SAMSARA IN HINDUISM: The Secret of the Boat Ride

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The concept of Samsara in Hinduism explained by an ancient story recited by Lord Krishna. The story explains the meaning of Samsara beautifully.

Samsara in Hinduism

In Sanskrit, Samsara comes from the word “wandering” and the interpretation of Samsara is done as “wandering around the world in a cyclic pattern.”

Hinduism teaches us that the body is made of the 5 elements of nature and is perishable. The soul inhabits the body due to its past karma and then continues its journey in different bodies across many births to fulfill the unresolved desires which keep on arising due to the illusory identification of the soul with the body. This is called Samsara.

Samsara hinduism meaningThus Samsara in Hinduism refers to the cycle of life and birth that the soul undergoes in various bodies; the soul wanders across the mortal world in different incarnations getting caught in a mesh of karma and desires.

The liberation from Samsara is called Moksha.

 In Srimad Bhagavatam, Shri Krishna explains the truth about Samsara by reciting a parable about a boat ride.

THE BOAT RIDE: Meaning of Samsara

“You do not remember, but a long time ago, you had found yourself standing along a river bank. You saw a river in front of you with water as sparkling as a blue sapphire. The river was gently curving surrounded by dense forests and your mind was enticed by seeing the diverse, colorful flowers mounted on the rocks in the water. A cool breeze was flowing on the tranquil water and there were various species of birds and butterflies flying over the surface of the river.

There arose a desire in you to cross the river and get to the other side. As soon as you willed, a boat appeared in the river. The boat was sturdy and was being steered by five oarsmen.

You got in the boat and began your journey. The five oarsmen were guides par excellence and they made your journey delightful by regaling you with different stories and making you experience different things along the journey. Sometimes, the ride was peaceful and sometimes turbulent waves shook the boat.

Finally the journey came to an end, and the five oarsmen, who had become dearer to you than your own life, dropped you on the other side of the river and departed.

By the veil of illusion, you forgot about the journey as soon as you stepped out of the boat and you again found yourself standing on a river bank. Again, you saw a river in front of you with water as sparkling as a blue gem. Again, there arose a desire in you to cross the river. Again, a new boat with a new set of five oarsmen appeared. Again you took the same journey through a different route. You reached the other end, the oarsmen departed, and like before, you forgot about the journey.

You were again standing on the river bank and there arose a desire to cross the river. You are still standing on the same river bank.  Some of you have taken this journey a million times, and some of you a thousand times.

Interpretation of the Story: Samsara meaning

The journey is what we call life, the two river banks are life and death for this particular incarnation. The five oarsmen are our own five senses, and the boat is the body in this birth. The senses take us through the same repetitive cycle, delighting or frustrating us with perceived observations, and we are caught in a web of attraction and repulsion. This web is known as Samsara.

In every age or kalpa, there is that rare soul,who is able to achieve to break the shackles of Samsara. This soul, mid-way through the boat ride is able to pierce through the veil of illusion and realizes that there is actually no need to make this journey. This seeker makes his or her mind firm, bids farewell to the extremely persuasive oarsmen and takes a leap of faith in the cool stream leaving the boat. He or she will never be standing along the river bank again. Such a person is called enlightened. For the stream between the two shores of life and death is the realm of pure consciousness.

The one who devoid of fear, stops getting swayed by the senses and begins self-inquiry by trying to understand the truth, will experience this stream of pure consciousness. The immersion into the pure consiousness and detachment from the body is called liberation from Samsara.

Suggested Reading:

KARMA: THE STORY OF THE BOWMAN

 LORD BRAHMA INSTRUCTS LORD INDRA: WHAT IS ATMAN OR THE SELF

LORD VISHNU TEACHES THE RIGHT WAY OF LIVING

‘WHO AM I’ SECRET: SAGE VASISTHA TELLS LORD RAM

                     WHY ARE WE BORN: THE STORY OF THE 5 ANTS

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Raikva the cart driver- Story of Raikva from the Chandogya Upanishad

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Raikva the cart driver, Samvarga Vidya- Stories from the Upanishads

The story of Raikva the cart driver is mentioned in Chapter 4 of the Chandogya Upanishad.

There was a king  named Janasruti Pautrayana who was a pious giver and engaged in a lot of chairty.  He built free rest-houses for vistors and gave food to everyone who needed it.

