www.telugubhakti.com Digest Number 4772

Telugu Bhakti Pages

5 Messages

Digest #4772
Quotable Quote by p_gopi_krishna
Quotable Quote by p_gopi_krishna
Sringeri by p_gopi_krishna
Sringeri by p_gopi_krishna
Satsangam by p_gopi_krishna


Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:22 am (PDT) . Posted by:


"The human mind is elated and enthused by hearing stories. Images, paintings, music, idols, dance – any kind of picturesque presentation of religion and spirituality or philosophy – is generally more appealing than cut and dry logic, as we know very well. The Puranas and the epics bring home to us the idea of the necessity to accept the power of God as the only medium by which obstacles can be removed. So, He is called Vighnesvara, the God who is not merely the Ganapati or the ruler of the hosts or Ganas, but also a Remover of all impediments on all paths." – Swami Krishnananda

Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:49 am (PDT) . Posted by:


It is time men stopped the pillaging of men and unified their ranks to carry on the common task. Enormous is the task, but sweet the victory. All else is trite and empty in comparison. (Mikhail Naimy)

समय आ गया है कि मनुष्य मनुष्यों को लुटना बन्द कर दें और सर्वहित के काम को पूरा करने के लिये एक हो जायें। बहुत बड़ी है ये चुनौती, पर मधुर होगी विजय भी जिसकी तुलना में और सब तुच्छ तथा खोखला है।

Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:31 am (PDT) . Posted by:


Sringeri Days : Part 4, from Sri Padmanabhan Venkatraman's entries. (Because Post 4 ends on such a Cliff-hanger, post 5 is also appended underneath)


After an eventful trip to Mantralaya, I was back in Chennai . Umesh wanted to hear all the details of the visit and I gave a very elaborate account of the trip. He was very pleased about my experiences and promised to share it with Acharya during his mAnasIka conversations (telepathy).

Umesh was getting invited to conduct Satsang by many devotees of Sringeri Acharya all over Chennai. After one such a Satsang in Thiruvanmiyoor, we went to a local Shiva Temple. We were all standing and watching the pujari perform puja to Shiva Linga. I found Umesha smiling and mumbling something. I waited for all the puja to be over and asked him if he was seeing Rudra sitting on the Shiva Linga or he was content talking to Linga. Umesha had shared his experience of talking to Shiva in Buddy terms many times. I thought I was being smart in asking that.

Umesha looked at me for a moment , gave his magnetic smile and asked me in return, " Do you think Rudra as a young boy is different from Rudra as a Shiva Linga ?"

I stood there frozen and the true meaning of all Itihasa Purana, all our rituals , worship practices flashed in a moment. As it happens with Sringeri Acharya or Umesha always, it will take several years to fully understand their statements. Some 30 years later found an elaboration of this in Shrimad Ananda Theertha's Tantra Sara Sangraha.

As Dr Bannanje Govindacharya explains in his commentary, we Hindus are NOT [inert] idol worshippers; we worship the God that we invoke and request to reside in the murti.God takes the form we want him to take, for our sake, while he is beyond the concepts of forms. This statement may appear like a rhetorical one that means nothing. It actually means everything Indian philosophy stands for. 

Every ritualistic worship we do has a structure if we analyze carefully. They always start with an objective ( Sankalpa), a target form ( Upasana Murty), Invocation requesting god to come into that form ( aavahana), 16 different offerings ( sodasa Upacara), and then flagging the god off the form ( visarjana). There are rule books called Agama that define these procedures in minutest detail. The most important factor is that, as a worshipper, we should see no difference between the God we worship and the form into which we bring him to worship. If we miss this, sanctity is lost. This holds psychologically as well; if we see a difference between a principle and its form, we lose interest in the principle.

The greatness of Umesha was that in the midst of all fun, laughter and frolic he will make a single statement that will summarize a whole book. Sringeri Acharya Abhinava Vidyatheertha would accomplish this in just a look or gesture. He wouldn't even utter a word but we will get the meaning in a flash.

My family took a similar viewpoint while creating a hurdle for me , although in a misplaced way. Some believe in a concept of Gods occupying a human being for a brief period, crudely termed 'possession'. As opposed to a devotee invoking a god into a form, this was about a person invoking the god into himself/herself and talking like God. In my mind the former is an aid for concentration while the latter is about distraction bordering on autosuggestion. Hence I am always reluctant to take such things seriously.

