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Raja Rishi Sri Narahari Tirtha

Shyama Shastri (13-14th century) was an erudite scholar, statesman and the minister of King Gajapati of Kalinga (Orissa) State. When Sri Madhvacharya reached Orissa while returning from Badrikashrama, a Vidvat Sabha was arranged there. Among the galaxy of scholars, pandits and philosophers, Shyama Shastri also was present. Acharya Madhva defeated all the scholars and upheld the supremacy of Dvaita Philosophy. Inspired by the Dvaita philosophy, Shyama Shastri became the disciple of the Acharya and followed him to Udupi. He was initiated into the sanyasa-order and was given the name NARAHARI TIRTHA. 

Narahari Tirtha engaged himself in spreading the doctrines and philosophy of Dvaita. At the time, Madhvacharya sent Narahari Tirtha to Orissa to propagate the Dvaita Philosophy and also to bring back the ancient gold vigraha of Lord Rama known as MOOLA RAMA, along with the vigraha of Seeta. The deities were a part of the Kalinga State treasury. Narahari Tirtha set out to Kalinga and stayed in a remote cave on the outskirts of the city.

Around that time, the king of Kalinga died and his son who was to be the successor was very young. As was the custom prevalent those days, the royal elephant was given a garland and left free to move around. Whomsoever the elephant garlanded would be accepted as the king. The elephant headed straight towards the cave where Narahari Tirtha was residing. Hearing the commotion of people and the elephant’s trumpet, Narahari Tirtha came outside. The elephant immediately placed the garland around Narahari Tirtha’s neck! The people were surprised but happy at the same time because they recognised their own minister, Shyama Shastri in the Sanyasi! Accepting it as the Lord’s Will, Narahari Tirtha ascended the throne. He beautifully integrated his SANYASA DHARMA along with RAJA DHARMA – verily a “RAJA-RISHI”. He diligently and efficiently ruled over the kingdom and its people for a period of twelve years. There are innumerable stone-inscriptions describing the religious as well as the welfare programs undertaken by Narahari Tirtha for the community. When the prince was capable of taking charge of his responsibilities, Narahari Tirtha, the “personification of dispassion”, handed over the kingdom to him and made preparations to leave for Udupi. The young king wished to express his reverence and gratitude to the Acharya who had ruled and looked after the kingdom all these years. He requested Narahari Tirtha to ask for anything that he wanted as a gift, and it would be his fortune and privilege to offer it to the acharya. The Acharya told the king that he did not want anything for himself, but requested for the idols of Moola Rama and Seeta which were in the royal treasury. The king willingly handed over the idols to Narahari Tirtha. 

A contented and fulfilled Narahari Tirtha reached Udupi. He had been able to carry out his Guru’s words and bring the divine idols to Udupi. Sri Madhvacharya was overwhelmed to receive the beautiful Moola Rama and Seeta vigraha-s. The rare and unique idols were crafted by the celestial architect, Viswakarma at the behest of Lord Brahma himself. Through the ages, they reached the Kings of Kalinga and were safely kept in the State treasury. Sri Madhvacharya intuitively knew about the idols and wanted to revive the worship of Moola Rama and Seeta. On receiving the idols from Narahari Tirtha, Sri Madhvacharya placed the idols alongside Sri Krishna and worshipped them. From then onwards, the pontiffs of Madhva Matha have been worshipping the idols. Sri Moola Rama and Seeta vigraha-s were worshipped by Sri Raghavendra Tirtha of Mantralaya who also belonged to the same parampara and the tradition of worshipping and offering services to Sri Moola Rama and Seeta continues to this day by the present Acharya-s. 

Narahari Tirtha was one of the foremost amongst the Haridasa-s of the Bhakti movement. He composed beautiful kirtan-s in the kannada language under the signature of “Narahari” and “Raghupati”. He wrote commentaries on various scriptural texts as well as on Sri Madhvacharya’s works. He built many temples and was instrumental in extensively spreading the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya. It is said that the well-known Art-forms known as “Yaksha Gana” and “Bayalu Aata” (open theatre drama) were introduced by Narahari Tirtha, as a part of Vaishnava Bhakti Movement.

ससीतामूलरामार्चा कोशे गजपतेः स्थिता।
येनानीता नमस्तस्मै श्रीमन्नृहरिभिक्षवे॥

“Prostrations unto Sri Narahari Tirtha, the Great Ascetic, who brought the icons of Moola Rama and Seeta (to the Madhva Matha) from the treasury of King Gajapati”.

“Sriman Moola Ramo Vijayate! Sri Guru Rajo Vijayate!”

