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Messages - Subramanian.R

General topics / Re: Rudram and Chamakam
« on: March 27, 2009, 09:36:29 AM »
Dear munagala,

Bhagavan Ramana always recommended continuation of Gayatri
Mantra and Sandhyavandhana for Brahmins who were already
doing it.  He also advocated not to remove the tuft of hair, if they
had already got.  He is the one Jnana Guru, who did not disturb
the existing practices for any devotee according to his own religion.

Arunachala Siva.

General topics / Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« on: March 27, 2009, 09:32:38 AM »
Dear silentgreen, matthias,

Sri Sankara calls it Mumukshatvam, the desire to get liberated.
That is the first pre requisite.  Throwing away all our other desires,
like buying a second cell phone, a new TV, a second flat in the city,
we should desire Mumukshatvam.  This is itself a qualification and
you become an adhikari, qualifed.  Guru or God will automatically

Arunachala Siva. 

General topics / Re: Flight of the Garuda
« on: March 27, 2009, 09:27:38 AM »
Dear matthias,

Nice.  You may share the thoughts with us,  after meeting that gentleman.

Arunachala Siva.

General Discussion / Re: TV
« on: March 27, 2009, 09:24:57 AM »
Dear munagala,

Cricket is a great menace that is afflicting Indian citizens.  I am
very happy about IPL shifting the Twenty-Twenty matches to
South Africa.  It would have been better if they had shifted it
to Arctic Sea, where some penguins, pelicans and Eskimos might
watch the matches.

Arunachala Siva.   

General topics / Re: Pitiable Conditions of Gopi's in God's absence
« on: March 26, 2009, 02:23:46 PM »
Dear Nagaraj,

One Sri Vaishnava gentleman said:  Radha was seven years old
and Krishna was four years old, in the beginning of Srimad
Bhagavtam.  I think these stories have inner layers of meanings.

Arunachala Siva.

Dear Nagaraj,

Even if White races and Black races were there, they got intermingled
after Sri Rama's period, that is about 5000 years back.  But we see
the distinctiveness of the languages.  Dravidian languages south of
Vindhyas have got a set of common grammar, dialectics, syntax etc.,
and so are the Upper Indian languages.  Similarly personal gods.
Muruga is distinctly Tamil.  In spite of Skandam, which came after
Veda Vyasa, Murugan is essentially a Dravidian concept.  You hardly find Muruga's temple in North India.  Similarly Krishna is a concept
adopted by South Indians.  Siva perhaps may the connecting link
between Kailas to Rameswaram!

This article was very much appreciated by me, because I find it
extremely difficult to translate Tamil poems into English verses.
Prose rendering may be possible to some extent.  But versification
is extremely difficult and if a few authors had done it is the divine gift with which they were inspired!

Arunachala Siva.   

While disucssing this aspect, we cannot but under-estimate the
translatablity of Tamil poetry.  How then great persons like Ulaganatha Swamigal, translated Vivekchoodamani in Tamil poems?
It should be through a divine gift.  He has almost kept one Tamil verse for one Sanskrit verse of Sri Sankara, barring a few excesses.  How did Bhagavan Ramana translated Atma Bodham, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Devi Kalottaram etc.,  He should have been divinely inspired!

The great American linguist B.L. Whorf brought to our attention the fallacy of the assumption of translatablity.  His work can be summarized in two principles:

1. Linguistic Relativity: states that we create the world according to
the lines ingrained in OUR LANGUAGE.

2. Linguistic Deteminism: states that our language conditions our

I consider these ideas at holding great hope for those of us who are struggling to fathom and practise Sri Ramana's Way.  When we
read books like Talks with Ramana Maharshi, we are all subjected
to a peculiar tension.  On the one hand, there is this strange sense
that what Sri Ramana is conveying is very simple and direct and
is completely devoid of sophistication and arcane learnedness. On the other, it is quite evident that his audience has great difficulty 'getting' what he is saying.

