Author Topic: Saints / Devotees  (Read 23119 times)

silentgreen

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Thiruvalluvar
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2010, 02:22:01 PM »
Thiruvalluvar:

About two thousand years ago there flourished in Mylapore, Madras, a born Siddha and a born poet by name Valluvar or, as he is more commonly known, ‘Thiruvalluvar’, which only means, ‘the devotee of the Valluva caste’. Valluvas are Pariahs (now called Harijans) and their vocation was proclaiming the orders of the king by beat of drum. There is a tradition that Thiruvalluvar was the son of one Bhagavan, a Brahmin, and Adi, a Pariah woman whom he had married.

Thiruvalluvar was born at Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas. He is regarded as an Avatara of Brahma. His wife Vasuki was a chaste and devoted lady, an ideal wife, who never disobeyed the orders of her husband, but always carried them out implicitly. Thiruvalluvar showed people that a person could lead the life of a Grihastha or householder, and at the same time, lead a divine life or a life of purity and sanctity. He showed people that there was no necessity to leave the family and become a Sannyasin to lead a divine life of purity and sanctity. All his wise sayings and teachings are now in book form and known as ‘Thirukkural’. These sayings are all in couplets. Here are some of them:

    Just as the alphabet ‘A’ is the beginning of all letters, so also, God is the beginning for this universe.

    Learn the Shastras completely and then act according to their injunctions.

    The Anicha flower will fade by smelling, but guests are more sensitive if the hosts turn their faces a bit.

    Death is like sleeping in the burial ground;
    birth is like waking in the morning.

These couplets are 1,330 in number. They contain the essence of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the six Darshanas. Thirukkural is regarded as a universal Bible. It is another Gita, Koran or Zend Avesta.

Some aspirants repaired to Thiruvalluvar and enquired: "O sage, which Ashrama of life is better—Grihastha or Sannyasa?". Thiruvalluvar did not give any answer. He simply kept quiet. He wanted to teach them the glory of Grihastha Ashrama by example.

Thiruvalluvar was taking cold rice in the morning. He said to his wife: "Vasuki, the rice is very hot. Bring a fan to cool it". Thiruvalluvar’s wife was drawing water from the well when Thiruvalluvar called her. She at once left the rope and ran to him with a fan to cool the rice. She did not say to her husband: "How can the cold rice be hot? Why do you want a fan now?". She simply obeyed his commands. The vessel that contained water was hanging half-way in the well unsupported, on account of her Pativrata Dharma Shakti. The aspirants noticed this phenomenon and the noble conduct of Vasuki and were simply struck with amazement.

About midday, on another occasion, Valluvar called his wife and said, "Bring a lamp immediately, O Vasuki! I am stitching the cloth. I cannot see the eye of the needle. I cannot pass the thread properly". Vasuki did not say to her husband: "It is broad daylight now. Why do you want a lamp? You can see the eye of the needle clearly". But she implicitly obeyed his word. The aspirants were much inspired by the ideal life of sage Thiruvalluvar and the exalted conduct of Vasuki. They did not speak a word to the saint. They took leave of the saint and quietly left the place with profound satisfaction. They were deeply impressed by the practical and exemplary life led by Thiruvalluvar and Vasuki. They learnt the lesson that the life of an ideal householder was in no way inferior to that of an ideal Sannyasin who was treading the path of Nivritti and austerity in the Himalayan caves and that each was great in its own place, time and circumstances.

Dear readers! Such ladies sit enthroned in the hearts of their husbands. No doubt they are hard to find, because such women never advertise themselves; but there must be many in our land of Rishis and sages; and unless we maintain such a high level of moral purity, we will all be going down in these days of modern civilization and scientific advancement. If the husbands of the present day behave like Thiruvalluvar, the wives will say, "My husband has become senseless. He wants to fan the rice when it is so cold! He wants a light when there is broad sunlight". The wives will rebuke their husbands and fight with them.

That house wherein the wife serves the husband with sincere devotion and observes Pativrata Dharma is heaven on earth. That house wherein the wife fights with the husband and disobeys his orders is a veritable hell on earth. Ladies who practise Pativrata Dharma need not go to temples. They need not practise any Vrata or penance. Service to the husband becomes worship. They can realise God through service to their husbands. Husbands also should be ideal persons with noble qualities. Husbands are the Gurus for their wives. The wives need not get any initiation from any Acharya. Glory to such exalted ladies who practise Pativrata Dharma!

-- Swami Sivananda
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2010, 02:29:02 PM »
Dear silentgreen,

Very nice.

