All posts by naadopaasana

About naadopaasana

About the Blogger: Shreedarshan K is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronics & Communication at Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore. He has been teaching Undergraduate and Post Graduate students with an experience of about 14 years. He also regularly visits schools to give guest lectures on Science and Mathematics. Over the years he has developed a keen interest in story telling for children. He is also an accomplished carnatic vocalist. He is also involved in promoting Indian classical music and art forms, culture and traditions thorough his association with schools in Bangalore.

Rama Nama Likhita Japa ~ Swami Chinmayananda

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JAPA is a training of the mind to fix itself to one line of thinking. We cannot say a word without a thought-form rising immediately; nor can we have a thought-form without its corresponding name. Try! In this close connection between ‘name’ and ‘form’ lies the underlying principle in the technique of Japa. Japa is a training of the mind to fix itself to one ‘name’ and ‘form’. 

MAHAMANTRA is the “invocation of the Rama” in us!….Start today LIKHIT JAPA of “OM SRI RAMA JAYA RAMA JAYA JAYA RAMA”. Devotedly write “Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama”, one or two pages a day, in any script. With steady concentration, let the hand write, the eyes watch, in murmurs the mouth repeat, and the ears listen to the sound of the mantra. Thus, more than one sense-organ is brought into one and the same act. See that your heart is empty of any personal desire. Attention should be given for the cleanliness of the page, the symmetry of the letters, and the sanctity of the book. Let there be a Rama picture on your table and an incense stick burning in your room.

….From this day onwards write your Mantra in a note book for half an hour daily. This is to be done as though it is a great Yagna. No talking in between; no looking either to your right or left. Eyes glued to the page, in slow steady hand, write your chosen Mantra; repeat it loud enough for you to hear. That is, let the eyes see the Mantra; the ears hear it; the mouth utter it. Thus the mind is full of it! There is no greater practice to hasten the growth of DHARANA (concentration). This is one of the most effective exercises to develop concentration and devotion to the Spiritual Essence in life.

“Nama Smarana” (Japa) assists you in preventing the entry into your mind of various thoughts about the objects of the world around and helps to eradicate the flutterings of the mind. LIKHIT JAPA is very good for the early beginner — wherein at once the individual’s hand, eyes, ears and mouth are made to concentrate upon what is written in the Japa book. This brings about a certain amount of concentration in the students. While writing until the page is over keep “vow of silence.” Whisper the mantra as you write — this is a sacred Yagna. Try to do the Likhit Japa. Follow all the instructions. Write the Sri Rama Mantra a page-a-day and watch how the mind quietens by the end of the page! Watch for and experience a welling-up joy when you come to the last line of the page. Try to be regular all the days of Likhit Japa Yagna. 

Write Likhit Japa: the SRI RAMA MANTRA – WRITING YAGNA! Experience the texture of exploding silence and peace that happen in the mind on days when the page is completed. Just experience it — no questioning of why, how etc. Just BE in it for a moment before you close the note book. Invoke Him and learn to rest your mind on Him: SRI RAMA, who is the One Auspiciousness (Sri), that revels in all (Rama). Likhit Japa is either placed at the foundation of Temples built or offered to Mother Ganges.

श्री राम राम रामेति रमे रामे मनोरमे ।
सहस्रनाम तत्तुल्यं रामनाम वरानने ॥

यदावर्णयत्कर्णमूलेऽन्तकाले
      शिवो राम रामेति रामेति काश्याम् ।
तदेकं परं तारकब्रह्मरूपं
       भजेऽहं भजेऽहं भजेऽहं भजेऽहम् ॥ 
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Ugadi – Nuthana Samvatsara!

