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Posts Tagged ‘Emptiness’

Man with an umbrella

Posted by kathavarta on December 19, 2008

Whatever is sacrificed, given or performed, and whatever austerity is practised without faith, it is called ‘asat’, O Arjuna, it is naught here or hereafter (after death).
From The Bhagavad Gita; Chapter 17, verse 28

A long time ago, there was a severe draught in certain parts of India. One village in particular was caught up right in the middle of this draught belt. The economy of this village was entirely dependent on agricultural produce. Without rains, the villagers faced a bleak future, indeed. The extreme heat of the sun had dried up the rivers and the lakes. There was hardly any water left in the wells. The people were really desperate for water.

The villagers approached the village pundit (priest) and asked him to organise a prayer-for- rain meeting in the temple. The whole village turned out at this prayer meeting. One man was among the last group of people who arrived at the temple and every body with strange quizzical looks on their faces, was looking at this one man. This man was carrying an umbrella and he was the only man who brought his umbrella to this prayer meeting. No villager was ever seen carrying an umbrella outside of the rainy seasons. To the villagers, it was as strange as seeing a housewife going everyday to the vegetable market dressed in a bride’s costume! For it seemed unconventional to carry an umbrella when there was not one rain cloud in the sky.

The prayer meeting commenced and at the end of all the rituals and ceremonies, when people were about to leave the temple, they could not hold back their curiosity about the man and his umbrella.

‘Why was he carrying the umbrella?’ the people asked.

Upon being questioned, the man with the umbrella replied:

“The Lord will provide. He gives and He takes away. The Lord will surely answer our prayers for rain and I will need the umbrella for the rains”.

The villagers laughed him off. Not one of the villagers could appreciate the absolute and sincere faith of the man with the umbrella. The scorching heat of the sun outside the temple was still fresh in their minds.

And then……..

Behold, a miracle took place. As the people were streaming out of the temple door and putting on their shoes, rain clouds appeared in the sky, the gentle breeze gave way to gusting winds, the pallor of the sky darkened and thunder and lightning heralded the coming of the rains. And a sudden downpour opened the eyes of the villagers. Their ridicule of the man with the umbrella changed to amazement, disbelief, and they now understood the intense faith of this man. All the villagers agreed that it was the sincere prayer of this one man with his total faith and devotion that the Lord simply had to answer.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
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The Letters from the Lord of Death

Posted by kathavarta on December 16, 2008

A man by the name of Amrita, living on earth, thought to himself that the one thing he feared most was death. He hit upon a bright idea that if he befriended the Lord of Death, then may be death can be kept at a distance. Amrita practised austerities and concentrated his mind upon Lord Yama, the Lord of Death. Lord Yama was pleased and granted a vision to Amrita.

Lord Yama said: I know, by the aid of my divine powers, that you seek to befriend me. Your wish has come true. My presence is only available to those upon whose deaths my messengers or I take their souls to my domain. Those that are born must die and those who die will be born again. This is the eternal law. No one can escape death. Yet I grant you my vision while you are still living.

Amrita said: As a token of our friendship, I ask this favour of you. If death is inevitable, I ask that if I am to die, then at least let me know beforehand of the time when my end is to come so that I can make proper provision for my family before departure.

Lord Yama said: Sure, this is a simple matter. I shall certainly inform you beforehand. But as soon as you get the message, please set about making the preparations.

With these words Lord Yama, the Lord of Death, vanished.

Many years passed. Amrita’s hair began gradually to turn grey, but he was living happily with not a thought about the fear of death. His life was full of sensual pleasures and enjoyments. He did not look forward to receiving any correspondence from his friend, Lord Yama, and he was pleased that so far no letters had arrived from the Lord of Death.

Some more years passed by. By this time Amrita had lost most of his teeth. But he was living without any worries about death or dying. Still no letters had arrived from his friend, the Lord of Death.

As the years rolled by, Amrita’s eyesight became dimmer. Old age is catching up with me, he thought. But I am thankful that my friend has still not sent any letter addressed to me. I know that my friend, Lord Yama, always keeps his promise. He will surely send a message beforehand.