Vasuki's highest chastity is too great to describe.

Once she was pulling water from a deep well and the bucket
was half way up to the parapet. Tiruvalluvar called her suddenly
for some urgent help.  She rushed back into the house from the
back yard.  It is said that the bucket half-pulled was simply
static there at the height left by her without falling down into
the well.

Such women, one can see only in some Indian villages or in
puranas today.

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2010, 03:45:03 PM »
Shri Sivananada is originally from a town called Pathamadai,
near Tirunelveli, in the deep south of Tamil Nadu.  He went
to Rishikesh and other places and he finally settled down at
Rishikesh and the Ashram was commenced.  Sivananada
Ashram's GURU GITA - English translation, is one of the best
books on Guru Gita in English  .

Arunachala Siva.

silentgreen

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Swami Sivananda (Divine Life Society)
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2010, 04:15:41 PM »
Swami Sivananda (1887 - 1963)

Swami Sivananda was born on 8th of September, 1887 in the village of Pattamadai in South India. His father Sri P.S. Vengu Iyer was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and mother Srimati Parvati Ammal was a god-fearing lady. His boyhood name was Kuppuswamy.

Boy Kuppuswamy was intelligent and mischievous. In his boyhood itself he showed signs of Tyaga (renunciation) and love for fellow-beings. He used to pity the poor, feed the hungry at the door, and make his father throw a pie into the hands of pauper passing by. He often got cakes and sweetmeats from his mother and distributed them liberally to his younger companions, dogs, cats, crows, and sparrows, himself not eating a bit. He used to bring flowers and bael leaves for his father's Siva Puja.

At the Rajah's High School, Ettayapuram, where he studied, Kuppuswamy always topped the class and won prizes every year. He had a sweet voice and wonderful memory. After the completion of the First Arts Examination, Kuppuswamy went to the Medical School in Tanjore to study medicine. He used to be tremendously industrious and never went home during the holidays. He would spend the entire period in the hospital. He had free admission into the operation theater. Kuppuswamy was first in all subjects. He possessed more knowledge than doctors with covetable degrees, and in the first year itself he could answer the papers which the final year students could not. Kuppuswamy completed the course and earned the title of M.B.,C.M. He practiced at Tiruchi.

Later he got an offer from Malaya from Mr. Robbins to work in the hospital of a rubber estate. The young doctor worked very hard. Dr. Kuppuswamy was very kind, sympathetic, humorous, witty, and sweet-speaking. Hopeless cases came to him, but success was sure. Everywhere people declared that he had a special gift from God for the miraculous cures effected in the patients and acclaimed him as a very kind and sympathetic doctor with a charming and majestic personality. In serious cases, he kept vigil all night. In his private practice, Dr. Kuppuswamy used to attend to the poor and often not charge them even visiting or consulting fees. Instead he would give them money for special diet or to cover their own expenses after discharge from hospital. He gave money like water. Once a poor man, drenched to the skin, came to the doctor at night. His wife was in birth pangs. The doctor went there at once to her aid, and after attending to her, stayed outside the hut in spite of the heavy rain. Only after the save delivery of the child did the doctor return home the next morning.

In spite of his busy life, Dr. Kuppuswamy served the Sadhus, Sannyasins, and beggars. He attended marriage functions, parties, and other social gatherings. Once a Sadhu gave him a book "Jiva Brahma Aikyam" by Sri Swami Satchidananda. It ignited the dormant spirituality in him. He began to study the books of Swami Rama Tirtha, Swami Vivekananda, Sankara, Imitation of Christ, the Bible, and literature of the Theosophical Society. He was very regular in his daily worship, prayer and Yoga Asanas. Study of sacred scriptures like the Gita, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata, and the Ramayana was done with great devotion. Sometimes he conducted Nandan Charitam and sang Bhajans and Kirtans. He practiced Anahat Laya Yoga and Swara Sadhana.

Nothing could tempt the doctor. His heart was as pure as the Himalayan snow. His immense philanthropy and spirit of service and renunciation endeared him to all. People lovingly called him the "Heart of Love". As days passed, he reflected more and more and wanted to renounce the world. His heart was purified through loving service. At last, Dr. Kuppuswamy, enjoying a lucrative practice, renounced the world like Prince Siddartha, in 1923. He left Malaya for India.

