Tag Archives: Hindu Philosophy

SRI RAMA NAMA VAIBHAVA!

RAMA means “sarveshu ramate iti ramah” – the “ONE who revels in all” – the Supreme Brahman. RAMA, the Absolute Reality is the very LIFE enlivening both: the insentient, inert things and the sentient, dynamic beings, lending to them all their very EXISTENCE. 

The Ashtakshara Narayana Mantra is: “Om Namo Narayanaya” – ‘Salutations unto Narayana’. Nara + Ayana means ‘the path (Ayana) taken by Nara (individual) to ultimately reach the State of Narayana’. If RA is removed from the mantra, it becomes ‘na-ayana’ which implies that there is ‘no path to reach the Higher’. Therefore, RA is the ‘life’ of this mantra. The Panchakshara Shiva Mantra is: “Namah Shivaya” – ‘Salutations unto Shiva’. Shiva signifies ‘Auspiciousness’. If MA is removed from the mantra, the meaning becomes negative: ‘na Shivaya’ or ‘inauspiciousness’. Therefore, MA is the ‘life’ of this mantra. When the two Aksharas, RA and MA come together it becomes RAMA. Hence the two-lettered word RAMA not only suggests that there is absolutely no difference between HARI and HARA, but also carries with it the power of both the mantras. 
RA originates from the word “Narayana” and therefore it represents the Ultimate Reality, the Spiritual GOAL. MA originates from “Namah” and therefore it represents surrender, the PATH to be taken to reach the Goal. Hence the word RAMA signifies the spiritual pilgrimage in total; since it represents the GOAL to be reached, and the PATH to be taken by the seeker. 

RA signifies “creation”. MA indicates “dissolution”. The A-kara inbetween which binds the two letters denotes “preservation”. Therefore, RAMA signifies the concept of Trinity: Brahma – Vishnu – Maheshwara. RA also stands for the Purusha-aspect or the SPIRIT. MA stands for the Prakriti-aspect or MATTER. Hence RAMA stands for Prakriti & Purusha: Matter & Spirit. 
The four Maha Vakyas (Great Statements) from the four Vedas denote totally and completely the journey of a spiritual seeker. Of the four Maha Vakyas, the second Maha Vakya: TAT TVAM ASI” is known as the “Upadesha Vakya”. Through this Maha Vakya, the Guru initiates and leads the seeker onto the path of contemplation to seek and realize the total identity between his individuality and the Absolute Reality. RAMA NAMA represents the Upadesha Vakya: TAT TVAM ASI. RA  stands for “Tat”. MA stands for “Tvam” and the A-kara inbetween signifies the total identity between the individual and the Universal. 

RAMA NAMA is known as the TARAKA Mantra – the mantra which helps an individual to cross (tara) the ocean of samsara and reach the State of Absolute Bliss (ka). When Hanuman had to cross the ocean, he placed the ring (with RAMA engraved on it) given to him by Sri Rama in his mouth (on his tongue). Significantly this means that the tongue should take to the chanting of the Lord’s name. The jewel of RAMA NAMA not only beautifies the tongue and makes an individual more cultured, but helps him to easily cross the shoreless ocean of samsara. It was RAMA NAMA that was written on the huge rocks that enabled them to float on water during the Setu bandhan! Indeed a gravity defying wonder showcasing the power of RAMA NAMA! Hanuman demonstrated that even the invincible and incomparable RAMA BANA (arrow) could not stand in front of RAMA NAMA! The RAMA BANA had to acknowledge the supremacy of RAMA NAMA and silently withdraw itself! Symbolically, Hanuman giving Rama’s ring to Seeta at Asokavana stands for the Guru giving mantra-deeksha to the disciple.

RAMA is the life-protecting (Raksha) and mukti-bestowing NAMA. In the sacred Kashi Kshetra, Lord Shiva known as Viswanatha, who knows the glory of RAMA NAMA has taken upon himself to delivery each and everyone from the bondages of samsara and grant them mukti by whispering RAMA in their right ear at the time of death (MARA-na). MARA denotes death, bondage, change, finite and mortal. The reverse of it, i.e., RAMA signifies life, liberation, changeless, infinite and immortal!

