Friday, February 12, 2010

Maha Shivratri

Tonight and tomorrow is Maha Shivratri.
last year around this time, i have posted a few posts ranging from the meaning of Shivaratri to Kashmir Shaivism. Do go through those posts and leave your valuable comments.
today, i want to dedicate a post to the Devanagari: ॐ नमः शिवाय,mantra.
The book The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony, Volume I defines Om Namah Shivaya as:
"This mantra has no approximate translation. The sounds related directly to the principles which govern each of the first six chakras on the spine...Earth, water, fire, air, ether. Notice that this does not refer to the chakras themselves which have a different set of seed sounds, but rather the principles which govern those chakras in their place. A very rough, non-literal translation could be something like, 'Om and salutations to that which I am capable of becoming.' This mantra will start one out on the path of subtle development of spiritual attainments. It is the beginning on the path of Siddha Yoga, or the Yoga of Perfection of the Divine Vehicle."
"Na" refers to the Gross Body (annamayakosa), "Ma" refers to Pranic Body (pranamayakosa), "Shi" or "Chi" refers to Mental Body (manonmayakosa), "Va" refers to Intellectual Body (vignanamayakosa) and "Ya" refers to Blissful Body (anandamayakosa) and "M" or the "silence" beyond these syllables refers to the Soul or Life within.
IN the expalnation of one of of the most renowned spiritual masters of this millenium, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Aum Namah Shivaya is a panchakosha mantra . When ever you are in doubt or in difficult times one must chat the whole japa. Om Namah Shivaya can be chanted 108 times cycle everyday. It not only affects the cosmic conciousness but also has an effect on the different parts of the human brain.
Adi Shankaracharya says that the name "Shiva" means "the one who purifies the one that repeats His name."
The Universe is said to be made up of vibrations. Vibrations give rise to form. As the name "Rama" gives rise to the form of Rama, similarly, the name "Shiva, in Aum Namah Shivaya" gives rise to the form of Shiva (Maheshwara). (Sivananda)
Namaḥ Shivaya is called Panchakshari (5 syllable mantra) whilst Aum Namah Shivaya is called Sadakshari (6 syllabled mantra). Namah Shivaya is recommended to be chanted by householders, whereas the prefix "Aum" is added to the mantra by those who have renounced the world. However, according to Sivananda, Aum Namaḥ Shivaya is also alright for practise by worldly people, as gradual repetition makes the mind proceed from the gross to the subtle.
Upamanyu said that if you practise this mantra enough so that it vibrates continuously in your heart, then you don't need to do any yoga or further practises like pranayam.
Brahmamuhurta, or the time at around 4 o'clock in the morning is the peak optimum time for spiritual practises like japa because at that time the whole world is asleep and the mind is like a blank sheet of paper on which any impressions to be made last long.
Variations of Panchakshari:
Namah Shivaya
Namaha Shiva
Shivaya Shiva
Shivaya Namah
Shiva Shambo.
Rudra Pooja:The Shri Rudram (Sanskrit श्रि रुद्रम्), to which the Chamakam (चमकम्) is added by scriptural tradition, is a Hindu stotra dedicated to Rudra (an epithet of Shiva), taken from the Yajurveda (TS 4.5, 4.7).[1][2]. Shri Rudram is also known as Sri Rudraprasna, Śatarudrīya, and Rudradhyaya. The text is important in Vedanta where Shiva is equated to the Universal Brahman. The hymn is an early example of enumerating the names of a deity,[3] a tradition developed extensively in the sahasranama literature of Hinduism. By the first few centuries CE, the recitation of the Śatarudrīya is claimed, in the Jābala Upanishad, to lead to immortality.[4] The hymn is referred to in the Shiva Purana.[5]
The text is also famous for its mention of the Shaivite Panchakshara ("five-syllable") mantra (Sanskrit: Namaḥ Śivāya), which appears in the text of the Śatarudrīya in the eighth anuvaka.[6] The text also contains the mantra Aum Namo Bhagavathe Rudraya.Through the chanting of Sri Rudram, Lord Siva's various attributes and aspects are invoked and worshipped. Chanting the Rudram is considered to be of great benefit. The Rudram chanting can be done with or without the accompaniment of a Vedic yagna ritual. When accompanied with the Vedic fire ritual, it is called the Rudra Yagnam. It is said that Lord Shiva after Bhasmasura was killed with the help of Lord Maha Vishnu performed the Tandava Dance and then Performed the "Rudra Yagna" for the Betterment of Humanity, this Place where the Rudra Yagna was performed is where the "Sri Kalahasti" Temple stands now, this temple also has one of the 12 Jyothirlingas of Parameshwara.
It consists of two texts from book four of the Taittiriya Samhita (TS 4.5, 4.7), which is a recension of the Black Yajurveda.
Shri Rudram or the Namakam (chapter five) describes the name or epithets of Rudra, which represent his aspects. Additionally, the devotee asks for the benevolent aspect of Shiva to be invoked rather than the terrible aspect and requests forgiveness of sins. The Chamakam (chapter seven) asks for the fulfilment of wishes. Each part consist of eleven anuvaka or hymns. Traditionally Rudra is assigned the number 11, and among the thirty three deities of the Vedic pantheon, eleven are considered forms of Rudra.
[edit]Shri Rudram
The anuvakas of Shri Rudram correspond to the eleven hymns of TS 4.5, with the final anuvaka extended by an additional eight verses, including the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. The central Shaivite mantra, Aum Namah Sivaya is also derived from the Shri Rudram, it appears (without the aum) in TS 4.5.8.l.
The second part of the text, corresponding to TS 4.7, asks God for fulfillment of wishes. The repeated phrase, cha me literally means, "and to me [be this granted]", accompanied by a list of desirables which are primarily necessary appurtenances for Vedic sacrifices.
The original context of the Chamakam is the piling up of the fire-altar of the Vedic religion. The hymn invokes, apart from Agni and Vishnu at the beginning, a pantheon of Vedic deities that are successively linked with Indra to enable the yajamana or sacrificer/patron to successfully perform Vedic fire sacrifices or yagnyas, such as the Agnishthoma, Somayaga, and the Ashwamedha. The Chamakam can be interpreted both as a preparatory for a physical external sacrificial ritual, or the inner, possibly yogic sacrifice involving pranic control, since the yogic "vital airs" are explicitly mentioned as sacrificial adjuncts in anuvaka, or stanza 10.
The interpretations of the text commonly taught today are clearly Vedantic, while the Vedic texts at the time of their composition were probably intended for the context of ritual sacrifice.
The President of the Ramakrishna Mission, at Chennai, in commentating on the foreword to Swami Amritananda's translation of Sri Rudram and Purushasuktam, stated that "Rudra to whom these prayers are addressed is not a sectarian deity, but the Supreme Being who is omnipresent and manifests Himself in a myriad forms for the sake of the diverse spiritual aspirants." Sri Rudram occurs in the fourth Kanda of the Taittirya Samhita in the Yajur Veda.
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains in the lexicon section of his book, Dancing with Siva, that "Sri Rudram is a hymn to the wielder of awesome powers. It is a preeminent Vedic hymn to Lord Siva as the God of dissolution, chanted daily in Siva temples throughout India."
[edit]Smarta interpretation
The prayer is commonly interpreted to show that Vishnu is another aspect of Shiva and to accordingly hold that Vishnu and Shiva are one and the same God from an Advaitan or Smarta viewpoint. Interestingly, the Vishnu sahasranama, in a similar manner, states Shiva is an aspect of Vishnu.
Below is fantastic link i chanced upon, the rudra pooja with an english translation