[I think the best way should be to learn the scriptures or great Jnani's words in the language it is written or spoken.  But this might not be possible for most of us.  I know a friend of mine in Mumbai, who spent two years in learning Russian, to read Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" in original Russian!  This is definitely a Himalayan task.  How many languages one can learn?  Mandarin and Japanese to understand Zen, Sanskrit to understand Sri Sankara and others,
Telugu to understand Saint Tyagaraja's hymns, Kannada to understand Purandara Dasa and Malayalam to understand Jnanapppanai of Poonthanam!  That is why the Self is beyond words,
absolute Silence!  Summa Iru!]

But translators job is absolutely unenviable.  How much difficulties
the English had in understanding Brahman, Thaan, Naan, and Swarupam!  That way, we should salute Max Mueller, Arthur Osborne, Michael James, Robert Butler and David Godman for their Herculean tasks.

(Source: From Vak Vichara to Atma Vichara. Mountain Path, Jan-March 2006. Jayanti Issue)

Arunachala Siva.     

There are innumberable problems in translatiing divine words, from
one language to another.  Sanskrit and upper Indian languages form
one group in India.  Tamil and other languages of southern India form
a group, in their grammar, dialectics, spoken forms etc.,

1. Hindus regard Sanskrit as the language of the gods.  This obviously implies that Sanskrit sacred texts, especially mantras, are untranslatable.  Max Mueller knew it in early 19th century when
he translated Rig Veda.

2. Islam acutally bans translation of the Koran.  If you make a translation, you may call it a commentary but not a translation.

3.  The Egyptian Master Hermes asserts that the force of his words
would get diluted if translated from Egyptian.

4. In the Jewish custom (at least till a few decades ago), there
were two languages, Yiddish and Hebrew, the former for mundane
affairs and the latter for religious.   The reason given was that the
spiritual domain should not get polluted with worldly matters.

5. Muruganar has said:  'Mozhi' peytral endral 'muzhi' peyatral!
Translation is (like seeing the face after) plucking out the eyes! 

Take for example Bhagavan Ramana's Who am I?  The original is
in Tamil, as written and given to M. Sivaprakasam Pillai.

Q No. 3 : How is one to enquire, "Who am I?"

Bhagavan: Actions such as 'going' and 'coming' belong to the body.
And so when one says 'I went', I 'came' it amounts to saying that
the body is 'I'.  But can the body be said to be the Consciousness? 

An examination of the Tamil original shows that the sentences 'I went', 'I came' are renderings of the Tamil single word sentence,
'Ponen', 'Vanden'.  Where is the' I'? 

The discrepancy arises between just as Tamil is more strongly CASED than English, its verbs are also more stongly inflected.  The single
word 'went' cannot stand alone in an English sentence because,
it could be 'I went', 'You went', 'He went' and 'She went' etc.,

But in Tamil, they are all different.  Nan vanden, Nee vanday, Avan vandan, AvaL vandaL, etc.,   The inflection of verbs in Tamil is suffiiciently detailed to indicate the subject unambigously, which is therefore commonly dropped, an option is not available in English!  (In this respect, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam could be same as Tamil.)

See for example the Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, in English, first rendered by Arthur Osborne.  In eight editions, there are many improvements by Prof. K. Swaminathan, T.K. Jayaraman, Dr. H. Ramamoorthy and Michael James.

[ I was pleased to read Robert Butler's translation of Tiruvembavai, in Tiruvachakam.  The last words in Tiruvembavai are: Em bavai!  Butler uses the same words, and ends his translations as Embavai!  Embavai, mean "O my girl!".   But 'O my girl!' kills the spirit.]

If therefore we were to translate the sentence Vanden, strictly, it would be: '(I implied but not said) came.'

But here the pedantry is worse than the earlier inaccuracy because it grossly thumps out something that is very subtle in the original.  One utters many sentences; these make a whole world -- without saying 'I'.  That would nevertheless is rooted in the I.

What happens to this in the English?  Evidently quite lost!  Clearly, the fact is true for all languages becaue it is true for all humans.  But the example hinges on subtleties of Tamil and does not translate smoothly.

