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Topics - atmavichar100

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Just started this thread to share only Bhagavan'a Quotes in Picture format .

General topics / Potri Thriu Agaval from Thiruvachagam
« on: July 22, 2015, 03:26:12 PM »
  Potri Thriu  Agaval  of Saint Manickavachagar from Thiruvachagam  is  a poem of salutations to the God using the Agval ("Agaval? is a form of blank verse, close to speech.) style.  After giving an introduction the,  author   goes on  to salute the Lord using several of his attributes and residences. In the first part  Manikkavasagar express how a human being form from woom and pass through several obstacles through his life like maya, karma, and relatives against gaining sprituality and how Lord Shiva, bless him towards sprituality. In part two and three he praised Lord Shiva by stating his nature. I felt that it is a remarkable prayer.
Here is the link to audio rendering of this beautiful song :

Here is a link to the English Translation and Transliteration of the same


    If u lose your mobile in India, you can get it back.

    Got an interesting fact to share..
    Nowadays each one of us
    carries very high end or latest
    Mobile devices which always
    Fears that it may be stolen.
    Each mobile carries a unique
    IMEI no. i.e. International Mobile Equipment Identity
No which
    can be used to track your
    mobile anywhere in the world.
    This is how it works!!
    1. Dial *#06# from your mobile.
    2. Your mobile shows a unique
    15 digit.
    3. Note down this no anywhere
    But except in your mobile as
    this is the Number which will
    help trace your mobile in
    Case of a theft.
    4. Once stolen you just have to
    E-mail this 15 digit IMEI No.
    to with detail
    Mentioned below.

    Your name:____________________
    Phone model:_________________
    Last used No.:_________________
    E-mail for communication:_____
    Missed date:___________________
    IMEI No :_______________________
    5. No need to go to the
    6. Your Mobile will be traced
    within next 24 hrs via a
    complex system of GPRS
    and internet, You will find
    where your hand set is
    being operated even in
    case your No. is being

Health & Welfare Issues / Why India is getting hotter by the year
« on: May 28, 2015, 05:19:12 PM »
Why India is getting hotter by the year

Scientists at the India Meteorological Department warn that not only has India turned hotter in the last two decades, but that heat waves are projected to become more intense, have longer durations and greater frequency, thereby resulting in more deaths.
Rashme Sehgal reports on the deadly heat wave for

Sky rocketing temperatures across northern and southern India have resulted in the deaths of more than 1,242 people though officials warn that the death toll would be much higher since a larger number of heat-related deaths in rural India go unreported.

Most of these deaths are caused by heatstroke and extreme dehydration. Doctors point out that long exposure to extreme heat raises the body temperature to such a high level that it causes the over-heating of an individual's protein cells adversely impacting the individual's brain. Many of those dead are known to be daily labourers.

The searing heat wave in Delhi has seen over 200 dead, the majority of whom were homeless.

The worst affected states are Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The temperatures recorded in Khammam in Telangana was 48 degrees Celsius May 23 while Allahabad city located on the junction of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers saw temperatures reach 47.7 degrees Celsius.

Scientists at the India Meteorological Department warn that not only has India turned hotter in the last two decades, but that heat waves are projected to become more intense, have longer durations and greater frequency, thereby resulting in more deaths.

Long term data gathered from the IMD's 103 weather stations highlight a dramatic increase in temperatures from 1961 to 2010.

If this news was not alarming enough, the last decade between 2001 and 2010 has been found to be the warmest for India and indeed for the rest of the world.

Temperatures have risen in the range of 0.8 to 1 degree Celsius with an increase in the number of hot days in India.

Nellore, according to IMD statistics, is India's hottest city having recorded 30 very hot days in 1964. This went up to 35 in 1996 and continues to record more than 15 heat wave days where temperatures soar up to 40 degrees Celsius and more in the last 50 years.

IMD presently categorises Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, coastal Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu as experiencing heat wave conditions annually which extend for eight days and more.

A heat wave condition prevails when the temperature rises to 40 degrees Celsius and more. For hill stations, the heat wave conditions are those where the temperature rises to above 30 degrees Celsius.

Temperatures have shot up across most of India's celebrated hill stations including Mussorie, Shimla, Darjeeling, Dalhousie and Chail where temperatures have risen by more than five degrees in the summer months during the last five decades according to government figures.