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New Year (Nuthana Samvatsara or Nava Varsha) is extremely significant because it represents CHANGE OF SEASON, from the dry and cold winter to the fresh and warm spring! In most of the States in Bharat, the New Year is a celebration of the Spring Season (Vasanta Ritu) in the month of Chaitra. The New Year tithi varies depending on whether the Lunar or the Solar calendar is followed and is known by different names in different regions: Ugadi (Karnataka, Andhra & Telangana), Puthandu (Tamilnadu), Vishu (Kerala), Gudi Padwa (Maharashtra), Baisakhi (Punjab), Bohag Bihu (North-east), Navreh (Kashmir), Odia Nababarsa (Orissa), Pohela Boishakh (Bengal), etc. A few States celebrate New Year in the month of Kartika. With the arrival of Spring, there is a complete and total change or transformation in Nature. Mother Nature is at her creative best – there is newness and freshness everywhere. All around, there is more greenery which acts as a perfect backdrop for the variety of hues and colours! Mother Nature’s Holi celebration with the colours of life! We in turn reciprocate the same bhava by welcoming, celebrating and expressing our love and gratitude, reverence and respect to Mother Nature with various colours. Agriculture starts. Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables are in plenty. New Year is therefore a socio-cultural and religious utsava. Every region has its own unique customs and traditions.

Nature is nothing but an extension of the human mind – as in Nature, so too in our mind. Therefore, New Year is the best time for each and every one of us to make constructive and positive resolutions and work towards them to change for the better – both in our material and spiritual domain. On the Ugadi day, an early morning oil-bath (removes tamas and increases sattva) is a must and new clothes are welcome (discarding the old and accepting the new). The courtyard is decorated with rangoli patterns. Fresh, new and tender mango leaves, clusters of neem leaves and flowers are used to decorate the main door as well as the puja-room door. Haldi and kumkum, rangoli and flowers are used for decorating the threshold. The seasonal Jasmine (mallige) flowers are used extensively. Everyone collectively participates in the Puja-rituals whether at family level or in the temple at community level. The 9 days starting from Ugadi are known as Chaitra or Vasanta or Rama Navaratri, similar to the Sharannavaratri (Dasara) during the autumn season. Prayers are offered to Adi Sakti, the Mother of the Universe who Creates, Nurtures and Nourishes (Motherhood). Sri Rama is invoked since the Navami tithi is the day of His Avatar. Reading of the panchanga (almanac) is considered very important on Ugadi. The Vasanta Navaratri concludes on the Sri Rama Navami day – the auspicious day of Lord Rama’s Avatar, who is the embodiment of Dharma. We invoke Lord Sri Rama’s grace and blessings upon ourselves for the entire year ahead.

Importance of Mango leaves, Neem leaves and Jasmine flowers: Mango leaves symbolise prosperity. They destroy negative energy and reinforce positive energy. Even after they are cut from the branches, they continue to release oxygen for few days and hence keep the air fresh and purify the surroundings. The mango leaves have antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The green colour signifies balance, tranquility, composure and well-being and have a soothing effect on the mind. The leaves attract insects towards them and hence act as insect repellent. Neem has immense medicinal value. It helps boost the immunity system. Fresh neem leaves and flowers help to fight the seasonal infections (because of change of season) and airborne diseases. The pure white jasmine (mallige) flowers are the seasonal flowers of Spring. During this season, the use of Jasmine flowers is widely encouraged. The white colour and the beautiful fragrance of the fresh jasmine have therapeutic benefits. The positive energy associated with the jasmine soothes the nervous system and calms the mind. Not only for puja, but women are encouraged to adorn their braids with jasmine. In the South, “maggina jade” or “jasmine-flower braid” (braid very artistically decorated with jasmine flowers) is extremely common amongst girls.

Significance of Bevu-Bella (Neem-Jaggery) and Ugadi Pachadi: A mixture of Bevu (Neem Flowers) and Bella (Jaggery) is prepared and offered to the Lord. This is first taken as Prasad at the end of the puja rituals. Life is full of experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, and no one can avoid them. Both these experiences are yet to come to us during the course of the year. Jaggery and Neem signifying these two types of experiences are offered to the Lord. The sloka chanted while taking the bevu-bella is: “shathaayur vajra dehaaya sarva sampath karaayacha, sarvaarishta vinaashaaya nimbakadala bhakshanam” (by consuming the neem leaves or flowers, we develop a healthy and strong body, gain wealth and prosperity, and all our diseases – physical and mental get destroyed). By the Lord’s grace alone can we hope to go through the various vicissitudes of life. 