Some more years passed by. Amrita was now an old man who could not stand straight up. With his back bent forward, he could not walk without the support of a walking stick. His skin was all wrinkled. One day he suffered a stroke and became paralysed. People said his condition was very critical. But Amrita was still in a happy frame of mind. As long as his friend Lord Yama had not sent any letter, the thought of death and dying never entered his mind.

Then the inevitable happened. Lord Yama, the god of death, entered the room. Amrita was startled and his mind was seized with fear.

Lord Yama said: My friend, come now, you have suffered greatly. Today I have come to take you with me.

Amrita was trembling with extreme fear. He said: Alas, you have betrayed me. You have not kept your word. You did not send any letter to me. You have now come with your fearful form to take me away. Are you not ashamed to thus deceive a friend?

Lord Yama said: O man! You spent all your life in shameless sense indulgence. Now you cast aspersions on me, the Lord of justice. Pleasures and enjoyments made you blind. How then could you know the letters I sent you? Not one, but four letters did I send to you. But you heeded them not.

Amrita was greatly puzzled: Four letters did you say? But not one reached me. It is just possible that they may have gone astray in the post.

Lord Yama said: With all your cleverness you were fool enough to think that I would take up pen and paper to write letters to you. O deluded mortal! Time is my messenger who brought my messages to you. Now take your mind back in time and recollect, years ago, your hair turned grey. That was my first letter. You did not heed my message but blackened your hair with dye.

My second letter reached you when your teeth began to fall out. Then too, you took no warning, but got yourself a set of false teeth.

My third letter was sent to you when your eyesight failed.

The fourth message was when your body became paralysed.

Amrita said: Oh no! I have grievously erred. Unforgivable is my error. Yet once more I crave your indulgence, Lord Yama.

Lord Yama replied: Indulgence! What more indulgence is there for me to give? What use did you make of the priceless opportunity bestowed on you of the gift of this human birth? Sensual indulgence and drunkenness- with these you wasted your life. Wasting this precious human life, fie on you! Now you shamelessly ask for more time. Time for what?

Amrita said: O friend, remember our past friendship? Please recall those days now and bestow on me one more chance.

Lord Yama said: That friendship was of that time. Now it’s done. I come neither as friend nor as foe. I come as the dispenser of the granite law. This law is above love and above hatred. This law is just, true and impartial. No human servitor am I who for gifts or money would from duty’s path swerve. My course is straight and true to the end. I carry out the stern dictates of destiny. All mortals have to bend to my final mandate. This is the divine law. Now let us go.

Lord Yama, the god of death, puts the noose over the dying man’s neck. The man begins to gasp and then chokes. An agonised expression fills his face.

People said: Amrita is dead.

Paraphrased from the writings of Swami Shivananda, The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh; on http://hinduism.co.za

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Om, Aum, Pranava

Posted by kathavarta on December 3, 2008

Om is a word used by Hindu yogis to represent a vibration which they say pervades the entire universe. They believe this is the same sound as the one heard internally as a result of practicing yoga.*

More generally, Om represents God, the supreme, all that is.

Om is used as a mantra (a word or phrase that’s said repeatedly out loud or in one’s head) in Japa Yoga.

Aum is a variant spelling of Om. The word can be spelled either way because the letter o is regarded as a diphthong consisting of a and u.

According to one of the most famous Hindu scriptures, the Mandukya Upanishad, Om symbolizes the four states of consciousness. The letter a represents the waking state, u represents the dream state, m represents deep sleep, and the whole word represents the fourth state (turiya), which is the state of enlightenment.

Pranava is a name used for the syllable Om. For example, you might say, “I recited the pranava a thousand times,” meaning you said “Om” a thousand times. Literally, pranava means “pronouncing” in Sanskrit. The word consists of the prefix pra (a cognate of the Latin prefix pro) and the root nu meaning “call out” and “exult.”

Pranava also means the sound that people hear internally after they practice yoga for a while.