The cities of Mussorie and Shimla recorded temperature around 28 degrees Celsius, but these shot up to 35 and more in 2014. Mussorie recorded a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius last week.

Old timers in these hill stations blame the rise in temperatures to unregulated construction activities, traffic pollution and increasing deforestation which has left large swathes of the Himalayan mountain slopes without any covering.

Dr D S Pai, a scientist at IMD, warned that severe heat wave conditions are resulting in the death of thousands of people every year. He cites the example of how 1,000 people were killed by a heat wave in Andhra Pradesh in 2002 while another 1,000 people died in the state in 2010.

This view is in line with the findings of the fifth assessment report of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. This latest report has warned that the last three decades have been the warmest since scientists started keeping records since 1850.

The reason for these rising temperatures is primarily because carbon dioxide concentrations have increased 40 per cent since pre-industrial times. The result is that both the atmosphere and the oceans are going up.

Glacial melting and increasing deforestation is also adversely impact weather cycles.

The report states that the total amount of carbon human beings emit should not exceed 800 gigatons, but by 2011, 531 gigatons had already been emitted.

The effects of this overdose are for everyone to see -- a relentless heating up of the atmosphere with sea levels increasingly flooding coastal plains.

The projections of this IPCC report both mid-term (2045 to 2065) and long-term (2081 to 2100) for South Asia and specifically for India can hardly be considered favourable. The report has warned that north and west India will face an increase in temperatures while south India will face an increase in tropical nights.

Maximum temperatures during the day are expected to increase between 4 and 5 degrees C while the number of tropical nights (the number of 24-hour days above 20 degrees C) are projected to increase from between 0 to 80 days largely in south India.

Scientists at the Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, associated closely with the drafting of this report, warn that rising temperatures will adversely impact monsoons. So on one hand, while rainfall is expected to increase by 10 per cent between December to February and up to 50 per cent between September and November, the overall monsoon winds are likely to weaken.

'While monsoon winds are likely to weaken,' the report states, 'monsoon precipitation is likely to intensify due to increase in atmospheric moisture... Monsoon onset dates are likely to become earlier or not change much. Monsoon retreat dates are likely be delayed, resulting in the lengthening in the monsoon season in many regions.'

Higher rainfall will not mean an extension of rainy days. Rather, it will see an increase in extreme weather events as happened during the torrential rainfall that hit Uttarakhand in June 2013 and the heavy rainfall that caused flooding of the Jhelum river in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 causing destruction in a large part of the capital city of Srinagar.

Apprehensive of the rapid rate of glacial melt, the Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development warned that 54,000 glaciers in the Himalayas could create glacial lakes which would rupture their banks and destroy the surrounding infrastructure and agriculture. The bursting of the glacial lake in Kedarnath precipitated the devastation in Uttarakhand.

A similar lake has been created by landslides on the Kali Gandaki river in Myagdi in Nepal following the massive earthquake in Kathmandu last month. If the lake breaches, it would result in disastrous downstream flooding which would extend up to several cities in Bihar.

Scientists question how increasing urbanisation will handle future climate problems, especially since cities produce three quarters of greenhouse gas emissions related to household consumption.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing for smart cities, their environmental consequences of this large scale urbanisation has still to be worked out.

The IMD has warned that heat wave conditions will continue for another eight days. The occurrence of another El Nino phenomenon in 2015 does not portend well for the country as heat wave conditions can continue up to September.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, India's minister of science and technology, admitted as much when he provided details of the annual monsoon for 2015. A bad monsoon would mean one more year of poor rains and see a decline in food production.

More serious is the viewpoint of several scientists who believe that warnings on heat wave conditions should be included as part of the disaster management plans being prepared by the National Disaster Management Authority both at the central and state levels.

General topics / Thirukural Thread
« on: January 16, 2015, 07:27:20 PM »
Today i.,e  Fri 16 Jan 2015 Thiruvalluvar Day I have started an exclusive thread to discuss about Thirukural , the great text given by Saint Thiruvalluvar for the entire Humanity .Tiruvalluvar Day marks the birth anniversary of the immortal Tamil Poet-Saint Thiruvalluvar. He is the author of Kural or Thirukural, a poetic composition of 1330 verses , a great antiquity in Tamil Literature which can be termed as a treatise on the art of living a happy and peaceful life.Thiruvalluvar in Thirukural diagnoses the intricacies of human nature and one will be captivated by his thorough knowledge of human psychology. Many of his insights on human mind are yet to be studied by modern psychology. His advices on various topics are sagacious and practical and are relevant in all times. Each new generation is attracted to his teachings in the Thirukural as it is not hampered by prejudice or dogma of any kind.