One night he was at the terrace of his palace and two swans flew over him. Janasruti heard one of the swans say to another, “O Bhallaksha (one having good sight) keep away from the day like light that is emanating from the king standing below.  Keep away so that the brilliant light doesn’t scorch you.”

Bhallksha replied, “How can you speak of the king as if he were Raikva the cart-man?”

The other swan asked, “Of what sort of man is this Raikva the cart-man? You speak highly of him.”

Bhallaksha replied, “Just as in a game of dice, the winner throws the Krta (the highest throw) cast of dice and all lower ones go to him, similarly whatever meritorious deeds men do they all go to to Raikva. So all-inclusive does one becomes who knows what he (Raikva) knows too. I declare this to you.”

Krta is the highest number possible in a toss of dice, so it is said to include all the lower numbers within it. The swan says that Raikva is a person like krta, because he includes within himself all the good things that other people do. He is the sum total of all that is good in the world.  If anyone has the Self Knowledge that Raikva has, then he becomes the same as Raikva.

Janasruti Pautrayana overheard what the swans were saying.  He got up the next day and when approached by his attendant, told him, “O Friend, you are speaking to me as if to Raikva the cart-man.”

The attendant expressed his curiosity, “Who is Raikva and what sort of man is he O king?”

The king repeated what the swan Bhallaksha had said, “Just as in a game of dice, the winner throws the Krta (the highest throw) cast of dice and all lower ones go to him, similarly whatever meritorious deeds men do they all go to to Raikva. So all-inclusive does one becomes who knows what he (Raikva) knows too. I declare this to you.”

The king sent  his attendants to search for Raikva.  The attendants travelled across all the cities in the kingdom but could not find the man named Raikva. They returned to the king and announced their faliure.

The king told them, “Search for Raikva where the sages and Brahmans (self-realized people) stay.”

The attendants went further away from the cities now and in one small village, saw a man who was sitting under a cart and scratching himself. One of the attendant approached him and asked, “Sir, are you Raikva, the cart-man?”

“Yes, I am Raikva,” he replied.

The attendants rushed back to the palace and annouced this to the king.

Then Janasruti Pautrayana went to that place, taking with him, six hundred cows, a gold necklace, and a chariot drawn by mules.

He said to Raikva “O Raikva, all these -six hundred cows, a gold necklace, and a chariot drawn by mules are for you.  Please tell me about the deity you worship.”

Raikva said to him , “You Sudra, the necklace and chariot along with the cows -let all these be yours.”

Janasruti left again and then came back – this time with one thousand cows, a gold necklace, a chariot drawn by mules, and his own daughter for marriage to Raikva.

Janasruti was a seeker of Brahma Gyan and in the spirit of the true seeker he did not give up.

He said to Raikva, “I am giving you these thousand cows, this gold necklace, this chariot drawn by mules, this daughter of mine to
be your wife, and also this village in which you live, Now, Sir, please teach me.”

Janasrurti offered Raikva among other things, his daughter in marriage and also the village where Raikva was living.  The only thing he wanted in return was that Raikva accepted him as a disciple. Raikva was impressed at this sincere attempt from the King to seek knowlege and agreed to teach him.

The village where Raikva lived were known thenceforth as Raikvaparna.

It was here Raikva taught Janasruti. Raikva said to him. “Air is indeed samvarga. For, fire, going out, gets absorbed into air: the sun setting,  gets absorbed into air; the moon, setting, gets absorbed into air. Water, dried up, gets absorbed into air. Air indeed is the all devourer. This is the instruction on the universal aspect (of the diety).”

 Samvarga Vidya refers to meditating on the Vayu(air) externally and the Prana (vital breath) internally that absorbs everything. The above is the instruction on the universal aspect. The below is the instruction on the bodily aspect.

Raikva continues, “Prana indeed is samvarga. In sleep, speech is absorbed into prana; the eyes (sight) are absorbed into prana; the ears (hearing) are absorbed into prana; the mind is absorbed into prana. Prana indeed is the one that engulfs all these.

“These two (air and prana), are the two samvargas. Of the universal pheonomena (devas), air is the samvarga, and of the sense organs in a body, prana is the samvarga.”

Suggested reading

Story of Prana

Story from the Upanishads: Satyakama Jabala

Happiness: Why does Maya Smile at you?