At Madras he proceeded to the house of a friend and left his luggage there. He began his pilgrimage. At Benares, he had the Darshan (vision) of Lord Visvanath. He visited Mahatmas (great souls) and temples. At Dhalaj, a village on the bank of the Chandrabaga river, he met a postmaster and lived with him. He acted as the postmaster's cook, and when the latter arrived home in the evening, the doctor was ready to shampoo his legs in spite of his remonstrances! It was the postmaster who suggested Rishikesh when the aspiring doctor wanted a place for solitary meditation.

Dr. Kuppuswamy reached Rishikesh on the 8th of May, 1924. On the 1st of June, 1924, there came His Holiness Sri Swami Visvananda Saraswati. The doctor saw a Guru in the monk and the monk saw a Chela (disciple) in the doctor. After a brief exchange of words, Dr. Kuppuswamy was initiated into the Sannyas order by Swami Visvananda. Swami Vishnudevanandaji Maharaj, the Mahant of Sri Kailas Ashram, performed the Viraja Homa ceremonies. The Guru named the doctor Swami Sivananda Saraswati. Swami Visvananda wrote the necessary instructions about Sannyas Dharma from Benares. Swami Sivanandaji stayed at Swargashram for Sadhana.

Swami Sivananda dressed to clothe himself, ate to live, and lived to serve humanity. A small dilapidated Kutir (hut), not resorted to by others and infested with scorpions, protected him from rain and sun. Living in that Kutir, he did intense Tapas (austerities), observed silence, and fasted. Often he fasted for days on end. He would keep a good stock of bread in his room, and for a week have this, together with Ganges water. He would stand up to the hips in the ice-cold Ganges in winter mornings and commence his Japa, coming out only when the sun appeared. He would spend more than twelve hours in daily meditation. With all his intense Tapas, Swamiji did not neglect service of the sick. He visited the huts of the Sadhus with medicines, served them, and shampooed their legs. He begged food on their behalf and fed them with his own hands when they fell sick. He brought water from the Ganges and washed their Kutirs. He attended upon cholera and small-pox cases. If necessary, he kept vigil through the night by the side of the bed of the ailing Sadhu. He carried sick persons on his back to the hospital. With some money from his insurance policy that had matured, Swamiji started a charitable dispensary at Lakshmanjula in 1927. He served the pilgrims and saw Narayana in them. Swamiji practiced all the various Yogas and studied the scriptures. After years of intense and unbroken Sadhana, he enjoyed the bliss of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He had come to the end of his spiritual journey.

He used to gather bits of paper and used envelopes, and stitch them into little notebooks. He entered some self-instructions in them. Some of the instructions found in them read thus: "Give up salt, give up sugar, give up spices, give up vegetables, give up chutnies, give up tamarind". In another we read: Serve Bhangis, serve rogues, serve inferiors, remove faecal matter, clean clothes of Sadhus - take delight, carry water". In another page: "Do not revenge, resist not evil, return good for evil, bear insult and injury". On some neat little pages we again read: "Forget like a child any injury done by somebody immediately. Never keep it in the heart. It kindles hatred. Cultivate Maitri (friendship), Karuna (compassion), Daya (mercy), Prema (love), Kshama (forgiveness)". In another paragraph we see: "Develop good manners, extreme politeness, courtesy, etiquette, good demeanour, nobility, gentleness, mildness. Never be rude, harsh, or cruel. There is nothing to be hated in the world. Hatred is ignorance. All contempt for anything or being must be removed through love and Vichara (enquiry)".

Swamiji traveled the whole length and breadth of India during his Parivrajaka (wandering monk) life. He visited important places of pilgrimage in the South, including Rameswaram. He conducted Sankirtan and delivered lectures. He visited Aurobindo Ashram and met Maharishi Suddhananda Bharati. At Ramana Ashram, he had Darshan of Sri Ramana Maharishi on the Maharishi's birthday. He sang Bhajans and danced in ecstasy with the Bhaktas of Ramana. Swamiji went on a trip to Kailas-Manasarovar and Badri.

He returned after the pilgrimage, to Rishikesh, and in the year 1936 sowed the seed of The Divine Life Society on the bank of the holy Ganga. From a small beginning the Society grew imperceptibly and it is now the headquarters of a world-wide Organization having a large number of Branches both within the country and outside. He got the Divine Life Society Registered as a Trust in the year 1936, with the main objects of dissemination of spiritual knowledge and selfless service of humanity.

Swami Sivananda's Yoga, which he has significantly called the 'Yoga of Synthesis', effects a harmonious development of the 'hand', 'head' and 'heart' through the practice of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.