My family got in touch with an Oracle lady who would get 'possessed' by God Nrusimha . She went into trance once and had told my mom that I was going around with a Sanyasi who was all about money and she promised to wean me away from him. My family was insistent that I should meet her and take her blessings.

I got enraged to hear this and refused to see her. I consulted Umesh on this and he laughed it off. He advised me to have faith in Acharya and happily go meet her. No one can stop me from meeting Acharya as long as He wanted me to come and see him. So, I went to one of her sessions with my mom. The lady went into trance and started forcefully advising me not to go and meet Sringeri Acharya. My family was relieved to hear her give such a clear instruction. "So, you would stop associating with Sringeri Acharya, won't you?", they asked as soon as we reached home. " It is Nrusimha devaru himself, don't you see?", they asked.

My response shocked them. "If we believe the lady's claims she gets possessed by Nrusimha, we have to believe the story of Nrusimha saving Adi Shankara from Kapalika by possessing PadmapAda's mind. Why would the Lord now speak against Sringeri Jagatguru who heads the pitha set up by the very same Shankara?". Shree Shankara stoically offering himself to Kaapalika and later pacifying Possesed Padmapad have been chronicled ….

आसीनमुच्चीकृत पूर्वगात्रं सिद्धासने शेषितबोधमात्रम् ।

चिन्मात्रविन्यस्त हृषीकवर्गं समाधि विस्मारित विश्वसर्गम् ॥……

त्वमेव सर्गस्थितिहेतुरस्य त्वमेव नेता नृहरेऽखिलस्य ।

त्वमेव चिन्त्यो हृदयेऽनवद्यें त्वामेव चिन्मात्रमहं प्रपद्ये ॥

Undaunted my family next pressed my brother's father in law, a Dwaitha Scholar, into the game. He came home one day, gave elaborate defense of Tatvavaada and pitfalls of Advaitha. He tried to floor me by saying even the great Vidyaranya Theertha of Sringeri was defeated by one of Madhwacharya's direct disciple in a debate. What is more, the debate was adjudicated by none other than the great Vedanta Desikacharya.

He suggested I read the Madhwa Historian Dr BNK Sharma if I did not believe him. He advised me to go to Mulbagal and see the Jayastamaba erected to commemorate the event to get reassured. For corroboration, he quoted from Vedanta Desika Vaibhava Prakasika, a eulogy on the great Vishishtadvaita scholar.

कदाचित अक्षोभ्यमुने विध्यारण्यस्यजातं बहुलं विवादं

विलिख्य भूपो विबुधाय यस्मै सम्प्रेषयामास तमाश्रयेऽहं

तत्वमसिनासिना तं विध्यारण्यं मुनिस्तदाक्षोभ्य

अच्छिनदित्यवदध्यः तं सेवे तत्व निर्णये चतुरम्

"I surrender to that learned person to whom the King (Hakka and Bukka) dispatched a message writing about the raging argument going on between akshObhya muni and VidyaraNya

I serve the wise person who is clever at judging and refereeing the debate on philosophy who declared that then akshobhya muni wielding the sword of "tattvamasi" cut VidyAraNya's jungle of philosophy into pieces"

The ground fell off under my feet. A gnawing self doubt caught me suddenly.. Ananda Theertha's direct disciple had defeated Vidyaranya Theertha of Sringeri Mutt and I am abandoning his Tatvavaada to take refuge into the very same defeated guru parampara?

I tried to reach out to Umesh on this but he had already gone off to Sringeri. I had no option but to make that secret trip to Sringeri with a mind that was reluctant to abandon Tatvavaada . How would I accept Abhinava Vidyatheertha as my Guru, when I am reluctant to accept his philosophy ? What is the point of calling someone as Guru if we don't accept or follow his directions implicitly ? jignAsa is a serious business in which we need to courageously accept the conclusions we arrive at and move deeply in that path.

It appeared that Akshobhya Theertha was winning where even Lord Nrusimha failed.

Sringeri Days : Part 5

Self doubt is the worst enemy one can ask for. Self doubt is a proud peacock, wouldn't come on its own. We lack courage, seek comfort and end up inviting Self doubt.

My self doubt was not about the veracity of debate; it was tying the decision of meeting Abhinava Vidyatheertha with an unsubstantiated debate that happened 600 years back. The key point that winning an argument is not establishing a philosophy or jignAsa was totally lost on me and I trembled like a dry leaf. With Umesh not being around to stabilize me, I was spinning like a gyroscope that lost its bearings.