When Parvati asked Lord Shiva for an easy substitute-method for chanting the Sahasranama, Sankara simply told her to chant RAMA three times – the equivalent of Sahasranama!! RA is associated with the #2, and MA with the #5. A combine of the two letters RA & MA therefore becomes 2×5=10. Hence uttering RAMA once is equivalent to chanting the Lord’s name 10 times. To utter RAMA twice (10×10) is equivalent to chanting the Lord’s name 100 times. To utter RAMA thrice (10×10×10) is equivalent to chanting the Lord’s name 1000 times and hence equal to the chanting of the Lord’s Sahasranama!

“Sri Rama Rama Rameti Rame Raame Manorame,Sahasranama Tat Tulyam Rama Nama Varanane!”

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Bhagyada Lakshmi – 2

[This is in continuation of the previous post covering the remaining 3 stanzas of Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma . Link for Post 1: https://naadopaasana.co.in/2020/08/06/bhagyada-lakshmi-1/ ]

Goddess Lakshmi

Verse 3: ” attittagalade bhaktara maneyali nitya mahOtsava nitya sumangaLa
satyava tOruva sAdhu sajjanara cittadi hoLeyuvA puttaLi bombe”

“O most Effulgent One, you are always enshrined in the hearts of the great saints and seers. Do not go hither and thither, but take up your permanent abode in the house of your devotees wherein your auspicious presence is daily invoked.”
Lakshmi is supposed to be ‘chanchala’ – never stays in one place for a long time. But the great devotee of Guruvayoorappan, Sri Narayana Bhattathiri says, “O Mother of the Universe, Goddess Lakshmi, you are not ‘chanchala’ at all. Your permanent abode is where Lord Hari resides. When ignorant people get attached to sheer materialistic wealth, you quietly leave them in search of the abode where Hari resides”. Therefore the prayer to Goddess Lakshmi not to go anywhere else but to take up her permanent abode where there is nitya Hari smarana.


Verse 4: “sankhye illAda bhAgyava koTTu kankaNa kaiya tiruvuta bAre
kunkumAnkite pankaja lOcane venkaTaramaNana binkada rANI”

“Adorned with the sacred and auspicious red kumkum, O Beloved Consort of Lord Venkataramana, you are a personification of modesty. You have taken up the vow (kankana-badha) of protecting the devotees of Sri Hari. Bestow and shower your countless blessings on your devotees.”
Sri Lakshmi dwells in the heart of Lord Venkataramana and therefore she resides only in a heart and home where her Lord is invoked. She is kankana-badha (has taken a vow) to protect her devotees, yet it is not easy to win her favours. To receive her grace, Lakshmi has to be ardently courted and devotedly worshipped. She is an embodiment of modesty, she is shy and therefore very slowly she enters our lives only after making sure that Lord Hari is there in our hearts! 
Very often Lakshmi is depicted in red attire. Red signifies activity. She is also glorified as not only adorned with the sacred red kumkum but haldi or turmeric as well. And kumkum is made from haldi. In any puja, we first offer or use haldi and only then the kumkum. Yellow colour (haldi) represents Knowledge or Jnana, and the red colour (kumkum) represents Activity or Karma. The significance is that with the help of the right knowledge (Jnana), when we put forth the required self-effort (Karma) in any undertaking, material or spiritual, we can surely gain the countless blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.  

Verse 5: “sakkare tuppada kAluve harisi shukravAradha pUjaya vELage
akkareyuLLa aLagiri rangana chokka purandara viTtalana rANI”

“O Beloved Consort of Ranganatha, the Queen of Lord Vittala, as I invoke you on the auspicious shukravara (friday), shower your grace and blessings and let them flow into my life like sugar and ghee!”
Ranganatha is the Supreme Parabrahma, who is the Lord (Natha) of the colourful drama of life (Ranga). The Lord represents the Spirit (Purusha) and Lakshmi is his Shakti (Prakriti). Traditionally, Lakshmi-vara (Lakshmi’s day) is Guru-vara (thursday). Guru-vara represents ‘standard of life’. Shukra-vara (friday) represents ‘standard of living’. First, one must take care of one’s own ‘standard of life’ (values, knowledge). Only then the ‘standard of living’ (enjoyment, pleasures, life’s experiences) will become aligned to dharma. Hence Guru-vara comes before Shukra-vara! Only when we invoke Lakshmi to take care of both, our ‘standard of life’ and ‘standard of living’, our life becomes meaningful and full.