On the 14th of July 1963, the Great Soul Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi (departure of a Self-realized saint from his mortal coil) in his Kutir on the bank of Ganga, in Shivanandanagar.

References:
Internet
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Poems of Ramprasad
« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2010, 05:27:56 PM »
Poems on Mother Kali
- by Ramprasad

Who in this world
can understand what
Mother Kali really is?
The six systems of philosophy
remain powerless to describe Her.
She is the inmost awareness
of the sage who realizes
that Consciousness alone exists.
She is the life blossoming within
the creatures of the universe.
Both macrocosm and microcosm
are lost within Mother's Womb.
Now can you sense
how indescribable She is?

The yogi meditates upon Her
in the six subtle nerve centers
as She sports with delight
through the lotus wilderness
of the pristine human body,
playing with Her Consort,
Shiva, the Great Swan.

When anyone attempts to know Her,
the singer of this song laughs.
Can you swim across
a shoreless ocean?
Yet the child in me still
reaches out to touch the moon.


O wavering mind,
awaken your upward-flowing awareness.
Become the sublime warrior Goddess Kali,
who moves with graceful power
     through the vast landscape of the body.

Her divine form, like a black storm cloud
     illumined by the sun,
she stands unveiled,
her long hair falling free like monsoon rain.
Be lost in awe of her, O mind,
for you will never comprehend her.

She dwells as the primal lotus of conscious energy
     and also as the thousand-petal blossom,
complete enlightenment.
She is none other than primordial bliss,
this great swan ever swimming
     through the lotus jungle of the subtle body.

Gaze intently into the blazing heart of joy
     and you will perceive my blissful Mother,
matrix of all phenomena.
The vision of Kali
     kindles the fire of unitive wisdom,
burning down conventional barriers,
pervading minds and worlds with light,
revealing her exalted beauty
     as universal flower garden
and universal cremation ground,
where lovers merge with Mother Reality,
experiencing the single taste of nonduality.

This ardent poet of the Goddess cries:
"Every lover longs only
     to gaze upon the unique Beloved.
Why close your eyes?
Why disappear into formless trance?"
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2010, 12:15:48 PM »

I think Sri Ramakrishna used to sing Rama Prasad's poems in
melting devotion.

Arunachala Siva.

ramanaduli

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Re: Saints / Devotees---Thruvalluvar/vasuki
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2010, 02:50:10 AM »
Adding to the greatness of Vasuki there is another story. Once one siddha Kokannavar came to Vasuki for food. As she was busy in serving her husband Thruvalluvar she came little bit late to this siddha and offered food. He got angry for attending late. So he looked as if to burn her. Immedietly vasuki told him do you think am i a crane which was burnt by you. The siddha was surprised at this comment because he burnt a crane as it put his droppings on his body when he was meditating. But it happened far away from vasuki's place. When she could know this, she might be very powerful than siddha. He felt ashamed for his behaviour and went away to meditate further. Simply vasuki was a devoted wife and got enlightened. Thruvalluvar's samadhi is in Mylapore.

In some books say Thruvalluvar belonged to weaver's community. Thruvalluvar gave a treasure to the man kind. i.e. Thrukkural


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Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2010, 10:37:18 AM »

There are several stories about Tiruvalluvar's birth and community.
Some say he is a Brahmin and  some others say that he belongs
to Seniyar, weaver's community.  Because of his secular nature,
DMK took him as their favourite poet.  In Chennai and other places
of Tamil Nadu, the transport buses used to have a photograph of
him, (only a drawing), with a book and the writing instrument on his hands.  DMK carefully made the portrait in such a way, there is
a upper cloth across his chest so that there is no upaveedam,
sacred thread, on his chest! 

He did not write anything about moksham in his Tirukural. He
had the belief that if dharma, artha and kama are properly
followed by one, the liberation will come automatically.  But there
are 10 couplets about God in the beginning of Tirukural.  There
he mentions God in a very indirect manner without giving scope to
guess who is that God.  For example, he says God is of 8 characteristics.  ( a la Sri Dakshinamurty Stotram). He again says
one should hold god's feet to come out of births and deaths, again
a Hindu concept.  Some used to say that in spite of all these descriptions, he was a Jain.  Nothing is known clearly.  Later
Tamil poets consider him as a Saivite. 

There are 10 commentaries by 10 different scholars on his
Tirukural.  All of them belong to roughly between 4th century
and 11th century.  There are umpteen modern commentaries too.
The commentary of Parimelazhagar is considered the best.

Arunachala Siva.