Here  are some facts of Thirukural .

Source :

1. Out of the 247 Tamil alphabets, just 37 have been used in the Thirukural
2. The only two flowers in the book are Anicham (Scarlet Pimpernel) and Kuvalai (Cup Flower)
3. Nezlhunji fruit is the only fruit featuring in the book
4. The only seed featuring in the book is, Kundrimani (Crab?s eye tree)
5. The two trees featuring in the boor are Palm and Bamboo.
6. The alphabet featuring the most times is ?னி? it features 1705 times.
7. The letters featuring only once are ளீ,ங .
8. The two words that are not used in the thirukural are தமிழ்(Tamil), கடவுள்(A word meaning God in Tamil).
9. The  first Tirukkural and Naladiyar texts published. This was by  Gnanaprakasam in 1812 and printed at the Masadinacaritai Printers in  Madras.
10. Total no of words is 14,000.
11. Total no of letters is 42,194.
12. Out of 247 letters,37 letters never used.
13. Number 9 never used.
14. The word 'Kodi' (Crore) used in 7 places.
15. The word '70 kodi' appears only once.
16. Translated into 26 Languages.
17. Translated into English by 40 authors.

These are the 5 Thirukkural?s that wont touch lips.

 இறந்தார் இறந்தார் அனையர் சினத்தைத்
 துறந்தார் துறந்தார் துணை

 Iṟantār iṟantār aṉaiyar ciṉattait
 Tuṟantār tuṟantār tuṇai


 யாதனின் யாதனின் நீங்கியான் நோதல்
 அதனின் அதனின் இலன்

 Yātaṉiṉ yātaṉiṉ nīṅkiyāṉ nōtal
 Ataṉiṉ ataṉiṉ ilaṉ


 எய்தற்கு அரியது இயைந்தக்கால் அந்நிலையே
 செய்தற்கு அரிய செயல்

 Eytaṟku ariyatu iyaintakkāl annilaiyē
 Ceytaṟku ariya ceyal


 நோக்கினாள் நோக்கெதிர் நோக்குதல் தாக்கணங்கு
 தானைக்கொண் டன்னது உடைத்து

 Nōkkiṉāḷ nōkketir nōkkutal tākkaṇaṅku
 Tāṉaikkoṇ ṭaṉṉatu uṭaittu


 தனியே இருந்து நினைத்தக்கால் என்னைத்
 தினிய இருந்ததுஎன் நெஞ்சு

 Taṉiyē iruntu niṉaittakkāl eṉṉait
 Tiṉiya iruntatu?eṉ ne?cu

Note : Avudyar Koil is a very ancient Temple associated with Saint Manickavachagar and being in Tamil Nadu I have never visited it and I intend to visit it in due course . Unlike the other popular Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu this is not so much popular as this is not a Parihara Sthalam ( i.e place for doing pujas and rituals for our own benefit ) .This temple is very unique and is different from the Other Shiva Temples and So I am using this thread to first educate myself as well as others about this temple . Those who have visited this temple and have any specific info about this temple can also share the same here .

This God doesn't have shape - Avudayar Koil Temple, Aranthangi, India

 Avudayar Koil temple is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu state, South India. Avudayar Koil temple is located in the small town named Audayaurkoil, which is around 14 kms from Aranthangi city of Pudhukkottai district in Tamil Nadu state, India. The town was called as Thiruperunthurai in ancient times. The temple is the only attraction of the town, and it attracts hundreds of devotees and tourists daily. Avudayar Koil temple (the word "Koil" means "temple" in Tamil language) is attractive not only due to spiritual reasons, but also due to its architecture and sculpture. It is because of this temple, the entire Avudayarkoil town has been declared as 'heritage town' by the government.

Even thought the temple is famously referred as Avudayar Koil, the name of the temple is Athmanatha Swamy Temple. The original temple is believed to be built by Manikavasagar in the 8th century AD. It is evident that the temple has been extended in the later years. Manikavasagar was one of the four important Tamil saints of Saivism (Lord Shiva worship) out of 63 Nayanmars (63 important saints of Shiva). You can find the idols of all 63 saints in most of the Shiva temples in South India. You can find four saints among 63 saints in separate shrines or in a higher platform in some temples. Manikavasagar is one of those four important Nayanmars. Avudayar Koil temple story is connected to the history of saint Manikavasagar.