(to be contd.)

(Source: From Vak Vichara to Atma Vichara, Jan-Mar 2006. An article by Rustom P. Mody.)

Arunachala Siva.               

General topics / Kanthimathi! Why not you speak to your husband?
« on: March 26, 2009, 11:38:43 AM »
Kanthimathi or Vadivamba is the goddess in Siva Temple of Tirunelveli, where Siva is called Nellaiyappar.  One day, the poet
Chokkanatha went to that temple and as usual poverty burned him.
He prayed to Kanthimathi, the goddess, as follows:

O Kanthimathi!  Why not you speak your husband?  You both are
lying in a bed of pearls with lotuses spread all over it.  You are
a woman of bamboo-like shoulders where pearls grow!  You open
your mouth which drops pearls of sweet-nothings to Siva before
kissing!  You plant your pearls-like teeth upon His mouth which
is sour with the taste of poison!  At that time, why not you speak
to Him some pearls-like words to recommend my case for riches
and gold?

This poem consists imagery of pearls in many places!

(Source:  Stray Verses in Tamil, K. Subramania Pillai)

Arunachala Siva.       

General topics / Siva, why not you reduce the load on your head?
« on: March 26, 2009, 11:29:09 AM »
There was one Chokkanatha, a poet in Sirkazhi.  He was suffering
from acute poverty and his daughter was also meditating on Siva
for marrying her!  Oneday he came to Siva temple of Sirkazhi and
prayed to Siva, Brahmapuriswarar in Sirkazhi:

O Siva!  The loads on your head are too much.  That is why, you
are irritated and you do not look at our miseries.  Why not you
give the Arugu grass on your head to the deer on your hand?
The deer shall eat the grass and both would leave you!  Why not
you give to the serpent on your head, your crescent moon?  The
serpent would also eat the moon and both would leave you.  Thus
the loads on your head would get reduced.  With less irritation,
you can come to me and give me riches and also marry my daughter,
who has become lean as a bamboo, due to misery of love!

(Sources: Stray verses in Tamil, K. Subramania Pillai.)

Arunachala Siva.     

Once there was an agriculturist by name Sukala in Madurai.  He
was a wealthy landlord and he had 12 sons.  These sons grew with
a lot of arrogance and did not obey their parents.  They all went one
day to the jungle for hunting.  There they met Brahaspati, the deva
guru, meditating on Siva.  They mind fun of Brahaspati and threw
stones and sand.  Brahaspati became angry and cursed them to lose
be born as pigs and also lose their mother and father pigs.  The 12
sons became pigs and even before they could grow the piglets lost
their mother and father pigs.  They were crying remorsefully for their
misconduct with Brahaspati.  Meenakshi and Somasundara took pity on them and Siva went in the guise of mother-pig and suckled those
piglets.  Siva also raised the mother pig back to its life and when
the mother came, they were looking at the "other mother" who was Siva.  Siva immediately disappeared.  They understood the kindness
of Siva and prayed to Him.  The piglets soon took fresh births as princes in Pandya Kingdom and lived  pious lives praying to Siva.

Saint Manikkavachagar becomes ecstatic about this holy sport in his
Tiruvachakam.  In Tiruvarthai, 'Holy Word', 43.6 of Tiruvachakam,
the saint says:

The great hunter who vanquished Tripura and
Roamed in the jungles with ferocious dogs in front of Arjuna,
He who is always served by all devas,
My Fatherr, the Premordial God of Tiru Perundurai,
Went as a pig on seeing the dead parents of piglets.
He lied on the floor, as a lowly mother pig,
And  taking pity on the poor piglets,
Suckled the piglets! Who can know His True Form?

(Source: Tiru ViLaiyadal Puranam, Sage Paranjyoti.
Sri Kasi Math, TiruppanandaL.)

Arunachala Siva.       