Sugar and Ghee are two of the five ingredients which constitute Panchamruta, the other three being milk, curds and honey. They all have medicinal properties. When these ingredients are used for abhishekam, they easily absorb the divine vibrations of the deity and transfer it to us when we receive the panchamruta as prasad. Sugar is the end product of the processing of sugar-cane juice, and similarly, ghee is the end product of milk-processing. Therefore, both sugar and ghee represent the end product or “fruits of our activities” – Karmaphala. Sugar denotes Happiness or Bliss. Ghee denotes the Light of Knowledge. By putting forth the right effort (Karma), we seek the grace of Goddess Lakshmi to bestow upon us the sacred Spiritual Knowledge which ultimately leads us to the State of Eternal Bliss.

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Bhagyada Lakshmi – 1

Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma is a beautiful and very popular composition of Sri Purandaradasa, who is regarded as the Grandsire of Carnatic Music. It is an invocation to Goddess Lakshmi, the presiding deity of Shukra-vara (Friday), and it is usually sung in mangala ragas (tunes) like Sri or Madhyamavati. Purandaradasa was initially a very wealthy and miserly tradesman who would not even part with a coin in the name of charity. But having obtained the grace and blessings of Sri Hari, he was totally transformed and gave away his entire material wealth in charity. Years later the Saint composed this song, invoking the Goddess of Fortune and Prosperity!

The songs of Sri Purandaradasa, the greatest of Haridasas are known as “Purandara Upanishad”. The songs soaked in bhakti are in simple kannada language and can be easily tuned and sung. Apart from the simple word meaning, there is a very significant and deep inner meaning expressed in all the songs. They indicate the purpose of human life, the ultimate goal to be reached and the path to be taken to reach it.

Significance of Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma:

Pallavi : “bhAgyada lakShmi bArammA nammamma ni sau”

Chorus: “Come, O Mother of All, verily an Embodiment of Auspiciousness, Bhagyada Lakshmi, come…..” 

‘Bhagya’ comes from the word ‘bhaga’. ‘Bhaga’ represents the six divine glories: Lordliness, Strength, Knowledge, Fame, Prosperity and Dispassion. Whoever has these six glories in immeasurable quantities is known as Bhagavan or Bhagavati. The Goddess is one who possesses these qualities – Bhagyada Lakshmi. Lakshmi comes from the word ‘lakshya’. It means ‘One who leads and guides’. She also represents the ‘goal’ to be reached. Lakshmi Sampat (wealth) represents the ‘noble and divine values’. Hence the invocation here is not just for material wealth. It is an invocation, an ardent prayer to the Divine Mother of the Universe, who is the Bestower of all that is Good and Auspicious, both for our materialistic and spiritual life. She is not only Dhanalakshmi (wealth), but also Vidyalakshmi (knowledge), Dhairyalakshmi (courage), Veeralakshmi (strength), Dhaanyalakshmi (food & grains), Vijayalakshmi (victory), Bhaktilakshmi (devotion) and Mokshalakshmi (liberation). Any asset that comes to us, materialistic or spiritual, is nothing but ‘Lakshmi Herself in a different form’.

VERSE 1: “hejjaya mele hejjeyanikkuta gejje kAlgaLa dhvaniya tOruta
sajjana sAdhu pUjeya vELege majjigeyoLagina beNNeyante”

“Just as butter manifests out of the churning of buttermilk, similarly, during the auspicious time of worship and upasana undertaken by the virtuous and devoted seekers, O Mother, step by step, slowly but surely, accompanied by the tinkling sound of your beautiful anklets enter our lives.”
Goddess Lakshmi represents Knowledge, and also Values. Hence she is invoked by the noble and virtuous people. Knowledge does not easily come to the seeker. Values also do not come to a person overnight. They have to be ardently courted and a lot of effort has to be put forth. Only then they come into our life…slowly….very slowly, but surely, just like butter comes out of the efforts of the process of churning the buttermilk. And when the divine values come, they bring along with them a divine fragrance, a divine aura which can be felt vividly around the person. This is indicated by the tinkling sound of the anklets. The beautiful sound vibrations made by the silver anklets are very auspicious and beneficial in creating a positive atmosphere around and that is the reason why women wear anklets.