The King Arimardhana Pandian asked his minister Thiruvadhavoorar to buy horses and gave him money. The minister came to a place named Perunthurai to buy horses. However, he was impressed by a Ved "paatsaala". Ultimately, he attained "Gnana" (the ultimate knowledge) here, and he used the money to buy horses to build this temple. Initially, only a platform like thing was built and offering of rice was kept on the platform. The steam was considered as God (Shiva) for him. It is the same platform which still present inside the shrine and the same rituals are still followed. In the later years, Pandia kings extended the temple with beautiful sculptures and pillars. The minister Thiruvadhavoorar thus became a great devoteed of Lord Shiva, and got the name Manikavasagar. He wrote the famous "Thiruvasagam" in Avudayaur Koil temple.

The main deity of the temple Athmanatha Swamy (a name of Lord Shiva) doesn't have any image or figure. There is just a platform in the main shrine. This is a unique feature of this temple. Another unique feature of this temple is that you cannot find Nandi, Dwajasthamba, and Chandikeswarar, which are commonly found in all South Indian ancient Shiva temples. The main goddess of the temple, Yogambal, has a separate shrine. Again, there is no idol for the goddess. You can only find Paadam (foot print) in the shrine. There is a small idol of goddess located outside the main shrine.

As you enter the main temple, you can find small Pillayar (Ganesha) idol to your left. Next to that, there is a big shrines for the saint Manikavasagar. There are ancient paintings found surrounding this shrine. Also, there are very beautiful sculptures of Narasimha, Kaali, Ganesha, Subramanya, and others. There are also big life size scultpures such as Veerabhadra, Yatcha, Daksha, and others. All these sculptures are very beautiful and have uniqueness. Once you enter into the temple, there is a small mandapa full of scultpures. There are sculptures that are associated with the temple such as God making foxes as horses when the King was asking the minister for horses, and making the horses back to foxes. You can also find the idols of Arimardhana Pandian, Manikavasagar, and others.

If you enter further into the temple, there is another Manikavasagar shrine surrouded by ancient paintings. There are many pillars with beautiful sculptures. On the ceiling, you can find Pancha Bhoothas. The main shrine of Athmanatha Swamy doesn't have an idol, as described earlier. The corridor (prakara) surrounding the Athmanatha Swamy shrine has the idols of Chokka Vinayaka, Manikavasagar, Nataraj, Bikshandar, Kali, Veerabhadra, etc. I have already mentioned about the shrine of goddess Yogambal. There is a tree (Kurutha tree - Sthala vruksham) where the idols of Shiva teaching Manikavasagar is found. There is a small shrine for Nataraj with Sivakami, and another shrine for Lord Muruga. The outer prakara has idols of Lord Ganesha in all the corners. You can also find the temple tank in the outer corridor. The idols of Muthu Vinayaka and Muneeswaran are also found there.

All over the temple, you can find a lot of meaningful sculptures. There is no separate shrine or idols for Navagrahas (nine planets) similar to other temples. They are found only in the pillars. The 27 stars have figures in this temple. There is a saptha swara pillar (musical pillar). The stone chain is a famous sculpture in this temple. There are a lot to explore in this temple, which cannot be explained in detail in this post. Visit the temple to get your own experience.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Athmanathaswamy Temple aka Avudayarkoil Temple
Site Type: Ancient temple, architecture, sculpture
1) One of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu state, India; built in 8th century AD; 1200 years old
2) The main deities do not have image/shape
3) Built by the famous saint Manikavasagar
4) Life size beautiful sculptures

Location: Avudayar Koil, 14 kms from Aranthangi, Pudhukottai district, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Aranthangi
Nearest Airport: Trichy (around 100 kms)
How to reach: Take a bus or taxi from Aranthangi
Hotel: Only budget hotels are available that too in the nearby town Aranthangi
Restaurants: It's difficult to find good restaurants

General Discussion / Swami Sivananda's Teachings and Quotes
« on: September 08, 2014, 05:28:42 PM »
Today i.e September 8 is Swami Sivananda's Birtdhday and I have started this thread on this date as a mark of respect to this great soul whose practical teachings on Yoga & Vedanta had a great impact on me and it shaped me a lot :"
Here is the first quote

Put your heart mind and soul into even the smallest acts. This is the secret of success." - Swami Sivananda

Health & Welfare Issues / Health and Fitness related articles
« on: August 19, 2014, 02:11:10 PM »
I will use this thread to share some of the Health and Fitness related articles that I found useful . For any queries regarding the articles here use the Rough Note Book thread for the same

How effective is walking for weight loss?

