Samskrtam and Sangitam are my passions. SAMSKRTAM is Devavani, the divine language. It is very unique because of its precision and coverage of all branches of knowledge. Beyond Plato's famous quote, nothing could be added to the definition of SANGITAM or Music. "It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, charm and gaiety to life and everything”. Sharing some interesting thoughts, passages I read, the Sanskrit quotes I enjoyed and the music I render.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
A beautifully constructed verse on Lambodara
by Sri Adi Sankara (Picked from सर्ववेदान्तसिद्धान्तसारसङ्ग्रहः, Sloka3)
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Sringeri
Brahmibhuta Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Svaminah
(Picked fromஸ்ரீ சங்கர க்ருபா, மலர் 24, இதழ்7)
"ஒரு சமயத்தில் சுருங்ககிரி ஆச்சார்யாள் ஸ்ரீ சந்திரசேகர பாரதி ஸ்வாமிகளை தரிசிக்க வந்த ஒரு கூட்டத்தில் இரண்டு சிறுவர்கள் வணங்கியதும் "இன்று காலை ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்தீர்களா" என்று கேட்டார். ஒருவன் "ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்தேன்" என்று சொன்னான். மற்றவனோ "செய்யவில்லை" என்றான். பிறகு ஆச்சார்யாள் முதல் பையனுடைய முகத்தைப் பார்த்து சந்தேகப்பட்டு அவனிடம் "நீ உண்மையாக ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்தாயா? பொய் சொல்லாதே" என்றார்கள். பைய்யன் ஆசார்யாளிடம் பயந்து "செய்யவில்லை" என்று உண்மையை சொல்லி "இனிமேல் தவறாது செய்கிறேன்" என்று சொன்னான். மற்றவனோ ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்யாமலேயே செய்தேன் என்று பொய் சொன்னான். இருவருமே ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்யவில்லை. ஆனால் ஒருவன் உண்மையை சொன்னான். மற்றவனோ பொய் சொன்னான். இவனிடம் ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்யாத தவறு ஒன்று, பொய் பேசிய தவறு ஒன்று. ஆக இரண்டு தவறுகள் உள்ளன. உண்மையை சொன்ன சிறுவனிடம் ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்யாத ஒரு தவறு தான். பொய் சொன்ன தவறு இவனிடம் இல்லை. ஆகையால் உண்மை பேசியவனே உயர்ந்தவன் என்று எல்லோருக்கும் தோன்றலாம். ஆனால் கொஞ்சம் ஆழ்ந்து சிந்தித்து பார்த்தால் பொய் பேசிய சிறுவனே உயர்ந்தவன் என்பது நன்றாக தெரிய வரும். அந்த சிறுவன் ஏன் பொய் சொன்னான்? ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்யாதது தவறு என்று அவனுக்கு தெரிகிறது. இது வெளியில் யாருக்கும் தெரியாக் கூடாது என்று நினைக்கிறான். தவறு செய்ததில் பயமும் வெட்கமும் இருக்கிறது. ஆகையால் இப்பொழுது பொய் சொன்னாலும் இவனை திருத்த முடியும். பயத்தாலும் வெட்கத்தாலும் தானாகவே ஸந்த்யாவந்தனத்தை தவறாமல் செய்ய ஆரம்பித்து விடுவான். இவனுக்கு உபதேசம் செய்தால் பலன் உண்டு. மற்றவனுக்கோ? தான் செய்தது தவறு என்ற எண்ணமே இல்லை. ஆகையால் பயமுமில்லை, வெட்கமுமில்லை. மிகுந்த தைரியமுள்ளது. ஆகையால் இவனை திருத்துவது மிகவும் கடினம் என்று உபதேசித்தார்கள்."
இதிலிருந்து ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்வது நமது கடமை என்பதையும், கடமையைச் செய்யாமல் விடுவது தவறு என்பதையும் நாம் தெரிந்து கொள்ளவேண்டும்.
ஆச்சார்யாள்: உதட்டுகள் அசைத்து ஜபித்தால் ஸ்வரத்தில் கவனம் வைக்க வேண்டும். ஆயினும் மனத்தால் காயத்ரீ மந்த்ரத்தை, ஒருநிலைப்படுத்திச் சொன்னால் ஸ்வரவிஷயத்தில் அவ்வளவு முக்கியத்துவம் கொடுக்காமலிருக்கலாம். மானஸீகமாகச் செய்கையில் வெறும் மந்திரத்தை ஜபிப்பதே போதுமானது.
சிஷ்யன்: தொலைதூரம் ரயிலில் பயணம் செய்கையில் சந்தியாவந்தனத்தை எப்படி செய்வது? செய்யும் பொது நாம் ஒரே திசையில் போய்க்கொண்டிருக்கமாட்டோமே?
ஆச்சார்யாள்: வண்டி நடு நடுவில் நிற்குமல்லவா?