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Hanumat Vibhuti by Swami Chinmayananda

HANUMAN represents a perfect man of education and culture, proficient and efficient, and ever a go-getter. Nothing seems to be impossible for him. To think is to act for him; to conceive is to achieve. Yet, this beautiful characterisation, all along Ramayana, so tenderly both handled and dandled by the sensitive poet Valmiki, has been deliberately wrapped up in the outer anatomical shell of a monkey! Any sensitive student of literature will be compelled to pause for a moment to wonder, “was it a monkey?” To suggest this question in the mind of the readers, Valmiki himself describes him as. “is he a man?” (VA – Nara?). The symbolism suggested is evidently clear to all deep students of our spiritual texts, who are familiar with our cultural diction, and who are trained to be sensitive in Indian traditions of poetry. 

Monkeys represent THOUGHTS; the similarity being that both are restless (chanchala) and unsteady (asthira). Of all thoughts, the very minister of Su-greeva (sushtu greevam — well reined) now in his exile, was HANUMAN, extremely erudite and scholarly. Yet, this thought-personality cannot bring out its potential might and beauty, albeit serving as the minister to “Self-Control”. Knowledge and erudition, with moral restraint and physical control, is the highest from the standpoint of material education, and according to the systems of worldly education. Yet, Valmiki demonstrates that all the potentialities inherent can blossom forth only when that knowledge bows down to Rama, the Spiritual Essence!

From the moment, Anjaneya meets with Rama, Ramayana distinctly reveals a mysterious unfoldment of great powers, an explosion of inconceivable merits and beauties in that apparently ridiculous and seemingly insignificant form of a monkey. However wise and intelligent we may be, even when that wise man has character and self-control, it is not all. Only when these thoughts move, in utter devotion and total loyalty towards “that which revels in everything” (Rama), that all the inherent potentialities divine can get a chance to blossom forth.

Thereafter, as the loyal servant of Sri Rama, the personality of Hanuman unfolds its infinite strength and endless beauty, for all generations to watch, and yet in himself he remains outwardly a “va-nara” and inwardly a steady and total devotee. Every hair on his body was heard to whisper the divine name of RAMA. The mind of Hanuman was always totally involved in singing Rama’s name. Centred in Rama, he acted. For Rama, he achieved. Rama’s glory was his only glory. There stands now the puny monkey, larger than life: greater than the greatest, the eternal devotee, his strength, his wisdom, his love, and his all, dedicated totally to Rama. Thereafter, we detect the Supreme expressing through this insignificant-looking monkey, making us all wonder, “is it a man (Va-nara)?” or “is it a God (Va-deva)?” 

HANU is “killing” and MAN is “vanity”. So HANUMAN can be interpreted as one who has destroyed his vanity. Though a monkey, he has risen to the stature of a Divine God, only because of his PHYSICAL READINESS TO SERVE THE CAUSE, MENTAL DEVOTION TO THE CAUSE, and INTELLECTUAL CONSISTENCY OF FAITH AND PURPOSE IN THE CAUSE. Whoever brings out these sincerities in his actions, even if he be a monkey, will certainly unfold himself to reveal his divine stature and might. Such an individual is the Child of “Pavana,” the Lord of Storms — the Might of the mighty! 

The victory over the “animal’ can be gained, even if you be Sri Ramachandraji, only with the help of HANUMAN, the monumental strength of perfect “Brahmacharya”. Control the Indriyas; delve within. Cross the Sethu – the distance between the DIVINE that you want to become and the animal you ‘are’ now!

When you lead a life in complete surrender to Lord Rama, then the strength that rises from within you, THAT IS HANUMAN. When love, beauty, erudition, courage, determination and success come to your life from a source beyond the body, mind and intellect, THAT IS HANUMAN. When you reach your life’s goal, like a sure-shot arrow from Sri Rama’s bow, THAT IS HANUMAN. Grace of Rama Dhoota Bhakta Siromani Hanuman brings Health, Devotion and Spiritual Success. We need them all on the Path Divine. Keep Him always within your heart as the situation demands, chanting the Lord’s name in times of peace and in the face of imposing challenges, for that is where He belongs!!

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Sri Rama Pattabhisheka – the Significance!

SRIMAD-RAMAYANA represents the spiritual yatra of a seeker – the AYANA (journey) of a spiritual seeker represented by RAMA. Hence it is known as RAMAYANA. Ramayana is also a treasure house of VALUES to be inculcated and practised at every stage in life. The Epic also highlights the various relationships amongst the different characters, and the need and importance to nurture, nourish and maintain these relationships at individual and social level. Lord Rama and his consort, Seeta as well as all the other characters through the various incidents, situations and circumstances demonstrate the journey from the realm of mortality to the State of Immortality. These incidents, situations or circumstances (each and every one of them) are “dynamic pictures with enormous significance” which are to be clicked on our mental screen and contemplated upon for they carry “life transforming” messages for us! 