There are so many ways to lose weight and walking is certainly one of them! It may not be as intense as, say weight training in a gym, but that does not mean it is not an effective weight loss method. All you need to do is be consistent with it and have patience, as it can take some time for you to see results. While its well worth the wait, walking can be monotonous to some, but you can keep the process interesting and yourself committed to the activity with a few tips:

Track your progress ? These days you get various devices such as pedometers that allow you to see how close you are to your fitness goal.

Make music your companion ? If walking is getting a bit monotonous, add music to liven up the process. You get music gadgets which can be attached to your fitness gear so that you don?t have to hold them in your hand while walking.

Change your route ?
Doing the same thing time and again can be boring. To spice things up, challenge yourself to a new route every once in a while. This will keep things interesting and will also require more effort from your end to fulfil the challenge.

Benefits of walking

If you still aren?t convinced about walking your way to a lighter you, here are some facts which will boggle your mind. According to fitness and diet expert Akansha Jhalani, ?Weight loss does not only happen if you spend numerous hours in the gym on a weight training or cardio routine. Something as simple as brisk walking can also help you shrink your waistline.? Walking at 6.5 km/h, a fairly standard pace can help a 65 kg man burn 362 calories per hour. She shares a few more benefits of walking.

Walking helps tone your muscles as you work on your lower body including your thighs, glutes, hamstrings, calves.

It increases bone strength. When you walk, you are essentially strengthening your bones by keeping them engaged and your chances of bone diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis also decrease.

Walking keeps you in good spirits as when you walk, your body releases endorphins which are responsible for keeping us a happy and joyful mood.

Walking also keeps diseases at bay and even helps manage existing ones. People who have diabetes, high blood pressure can go for walks every day as it will help regulate their heart rate and also improve their blood sugar levels. The pace needs to be monitored by a doctor before you start.

According to Global Health Authorities, walking 10,000 steps (6.4 km) every day is enough to help you lose weight and stay fit.

Tips to keep in mind

If you are planning to take up walking as a fitness regimen, you can start slow and then increase the intensity and duration as you progress.

Engage in 30-45 minutes of walking every day to reap in its benefits.

Walk wearing comfortable sports shoes which will support your heel and foot. If you are planning to go barefoot, there are special, thin shoes available for the same too.

Morning is the best time to go for a brisk walk as there is more oxygen in the air and less pollution as well.

Note : In the above article I find everything correct except the use of Music while walking as it is quite dangerous on Indian roads when you do not know which Vehicle is coming behind you . 

General topics / Sat 12 July 2014 Guru Purnima Day
« on: July 11, 2014, 09:19:59 PM »
I am sharing on this thread the Guru Purnima Messages from Various acharyas / Spiritual Teachers

The following are the Morning / Evening Vedic and Sanskrit Chants as followed in Ramana Ashram and I believe Bhagwan did give an outline for the same and others added some later .  I once asked David Godman about this but he could not give me the proper answer to its background .
If there is any changes in the list , I will make it .

Ramana Ashram Morning Vedic and Sanskrit Chants at 8 a.m

1) Sri Ramna Chatvarimshat
2) Sri Arunachla Pancharatnam
3) Sri Taittriya Upanishad ( Sikisha /Anand /Bhrigu Valli )
4) Sri Suktam
5)Maha Narayana Upanishad ( some portions )

Ramana Ashram Evening Vedic & Sanskrit Chants at 5 p.m

1)Dakshinamurti Stotram
2) Sri Rudram
3) Chamakam
4) Purusha Suktam , Narayana Suktam,Durga Suktam
5) Mantra Pushpam .
 6)Upadesa Saram
7) Nakarmana

I have updated the list to make some changes after seeing the final version from the book "The Veda Parayana At Sri RamanaAshram - An English  Translation  .

