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True Compassion

A few days ago, I received this painting from a friend. The painting is by the well known cartoonist Keshav, who works for the newspaper, The Hindu. It really opened my eyes as to what true compassion is.
The painting, as you can see is from the story of Gajendra Moksham, wherein a crocodile grabs the leg of an elephant when it comes to drink water at the river. The elephant, Gajendra, in divine fervor, calls out to the Almighty and Lord Vishnu rushes to his rescue. This is the version we have heard and typically we will sympathize with the elephant and either ignore or deride the crocodile.

But the painting, as you can see, shows that the Lord, ever compassionate (Avyaja Karunasindhu) is equally sympathetic with both the elephant and the crocodile. The crocodile, has repented its mistake and surrenders at the feet of the Lord and He embraces him too. A very profound perspective to how compassion should be practiced.
While one may dismiss this as a story of imagination from the Puran…
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Kabir - the love for his poems and his philosophy!

While searching for interesting Sufi and Tantric music, I came across a beautiful song by Shabnam Virmani on Youtube sung as part of a project called "The Kabir Project" held at the Srishti School of Design. To put it simply, it moved me on its simple lines and very beautiful message. It led me to search for more of Kabir's poems. And a whole world opened up! It opened up to Kabir, Kumar Gandharva, Prahlad Tipaniya, Vidya Rao, the Nath Panthis somewhere in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. Some Nirguni singers on the street. Several beautiful pieces that connect you to your soul for the inner peace that everyone is seeking, unfortunately outside!Here are some wonderful poems and some links that you will enjoy.
khalak sab rain ki sapna, samajh man koi nahi apna; kathin hai moha ki dhara, baha sab jat sansara; ghada jas nir ka phuta, patra jyon dar se tuta; aisi nar jat jindagani, ajahun to chet abhimani; bhulo mati dekhi tanu gora, jagat men jivana thora; sajan parivar sut d…

(Indian) Movies for the devotional/spiritual/esoteric minds

Of late, I have been searching through Youtube for movies that are on the great bhakthas, sadhaks, spiritual masters etc. I found many and thought it apt to share it to many others who can be spared the search time.

Enjoy!

Sri Purandara Dasaru (in Kannada) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qQ2MaMcRrA
Sadhak Bamakhyapa (this is a two part movie in Bengali) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIP8KtTQ_VE
Sadhak Kamalakanta (this is a series of 9-10 clips in Bengali) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmKpL-mo9_U 
Sadhak Ramprasad (this is in two parts as well in Bengali) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yoK3_egvPQ 
Yogis of Tibet (in English) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOk0tZHwCs4 
Sant Dnyaneshwar (in Marathi) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2736UvG4-M
Sant Eknath Maharaj (in Marathi) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbDBpAw8800
Sant Tukaram (in Marathi) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUn2p3uM2_0
Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna (in Bengali) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD1TsRBZnn8
Sri…

The Tree!

When I think of the present situation in the world around us and think especially about the various people I meet in my day to day interactions, be at work or otherwise, I am sometimes deluded by the feeling of selfishness that surrounds each one of us including myself. Forcing myself to think further, I was looking for who in this world is a symbol of selflessness that so much has been expounded by the Gita and many other spiritual texts. Mothers probably come close to being selfless examples, but they too have traces of selfishness in many situations. Having found it difficult to find one among human beings, I looked beyond and searched for other living beings. I did find definite indications of selfishness among animals - especially observing crows, dogs, etc. Continuing my search for an answer to my question to beyond animals, deeper thoughts led me to the plant world. And contemplating further, I discovered that a tree is probably a perfect symbol of a selfless nature.

The tree is…

The world of books

I always consider myself very fortunate to have inculcated the habit of reading from early childhood. Credit goes to my parents, who always bought me a book or two whenever I wanted one as well as my school which had a well stocked library of Enid Blyton, PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Perry Mason, Nancy Drew, RK Narayan and so on. My school teachers Ms. Glory James, Ms. Laiq Unissa and many others encouraged us to read several good books that helped us to improve our English and also chisel our character through the schooling days. Those were days when there was no television, Internet, e-books or PDF! No Ipods, Walkmans etc. My children find it amusing how one could have survived without television and Internet!

Books open up different worlds and makes us be part of those very stories that we read. Can anyone deny the feel of playing along with Swami and living in the town of Malgudi when you read Swami and friends? Or traveling through the time machine while reading HG Wells? Or alm…

The true Aghori!

Dr. Robert Svoboda is an authority on Ayurveda (incidentally the first westerner to obtain a degree on Ayurveda from the Pune University) and author of the famous Aghora trilogy.

I have read a few of Dr. Robert Svoboda's books - the Aghora trilogy, the Greatness of Saturn etc. All of them are wonderful and gives a glimpse of the man that Dr. Svoboda is and of course his Master Swami Vimalananda. I had the fortune of meeting him at Kashi (Varanasi) when he guided us to Trailinga Swami's home, Lahiri Mahasaya's home and Swami Kina Ram's temple. It was surprising to see his excellent command of the local language when he asked for some specifics at Kashi and of course knows the city of Varanasi like the back of his palm. Dr. Svoboda likes Kuki Hojicha, his favorite tea (the aroma was heavenly), I am yet to get a taste of that - hopefully very soon.

The reason for this post is different though. I am sure most of us have a very different picture when it comes to descriptions …

Soul Stirring Harikathas!

Harikatha is a beautiful art form combining story telling, music and philosophy. In earlier days this was very prevalent and practiced widely to promote devotion towards the Lord but alas! it is a dying art. I was introduced to Harikatha when I got an opportunity to listen to Sri Krishnapremi (Sri Anna) at the Krishna temple in Malleswaram, Bangalore. Intoxicated by this format, later I got an opportunity to listen to Smt. Vishaka Hari at the Ramar Koil at Ramnagar, Coimbatore. She combines her excellent command over Carnatic music with the 'bhaava' & 'bhakti' required to tell stories about Krishna, Purandaradasar, Rama etc. Her unique way of Harikatha brings people to tears and down to their knees to bow down before the Almighty. Listed below are some "must listen" harikathas by Vishaka Hari. Purandaradasa Charithram - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urH1PG6F-1o Rama Nama Vaibhavam - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGE9Le8IL9Q Sabari Motcham - https://www.yo…