The Ugadi Habada Oota (Festival Lunch) comprises of many delicacies and all the members of the family sit down and eat together after the rituals – a mini Pankti (community) Bhojana! This brings in a feeling of togetherness and sense of participation. One of the important item is the Ugadi Pachadi. It is a combination of 6 ingredients which stand for the 6 types of tastes (shad-rasas). The shad-rasas denote the 6 types of emotions which an individual goes through in life. The shad-rasas and the corresponding ingredients are: sweet (jaggery), salt (salt), sour (tamrind), hot or spice (pepper), bitter (neem) and astringent or pungent (raw mango). The Pachadi is offered to the Lord and then taken as prasad. In most of the homes, the Habada Oota is served on a plantain (banana) leaf. The rich green colour not only provides a perfect background for the variety of food, but it denotes calmness & equilibrium. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of the leaf, as well as its unique aroma is released by the hot food served on it. These benefits reach our system when we eat food served on a plantain leaf. The plantain leaf is placed such that when we sit in front of it, the veins of the upper & lower portion of the leaf are in the “>” shape! This is the sign for “increase” according to mathematics & signifies “progress in life!” May the food offered to the Lord (prasad) and taken by us help us to progress and achieve, to succeed and fulfil, at all levels of our personality – physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual !

नववर्षस्य शुभाशयाः — HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Lord Jagannatha & His Friend-devotee!

Bandhu Mohanty (16th century) lived with his wife and children in the town of Jajpur in Orissa. He was extremely poor and lived on alms. His honesty and simplicity endeared him to the people in the neighbourhood and they helped him. Bandhu was extremely devoted to Lord Jagannatha of Puri. He considered the Lord as his beloved friend (sakha-bhakti) and also told his wife that his best and dearest, wealthy and generous friend stayed in Puri! Silently, Bandhu would spend his time conversing with the Lord in the depth of his own heart. Once, there was a severe famine because of which all the people greatly suffered. There was no food and survival became very difficult. Bandhu’s wife suggested to him, “everyone in the town is relocating to different places. Why don’t we also move to some other place? You said that your best friend stays in Puri. Why not go to Puri and seek his help to settle down there?” Bandhu smiled at her innocence. She did not know that his best friend was Lord Jagannatha! 

Bandhu thought about the matter and agreed to her request. He could not resist the thought of having the darshan of his great friend, Lord Jagannatha in Sri Mandir! May be it was the Lord’s divine call to him! In a few days, Bandhu and family reached Puri. It was an exhausting journey for all of them. They made their way to the temple. It was late in the evening. Bandhu saw the magnificent and majestic towering gopura with the sudarshana chakra and the fluttering dwaja (flag). He was overwhelmed. He longed to reach the sanctum of the Sri Mandir and have the darshan of Lord Jagannatha reigning supreme on his Ratna Simhasana. He looked at the gate and saw an ocean of devotees waiting to enter the temple. The guards were monitoring their entry. Bandhu looked at himself and his family. They were almost in tattered clothes. Would the guards allow them inside? He was embarrassed at the thought of not being allowed into the temple. From far, all of them offered their salutations to the deity installed at the Eastern gate. 