The place of these concepts in yoga is summarized nicely by this paragraph from the website of the Himalayan Academy (www.himalayanacademy.com):

“Literally, Pranava in Sanskrit means “humming.” The mantram [mantra] Aum denotes God as the Primal Sound. This sound can be heard as the sound of one’s own nerve system, and meditators and mystics hear it daily, like the sound made by an electrical transformer or a swarm of bees, or a thousand vinas playing in the distance. It is a strong, inner experience, one that yogis hold with great reverence. The meditator is taught to inwardly transform this sound into the inner light which lights up ones’ thoughts, and to bask in this blissful consciousness of light. Pranava is also known as the sound of the nadanadi sakti. Hearing it one draws near to God Consciousness. When we are living in the lower chakras, or when the world too strongly dominates our mind, this sound may, for a time, not be heard. But it returns as awareness withdraws, as the mind becomes perfectly quiescent, silent, still. Listen for this sound in your quietest moments and you will learn to recognize it as a daily encounter with the Divine that lives within all men, within all creatures, within all existence.”

You can say HARI AUM or Aum Namah Shivaya!

Some skeptics say that the humming heard by experienced meditators is actually a form of self-induced epilepsy.

Source: http://www.realization.org
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Brighter side of life, lighter way

Posted by kathavarta on November 30, 2008

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like, night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

7. I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

8. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

9. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.

10. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

11. Remember half the people you know are below average.

12. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?

13. Nothing is fool-proof to a talented fool.

14. He who laughs last thinks slowest.

15. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

16. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

17. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

18. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

19. I intend to live forever – so far so good.

20. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Source: http://www.guy-sports.com
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Significance of 108

Posted by kathavarta on November 16, 2008

The Indian Subcontinent rosary or set of Mantra counting has 108 beads. 108 has been a sacred number in the Indian Subcontinent for a very long time. This number is explained in many different ways.

The ancient Indians were excellent mathematicians and 108 may be the product of a precise mathematical operation (e.g. 1 power 1 x 2 power 2 x 3 power 3 = 108) which was thought to have special numerological significance.

Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math:
1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2×2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108

Sanskrit alphabet:
There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

Shri Yantra:
On the Shri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti qualities. 54 x 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Shri Yantra as well as the human body.

9 times 12:
Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108.

Heart Chakra:
The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, Sushumna leads to the Crown Chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

Marmas or marmasthanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body.

Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future. 36 times 3 equals 108.

There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

Planets and Houses:
In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

Gopis of Krishna:
In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 Gopis or maid servants of Krishna.

1, 0, and 8:
1 stands for God or higher Truth,
0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and
8 stands for infinity or eternity.

Sun and Earth:
The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

Numerical scale:
The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 … 10, etc., where 0 is not a number.

Smaller divisions:
The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads.

The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God.

In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 (12+8+36+25+27=108) virtues respectively.

The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads.

The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each.

Stages of the soul said:
Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey.

This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala.

There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.

The nine is the limit of all numbers, all others existing and coming from the same. ie: 0 to 9 is all one needs to make up an infinite amount of numbers.

We have listed below 108 Upanishads as per the list contained in the Muktikopanishad . We have arranged them in four categories according to the particular Veda to which each of them belong:
Riga Veda(10): Aitareya , Atmabodha, Kaushitaki, Mudgala, Nirvana, Nadabindu, Akshamaya, Tripura, Bahvruka, Saubhagyalakshmi.

Yajur Veda(50): Katha, Taittiriya , Isavasya , Brihadaranyaka, Akshi, Ekakshara, Garbha, Prnagnihotra, Svetasvatara, Sariraka, Sukarahasya, Skanda, Sarvasara, Adhyatma, Niralamba, Paingala, Mantrika, Muktika, Subala, Avadhuta, Katharudra, Brahma, Jabala, Turiyatita, Paramahamsa, Bhikshuka, Yajnavalkya, Satyayani, Amrtanada, Amrtabindu, Kshurika, Tejobindu, Dhyanabindu, Brahmavidya, YogakundalinI, Yogatattva, Yogasikha, Varaha, Advayataraka, Trisikhibrahmana, mandalabrahmana, Hamsa, Kalisantaraaa, Narayana, Tarasara, Kalagnirudra, Dakshinamurti, Pancabrahma, Rudrahrdaya, SarasvatIrahasya.