According to this book :
1) In Sri Bhgawan's lifetime , Vedic Chanting/Veda Parayana  was held twice a day morning and evening , lasting about 40 mts on each occasion , and this is still continued .
2) This with the Puja which follows it is  the only ritual which was or is generally attended at the Ashram .
3) It was an hour of tremendous silence when he sat immobile as though carved in rock . He never allowed anything to interrupt it .
4) When asked whether people should learn the meaning ,so as to follow it , he said no : It was sufficient that the chanting served as a support for meditation .
5) Despite this , it is also true , however , that the portions used for chanting were carefully chosen and approved by Sri Bhgawan Himself .
6) Nothing has been deleted from them since Sri Bhagwan's  lifetime and only one item added .That is Sri Dakshinamurti Stotra which , mainly on the request of the late Major Chadwick ( Sadhu Arunachala ) is now used as the opening hymn before the evening chant .
7) Technically in the past even listening to the Chanting of Vedas is supposed to made available only to Brahmins , but this prohibition was abrogated by Sri Bhagwan .

General Discussion / Skanda Sashti from Sun 3 Nov - Fri 8 Nov 2013
« on: November 03, 2013, 08:22:09 AM »
Om Saravana Bhava - for the devotees of Lord Subramanya the Auspicious" Skanda Sashti" festival starts from today Sun 3 Nov - Fri 8 Nov for 6 days . This is when Lord Subramanya's Highest Power emerges on the earth plane readily available for you to absorb into your own core essence.Skanda Sashti is the powerful time to quickly increase your vibrations for power, new perceptions and perfect body, health and relationships.

For More details on how to Observe Skanda Sashti Vratham ,follow the link below :
For those who are unable to follow the strict rules of Skanda Sashti Vratham let us at least Chant on these 6 days one of the following stotras without fail to invoke the blessings of
Skanda Sashti Kavacham , Skanda Guru Kavacham , Shanmuga Kavacham ,Kandar Anubooti ,Subramanya Bhujangam , Subramanya Karavalamba Stotram etc

MS Subbulakshmi was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.Today i.e Mon 16 Sept 2013 is her 97th Birthday and so in tribute to her sharing this small piece of shloka "Hrudaya Kuhara Madhye" that was composed by Bhagavan Ramana in 1915 . There is a tamil version following this sasnkrit version and I do not know much about it .If anyone can elaborate more about this shloka I will be happy .

Hrudaya Kuhara Madhye - Sung by MS Subbalakshmi

This sloka arose in the following circumstances: In 1915, the Maharshi spent the rainy season at Skandasramam. One day Jagadeesa Sastry, sat with a paper in his hand which the Maharshi noticed and enquired about. Sastry said "I have commenced writing a sloka. I could compose only the first phrase but could not go any further' Bhagavan took up the paper containing the phrase "Hridaya kuhara madhye' (In the interior of the Heart cave). Thereupon he completed the sloka.

Sri Ramana Gita appears to be a commentary on the sloka "Hridaya kuhara madhye".

Sanskrit Shloka :

Hridaya Kuhara Madhye Kevalam BrahmaMaatram

Hyahamahamiti Saakshaat Aatma Rupenena Bhati

Hridi Visha Manasa Svam Chinvata Majjata Va

Pavanachalana Rodhat Aatmanishto Bhavatvam

Meaning :

Brahman is glowing lustrously in the middle of the cave

of the Heart in the shape of the Self, always proclaiming

‘I am, I am’. Become an Atmanishta, a Self-realised person,

either by making the mind absorbed in the search of the

Self or by making the mind drown itself through control

of the breath.

General Discussion / The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: August 31, 2013, 06:22:43 PM »
On Sun 1Sept 2013 ,it is Ekadasi Day and I just wanted to share the significance of Ekadasi by Swami Krishnananda ( Divinelife Society , Rishikesh , Sivananda Ashram )

The Significance of Ekadasi by Swami Krishnananda

A talk given on the 17th of January, 1970, on the request of devotees.

Ekadasi is a Sanskrit word, which means 'the eleventh'. It refers to the eleventh day of a fortnight in a lunar month. There are two fortnights in a lunar month – the bright and the dark. So, Ekadasi occurs twice in a month, in the bright fortnight and the dark fortnight. The special feature of Ekadasi, as most people know it, is a fast – abstinence from diet. This is how it is usually understood. "We do not eat on Ekadasi," is what people understand. In this country (India) it has become a routine to be abstemious, if not observe a complete fast on this day. The significance of this particular observance is not merely constituted of a fast, physically, though it is also an essential element; it has other deeper aspects. In fact, the fast is only a practical expression and a symbol of something else that we are expected to do, which is of special significance to our personality.