Days rolled on and I immersed myself into the voluminous History of Dwaitha Vedantha written by eminent professor Dr.BNK.Sharma. While he did make reference to Akshobhya Theertha's victory over Vidyaranya, he provided no details. Surprisingly there are no records available for such a historic event. Neither has Akshobhya Theertha left any details nor has Vedantha Desika who reportedly wrote the judgement based on transcripts. The transcripts are no where to find either.To confound it all, the Vijayastamba pillar erected in Mulbagal has no inscriptions.

Some how, we have to accept that the scholarly, erudite Vidyaranya Theertha - who digested 15 philosophies to write Sarva Darsana Sangraha, who wrote the Advaita classic masterpiece Panca Dasi, who was wise enough to guide Harihara & Bukka to establish mighty Viajayanagar empire, was tongue tied and got defeated by Akshobhya Theertha-who had authored no book at all.

While my research did not help, I did not want to disbelieve Akshobhya Theertha's story either. We are not talking of average people but those who gave up everything in their quest for Truth. Why would they lie which was against their svadharma?

As I continued to reel under confusion and self doubt, a magical thing happened. My brother gifted me a thin book , 'Dialogues with the Guru". It was a collection of a few conversations devotees had with Shri Chandrashekara Bharati, the legendary guru and predecessor of Abhinava Vidyatheertha. This short book tore through my mental block , destroyed all self doubts and brought in clarity, like the brilliant sun after a cloudy monsoon rain.

Shri Chandrashekara Bharati came across as a no nonsense, rational, logical, tough talking guru who does not pull a punch. The book did not mention Akshobhya Theertha. He even ridicules the idea of debating whether Advaitha is correct or Dwaitha. When we are not even following common ethics, what difference does it make if final Truth is One, Two or even One & half, he thunders in the book.

The book gave me was a fresh perspective - how to see the validity of a different opinion, even as you don't agree with it. It was more about what is right for the individual, rather than what is correct as per you. His approach shifted the focus to the benefits to the person concerned, than establishing one's own point.

Things started to fall in place in my mind. It no longer mattered that said debate is not mentioned anywhere, including the works of Akshobhya Theertha's legendary disciple Jayatheertha; Or that only reference we have is just two couplets in the eulogy written by a devotee of Vedantha Desika, some 200 years later. It did not matter that the only argument Akshobhya Theertha had against 'Tatvam asi' was to say it was actually 'atatvam asi', the way his guru Ananda Theertha argued.

Shrimad Ananda Theertha would argue that Tatvam asi is actually 'Atat Tvam asi svetaketo', based on the examples Svetaketu's father Uddalaka gives in the Chandogya Upanishad conversation.

"Like a bird and the string; like the juices of various trees;Like rivers and the sea; like fresh and salt water;Like a robber and the robbed; like a man and his energy;So are self and the Lord diverse, for ever different".

Dr BNK Sharma quotes references from Vacaspati Mishra's Bhamati and Madhusudana saraswath's Advaitasiddhi conceding that the examples quoted in the Upanishad do talk of plurality.

"नदिपाथः परमाणूना तु समुद्रपाथः परमाणुभ्यो भेद एव नाभेदः एवं समुद्रादपि तेषा भेद एव"

"स्पष्ट भेद भाव अभिप्रायेण"

While rivers that merge with oceans are indistinguishable from the ocean, a particular of atom of river continues to be different from atoms of the ocean - if we continue to tag them as specific atom.

But then, this is the core of Advaitha Vaada- an experience is predicated by the a-priori definitions and boundary conditions. Granted that an H2O molecule, electron, Proton and neutrons are all same as Ocean components ; but if you choose to keep the artificial identity of a particular molecule or atom , you can see the difference always.

I thought it was quite possible that Shri Vidyaranya Theertha gave a conditional agreement for the Atatvam Asi argument from Tatvavaada point of view.. After all he writes like a true dwaithin when he covers Poornapragna darsana in his Sarva darsana sangraha. It was perhaps a technical acceptance of an alternative interpretation of examples; I am sure he did not agree with Akshobhya Theertha that "Tatvam Asi" should have been "Atatvam Asi". Tatvavaada protagonists must have been thrilled that their new fledgling philosophy scored an agreement, at least on a point, from a great guru of Advaitha.