Bandhu looked around for some food. His hungry children were crying. Not knowing what to do, they went around and saw the canal through which the starch of the cooked rice flows out from the temple kitchen. It is known as Peja Nala. The cows come there to drink the rice-gruel. Bandhu and his family drank a little of the gruel to fill their belly and quench their thirst. Bandhu’s wife insisted that they visit his rich friend dwelling in Puri and seek his help. But Bandhu convinced her that they would go and meet him next day morning. There, near the Southern Gate of the temple, they settled down to rest. Lord Jagannatha saw his friend-devotee Bandhu and his family sleeping almost on an empty stomach. The Mahaprasad from the Lord’s Abode relieves the hunger of lakhs of devotees every day, but here was his devotee and family almost starved. How could anyone in Puri Dham ever go hungry? 

Bandhu was woken up by a sweet voice that called out to him, “Bandhu! O, Bandhu!” He woke up. Right in front of him was a brahmana of dark-complexion, wearing a dhoti of molten gold hue. His eyes were bright and sparkling, and there was a bewitching smile on his lips! He had a big gold plate full of delicacies in his hand. The stranger said, “your dear friend residing in Puri has sent the Mahaprasad for you and your family. Rest assured, tomorrow morning he will make all the arrangements for your stay over here!” Bandhu was surprised, but nevertheless he accepted the plate of food. Thanking the Lord for taking care of them, he came to where his family was sleeping and woke them up. All of them had the Mahaprasad – the best meal of their lifetime! After they finished their meal, Bandhu washed the plate and came back to return it to the stranger but he was not there. He looked for him everywhere, but was not to be seen. He kept the gold plate carefully with him. He was sure that the stranger would come back for the plate. The stranger was none other than Lord Jagannatha himself!

Next day morning, when the purohits opened the Ratna Bhandar (where all the precious ornaments, gold utensils, etc., which are used for the deities and the puja are kept), they found the gold plate which was used for Lord Jagannatha’s naivedya missing. They searched for it, but in vain. The king, Gajapati Prataparudra was informed and his soldiers were despatched in search of it. No sooner, they came to the Peja Nala, near the South gate of the temple they found Bandhu and his family there. Finding them unfamiliar and strangers to the city, the soldiers on enquiring and investigating, found the gold plate with Bandhu. This was a serious crime – entering the Sri Mandir and stealing the sacred gold plate of the Lord. However much Bandhu tried to explain the sequence of events that had happened the previous night, nobody believed him. He was dragged to the court and asked for an explanation. Again, nobody believed what he said and he was put in prison. Bandhu’s family was left alone to fend for themselves. Inspite of all that had happened, Bandhu’s faith and devotion to Sri Jagannatha, the Lord-of-his-heart did not waver even a bit. He was confident that the Lord would see him through…..

That night, Lord Jagannatha appeared in the dream of the king and narrated everything that had happened. The king was asked to immediately release Bandhu and make arrangements for him and his family to stay in Puri. The king realised his mistake and Bandhu was released from the prison. The king sought forgiveness from the Lord’s devotee and personally took care of the needs of the family. All of them were taken to the temple. In the sanctum, at the Altar was his Beloved Friend, Lord Jagannatha along with Balabhadra and Subhadra. Bandhu’s joy knew no bounds. All these years he had been waiting for this most auspicious darshan of Lord Jagannatha. Eyes filled with joyous tears and a voice choked with devout emotion, Bandhu turned to his wife next to him and told her, “you had always been asking about my dear friend at Puri. HERE HE IS! Right in front of you!!” Bandhu’s wife was surprised. All these years she had thought that her husband’s friend at Puri was a wealthy and generous mortal being just like them. She did not have any idea that it was Lord Jagannatha that he was talking about all the time! With heart full of devotion and gratitude, Bandhu along with his wife and children prostrated to Lord Jagannatha. Arrangements were made for their stay very close to the temple. And as appointed by the king, Bandhu and his family remained in Puri serving Lord Jagannatha at the temple.