ஆச்சார்யாள்: நீண்டகாலம் ஒரு ரெயில் நிலையத்தில் வண்டி நின்றால், அங்கு ஸந்தியாவந்தனம் செய்துகொள்ளலாமே?
சிஷ்யன்: இம்மாதிரி பொருத்தமாக நிற்குமிடங்கள் இல்லாவிடில் என்ன செய்வது?
ஆச்சார்யாள்: அச்சூழ்நிலையில் வேறு வழியில்லாததால் மனதாலேயே செய்து கொள்ளலாம்.
The sloka which is quoted below is an outpouring of a Jeevanmukta. Here we have the essence of the advaitic thought.
This golden sloka is no longer recognized as lines from Maharsi Vedavyasa, Sri Shankaracharya or Sri Appayya Dikshita, .... even though it is attributed to them by some.
Having travelled all over Bharata thrice, having authored several stotras and having installed several murtis, it is illogical to think that Sri Sankara would proclaim that whatever he had done were all wrong. Neither I could find this sloka in any of Sri Dikshita's stotra works nor in any of the published Puranas.
The translations given below are found in the internet. These are almost true to the original without misrepresenting the core message. So, I feel no further attempt is needed. (Sandhya Anand)
रूपं रूपविवर्जितस्य भवतो ध्यानेन यत् कल्पितम्
स्तुत्यानिर्वचनीयताखिलगुरो दूरीकृता यन्मया ।
व्यापित्वञ्च निराकृतं भगवतो यत् तीर्थयात्रादिना
क्षन्तव्यं जगदीश तद्विकलतादोषत्रयं मत् कृतम् ॥
rūpaṁ rūpa-vivarjitasya bhavato
dhyānena yat kalpitaṁ
dūrīkṛtā yan mayā
vyāpitvaṁ ca nirākṛtaṁ bhagavato
kṣantavyaṁ jagadīśa tad-vikalatā-
अर्थात्, हे भगवान, तुम अरूप हो और मैंने अपने ध्यान में तुम्हें रूप दे दिया । हे अखिल जगत के गुरु, तुम अवर्णनीय हो, पर अपनी स्तुतियों में मैंने इस सत्य का उल्लंघन कर दिया है । तीर्थयात्रा करके मैंने तुम्हारी सर्वव्यापिता से इंकार किया । हे जगदीश, मेरे इन तीन दोषों को क्षमा करना ।
"Oh Lord, while meditating I have attributed forms to the formless Thee. Oh teacher, I have as it were described Thee, the indescribable, in my hymns, I have assumed you, the omnipresent, as if confined only to holy places that I have visited. Oh Lord forgive these three acts of audacity of mine."
"I have helplessly committed three offences, for which I pray forgiveness. (1) In meditation, I imagined that you have a form, when you have no form. (2) Oh spiritual master of the worlds, even though you are beyond the power of words to describe, I have ignored this limitation when praising you. And (3) When I go on pilgrimage to you few places, calling them holy. Thus, I deny that you are all-pervading. Please excuse me - O Lord."
(Kind Courtesy: Sreya Path (Hindi), Veda Nidhih (2012)
Selected jokes of Sri Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar and other stalwarts which I enjoyed. These are from the Internet. You need to know Tamil or Malayalam for enjoying the sense of humour.
Kind Courtesy: chembai.com
At a concert at Shanmukhananda Hall in Bombay, a member of the audience asked Chembai if he could sing a song on Bombay. Chembai, with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, said he could. He went on to sing "aadu paambe, vilayaadu paambe" [ஆடு பாம்பே விளையாடு பாம்பே.]
[In Tamil the word 'Bombay' is written as 'Paambay' the meaning of which is 'O Snake!' The meaning has no importance here but its similarity in pronunciation.]
In another concert, Chembai wanted the organizers to keep the microphone nearer. Finding that the microphone cable (wire) was too short, he said "namma vayaru thaan perisa irukku" [நம்ம வயறு தான் பெரிசா இருக்கு] "Only my vayaru (belly - வயறு) is big".
In his concerts he never failed to sing Vaataapi ganapatim (Hamsadhvani), Raghuvara nannu (Pantuvarali) and Sri-Balasubrahmanya (Bilahari). When someone asked him why he repeated these compositions he replied -- "It is because each one of these compositions has fetched me lakhs of rupees."
Parveen Sultana's first concert in Madras was another occasion for a quip. Chembai, who was asked to preside on the occasion and "speak a few words", made just this observation: "I don't know much about Hindustani music. But this I know: I have a good 'saareeram' and the lady here has both good 'saareeram' and 'sareeram." The second was a reference to Parveen's attractive appearance.
[saareeram (சாரீரம்) means voice and sareeram (சரீரம்) is body.]
And this happened at another Academy concert. Chembai saw Musiri Subramania lyer and Semmangudi Srinivasa lyer, their heads covered possibly to hide their identities, slinking away quietly. He quipped, with that openness for which he was noted: "Oi, Sangeeta Kalaanidhis! You're welcome to go. There is no need to cover your heads!"