VERSE 2: “kanaka vrushtiya kareyuta bAre manakAa manaya siddhiya tOrE
dinakara kOTi tEjadi hoLeva janakarAyana kumAri bEga”

“O Daughter of King Janaka, whose aura surpasses the brilliance of countless suns, may the showers of your divine grace and blessings (kanaka vrishti), fulfill all our desires”. 
Goddess Lakshmi manifested as Seeta from the bosom of Mother Earth. She has all the innumerable and inexhaustible qualities of Bhudevi. She was brought up by King Janaka, who was a unique combination of Jnana and Karma. Seeta personifies all these characteristics, and represents a personality incomprehensible and incomparable. It is through her sheer grace and blessings that Hanuman bestows nava-nidhi (material wealth), ashta-siddhis (supernatural powers) or rama-nama (the antidote to the malady of samsara) to his devotees. She not only rains down material riches on her devotees but also bestows upon the seeker the brilliant ‘Light of Knowledge’ with which the seeker can achieve his goal of Self-realization.

[The 2nd part will be post on Friday – 14th Aug 2020]

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Sri Varalakshmi

Sri Varamahalakshmi festival falls on the friday just before the full-moon in the month of Shravan.

Vaikunta and Sri Lakshmi Narayana: In Vaikunta, Lord Vishnu is depicted as lying down in yoga-nidra on the coiled Adisesha in the milk-ocean. Sri Lakshmi is seated at his feet and constantly serving him, but her gaze is completely focused on the Lord’s beautiful face. Vaikunta means ‘without any defects or limitations or conditionings’ and therefore it represents the State of Enlightenment. The milk-ocean represents a ‘pure and conducive spiritual environment within oneself’. Adisesha lies coiled with its hood turned inward which represents a ‘mind completely under self-control and turned within’. Lord Vishnu in yoga-nidra represents a ‘Man of Realisation (Jeevanmukta) who is completely relaxed and revelling in his State of self-realization’. Lakshmi serving at Narayana’s feet with total attention rivetted on the Lord represents a ‘Master rooted in his true inner nature within and simultaneously engaged in selfless activities of guiding the generation to walk the path of spirituality’.

Sri Laksmi Narayana – the Path and Goal: To a seeker, Narayana represents the Spiritual GOAL and Lakshmi represents Knowledge and Values. Her constant and consistent service to the Lord indicates the PATH – materialistic and spiritual activities undertaken by a devoted seeker in total dedication to the Lord. 

The great musician-saint, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar has composed a kriti exclusively for the auspicious occasion of Varamahalakshmi Vrata – “Sri Varalakshmi namasthubyam…..”: “Salutations to Sri Varalakshmi, the Bestower of Fortune! One with lotus like feet, graceful at every step, protect me. An embodiment of all virtues, shining like molten gold and with effulgence that surpasses a crore of suns, she is easily accessible to those who worship her and she bestows her choicest blessings upon them. Lakshmi resides in the heart of Lord Kesava and is worshipped by all the sumangalis on FRIDAY PRIOR TO THE FULL MOON OF SRAVANA. Adorning a gem-studded garland offered by GURU-GUHA (Karthikeya), worshipped by Bharati (Saraswati), she bestows materialistic wealth and kaivalya-pada (moksha) on her devotees.”

There is a beautiful and very significant line in this kriti: “sarasapade..rasapade…sapade…..pade……pade”.

The padartha or word-meaning is very simple. It means: “One with lotus like feet (sarasa pade), who is graceful at every step (rasa pade), slowly but surely (sapade), step by step (pade…pade)” — protect me.
Significance of this line: PADA means ‘State’. SARA means ‘Essence’, the Supreme Essence, the Unmanifest Parabrahma Tattva. SARASA (Lotus) signifies Truth, Knowledge, Beauty and Bliss. SARASAPADE: Lakshmi represents the Supreme Parabrahma State, the State of Sachidananda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss), the Nameless, Formless and Attributeless. RASA is the opposite of SARA, and therefore it represents the Manifest Deity with Name, Form and Attributes. RASAPADE: represents the Mother of the Universe in her manifest form – the Supreme GOAL. SA means ‘sahitha’ or ‘along with’.   SAPADE: Lakshmi is an embodiment of moral and ethical values which a seeker needs to walk the path of spirituality, and therefore, she represents the PATH to be taken by the seeker. PADE…..PADE: to ‘walk step by step’.  The prayer to Goddess Lakshmi is that, “O Mother, you represent the Highest Goal and also the Path to reach the Goal. As my preceptor walk along with me, guide me, slowly but surely, step by step to ultimately reach the All-perfect State of Enlightenment”.

Hold on to Narayana; Lakshmi can never be far away. Wealth with character alone can bring joy, peace and prosperity. When one is kind and sincere, alert and consistent, he attracts to himself wealth and glory. - Swami Chinmayananda

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