“Those who are ever steadfast and worship Me with total devotion, and contemplate on Me with undivided attention, I shall look after their YOGA – KSHEMA” ~ Bhagavad Geeta

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Mahashivaratri : Its Significance ~ Swami Chinmayananda

SHIVARATRI is the day in India when winter ends and from the next day onwards it is summer. Positively the climate changes. The climate changes outside. The Ganges will be flooded because more of the lower layers of snow with be melting. So by this natural phenomena they fixed this particular day, because the day after SHIVARATRI the climate conditions must change. Where? Outside! Meteorological Department! No!! IT IS THE CLIMATE OF OUR MIND!!! After Realization, the Man of Realization gets up from his seat of meditation a totally different man. He is not the man who went to the seat of meditation. It is a complete transformation!

All movements in the Cosmos are elliptical, and therefore, the diagram of the ellipse represents our Cosmos. If that ellipse is half-buried, what would be seen on the surface is a SHIVA LINGA. So, the SHIVA LINGA represents the manifested and therefore, vividly visible part of the Cosmos, which is supported by the other part of the ellipse which is hidden from our vision. Thus, the universe of names and forms is the LINGA (symbol) for the Lord who supports it all.

A time when the usual world of plurality is blanketed away from our awareness of Pure infinite Subjective Experience is that which is indicated by SHIVARATRI. In order that it may come to the masses and the average man may spend time in lifting his mind, turning his mind’s attention to the Lord, it has been brought into a very significant ritual, dedicating this day to Lord Shiva. On this auspicious day, seekers rededicate themselves to the subjective science and the pursuit of excellence in their daily lives.In the present state of your ego, it sees very clearly MAHADEVA with name, form and all properties. When the ego in you through surrender to MAHADEVA comes to experience the awakening, the Essential Reality, that MAHADEVA represents a State of Eternal Auspiciousness and Bliss – SADASHIVA. Therefore, consistent and sincere sadhana is the bridge. Offer all your Rajas and Tamas to MAHADEVA – that is true Archana. As the Sattva predominates in you, your inner equipment become extremely pure and therefore steady in contemplation — there you experience SADASHIVA. 

A spiritual seeker’s sole purpose is to destroy the ego, and the “non-apprehension of the Reality” (Avidya), which is the cause for it. Where this destruction is complete, the very Lord of Destruction, SHIVA “alone” remains. Hence Lord Shiva is represented, often, as the Lord of Meditation. The ability inherent in us to destroy an undesirable thought in us is the “Shiva-Shakti”, the spirit of detachment. Invoking this “power-divine”, we, with the Grace of Lord Shiva, progress on our march from imperfections to PERFECTION. 

Quietened mind becomes contemplative and it becomes the grand way for realising the Shiva-State of Perfection. In the heat of contemplation, our vasanas get burnt down and if anything is burnt, it becomes the white ashes and theses ashes become an ornament “Bhooshana” of Lord Shiva. Beyond all vasanas is the PURE SELF. 

In Dhyan, the Mind, the seat of the separative Ego-centre melts and the relationships of I-seperate-from-my- Shiva….rolls off; the final experience is “I-am-Shiva.” This is ISHWARA DARSHAN — the vision in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum, in the Temple.

The process of Constructive Destruction is SHIVA, the Annihilator. Thus SHIVARATRI is the destruction of Ego in the discovery of the Self – SHIVA. 

May all devotees come to experience at least the shy rays of the early dawn at the end of one’s own inner “ratri” in the emerging beams of the Shiva-Spirit in us. Be quiet. Be silent within. Blind. Deaf. Mum. BE…..  Invoke. Be expectant. Let SHIVA happen. TRY….. May Lord Shiva’s Grace be upon all during this SHIVARATRI celebration!!

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Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 1 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-1-Shreedarshan/dp/9390011663/

Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 2 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-2-Shreedarshan/dp/9390640199/

Bharatiya Katha Vaibhava – Vol 3 [ Books for children] : Amazon Link:https://www.amazon.in/Bharatiya-Katha-Vaibhava-Shreedarshan-K/dp/9390640946/

[For bulk order of books and for discounts please contact : naadopaasana18@gmail.com or WhatsApp: 9739003467]