Chembai was singing a Thyagaraja Kriti in Useni which went "Rama ninne nammi nanunijamukha Sita ... Rama ninne ...". His accompanists for the day were Lalgudi Jayaraman on the Violin and Umayalapuram Sivaraman on the Mrdangam. In a flash Chembai substituted the word "Sita" with "Jaya" and repeated the line again with "Siva", thus Jayaraman and Sivaraman had their names mentioned. The predominantly Malayali audience were highly amused when they realized the import of the whole sentence ("Jayarama and Sivarama, I depend on you.")
Kind Courtesy: karnatik.com
M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Violinist, was accompanying Viswanatha Iyer (or perhaps Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar). As MSG usually does he went to the upper octave and even higher, the vocalist remarked "pAtthu Gopala, romba mela pohAdey. Bridge irukku, keezha vizhunduda poraai" (Careful, Gopaala, don't go too high. There's the bridge - on the violin - you might fall off!). [பாத்து கோபாலா, ரொம்ப மேல போகாதே. பிரிட்ஜ் இருக்கு, கீழ விழுந்துடப் போறாய்.]
After a wedding reception performance by the late Shri. Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar, the groom's father told the music legend: Your recital now is much superior to what you sang last year. Ariyakkudi replied "Ivvidam paattu appidiye dhaan irukku. Avvidam dhaan jnaanam konjam vandhirukku. Adhanaal dhaan appidi theriyaradhu." [இவ்விடம் பாட்டு அப்படியே தான் இருக்கு. அவ்விடம் தான் ஞானம் கொஞ்சம் வந்திருக்கு. அதனால் தான் அப்பிடித் தெரியறது.]
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar was another artiste with a keen sense of humour. He appeared on the stage normally dressed in veshthi, banian, jibba, angavastram. During one particular music festival, he progressively discarded the banian, angavastram and jibba. Wrote Subbudu, "At this rate, I would hesitate to attend Chembai's next concert because I won't know how he will turn up." The great singer had a big laugh over the write up!
Q: How do you take revenge on an enemy? A: Buy his children each a drum.
Q: How do you know when a mrdangist is knocking at your door?
A: The knocking always speeds up.
Q: What do cricket and Carnatic music have in common?
A: In both, the pitch is important.
Q:What's the difference between Lalgudi Jayaraman and Mahatma Gandhi?
A: One's a violinist and the other is a non-violinist!
Q: What does a vidwan sing at the end of a really long concert?
A: Jaavali (ஜாவளி-jaw-vali = Jaw pain)
Rasikar: Unga todi todu maatiri azhakagavum alangaaramaagavum irukku.
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
V. V. Srinivasa Iyengar (Picked from The Worship of Sandhya (1970)
" ... there is something inherently beautiful in the day-break, in the midday and in the sunset being fixed as periods when the special acts of purification, meditation, psychic exercise and worship compendiously called Sandhyavandana have been fixed to be performed. ... It it were worship of God or prayer to God, it can be performed at any time of the day or night. But even though the whole of the live-long day may be dedicated to God it is yet necessary that even such worship and prayer should be performed at stated times. It is impossible to select in the course of the day three points of time more calculated to imbue the mind of man with spirituality than the three sandhis or meeting points. ..."
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
G. S. Krishnaswami Iyer (Picked from Introduction to Sandhyavandana (1924)
"Sandhyopasana is a simple rite which requires no material but a small quantity of water and cannot ordinarily take more than thirty minutes has yet been vouchsafed to us by Isvara as a sure means of invoking His grace in order that He may illumine our understanding. ... It includes several hymns addressed to several Gods, such as Water, Agni, Surya, Mitra, Varuna ... these Gods are real and distinct entities with distinct cosmic functions. ... Simple as it may seem the Sandhyopasana furnishes Sadhanas which carry highest possibilities and ensure the gradual evolution of the Jeeva till it attains its highest spiritual fulfilment. ... Moreover, the Upasthana-mantras show in what vital relationship we stand to the several Gods who are the guardians of the cosmic law and order and who are charged with several cosmic functions on which our own existence and well being so much depend."
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Brahmibhuta Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Mahasvaminah
(Picked from வேத தர்மசாஸ்த்ர பரிபாலன ஸபை, பிரசுரம், 7 (1947)
"ஒருவன் ஸைக்கிள் விட்டுக்கொண்டு போகிறான். பெடலை சுற்றுகிறான். ஸைக்கிள் ஓடுகிறது. நன்றாக பழக்கப்பட்டவன் பெடலை வெகு தீவிரமாக காலால் சுற்றுகிறான். பின்பு கொஞ்ச நேரம் பெடலை சுற்றாமலே சும்மா இருந்து விடுகிறான். கைகளால் மாத்திரம் ஸைக்கிளின் பிடியைப் பிடிதுக் கொண்டிருக்கிறான். கால் சும்மாவாகவே இருக்கிறது. ஸைக்கிள் இபோப்து பெடல் செய்யப் படாமல் இருந்தாலும், முன்பு தீவிரமாக சுற்றிய வேகத்தால் வெகு சுகமாக போய்க் கொண்டிருக்கிறது ...
