Thursday, July 16, 2015

Agastya, an ancient guru

Agastya is a guru of very ancient times, referred to in the the Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Brahmanas and Aranyakas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, and other texts.
Agastya was rather short, and has been described as ‘dwarfish’. He was said to have been born from a pitcher, into which the gods Mitra and Varuna dropped their semen, when they saw the beautiful apsara, Urvashi. Thus he was known as Kumbhayoni (born in a pitcher) or Maitravaruni. He was the brother of Vasishtha, who was born at the same time in a similar way. Agastya was very learned, well versed in the VEDAS, and in the use of various magical weapons. Though he was an ascetic, he finally married, as he was told only those with sons who could perform their ancestral rites, could enter heaven. Out of the essence of all living beings, he created a beautiful girl named Lopamudra, and gave her as a daughter to the king of Vidarbha. It was this Lopamudra, whom he later married. They had a son named Dridhasyu, also called Idmavaha, who chanted the Vedas at birth. There are many stories about how Agastya went to south India and remains there still.
Agastya is the traditional author of various texts, including the Agastya Gita which forms part of the Varaha Purana, the Agastya Samhita in the Skanda Purana, and the Dvaidha-Nirnaya Tantra. In south India, he is known as Agattiyar, and mentioned in Sangam literature. There are several other Agattiyars, the most well-known being one of the Tamil siddhas.
The Matsya Purana states that he who worships Agastya, rules over the entire world (M.61.44-55). The Theosophical society of India included him in their mystical hierarchy and believe he exists and takes care of India even today. [summarized from Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide].

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sri Aurobindo

[I am reducing the number of blogs I have; this post was earlier in another blog]

Sri Aurobindo ( Aurobindo Ghose) was born at Kolkata (Calcutta) in India on 15 August 1872, but at the age of seven, was sent to England to study. Returning to India as a young man in 1893, he worked for some time in the state of Baroda, but gradually got involved in the Freedom Movement against the British, who ruled most of India at this time. He had already begun certain Yoga practices, and when in prison for his actions in the struggle for freedom (1908), he received a divine revelation. He left British India and entered the small territory of Pondicherry in south India, which was then under the French. Here he could not be pursued by British authorities, and giving up politics he founded an ashram, and developed his own philosophy.
His basic philosophy is what he called Integral Yoga. The aim of this, according to him, is ‘to enter into a higher Truth-Consciousness or Divine Supramental Consciousness in which action and creation are the expression not of ignorance and imperfection, but of the Truth, the Light, the divine Ananda (bliss).’ He did not prescribe any fixed method for this, but suggest various ways to make oneself receptive and open to receive the divine, including surrender and devotion, meditation, and the watching of one’s actions.
The divine has to be brought down into the whole being, including the cells of the body.
He believed in the evolution of the human life and mind towards an ultimate spirituality and an increasing universality. The light and power of the spirit, also called by him, the ‘Supermind’, presiding over human evolution could transform human consciousness and remould life on earth. He was joined in his ashram in 1920 by ‘The Mother’, a Frenchwoman named Mirra Richard. While the Mother ran the ashram, Aurobindo remained in seclusion, reading, studying ancient texts and writing.
His philosophical works include The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, TheIntegral Yoga, the epic Savitri, a poem with 24,000 lines and several other works, as well as commentaries on all the major ancient texts.
In these works he questioned many traditional concepts of Indian philopsophy, including the commonly accepted views of the world as Maya or illusion, and of Karma. He believed that the world is a real manifestation of the divine, and should not be seen as unreal. The concept of karma implies that all aspects of existence depend on the workings of universal energy. However, it is not a simple law of reward and punishment as is commonly perceived, but something extremely complex.
He stated that no religion revealed the whole Truth. He said, ‘ The Divine Truth is greater than any religion or creed or scripture or idea or philosophy.’ Though he had made a deep study of Hindu texts, as he developed his philosophy, he ceased to identify with Hinduism. He wrote, ‘The Ashram has nothing to do with Hindu religion or culture or any religion or nationality. The Truth of the Divine which is the spiritual reality behind all religions and the descent of the supramental which is not known to any religion, are the sole things which will be the foundation of the work of the future’.
After his death in 1950, the Mother continued to run the ashram and later set up Auroville, an international city near the ashram.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Insurance policies

Attempting to compare car insurance policies online--a prominent site claims to provide comparative prices. But before providing any information it requires, my name, email, mobile number and marital status! Can't see any sense in this, and decided to stick to the original insurer who just requires the car number.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Can a cow sit for an exam?

Well why not? Cows are intelligent--and divine.
Evidently, according to news reports, the media was waiting for the cow to turn up, at the Government Degree College at Bemina [Jammu and Kashmir].
Rashid Bhat said he only wanted to expose the flaws in the system, when he registered Kaachir Gaaw (Brown Cow), son of Gura Dand (Red Bull) for an examination!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A temple to Nathuram Godse?

India is truly an amazing country. Mahatma Gandhi has been appreciated for his values of truth and non-violence all over the world. He has inspired peaceful movements in several countries. In India, he is called 'The father of the nation'.
Yet according to news reports, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, will be erecting a temple to Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948. They have acquired land for this purpose in Para village, in Sidhauli, in Sitapur District of Uttar Pradesh. The urn containing Godse's ashes will be placed here and worshipped!
What is the aim of this temple? What values are being promoted here? That Godse is greater than Gandhi? That assassinations and assassins are to be honoured? And does the government have no say in this? Can anyone erect a temple anywhere to any person?
Where are we headed?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pope Francis--and another fake quote

On facebook and the web, this quote below is shared thousands of times. But is it correct?

'It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money — for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history do not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.'
There is no record of Pope Francis actually saying this. He did say something about doing good whether one believed in god or not, but as far as I know, did not use the above words.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Place Mill by Barbara Softly


First published in 1962
I read this book soon after it was published, I must have been around 10 or 11 years old. Set in the English Civil War, this book became one of my favourites. The story of Kate, Nicholas, the Miller, and their conflicting loyalties during this war, was somehow gripping and haunting. At some point of time I lost the book, but the memory of it remained with me. And 50 years later, I was able to order a copy and read it again. I still think it is a great book.