Archive for September, 2011
Sri Tyagaraja, the most celebrated carnatic music saint was a great devotee of Lord Sri Rama. Saint Tyagaraja lived to the full extent that God realization is best achieved through ‘Nadopasana’ (music with devotion). His songs are filled with an intimate devotion to Rama, all through revealing his deep understanding of the tenets of the’ Vedas and Upanishads’.
Saint Purandaradasa is considered to be the grandfather of Carnatic Music. Sri Tyagaraja, along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri are considered as the “Trinity of Carnatic Music.” Sri Tyagaraja is said to have composed about 24,000 keerthanas but only 700 keerthanas(songs) are available in his long devoted life to Lord Rama, most of them written in his mother tongue Telugu, but a few in Sanskrit, including the masterpiece “Jagadanandakaraka” composed of 108 names describing Lord Rama’s attributes. His keerthanas are sung with dedication in Tamil Nadu also, the seat of South Indian (Carnatic) Music scholars and performance.
The hallmark of a great culture, the Vijayanagara Empire, with all its glory, fell at the end of the 16th century. The invasion from the North brought in its wake new, though not always commendable, trends in living. Quite a few Hindu families had to flee More >
Shri Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born in Tiruttani on September 5, 1888 into a poor Telugu Brahmin family. His father Sarvepalli Veeraswami was employed on a meagre salary in the zamindari. His mother’s name was Sitamma. It was difficult for Radhakrishnan’s father to educate him with his meagre income since he had to take care of a large family.
Radhakrishnan went through most of his education on scholarships. He initially went to school in Tiruttani and then to the Lutheran Mission School in Tirupati for his high school. He joined the Voorhees’s College in Vellore but switched to the Madras Christian College at the age of 17. He chose philosophy as his major and attained a B.A. and M.A. in this field. He was afraid that his M.A. thesis, “The Ethics of the Vedanta” would offend his philosophy professor, Dr. A.G. Hogg. Instead, Dr. Hogg commended Radhakrishnan on doing an excellent job. Radhakrishnan’s M.A. thesis was published when he was only 20 years old.
Radhakrishnan was married to Sivakamuamma at the age of 16 while still in Vellore. Radhakrishnan accepted an Assistant Lecturership at the Madras Presidency College in 1909. He mastered the classics of Hindu philosophy, namely the Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita, Brahmasutra, More >
Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao (S.V. Ranga Rao) was born on July 3, 1918 at Nuzvidu town in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, when the first World War was drawing to a close. His mother, Lakshmi Narasayamma, a staunch devotee of Lord Venkateshwara, named the boy after Him – Venkata Ranga Rao. His father, Koteswara Rao, was an excise inspector.
The possessive father sent S.V.R. to the erstwhile Madras presidency where he completed his schooling at Hindu College. At an early age of 12, the boy showed immense interest in stage acting. The mind of youthful S.V.R. was always preoccupied with the thoughts of stage-plays and film acting even while studying B.Sc. Immediately after graduation S.V.R. got a job in the Fire Service as an officer. Two objectives were still clear in his mind, to do MSc and to take active part in dramas and films. S.V.R.’s relatives and family members ridiculed him by telling that he was a fool to go after chances in cinema by shunning the government job. Legendary L.V. Prasad gave S.V.R. the real break and provided all the moral support and encouragement. He is one of the best actors of Indian cinema.
S.V.R. got an invitation from one of More >
Language has been the master tool which man, in his endless adventure after knowledge and power, has shaped for himself, and which, in its turn, has shaped the human mind as we know it. It has continuously extended and conserved the store of knowledge upon which mankind has drawn. It has furnished the starting-point of all our science. It has been the instrument of social cohesion and of moral law and through it human society has developed and found itself. Language is the house of Being. Language has been the soul of mankind. No one understood the significance of all this better than Charles Philip Brown.
British rule in Andhra had both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side of the coin, we have eminent people like Charles Philip Brown who re-energized the Telugu literature. Charles Philip Brown made a phenomenal contribution to the development of Telugu language and literature in the 19th century. If you go to any bookshop in Andhra Pradesh today, you can easily buy a copy of Vasu charithra, Manu charithra, Vemana Satakam, and many other immortal classics in Telugu literature. We enjoy this privilege today mainly because of the tireless exertions of one outstanding scholar More >
Jagadguru Sri Adi Sankaracharya was the greatest exponent of the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and a savior of Vedic Dharma. Sri Adi Sankara, who lived during 8th century BC was born in Kaaladi. There lived a couple belonging to Namboodhiri ( Brahmin ) family by name Sivaguru and Aryaamba. Sivaguru was a well learned man who excelled in Vedas and Saastras. They led a happy life but with constant worry that they didn’t have children.
The couple went and prayed Vadakkunnathar (Lord Shiva) at Thrissur for 48 days with complete devotion. Lord Shiva, who was delighted with their prayers, appeared in Siva guru and Aryaamba’s dream and asked whether they would prefer many ordinary children who will live long or just one intellectual son who will be short lived. They humbly left the choice to Lord Shiva Himself, saying that God knows what the devotees deserve.