இன்றைக்கு மூன்று தலைமுறைகளுக்கு முன்னிருந்த அந்தணப் பெரியோர்கள் தாங்கள் க்ருதார்த்தர்களாக வேண்டியதற்கு எவ்வளவு பிரம்மதேஜஸ் வேண்டுமோ அதைவிட அதிகமாகவே தம் புனித வழ்க்கை என்னும் "ஸைக்கிளை" தீவிரமாகப் பெடல் செய்துவிட்டார்கள். இன்று நாம் ஒரு அனுஷ்டானமும் செய்யாமல், அவர்கள் பெயரென்னும் கைப்பிடியை மாத்திரம் பிடித்துக் கொண்டிருப்பதால் "பாஸ்" செய்கிறோம்.
அவர்கள் நான்கு மணிக்கு, ப்ராஹ்ம முகூர்த்தத்தில் எழுந்தாற்கள்; நாம் அனேகமாக ஸூர்யன் எழுந்த பின்ன்ரே எழுந்திருக்கிறோம். அவர்கள் காலத்தில், ஸந்த்யாவந்தனம் செய்யாதவனைத் தேடிக் கண்டுபிடிக்க வெண்டும், நம் காலத்தில், செய்பவனைத் தேடி கண்டுபிடிக்க வேண்டும். ... மூன்று தலைமுறைகளுக்கு முன்பு இருந்தவற்கள் செய்த 'பெடல்' இன்னும் எத்தனை நாளைக்கு ஓடும்? பெடல் செய்யப்படாத ஸைக்கிள் எவ்வளவு தூரம் ஓடும்? இப்பொழுதே மங்கிவிட்டது. ... ஆதலால், இனி நம் பின் தலைமுறைகள் ஈச்வர அனுகிரகத்திலும் பிரம்மதேஜஸ்ஸிலும், உத்தம மேதையிலும் குறையாமலிருக்க வேண்டு மானால், இனி நம் வழ்வில் வர வர இவ்விஷயங்களில் க்ஷீணமடையாமல் இருக்க வேண்டுமானல், நாமும் தர்மசாஸ்த்ரம் என்னும் 'ஸைக்கிளின்' கர்மானுஷ்டானம் என்னும் சக்கரத்தை ஆசரணத்தால் 'பெடல்' செய்ய வேண்டும்."
He authored several books on music and on aesthetics in Sanskrit . In 1963, he edited and translated Bhoja's Śṛṅgāra-prakāśa, a treatise in 36 chapters dealing with both poetics and dramaturgy, and the largest known work in Sanskrit poetics. For this work and his commentary, he won the Sahitya Akademi Award for Sanskrit in 1966. He was awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1969. It was later published as volume 53 of the Harvard Oriental Series in 1998.
He discovered and edited an ancient Sanskrit play, Udatta Raghavam by Mayuraja.
He founded an organisation, Samskrita Ranga in 1958, that deals with Sanskrit theatre and has enacted Sanskrit plays.
He was known both for his command of primary texts and for making them accessible through his articles and commentaries.
He worked on The New Catalogus Catalogorum(NCC), the major project of his official career; toured Europe in 1953-54 and besides attending International Conferences, prepared an inventory of 20,000 uncatalogued manuscripts there and a survey of Sanskrit and Indological studies in Europe; toured U.S.S.R. in 1958 and 1974; visited for lectures, conferences, study and examination of manuscripts collections, the Countries of East and South East Asia, Australia, Mauritius, Canada and Mexico and visited Nepal twice for manuscripts Study.
As a musicologist, he specialized in Carnatic music. He was the secretary of the Music Academy, Madras from 1944 until his death. A "Dr. V. Raghavan Research Centre" has since been named after him.
On his birth centenary, celebrations were held in August 2008. A book Smriti Kusumanjali was released, compiling tributes to him on his 60th birthday from personalities including then-president Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and vice-president V. V. Giri.
"No work on Indian aesthetics is complete without its quoting Dr. Raghavan"
Raghavan was born in 1908 at Tiruvarur, Tanjore District of south India (Tamil Nadu). He graduated from Presidency College, Madras in 1930 with 3 College Prizes and 5 University Medals. He received his M.A. in Sanskrit Language and Literature with Comparative Philology and four schools of Indian Philosophy under Mahamahopadhyaya Prof. S. Kuppuswamy Sastri; specialized in Alamkara and Natya Sastras and Sanskrit Aesthetics and earned his Doctorate in 1934-1935 from Profs. S. Levi, F.W. Thomas and A.B. Keith; studied Sanskrit on the traditional lines also and won medals and prizes for Sanskrit speaking and writing. After a brief Superintendship of the Sarasvati Mahal Manuscript Library, joined the research department of his Alma Mater, Madras University where from the position of a Research Scholar, he rose to that of Professor and was Head of the Department of Sanskrit till 1968.