That Shri Abhinava VidhyAtheertha, who I was yet to meet, would help me find clarity, that too through his jIvan mukra guru Chandrashekara Bharati would appear like a miracle. But it is not.It is a wrong notion that we have to work hard to get divine grace and blessings. God's grace is always available, we are immersed in it all the time. The tragedy is that we block it with Five doors - Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dwesha, Abhinivesha; and fortify with 6 locks -Kaama, krodha, lobha, Moha, Mada, matsarya.

With this new found conviction, my pride was swelling to no limits. I decided to challenge Umesh on this when I get to meet him in a few days in Sringeri.

Little did I realize that Umesh I would see will be totally different.Nor did I have any clue about was waiting for me in Sringeri.

(To be continued)

Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:43 pm (PDT) . Posted by:


Sringeri Days : Part 6, from Sri Padmanabhan Venkatraman ji's entries

With the new found confidence and pride I set out to Bangalore with the secret visit to Sringeri planned.First stop in my friend's apartment in Mathikere, Bangalore, shared by three friends; one of them, a talkative Nair from Kerala, gave me a hard time - he talked more than me, faster than me, knew more of Quantum Mechanics than me . He had a unique way of cooking that fascinated me. He would not stick to any recipe and make curries with the set of ingredients that came to his mind at that moment.

This 'Recipe for the moment' style cooking stuck with me and came very handy in my bachelor life and thereafter. Some times I make Rasam with Sambar powder, Cabbage salad served with coconut and Rasam powder, a lemon rice without lemons and so on. I stopped after trying to make a Kheer with mirchi powder!

After making the overt meeting with the scientists at University of Agricultural sciences , I took a night bus ride to Sringeri. Needless to say they were very confused at my plan to make the Rose plants capture TV signals. They couldn't decide if I was a genius Einstein in the making or a Forrest Gump. They took the usual bureaucratic route of asking me to publish a paper and come back with a project plan. I didn't bother either, it was only a cover for my secret trip to Sringeri.

After enduring a bumpy ride on bad roads, shivering in the cold of Western Ghats nights, I reached Sringeri in the wee hours. Sringeri was a quiet village those days with just one bus service per day. One of the Umesh Satsang members was waiting for me. After completing early morning anushtana , he took me to the Sharada Temple and then crossed a bamboo bridge into the island called Narsimhavana, location of Shri Abhinava Vidhya theertha's ashram.

As planned, we waited on the steps of Chandrashekara Bharati Samadhi at Adhistana complex for Umesh to show up. Umesh always stayed in the Guru Nivas doing seva to Shri Abhinava Vidyatheertha. He was Acharya's spiritual son. It was a strange feeling, standing at the very place where the wandering young monk Adi Shankara established the Dakshina Amnaya Peetha. Vedic chantings reverberated in the Veda Patashala there, the young students in traditional attire took me to land of Sapta Sindhu described in Rg Veda.

All of a sudden , Umesha walked out of Guru Nivasa and came towards us. Boy, he looked so different, traditionally attired, shaven head but for a short Shika at the crown, three shining white lines of Bhasma on the forehead , face dazzling, sporting a stubble and eyes shining like bright cool blue diamond. His countenance was very serious there-the rigor and ugra tapas he was into was discernible. He pleasantly enquired about the travel and for a moment he was his mischievous self asking how I managed to come to Sringeri secretly beating hurdles of Narasimha and Akshobhya Theertha.

This triggered a fierce debate. Standing on the steps of Chandrashekara Bharat adhistana, I started challenging Umesh on validity of 'Tatvam Asi' considering Vidyaranaya Muni lost the debate to Akshobhya Theertha. He just opened all the guns and went blazing, asking me to provide the detailed arguments put forth by Akshibhya and I said no one has details; he asked me to provide the core argument used by Akshobhya- I responded the foundation argument is that the nine examples quoted by Uddalaka Aruni to his son Svetaketu all denote difference rather than unity. He asked the basis for this conclusion and I responded by pointing out Chandogya Upanishad Bhashya of Shrimad Ananda Theertha Muni in which he points out the none of us ever feel we are omnipotent, omniscient, ever blissful without misery. Almost all sacred texts describe only multiplicity and difference. So, the articulation of unity of jiva and Ishwara is a distortion.