One of these pictures which is very familiar to us is the SRI RAMA PATTABHISHEKA. In fact, whether in the temple or in our puja room, Lord Rama whom we invoke and worship is the “Pattabhisheka Deity – SRI PATTABHIRAMA”. The great musician-saint, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar has composed a kirtan on the “Pattabhisheka Scene” which is beautiful and vividly captivating, complete and extremely significant! 

“O, Pattabhi-Rama, who adorns the Seat of Sovereignty and whose auspicious and sacred name, RAMA, is glorified by the ever-victorious Maruti (Hanuman), protect me. Rama, the Pure and the All-perfect, who is supremely contented and ever fulfilled, carries the Kodanda-bow in His hand and is the personification of Auspiciousness. The Lotus-eyed Lord belongs to the illustrious Raghu dynasty. Rama whose feet are soft and tender, is of dark complexion resembling the rain-bearing clouds. Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna are attending upon and serving their brother, Sri Raja Rama with the royal umbrella (chhatra) and the chamara (fly-whisks). Vibhishana, Sugreeva and others are offering their obeisance to the Lord. Sri Rama, son of Dasaratha is the recipient of the blessings of the great Rishis like Atri, Vasishta and others. In a gem-studded navaratna-mantapa, Sri Rama, along with his consort Seeta adorns the beautiful bejewelled suvarna Simhasana. Lord Sri Rama of exemplary character and conduct (the embodiment of Dharma), is extremely dear to Guruguha (Lord Subramanya). He is like the beautiful moon to the ocean of the solar dynasty. He is verily the Ruler and Protector of the whole Universe, SRI RAMACHANDRA!”

The “Rama Pattabhisheka” Scene or the Picture represents a MAN of REALIZATION – a Jivanmukta. Ayodhya is “A – Yudha”. It means “No conflict”. Therefore, it represents the Inner State of Absolute Peace and Bliss – the State of Mukti or Enlightenment. In this State of Bliss, Lord Rama and his consort Seeta are seated on the royal throne – the Simhasana. ASANA means “seat” and SIMHA means “Dharma”. Therefore, SIMHASANA means the “Seat of Dharma or Righteousness”. Sri Rama and Seeta together represent the “One State” beyond the aspects of Purusha and Prakriti – the State of Jivanmukti. The Man of Realization is one who has attained the Dimensionless State of Infinitude – he is VIRAT. He is a Master of the external world (Samrajya) as well as the inner world (Swarajya). Such an individual is a real SAMRAT and SWARAT. When he is working for the welfare of the community, he is ever rooted in and established in Dharma. There alone is the true RAMA RAJYA. Therefore, Sri Rama who is the embodiment of Dharma represents a Jivanmukta. Rama is surrounded by his brothers, the Rishis, Hanuman, Sugreeva, Angada, Vibhishana and others. All the characters represent one of the noble traits or virtues to be developed within us.

Alternatively, Seeta and Rama represent a well-integrated Mind and Intellect equipment. Lakshmana represents Karma Yoga, Bharata represents Vairagya or Dispassion, Shatrughna stands for the Ever-victorious and Hanuman signifies unconditional Surrender and total Devotion (there are different interpretations as to what each character stands for). Therefore the entire picture with all the characters of SRI RAMA PATTABHISHEKA is ONE WHOLE SPIRITUAL message for us!!

Keep within RAMA-MAYAM as Sadhana. To see RAMA-MAYAM is Sadhya; the former the Way, the later the Goal. Merge into Rama. Disappear in Rama!! “When will this be?” What a question! “When you choose to be,” is the scriptural answer!! Go beyond the famous “Coronation Picture” of Sri Ramachandra into the Ocean of “Rama Tattva” behind His Golden Throne. Through Rama to “Rama-Tattva”; through names and forms to the “BEYOND!!” ~ Swami Chinmayananda

रामो राजमणिः सदा विजयते रामं रमेशं भजे
रामेणाभिहता निशाचरचमूः रामाय तस्मै नमः ।
रामान्नास्ति परायणंपरतरं रामस्य दासोस्म्यहं
रामे चित्तलयस्सदा भवतु मे भो राम मामुद्धर ॥ (Sri Rama Raksha Stotra)

महारत्नपीठे शुभे कल्पमूले
      सुखासीनमादित्यकोटिप्रकाशम् ।
सदा जानकीलक्ष्मणोपेतमेकं
      सदा रामचन्द्रम् भजेऽहं भजेऽहम्  ॥ (Sri Rama Bhujanga Stotra)

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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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