Why are we born: The story of the 5 ants

Vairagya and Viveka: The story of the caged elephant

Kali yuga Predictions

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Datta Dayadhvam Damyata- The Story with meaning

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The meaning of Datta Dayadhvam Damyata

Datta Dayadhvam DamyataIn The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,  Lord Vishnu has given the most compact and useful advise for the three kinds of beings, namely, the gods, the demons and the human beings.

These three beings also signify the three gunas or tendencies that exist in the creation. These three gunas are sattvic or the mode of goodness which represents the higher level of consciousness(gods), rajasic or the mode of passion which represents the middle level of consciousness (human beings) and tamasic or the mode of ignorance which represents the lowest level of consciousness (demons)

 Datta Dayadhvam Damyata – The Story

Once a representative of gods, humans and demons went to Lord Vishnu and requested him to guide them on the proper way of living.

To each of these representative, Lord Vishnu uttered one syllable, “Da”.

The gods understood this syllable to mean ‘Damyata’ or having control over your senses; as the Gods are tempted get addicted to enjoyment and sensory pleasures. Kama (sensory pleasure) is to be controlled by self-restraint.

The demons understood it to mean ‘Dayadhvam’ or being compassionate, as the demons are tempted to use and harm others for achieving their bodily desires. Anger is to be controlled by mercy.

The humans understood this to mean ‘Datta‘ or being charitable, as human beings are tempted to living a life of materialism being overcome by greed. Giving chairty overcomes greed.

 

 

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Story of Lord Hanuman and Shani Dev

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The Story of Lord Hanuman and Shani Dev

 hanuman shani devIn Hinduism, Lord Shani or Shani Dev  (embodied by the Planet Saturn) is the son of Surya Dev and Goddess Chhaya. Shani Dev gives us the results of our deeds throughout our life by appropriate punishments and rewards.

It is believed that worshipping Lord Hanuman pleases Shani Dev and the devotees of Lord Hanuman are treated kindly by Shani Dev. The story of Lord Hanuman and Shani dev is mentioned in the ancient scriptures.

Read: Spiritual significance of Lord Shani or Shani Dev

The Story of Lord Hanuman and Shani Dev

When Ravana (King of Lanka) defeated all the Devas (Gods), he won over all the three worlds. Ravana had a great understanding of astrology, and when his eldest son Indrajit was going to be born, Ravana forcefully imprisoned all the planets that determine an individual’s destiny. He ordered the planets (grahas) to be at the most auspicious position for his son’s horoscope, so that Inderjit would become invincible.

The Demigods knew that if Inderjit was born in this astrological position, he would become powerful and undefeatable. But the planets were imprisoned by Ravana so they had no option but to adhere to Ravana’s demand.

The planets were kept imprisoned face lying down. Shani dev offered the demigods a solution. Shani Dev stated that if he could turn around, he would glance at Ravana’s face and by this gaze, Shani Dev would bring about the destruction of Ravana by punishing him for his bad deeds.

The Gods approached Sage Narada to help Shani Dev gaze at Ravana’s face. Sage Narada went to Lanka and teased the arrogant Ravana. Sage Naraga told Ravana that it would be more fitting for a great king like him to stamp the chest of the planets who were kept imprisoned facing the floor.

Ravana agreed to Sage Narada’s suggestion and proceeded to turn the planets around. Lord Shani glanced at Ravana’s face and brought about the hardships that were due to Ravana for his evil deeds.

Ravana realized that Lord Shani had glanced at his face and it was a trick. To take revenge, Ravana kept Lord Shani imprisoned for many years in a prison with no openings.

During the war with Lord Rama, many years later, Lord Hanuman arrived in Lanka to carry Ram’s message to Maa Sita. On realizing that Shani dev was imprisoned in a prison, Lord Hanuman broke the prison and released Shani Dev. Lord Hanuman offered to take Shani Dev away from Lanka.

The honorable Shani Dev thanked Lord Hanuman but did not look at his face for it could bring hardships for Lord Hanuman.

Lord Hanuman enquired about the nature of the sufferings that he would undertake if Shani Dev looked at his face. Shani Dev explained that the sufferings would be related to family and personal aspirations.

Lord Hanuman told Shani Dev to climb on his back as he had no family ties and his attachment was at Lord Ram’s feet.

Shani Dev climbed on Lord Hanuman and Lord Hanuman took his flight. The demons from Ravana’s army fought with Lord Hanuman and threw huge boulders, rocks and other objects at him. Lord Hanuman crushed all the weapons thrown at him.