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
B. V. Kameswara Aiyar
(Picked from the Sandhyavandana (1937), pp. 280-85)
"It [Sandhyavandana] begins with the external purification of the body by sprinkling water over the head and reciting a few hymns in praise of water and an internal purification by sipping a few drops of water and praying that all the sins committed during the preceding twelve hours be washed away. After having thus purified himself externally and internally the worshipper feels that he is worthy of approaching the Supreme Lord and pays his adorations to Him by the offering of water according to the immemorial usage of the Brahmans. He looks at the sun and makes this offering. It is not, however, to the sun but to the nameless One that he offers his simple tribute. But the sun is the visible symbol of God’s power and glory, and when he rises in the heavens and brightens hill and dale with his golden rays or goes down the horizon leaving behind him a rich, through short lived, legacy of crimson brilliance, he seems to speak directly to our heart and bid us praise the Lord whose will has breathed into him all the glory and effulgence; and the worshipper, in heartfelt obedience to this eloquent call, offers his humble greetings to the glorious Father. Then he shuts his eyes and contemplates His glory and prays for wisdom that he might know Him and love Him and have Him. Then he stands up and sings His praises with Vedic hymns and implores Him to forgive his sins and vouchsafe to him His grace and blessings.
This then is the aim of the Sandhya service ... it is not to this or that aspect of nature that the worship is directed but to Him alone, whose phenomenal manifestation all nature is. The matter-of-fact man sees the mere surface of things -- the flash of lightning, the roar of thunder, the torrent of rain. The inspired Seer sees the spirit behind, the power that smites the miser clouds, which yield their hidden treasure with a dying yell; and the matter-of-fact critic that comes about five thousand years later and plods his way from results to causes inverts the process, arguing from his own experience and misreads the ancient songs. ....
I have insisted on the necessity of a knowledge of the meaning of the mantras used ... It is indeed a wise provision to insist on the performance of the ceremony with or without a knowledge of its significance. Otherwise people who have hardly time, much less the inclination, for a study that does not hold out any immediate tangible inducements may be led to neglect the rite altogether and the institution of Sandhya service would have become defunct. But a prayer that appeals to the mercy of God is nothing if it does not come from the heart and it has very little chance of coming from the heart if it is recited in a mechanical, parrot-like sort of way ... The mantras are praise and prayer, and when we are at this solemn duty, let us know what we are about, let us, know what we are praying for, let us know whom we praise and how, and let us approach Him with noble words nobly uttered. Let us not mouth the sublime language as your town-cries do, reckless of accent and intonation, but let us recognize the sacredness of the rite and speak to Him in noble language of our ancient fathers, in those solemn tones which, as they fall so melodiously on our ears, attune our souls to the sublime cadence and induce an attitude of mind that harmonises with the words on our lips. And is this asking too much? The Sandhyavandana is one of the few remaining links that unite us to a glorious past. It is a link that may not be rudely snapped asunder. It is a duty rendered imperative by the solemn voice of Vedic injunction. It is the indefeasible birthright of every Brahman. It is his distinctive badge. It is his special privilege that he can address his Father in the words that his fathers used thousands of years ago and in the same tones. And what noble words they are, how redolent of love and reverence, humility and faith.
Is it then asking too much of him, if I call on him, to remember his noble lineage, if I implore him, by all he holds sacred, to discharge in an adequate manner a duty which he owes alike to himself and to his fathers? I ask not for a blind and undiscriminating admiration for everything that has come down to us from of old. All that I ask of him is to exercise his franchise as a thinking being and hold fast to that which is good. Is this then asking too much? I hope not, I fervently pray not."
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
Dr Bhagavan Das
(Picked from The Science of Social
Organisation, Vol. 1 (1932), pp. 377-392)
In order to renew our exhausted forces and wasted tissues, we take fresh food and endeavour to secure fresh air. To vitalise our whole being anew, day after day, in its outer as well as inner constituents, our physical, astral and, even more, our mental bodies, we have to open it out to the overflowing and radiating love of the Sun. And we have to do this at the proper times; for there are times which are more suitable for the absorption of the supreme nourishment than other times, as there are for eating and drinking and other physiological functions. ...
The regular practice of the Sandhya is, indeed in one sense, the first steps, and the last steps also, of Yoga. The highest Gods and Rsis are enjoined to, and do observe the Sandhya, with the same regularity as the child beginning the alphabet. The Puranas illustrate it with a story: Once upon a time the Devarsi Narada, inveterate wanderer that he is, arrived very early at the palace of our lord the Sun of our system), and found him engaged in Sandhya. Astonished, he asked him: “Sir, the whole world makes Sandhya prayer to you. To whom you make it?” “To the Central Sun of the vast sidereal system, of which mine is an infinitesimal part.” was the reply. The story indicates the unity and endless continuity of the World-process in cycle within and without cycle in time, and system inside and outside system in space all ever-present here and now in the Eternal, Infinite, Impersonal Self. At its highest, Sandhya puts the consciousness of the aspirant in rapport with the Solar consciousness, which is omniscience ... therefore, is such great stress laid upon its regular performance.