Sama Veda(16): Kena, Chandogya, Mahat, Maitrayani, Vajrasuci, Savitri, Aruneya, Kundika, Maitreyi, Samnyasa, Jabaladarsana, Yogacudaman, Avyakta, Vasudevai, Jabali, Rudrakshajabala.

Atharva Veda(32): Prasna , Mandukya, Mundaka, Atma, Surya, Narada-Parivrajakas, Parabrahma, Paramahamsa-Parivrajakas, Pasupatha-Brahma, Mahavakya, Sandilya, Krishna, Garuda, Gopalatapani, Tripadavibhuti-mahnarayana, Dattatreya, Kaivalya, NrsimhatapanI, Ramatapani, Ramarahasya, HayagrIva, Atharvasikha, Atharvasira, Ganapati, Brhajjabala, Bhasmajabala, Sarabha, Annapurna, TripuratapanI, Devi, Bhavana, SIta.

If you want more information or more mantras relating to the deities or principles involved, email to Katha@ymail.com.

Source: http://mailerindia.com/.
Visit www.eTirth.com for more religious information.
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Mantras FAQ

Posted by kathavarta on November 16, 2008

Q: I want to work with more than one mantra at a time, because I want to work on several things at once. Is this a good thing to do?

A: For your first experiment with mantras, I recommend you work with only one mantra for a full forty-eight day discipline. After that, work with any combination that makes sense to you. Remember, mantras work with energy – both yours and what you bring in from the universe – so if you work on more than one thing, try to keep them at least in the same general area.

Here We have given some Powerfull mantras:
Aum Gum Ganapatayei Namaha
Aum Dum Durgayei Namaha
Aum Shri Dhanvantre Namaha

Q: I sometimes say mantras silently when I am around other people. Is this OK?

A: Ultimately, saying mantras silently is the most powerful way to say them. The silent repetition stimulates the corresponding petals of the chakras so that energy is brought into the subtle body.

Q: I have heard that one must receive a mantra from a guru for it to work. Is this true?

A: Those who have unwrapped the power of a mantra through many repetitions achieve something called “Mantra Siddhi.” This means that they have attained some measure of power and proficiency with the mantra. At this point, they may give a mantra to others “with power,” meaning that the recipient will achieve results faster than doing it without having received it “with power.” However, Sanskrit mantras are your spiritual birthright since they are directly linked to the chakras. They will work even if you read them from a book and begin practice.
The minimum number of repetitions to achieve Mantra Siddhi is generally recognized as 125,000.

Q: I want to do a mantra on behalf of another person. Is this OK?

A: Praying for another person is a good thing to do for anybody at any time. However, Sanskrit Mantra is not exactly prayer because it is pro active and specific, whereas prayer leaves the mechanism of an answer up to Divine authority. Therefore, I recommend that wherever possible you ask permission from a person to undertake mantra work on their behalf. If this is not possible, then start with a prayer that this energy be used for their highest good and begin. I also recommend that you begin with the declaration that while you are performing this mantra on someone’s behalf (state their name) that you are by no means taking their karma.

Parents have an automatic right as well as responsibility to perform mantra work on behalf of their children.

Q: When we repeat durga ashtottaram for example can we have the image of baalaa , or lalitaa or kaali in our mind or do we need to have only the form of durga in our mind.Can we recite durga satanaama as addressed to lalitaambika.

A: The shastras say that “Aaavahitha devathaa anyath devabhi na archayet”. i.e, we should not worship the gods with anyother mantras, other than the ones meant for the invoked god. However, this rule takes a backseat, when we say Lalitha sahsranamam, and worship any female god, or Vishnu saharanama for any form of vishnu.

Q: Can we have the image of lord shiva while repeating any devi Ashtottara and image of devi while repeating shiva Ashtottara , in our mind.

A: There is no harm to have the image of shiva or shakthi, while worshipping either of them or another. again the shaastraas say that “Aavayorantharam naasthi candracandrikayoriva…..” . There is no difference between them(devi(lalitaa,baalaa,miinaakshi, durga),lord shiva) like moon and moonlight.