Those who know astronomy as something which tells about the interrelation of the planetary system, the stellar world, would be aware that we form a part of this planetary or solar system. By a 'system' we mean an organism or organisation which is methodically arranged. When we know that we belong to the system of planetary motions, we understand thereby that we are an inseparable part of the system. We are not unrelated bodies on the surface of the earth, like a cart on the road which has no organic link. We belong to the solar system – a huge family of which the sun is the head and the planets are the members. The sun guides the activities of this family and we, being contents of this system, cannot be out of the influence of the sun. We are involved in the laws operating in this system. This has led to the discovery of astrology. Astronomy studies the movements of planets and stars, and astrology the effects they produce on the contents of the system. The Ekadasi observance is an astrological phenomenon and it is observed due to this relation we have with some of the planets in the system. The entire personality of ours is tremendously influenced by the movement of planets. There is no use imagining that the planets are above our heads. They are everywhere. There is a relative movement of planets, among which the earth is one. The movement of one thing in relation to another is a relative movement. There is no planet which is static. Even the sun is not ultimately static. The whole solar system is moving and rushing towards some huge star which is eighty million times larger and brighter than the sun and whose light has not yet reached us, as astronomers tell us. We have to understand that there is relative motion amongst planets and we are relatively influenced by the planets. Each planet tells upon our system and we cannot get rid of their influence as long as we are on this planet, of which we are a part. The gravitational pull of planets has an influence on us.

The sun is said to influence the centre of our personality; hence the sun is called Atmakaraka. He is the soul-influencer of the human body. In the Rig-Veda, the sun is identified with the soul of the universe as well as the soul of the individual. The different limbs of our body and different parts of our system are supposed to be influenced by different planets. The sun is capable of influencing the entire being. He is, thus, the Atmakaraka. Karaka is doer, manipulator, director. If there is no sun, we know what difference it makes for us; our digestion becomes sluggish on days when there is no sun. So important is the sun.

The moon is supposed to influence the mind.
The mind is also made up of material substance. The mind is not spiritual, but material. How is mind matter? This can be known if we know how, in Homeopathy, the medicine is manufactured. In Allopathy, they give the crude base of a medicine, which Homeopathy calls mother tincture. In Homeopathy, one drop of mother tincture is mixed with a hundred drops of rectified spirit and shaken with a tremendous force. That mixture is one potency of medicine. One drop of that is mixed in hundred drops of spirit again. It becomes two potency medicine. Likewise, they have larger potencies. You can imagine what happens to the medicine when it reaches the higher potency. There is no medicine at all. So, Homeopathy says that they give no medicine, but a vibration – a vibration of the original base material. It is a subtle aromatic vibration, aromatic in the sense of the subtle residuum of the original medicine; and what will create a circumstance in Allopathy will remove that very circumstance in Homeopathy. Nevertheless this potency is material in the sense that it is formed of matter. So is the mind. It is the subtle portion of the material substance of our food. The subtle essence of the food, not only directly taken through the mouth but through all senses, contributes to the make-up of the mind or the mind-stuff. Mind is material in a subtle sense, like a mirror which is made of earth material only, though it shines. Only the mirror is able to reflect light, and not the brick, though it is also made of the earth material. Mind is material in this sense. It is very, very subtle and is made up of everything that we take. So, matter influences matter. Planets are not spiritual bodies, and yet they influence the mind. The mind's presiding deity is the moon. Ekadasi is particularly relevant to this relation of moon and mind. You will find that, when you go deep into the study of astronomy, you have nothing in your body except some planetary influences! We are made up of planetary forces and there is nothing independent to call our own. One part belongs to one planet and another part to another planet. If each planet claims its part, you will disintegrate. The moon influences the mind in its orbital relative movement with reference to other planets and us.

