find a seat in the assembly of Gods . The praise song is charming . The words in it lead to the perception of the the Lord's pair of feet. It flows on, being beginning-less and endless (composed of the meter charana shrunga rahita). One who recites this hymn,quickly reaches the highest goal and does not steep into the ocean of worldly existence which causes great sorrow and sinfulness.
|| iti shree patanjali maharshi kruta
shree charaNa shrunga rahita naTaraaja stotram sampoorNam ||