Whether we look upon it as a utilitarian training in concentration of attention, development of will-power, mind control, and visualisation, the formation of clear mental pictures, or as a real means of drawing super-physical power; whether we take it as mere physical Sun-bathing, or as an elevation of the soul to high thoughts of reverence, gratitude, self-surrender, and prayer for the good of all, to the Author of our being; whether we take it as the highest and yet most easily and most generally available form of aesthetic enjoyment and education to see and hear and feel the fairy feels and fragrances, the glorious natural sights and sounds, of sunrise and sunset, over waters, woods and mountains, or whether we take it as mere time-marking, for commencing and closing the day’s work; whether we believe that the sounds, as such, of the mantra-words have any vibrant potency for good, pronounced externally and internally, or whether we regard them as mere devices for fixing and concentrating the mind and soothing it with rhythmic repetition; whether we regard them as helping to form a permanent ideal to which the mind comes back automatically, for rest, repose, recuperation by high aspiration and inspiration, in times of fatigue and distress, when it would otherwise fret and worry, or stray into undesirable thoughts and fancies, or whether we regard them as a means of gradually emphasizing the introspective conscious and inward gaze till it takes shapes as the active power and organ of internal autoscopy and external clairvoyance, by the process known as mantra-caitanya; whether we think that the words of the invocation have no other than the surface meaning, or whether we hold that they open up endless vistas of knowledge to the gaze of the introspective consciousness in every way there seems to be only good for the student in the regular practice of these devotions...
And he who does not do so, fails to secure, enfeebles or makes dormant, if not quite loses again if he did ever thus secure, the introspective consciousness which is the distinguishing characteristic of the twice-born.
As bath and food are to the physical body, purifying and strengthening it, day after day, so to the astral and mental bodies is prayer ...
The evening The evening Sandhya purifieth mind and body from the closing day’s strains, worries, thoughts of sin and evil. The morning Sandhya clears away the vices, astral and physical, of the night before, and gives new strength to meet with equanimity, the trials and troubles of the coming day. Where lights and waters meet at morn and eve, the ambrosial loveliness, beauty and glory of Immortal Brahma are most manifest. (Manu, 2.102)*
Without this daily mental bath in the purifying and vivifying spiritual sunlight, the mind goes on accumulating vices and distractions and depressions, day by day, till it sinks suddenly into the depths of confusion, misery and sin, even as the body that is never washed and cleaned and ever kept half-starved, day after day, finally sinks under the load of foulness and feebleness, into disease and death.
Such is the most important items of the religious education prescribed by Manu. The student, he says expressly, may or may not do anything else, in the nature of rites and ceremonies, this he must do ... The Sandhya is the practice of the very quintessence of Science, in its truest and fullest sense ... there were no beliefs without reasons.”
A Sloka to remember the names of 18 Maha-puranas Sandhya Anand
There are 18 Maha-puranas and 18 Upa-puranas authored by Maharshi Vedavyasa. In the Devi-Bhagavata (1.3.2) Suta, the Pauranika says that he is quoting "exactly as he has heard" (यथाश्रुतानि) from sage Vyasa about the names of the Puranas. This sloka (verse) greatly helps us to remember the titles. It itemizes the 18 Maha-puranas numerically:
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
Brahmibhuta Sri Ramananda Sarasvati Svaminah
from The Hindu
Ideal (1969), pp 129-40)
"Let us consider the grand old ideal and at the same time witness around ourselves the actual state of things. Where are our Brahmanas? Certainly we many of the Brahmanas of today have our treads on and we daily go through the farce of Sandhya worship. ... The Brahmana, having almost lost the inner light, the light which had made him Brahmana, would forget his own duties but would still preserve his dignity as Brahmana. ...
Our Brahmanyam hangs by a fine thread. ... He has considerably crippled his Brahmanyam within by failing to perform even the most necessary sastraic duties of his, in the proper manner. ... You Brahmanas are the trusted custodians of the Vedas. ... You swerved from your lofty duty. ...
Your consequent neglect of even our nityakarma, the necessary and
compulsory portion of your daily svadharma has wrought so much
confusion. ... It is very necessary and urgent that you Brahmanas should improve yourselves first. ...
Our Brahmanyam will be secure in us ... will be
safe and intact if we, each of us individual Brahmanas, keep up at least the
minimum observance of the sastraic rules of acara, of our nitya
and naimittika karmas. ... We must perform Sandhyavandanam and Madhyanhikam
strictly in the mode prescribed. It is even enough if Gayatri is
repeated ten times on each occasion. ... You are bound to come up if you only
seriously engage yourselves in the right direction.