Once Brahma was doing sacrifices in Kasi, in the temple of Viswanatha and Annapoorani.  Saraswati was with him.  As usual,
Indra sent nice singing girls from heaven in the sky, to make them
sing, so that Brahma and Saraswati would be disturbed. While
Brahma was continuing his sacrificial rites undisturbed, Saraswati
was looking skyward, to see who were singing.  The rites became
deficient due to Saraswati's disturbance.  Brahma cursed Saraswati saying:  For your misconduct, go and do tapas at Madurai Somasundara temple.  Your letters (in Sanskrit) from Aa to Haa
would become 48 poets in Pandya court.  When Siva and Skanda
comes to that court to add to the total to 50 (in Sanskrit) letters,
you will come back to me!

Saraswati went to Madurai and did tapas at the Meenkashi-Sundareswara Temple.  There were already 48 poets in Pandya Court and this is called First Tamil Sanga.  Then when Saraswati's tapas
was complete, Siva came as the 49th poet and Skanda came as 50th poet to complete the Sanskrit alphabets.  All the poets went to Saraswati and appeared together.  Saraswati saw 50 letters of Sanskrit as 50 poets and returned to Brahma loka.  An old Tamil poem says:  The God with matted locks and who burnt Tripura and the God
who annihilated the Krouncha Mountain through his Spear, were the honoured poets of First Tamil Sanga in Madurai.

(Source: Tiru ViLaiyadal Puranam, Sri Kasi Math, TirupanandaL)

Arunachala Siva.     

Dear Nagaraj,

Manu after elaborating all Sastras, finally says this:

These Sastras would get modified according to times.  These are
not true for all times to come.  When it changes, you have to ask
the elders and the learned, whether such a change is alright.  This
is what is happening today.  All castes excepting the last one, should have tuft of hair.  Brahmin men should not wear any uppercloth.
Sannyasis should have their heads shaven only on full moon day.
Anyone excepting the last caste, should not eat the previous day's
food, if cooked.  We are not able to follow any of these.  Then, in
such situations, people should ask the learned and elders as to
what is correct.       
Arunachala Siva.

General topics / Re: Spiritual Practice : some guidelines
« on: March 26, 2009, 09:35:46 AM »
Dear silentgreen,

Yes. Most of us are at best in the third stage, where there is staying
in the Self for a small time.  It is like a flash of lightning.  But to
make it permanent, meditation and self enquiry and meeting the
Master should be done.  Bhagavan Ramana's case was different.
In His twenty minutes self enquiry at Madurai house, He merged
with Brahman once for all.  There is no flash of lightning, it became
a permanent Light.  Such cases are very rare.  Tiru Jnana Sambandhar, the first of Siva Saints, 'cried' for not seeing his father,
who was drowning in the tank and bathing.  Siva and Uma appeared before him and  Uma gave her breast milk to him.  He started singing in the richness of the Self within.  When his father came out of the tank and asked: Who gave you milk?  I am seeing milk trickling down from your mouth?   The poet sang:  He is with a ear stud, he came on  the bull, He was wearing crescent moon, His body was full of holy ashes, He has taken away "my mind"  He is the Lord of Brahmapuram, Sirkazhi!

Now the question arises.  Uma gave him milk.  But he sings about
Siva.  How come? He mentions subtly in the first line, He is wearing an ear stud.  Ear stud is the ornament of ladies.  We call it Thodu in Tamil. What men wore was Kuzhai in Tamil.  By mentioning ear stud,
the saint says He came with Uma, who is concorporate with Him!
He further says:  He has taken away my mind.  That is the state
of mindless Jnana, the Self Realization!

Arunachala Siva.

General topics / Re: Flight of the Garuda
« on: March 25, 2009, 06:17:33 PM »
Dear matthias,

Dzogchen Meditation -  Wonderful.  The flight of Garuda, is a great
simile used in almost all religions.  Bhagavan Ramana says 'bird'
though not specifically Garuda.  He says in Sri Arunachala Stuti
Panchakam, like a bird flying all over the ocean, which has no resting
place, excepting the land, the mind wanders everywhere, but it
can rest only in the Self, within.

Arunachala Siva.