"कथं च जीवपरमात्मैक्ये सर्वश्रुतीनाम् तात्पर्यं युज्यते|
न हि 'अहं सर्वज्ञः सर्वेश्वरः निर्दुखः निर्दोषः' इति कस्यचिद् अनुभवः |

अस्ति च तद्विपर्ययेणानुभ्व:|न च मिथ्यानुभवोयं तद्विपरीतप्रमाणभावात् |

न चाभेदे कश्चित् आगमः| सन्ति च भेदे सर्वागम:|" 

Hearing this, Umesha launched a long critique on those views.

He concluded asking how I can believe a story of a debate that has no evidence - historic, archaeological, corroborative text or even a transcript. He ridiculed the whole idea that Vijayanagara King living far away would have someone write down the transcript of the debate that happened in Karnataka, and despatch it to Vedantha desika in another far away Tamil Kingdom and have him adjudicate by reading it. I replied I don't believe this story and yet had a feeling it must be true. 

There was a look of utter disbelief. "If you are not fully convinced of the story why do you believe the debate happened and Vidyaranya Lost?". My reply pleased him to no end and he smiled. "Akshobhya Theertha wouldn't lie as the hot axe would burn him otherwise"-after all the debate was about a mahavakya in Chandogya Upanishad including its statement "सत्येनात्मानमन्तर्धाय परशुं तप्तं प्रतिगृह्णाति | स न दह्यते | अथ मुच्यते||स यथा तत्र नादाह्यते". (It is said that in the hot axe test, one would be asked to hold a red hot Axe and if one were lying it would burn him; else not as the Truth envelopes and protects the hand ). Moreover, his Illustrious disciple Jayatheertha mentions in Tatva PrakAshika "दुर्वादि वारण विदारण दक्ष दीक्षम् अक्षोभ्य तीर्थ मृगराजं अहं नमामि"

"So, what do you want to do now ? You want to meet our Acharya or not?", he asked keeping a poker face. "Of course I do. One small debate means nothing in this regard", I mentioned. He laughed off my suggestion that he should write down his repudiation for others sake. Experience cannot be replaced by eloquence was his firm statement.

It was not lost on me either that there I was standing in Sringeri, challenging the core tenet of Advaitha, on the very same grounds walked by the great Yati Vidyaranya. That too, just before meeting his parampara successor Abhinava Vidyatheertha!

"But I am keeping this debate issue pending and will continue to evaluate", I said. "As long as you want," he said with a twinkle in his eye.

My hunt for 'Akshobhya Theertha debate' continued for nearly 40 years until it dawned one me that all of us are looking in wrong places. All his arguments are hidden in Shrimad Anand Theertha's 'Vishnu Tatva Vinirnaya'. It is complicated masterpiece, goes back and forth, metaphysical, abstract , theological all in one. As always, he writes in simple Sanskrit; but it is tough to understand him without tons of patience, memory, and sharp intellect. He quotes from so many other texts to buttress his arguments, some of which are not available for any. It is difficult to argue against a reference that you will never see and the only option open is to be silent or concede in a debate.

Umesha took me inside the guru Nivas as the devotees milled away slowly for a private audience.

I stepped into the chamber where Abhinava Vidyatheertha was sitting with his successor designate Bharati Theertha. For a moment I froze, standing paralyzed, hands folded in respect. I have never seen such a face that dazzled with tejas, never see such a penetrating eyes, never seen such a bewitching smile. I was tongue tied and kept gazing at him. Something was entering my mind, my intellect, my brain and felt as if my being was getting redrawn. It felt as if millions of years of search was coming to an end; as if I was putting down a heavy burden accumulated over thousands of years. A torrent of relief poured in, as if a terrible Rakshasa demon who was sitting on my shoulders and pressing my neck all these janmas jumped down and ran away.

"Welcome my son" he said smiling, "I am very glad that you finally made it to Sringeri".

(To be continued)

Prashant Parikh <prashantparikh@gmail.com>


Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:00 pm (PDT) . Posted by:


Ganesh Chaturthi

by Sri Swami Sivananda

SALUTATIONS to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings.

Mushikavaahana modaka hastha,

Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,

Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra,

Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe

MEANING: "O Lord Vinayaka! the remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!"

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.

Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, they are thrown into water.

Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God. He is worshipped first in any prayers. His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun.

He is the Lord of power and wisdom. He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi. By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.

The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant:

Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing, created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house. She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha's head as He thought Ganesha was an outsider.

When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved. To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. The Lord then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganesha.

Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc. He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.

Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.

http://www.dlshq.org/religions/ganesh.htm http://www.dlshq.org/religions/ganesh.htm

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