Forget not, you are the direct descendants of the mighty Brahmarsis
of old. ... Fear not. No cloud of ignorance, mistake or perversion on the part
of other, however dense and dark, can long stand before the mighty spiritual
sun of your GayatriUpasana.
Sleep not, wake up and work on. Isvara is always
within you. Some say, Brahmanyam has fallen on evil days. It is not so. Brahmanyam is being rightly and strictly tested for its eternal preservation. ..."
Inspirational Sayings of the Great on Sandhya-Upasana
Jagadguru Sri Sankarachary of Kanchi
Brahmibhuta Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Mahasvaminah
(Picked from the Acharya’s Call (1971), pp. 74-77)
“The Sandhya period is a time when Isvara performs his cosmic dance and draws all creatures towards Him. At the setting of the sun, birds flock back to their nests and cattle return to their sheds. An atmosphere of peace and calm prevails. When Isvara dances at such a time, bliss-generating peace radiates around Him. Those watching the dance get permeated with that peace and their mind and heart get merged with the Supreme. ...
Sri Paramesvara destroyed Tripura by the smile that appeared on His face on a contemplation of the humour of the situation. In relation to ourselves, the Tripura is the physical body in the three states of sthuala, sukshma and karana. The consciousness of these three states of our body can be overcome only when we realise the Supreme Bliss that radiates from Isvara. To attain this bliss, Sri Adi Sankara has asked us to study the Vedas, perform the anusthanas enjoined therein, in a spirit of dedication to God, and to practice devotion without any thought of asking for favours.
In the Kural , it is stated that to get free of attachment, we should attach ourselves to the unattached.
பற்றுக பற்றற்றான் பற்றினை அப்பற்றைப்
பற்றுக பற்று விடற்கு.
[patruka patratraan patrinai appatraip
patruka patru vidarku]
Both these ideas are contained in a song of Sri Sambandar [Tirumurai, 1.80] about Chidambaram. He asserts that if we perform our anusthanas properly, Kali or evil can come nowhere near us. கற்றாங் கெரியோம்பிக் கலியை வாராமே
செற்றார் வாழ்தில்லைச் சிற்றம் பலமேய
முற்றா வெண்திங்கள் முதல்வன் பாதமே
பற்றா நின்றாரைப் பற்றா பாவமே.
[katrang keriyompik kaliyai varame
setrar vazh tillaic citrampalameya
mutra ventingal mutalvan padame
patra ninraraip patra pavame.]
We can move fast only when we sail with the wind. The Sandhyakala is the time when the Cosmos is ripe to respond to correct vibrations emanating from us. Is it proper on our part to waste such a propitious time, either in eating houses or in clubs? A majority of those belonging to the new religions observe prayers at the prescribed hours. But we who belong to this ancient religion have neglected our duty. Therefore, at the approach of Sandhya, wherever we may be, we must wash our hands and feet, wear vibhuti, perform our anushthana and spend a little time in praying to Isvara.”
The Shashtyabdapurti or completion of 60th birth anniversary is considered as an important event in the Sanatana way of life and culture. It is worthy to note that in the mundane life too the retiring age is set around age 60. Saying good-bye to the active official work, a person retires and from this age on he/she may prefer to pursue his/her left out chores -- pilgrimage and the like. Spiritual seekers seriously take up learning and associated dharmic practices. They know that the ultimate aim is to merge with Isvara or the Supreme Reality. It is undoubtedly difficult to achieve this goal but it is definitely possible by constant (abhyasa) practice and by (vairagya) detachment. Here comes the need to have a healthy body. "To fulfill your dharma, first start with the body" says Kalidasa.
The normal life expectancy of a healthy person according to the Veda is 100. Jyotisha-sastra under the Ududasa system calculates it to be 120 years. The Upanishad allots 116 years. Bhagavan Krishna, though beyond age, is said to have lived in human form for 125 years in this earth.
As we age, the body exhibits degenerative changes in all its functions. By age 60 (half of full span 120), the body becomes susceptible to diseases. It can be challenging times. Our sastras have foreseen the degenerative nature the body, mind and intellect may undergo and advises us to invoke Isvara-anugraha through performance of purificatory and pacificatory rites called Santhi and Pushti-karmas. Shashtyabdapurti-santhi is one among the rites for ensuring physical and mental well being. Here it would be beneficial to have a look at the different santi-karmas in general and the time for their performance.
completion of 59 and beginning of 60.
completion of 60 and beginning of 61.
completion of 69 and beginning of 70.
completion of 77 and and beginning of 78.
completion of 100, or on completion of 80 years and 8 months.
done in Uttarayana, Shuklapaksha.
(6) Kanakabhisheka :
there are four generations of first born sons in the family.
We enter into this world with a big karmic baggage called Prārabdha taken out of the past Sanchitha karmas (heap). It can be exhausted only by undergoing the effects. By doing these ordained rituals, the negative effects of prārabdha will get obliterated to a certain extent, giving relief, leading to a new spark of energy. According to the Dharma and Jyotisha-sastras the period between beginning and ending of 60 years is considered harsh and critical. The planetary positions, gantantha, etc. generally may not be favourable at this period.