i’d consider the beginning of my life to be like a vast ,textured but blank white canvas
ready to be painted on and explored-an empty canvas like that of an artists thats ready to be painted on… only here ,i am trying to unravel the mystery of what life means to me .
i really dont know how to express the concept of life in a few simple short sentences
but,here is what i think life is all about :
lifes about good times and bad,
experiencing a gain and a loss at times,’
joy and sorrows
sharing and daring chossing between the good and the bad,the right and the wrong
its about being optimistic at times and pessimistic at others
leisure and hard work
its about living on the edge
Life-live it to the maximum

p.s i wrote this post sometime in 2006/2007 on my rediif blog just publishing it here now for lack of anything new to write.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mysore and Coorg

It was a rather short trip to these two places which i consider made by the Divine. Both are heavenly in their own ways.Mysore is just about two hours away from bnagalore and with the new elrt and nice highway, the drive is rather smooth. W e left on 25th january evening and thought we'd stop off at the mysore temple and press our way to coorgbut the Divine had other plans. 26th morning, we left out hotel and yes our family did stay in Ginger Hotels and had the most amazing darshan in Chamundeshwari temple it was as if the Mother Godess had called us especially for the darshan and ive been going to that temple on the hill since i was a little baby and all the priests know my dad nevertheless it was a fantatic Sahasranam/ Stotram that was specially done for us by the preist and then w ehad the panchamurtham prasad which comes from right inside the sanctum sanctorum and i guess at 9 a.m we were amongst the first devotees to get it. Alas my brother was lazy and couldnt wake for this maybe the divine had something else in mind for him.
We also had the previous nights dinner at Pai vista hotel in the jungle themed restraunt which is right outta african safaries and even the animals are made out of fibre glass ( pics of this and temple in next post)

On 2 coorg then..
i have spent atleast 6 years of my chilhood on an estate in coorg and everytime i visit , its like seeing the divine creations of mother nature come alive . The fragrance of fresh pepper, coffee, vanilla (coorg is one of the largest producers of organic vanilla beans in india), cardamom and cinnamon touch my nose with a slight tinge of the aromas of allspice. Coorg is one place which has been described as the scotland of India and i do so agree with that as having been to scotland myself i can see the similarities except that scotland is famous for scotch whiskey and coorg for coffee, the scenic beauty of both places is stunningly mesmerising. Well in coorg i stayed with family friends and of course my age old buddies sheena and sunil whom i have known for the past 23 years it was their dads birthday which made my dad make such an impromptu trip 2 coorg. The food was divine and of course sheena's artisan jelly and cakes are outta this world of course i did make some amazing veggie thai curry and all but all in a days work it was fab to catch up with old friends. Of course the moment one enters coorg , the unmistakable magenta robes of tibetan and buddhist monks greets you. And of course did i forget to mention the beauty of sunsheen estate- named after my friends sunil and sheena is absolutely stunning i men from coffee to cinnamon to paddy and vanilla to a few organic lemon tree everything nature could ever produce grows here...i had a fab time there and hope to visit again very soon..

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