How is Ekadasi related to the movement of moon and mind? We have certain centres, called Chakras, in the body. The Chakras are nothing but energy-centres which whirl in some direction, as water whirls in a river. Chakra is a wheel or circular motion. They form in a spiral shape. They are not physical, but are psychophysical and psychological. These Chakras are neither in the mind nor in the body; they are in the astral body. The moon's influence physically on the body has an influence on the Chakras, which tells upon the mind ultimately. The mind moves through these Chakras. The passage of the mind is through these Chakras, up and down. When this operation takes place consciously, it is called Yoga. When done unconsciously by the mind, it is just influence. When the moon waxes or wanes, the mind is vehemently influenced. So people who are not normal in their minds become very disturbed on the full moon and new moon days. You cannot see the moon's influence on the earth because it is solid, but it can be seen on the ocean which is liquid. The moon influences the whole earth, and its influence is visible on the large body of waters in the sea. This happens due to the twofold pressure of the relation of the earth and moon. The sun influences the moon and the moon influences the earth. When the influence occurs automatically, we are instruments in the hands of Nature. When it is done consciously, we are said to practise Yoga. We can be involuntarily dragged from place to place, or we can walk voluntarily. The difference is obvious. The moon's movement tells upon the movement of the mind through the Chakras.

Another important aspect is the seat of the mind, which is also twofold.
You may be living in many houses, of which one or two are your own. Svasthana means 'one's own place'. The mind has several abodes or centres of energy called Chakras, of which two are its own. The seats of the mind in this personality of ours are: 1. the subtle spot in the astral body corresponding to the centre of the two eyebrows, in waking, and 2. the heart, in the state of deep sleep. If it is in the brain, it is active and you, then, do not get sleep, because it refuses to go down. If the mind is midway between the centre of the eyebrows and the heart, it is the dream state. So, there is a twofold centre of the mind – the Ajna Chakra, or the centre between the eyebrows, and the Anahata Chakra, or the heart. In both these centres, the mind feels at home and is at ease, because it is nearer to itself. In other centres it is extrovert. In the Ajna and the Anahata Chakras it finds itself at home. In the two fortnights, in its movement, it finds itself at the Ajna Chakra and the Anahata Chakra on the eleventh day. Since these two Chakras are its own abode, the mind is at home here, i.e., it gets concentrated and collected easily. This has been the experience given out by our ancients, and this has to be taken advantage of by Sadhakas. You are capable of concentration when the mind is naturally in its home. The mind cannot be concentrated when it is out of tune, but when it is in its location it is easy of contemplation. So, the Ekadasi day in both fortnights is the occasion when the mind finds itself in its place – in the bright fortnight in the Ajna Chakra, and in dark fortnight in the Anahata Chakra. Seekers and Yogis take advantage of these two days and try to practise deep meditation. Vaishnavas treat Ekadasi as a very holy day and also observe a fast on that day.

Fast and meditation! What connection have they?
There is really no intrinsic connection between fast and meditation, but there is some advantage in keeping the body light and the stomach free from excessive metabolic function. When the stomach is given the duty of digestion, doctors will tell you that blood circulation is accelerated towards the digestive organs, on account of which blood circulation to the head gets decreased after food is taken and so you feel sleepy and the thinking faculty practically ceases to function. Hence, there is no advantage in giving the physical system work on days you want to do Yogic practice. Thus, Ekadasi has also a spiritual significance.

The energy of the whole system gets distributed equally if a particular limb is not given any inordinate work. If any part is given heavy work, there is a dislocation of the working of the body. So, in fasting the energy is equally distributed as the digestive function is not there. But, there should be no overdoing in fast. Fast is supposed to cause buoyancy of feeling, and not fatigue. So people who are sick and cannot observe a total fast take milk and fruits, etc. People who are perfectly healthy and are confident, observe a complete fast. This helps in control of mind and will.

Apart from all these, there is a necessity to give the physiological system some rest once in a while. It may be overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. These irregularities unconsciously done during the fourteen days get rectified in one day. Thus the observance of Ekadasi has many advantages, physical, astral and spiritual, and because this day has connection with the relation of the mind with its abode together with the moon, you feel mysteriously helped in your meditation and contemplation – mysteriously because you cannot know this consciously. But you can feel this for yourself by observing it. In India everything is interpreted spiritually. Every river is a deity. Every mountain is a god. Everything is holy, dedicated to the Divine. Everything is presided over by a particular god – Gramadevata, Grihadevata, etc. Everywhere is God. The idea behind all this is that we have to feel the presence of God in everything and everywhere. In space and in time, in everything, there is God. Time is God. Directions are God. Thus the very objects become embodiments of God. This is India's religious sidelight, which is profoundly meaningful in life.

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