In Sanskrit, shashti means 60, abda denotes year, poorti means completion. The ritual is conducted in the same 60 year Hindu calendric cycle, month and the day of the nakshatra the person is born. It is elaborate and is completed in two days. The devatas who are meditated, worshiped and prayed are:
To mark it as an event, the 60th birthday, nowadays, is celebrated with great pomp and extravagance. The children extend the invitation for the functions and in a way we can say that it's a kind of insurance they take on their parents for ensuring a relaxed life full of peace.
In the modern world a kind of remarriage of the couple is enacted but it has no sanction in the scriptures.
blog is dedicated to my beloved Mother and Devi Sarasvati, the Goddess
of learning, literature and music.
प्रणो देवी सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती । धीनामवित्र्यवतु । (Rgveda, 6.61.4; Taittiriya-samhita,18.104.22.168)
Being a student of the divine language Samskrtam, I had the opportunity to go through several of the classical texts from my school days till my post-graduation years. I graduated in Microbiology followed by a Master's in Music and Master's in Samskrtam.
By learning different subjects, I believe that I have been exposed to various facets of languages and subjects often leading to mixed thoughts and sometimes crossroads lending to my generalist view. A keen interest and passion in some segments has given me a meaningful thrust to pursue them with utmost sincerity and dedication, shaping my personality as a generalist in some subjects and specialist in few others. This blog is an attempt to document the uncommon things I have heard, read, learnt, seen in different segments or experienced in different aspects of life bringing a whole new perspective to my outlook. This has rendered a character to my thought process and my personality. "Many of the obstacles, at every step occur for something good and auspicious" -- cautions a Purana: श्रेयांसिबहुविघ्नानिसम्भवन्तिपदेपदे। sreyamsi bahuvighnani sambhavanti pade-pade. (Garuda, 2.21.9)
From those involved in ignoble deeds, even obstacles stay away! -- says another verse: अश्रेयसि
प्रवृत्तानांदूरंयान्तिविनायकाः। asreyasi pravrttanam duram yanti vinayakah.
Gave a thought again, should I commence? Warning of Visnusarman echoed:
"The first sign of intelligence is not to initiate any
action. Having initiated, the second sign of intelligence is to carry it
forward to completion." अनारम्भो हि कार्याणां प्रथमं बुद्धिलक्षणम्। आरभस्यान्तगमनं द्वितीयं बुद्द्धिलक्षणं॥ anarambho hi karyanam prathamam buddhi-laksanam arabhdhasyantagamanam dvitiyam buddi-laksanam (Pancatantra, 3.127) Both the negative options appeared to be unacceptable.
Heart of hearts a desire was there to accomplish something. Then, how could one
build confidence? Finally, the great Bhartrhari came
to my rescue. He whispered: There are three categories of people who think deeply before embarking upon an under-taking. Test your strength. Be the third. Do not lose heart. “Weak minded people
never commence a task for fear of encountering obstacles. The mediocre ones
begin an assignment but abandon it when faced with impediments. But ideal
persons though repeatedly hindered by hurdles do not give up, once they have
न खलु विघ्नभयेन नीचैः
प्रारभ्यविघ्नविहता विरमन्ति मध्याः ।
विघ्नैः पुनः पुनरपि प्रतिहन्यमानाः प्रारब्धमुत्तमगुणाः न परित्यजन्ति॥
"The gods derived neither satisfaction from the precious gems nor fright from the fierce poison, of the great (milky) ocean; (samudra-manthanam) they did not desist until they obtained the amrta (nectar). (Indeed), the courageous never swerve from their set target."
ratnair mahabdhes tutusur na devah na lebhire bhimavisena bhitam
sudham vina na prayur viramam na niscitarthad viramanti dhirah.
(Nitisatakam, 1.80) I grouped
myself into the third category designed by Bhartrhari to enter and see it
through, praying my ista-devas, for its continuity and success.
Ultimately, the Veda instilled CONFIDENCE.
Prajapati desired, 'May I create
offspring.' He did penance, he created serpents. He desired, 'May I create
offspring.' He did penance a second time, he created birds. He desired, 'May I
create offspring.' He did penance a third time, he saw this speech of the
consecrated, he spoke it. Then indeed did he create offspring. प्रजापतिरकामयत, प्रजाः
सृजेयेति, स तपोऽतप्यत, स सर्पानसृजत, सोऽकामयत, प्रजाः सृजेयेति, सः द्वितीयमतप्यत, स वयांस्यसृजत, सोऽकामयत प्रजाः सृजेयेति, स तृतीयमतप्यत, स एतं दीक्षितवादमपश्यत्, तमवदत्, ततो वै स प्रजा असृजत, ...
(Taittiriya-samhita, 3.1.1) Even the progenitor Brahma tried thrice to achieve his goal of
creation of mankind! This is a message.