Lord Shiva was pleased with the attitude of Sivaguru and Aryaamba and the Lord Himself chose to be born to the couple. Aryaamba gave birth to a beautiful male child and the couple named him Sankara. His birth star being Aarudra.
Sankara grew up as an intelligent child in the village. He had ‘Aksharaabyaasam’(learning alphabets) at the More >
Adi Shankara spoke about dispassion, detachment, and renunciation. However, he foresaw that if he only talked about renunciation, people might start liking and encouraging sadness. He did not want people to stop appreciating beauty, so he sang a hundred verses on beauty.
Beauty has three levels: indication, expression and exposure. Spirituality indicates, art expresses, and science exposes.
The Divine is beauty, and beauty is Divine. Deva means one who loves to play, one who is effulgent, glorious, and one who plays. Demons fight, men live in peace, and Gods play. Playfulness cannot happen if there is no beauty; they go together. Enthusiasm, the same force that is beauty, creates playfulness. Beauty is associated with shyness, and shyness enhances beauty. For example, a small child sometimes makes a very shy face. When everyone notices and appreciates the child, he just hides his face. Likewise, shame is a part of ugliness. Shyness softens you; ugliness or shame hardens you. When a person feels ashamed, he becomes hard inside and becomes violent.
The way of Gods, the way of the wise has always been indirect. There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Paroksha priya hi vai devaha?’ which means, ‘Gods love indirect methods’. Poetry is indirect. It More >
The whole world is made up of love and everyone is made up of love. All is God. All is love. But then what is the purpose? Where is life heading? Life is heading towards perfection. Why? Is it not already perfect? No! Because love has six distortions – anger, lust, greed, jealousy, arrogance and delusion.
In animals, these six distortions are also present. However, they have no way to go beyond these distortions because nature rules them. But human beings are endowed with discrimination. This is the purpose of all sadhana, meditation and practices. Moving away from the distortion of creation to purity or back to the source.
Usually we go from one imperfection to another imperfection. For example, if someone is greedy, you are angry about their greediness. Well, that person is greedy, but you are not less than them. You are not bringing the purity in you, but changing the flavor of impurity. Change of distortion does not bring perfection. Normally everyone does this, they just change the distortions, lust becomes anger, anger becomes jealousy, greed, arrogance or delusion.
Anger is no better than lust, it’s worse than lust. Jealousy is worse than anger. That is why it is called More >
Deepening the mystery of creation is science. Deepening the mystery of the Self is spirituality.The purpose of technology is to comfort human beings. When spiritual values – human values – are ignored and neglected, technology brings fear and destruction instead of comfort.
Technology without human values would see nature as a dead object. Science gives insight into the life of nature, and spirituality makes nature come alive. For example, in the eyes of children, there is nothing dead in the world; animals, trees, the sun and the moon all are alive, and have emotions and feelings. But in the eyes of a stressed and ignorant person, even human beings are like robots or objects!Technology without spirituality is destructive. Spirituality is the technology of consciousness, and the whole world is the play and display of consciousness.
One whose eyes are not yet opened is not amazed by the magnificence of this creation. Tell me, what in this creation is not a mystery? Birth is a mystery. Death is a mystery. Life itself is certainly a greater mystery. Samadhi is being completely immersed in the mystery of life and in this creation. Your knowing or believing in it doesn’t really matter.
This creation is an unfathomable More >
” A Life not lived for others is not Life.” — Mother Teresa
There are many people in this world who are blessed with reasonable wealth. They can always afford to easily part with a major proportion of their wealth for the betterment of the society while safeguarding their economical status and also after taking care of their children. A person has to introspect himself or herself as to how much wealth is really needed.
There are millions and millions of poor people in this world who are struggling to make both their ends meet. They love to provide better education to their children but send their children for work rather helplessly. The children are deprived of education for no fault on their part. The majority of the poor people have blind faith in their religion. They believe that children are God’s gift and God will take care of them. They don’t even worry for the worsening health of their wives and their children. They further think that the more the number of children they have the more family income they get. It is their sheer ignorance. Some of them even sell their children to the childless couples for paltry sum. More >
We always jump with joy if someone appreciates us. We can’t stand any advice given by our elders. We don’t take it in the right spirit at all. We feel that they are intruding into our privacy for no reason. We think it is none of their business to interfere. Why don’t we think in the same vain when they appreciate us? Why are we so selfish and artificial in our behaviour?.
We don’t like someone to preach us. We think that we are masters of our lives. Unfortunately not. We are mere mortals. We indulge in all sorts of silly things and we never agree that we have blundered time and again.
We accuse others for no reason. We don’t like others to point out our follies even. We never seem to learn from our mistakes and commit the same mistakes any number of times quite often. We laugh at others when we are supposed to smile at them. We think that the other person is ignorant when we are ignorant ourselves. Many people make all kinds of gestures at other people for no reason whatsoever. They don’t care how badly other people get affected if they are very More >