Q: How efficient are mantras, and is it a problem if we recite them less than perfectly?

A: A learned Brahmin, from Guntur who was a Ghanaapaathigal, went to the acharya of sringeri and poured out his woes. He said that he married 3 times till then, but some how all his three wives died soon after marriage, and he being a grahastha into yagnas and yagas, could not be without a wife , as a wife had certain important functions in a yajna. He told the acharyal, that he recited the sapthashathi daily, in addition to his japas and pooja. The acharyal, an unparallel Srividyopasaka, went about and divined the problem. He asked the ghanaapaaThigal to repeat the kavacha of sapthashathi. The ghanaapaaThigal, told the same and acharyal, pointed out the reason for his wives death. GhanaapaaThi sundara shastri avadhanigal, was telling “baaryaam bhakshathu bhairavii”… instead of “rakshathu bhairavii”, which lead to the wives death. I hope this illustration gives us a picture of mantra shastra and its importance. Likewise when saptashatii is learnt from a sat guru and if recited properly it is equally capable of bestowing bhogaa and moksha.

Q: Is Shrividya of Vedic origin? Are there any references to the devis lalitaa , baalaa , tripura , sundari in the vedas. atleast in the atharvana veda? Are there vedic references to shrii vidyaa?

A: Regarding lalitha, bala, tripura etc…. The vedas including Rig and Yajur have so many references, you cannot even conceive. There are upanishads in the atharvana , like tripuropanishad, tripurataapinupanishad, etc…. The aruna prashna, speaks volumes of Lalitha. Vedic reference to Baala, is found in Rigveda, in the khila bhaaga of srisuktha,sudhaa suktha, etc tripura and sundari, in atharvana veda, yajur veda, etc.. Tripura appears some 70 times in the vedas.” Regarding the origin of shrii vidyaa, the rigvedic hymn, “Chatvaari vak parimita…..” etc, gives details of srividya mantra and its esoteric meaning. Reference to srividya and its mantra derivatives, have been made atleast in 20 places through out the vedas. Especially Yajur and Rig veda. Srividya, originates from three mantras of the vedas. 1. jatavedase rik. from durga suktha yajur veda 2. gayathri mantra, rig veda 3. mrityunjaya mantra, yajur veda These three together are known as shatakshara vidya or shatakshara gayathri, as they have a 100 letters in them. This is the basis of srividya. ” These are only some of the references quoted. There are many references.It is thus very clear that shrii vidya is totally vedic in origin .I also heard that the above three mantraas are said to represent the very essence of vedaas. so there should be no doubt about the vedic origins of shrii vidya however hard some western tantrics may try to argue. Moreover what is available to us of the Vedas now is only about 10% of what was available in the remote past! Some sections may still be ‘secret’ in some families. I remember seeing a book many years ago, of Shri Ganapati Muni’s ‘finding’ sections of Rig Veda while in deep meditation in Gokarna.

Q: I almost meet with the insistence that a guru must initiate us in order that we may perform some of the devi poojas. With most of the traditional gurus being people of a particular community who guard these upaasana know-hows with utmost secrecy, I am feeling discouraged as I get the feeling that low castes will never get initiated.OR is there a way out?

A: A good Guru should not divide Shishyas by caste or sex. No where in vedas it is taught that mantras are not to be used by low caste people. Hindu system has formulated caste by the practice of profession and not merely by birth. Every hindu has the right to learn the sastras and mantras. If the disciple is true and devoted the Almighty will send a Guru for him to learn the mantras and sastras. So, for a start,

let us be true,
let us be devoted,
let us have love for the universe,
let us respect the elders,
let us not speak ill of our neighbours.

Rest assured is that Jagadamba will jump to embrace you in a way that you can see for yourself, because She is “Avyaja karuna” – Honest compassion.

If you want more information or more mantras relating to the deities or principles involved, email to Katha@ymail.com.

Source: http://mailerindia.com/.
Visit www.mandirinfo.com for more religious information.
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