Finally, Shani Dev gave a boon to Lord Hanuman for helping him get away from Ravana’s prison.  As a boon, the ever compassionate, Lord Hanuman asked Shani Dev not to cast an evil eye or trouble his devotees.

 

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IDOL WORSHIP IN HINDUISM: Lord Shiva instructs Sage Vasistha

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Idol worship in Hinduism refers to a devotee worshipping a God or Goddess in the form of  a statue, a physical symbol or a painting.
The concept of idol worship remains widely accepted among Hindus.

Hinduism is a vast religion and accommodates thoughts of all the devotees depending upon the spirtual evolution of a person. Hinduism caters to both the type of seekers: a person who engages in idol worship to achieve his or her material desires and the Yogi who mediates internally to achieve liberation

On one hand, the Upanishads explain the truth about consiousness and creation by delving into philosophy and mental speculation using dialgoues and debates; on the other hand, the Puranas explain the truth by reciting stories about Gods, their dialogues and anecdotes.

The intent of both these literatures is the same but the wise sages in their wisdom have left two different commentaries to appease to both the categories of people.

The Vedas and The Bhagavad Gita speak about the “Virat Purusha” or “Absolute Consiousness”  that teach us about the omniscience of God prompting us to find the “Brahman” or “Supreme Truth” by looking inside us. Similarly, Hinduism has scriptures that teach one about the material and spiritual merits available by idol worship.

The truth about idol worship is explained beautifully by Lord Shiva to Sage Vasistha in an ancient story mentioned in the scripture “Yoga Vasistha”.

IDOL WORSHIP IN HINDUISM- DIALOGUE BETWEEN LORD SHIVA AND VASISTHA

idol worship hinduismSage Vasistha, once visited Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. Sage Vasistha started meditating in the forest in Kailasa. After a few days a great light emanated in front of Sage Vasistha.

With his insight, Sage Vasistha, inquired into the nature of the light and realized it was Lord Shiva.

(NOTE: The reference of the light is to the Shivling)

Sage Vasistha bowed to Lord Shiva, and asked “Lord what is the way of worshipping which destroys all sin and promotes auspiciousness?”

Lord Shiva replied: “O Sage, Do you know who God is?  God is not Vishnu, Brahma or Shiva; he is not the wind nor the sun nor the moon; he not the ascetic nor the king: God is nor I nor you; he is not Lakhsmi nor the mind. God is not found in idol worship.

“Know this, God is without form and undivided. That magnificence which is not made and which has neither beginning nor end is known as God.  God, Devas or Lord Shiva is nothing else but pure consciousness. That alone is fit to be worshipped; and that alone is all.

“If one is unable to worship this pure consciousness form of Shiva, then by all means, let him or her worship a form or an idol. O Sage, idol worship facilitates mental contemplation of God. Sometimes, even wise sages like you worship an idol playfully. Know this O Sage, whoever worships an idol worships a finite form and he will achieve finite results to fulfuill his desires. But the one who worships the infinite consciousness, gets infinite results and achieves the bliss of truth.

So people, depending on their past karma and spiritual evolution can worship the finite form in idols and get their finite desires fulfilled. Or they can worship the infinite form and attain liberation.”

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THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS : Why are we not happy?

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 WHY ARE WE NOT HAPPY?

In the sacred text, Tripura Rahasya, the great Sage Parashurama, after self- introspection, remarks to Guru Dattatryea, “O Guru, Misery is not the absence of happiness, but limited happiness. For as happiness recedes, misery pours.”

Vedanta says that the biggest delusion that affects a man is the placement of happiness in objects. The delight that we get in owning objects is temporary and misplaced, and that is the reason people often complain that they are ‘not happy’ in life or ‘something is missing’ in spite of accumulating ‘stuff’ .The cosmic illusion or Maya smiles at a person who becomes happy with the hoarding of wealth or accumulating objects.

Maya smiles at this person’s happiness because she knows that it is like telling a man or woman who has been bitten by a poisonous cobra minutes ago, to be happy in anticipation of a sumptuous feast in the evening. The feast represents the short lived euphoria that is felt when we own a new object, and the slow acting poison represents the hollowness that will follow the euphoria and leave us dissatisfied and not happy again.

Men and Women in this age of Kali, are deluded and keep on performing actions in an attempt to hoard objects that will give them happiness. They keep on performing the same actions obsessively in their pursuit of happiness which is externalized. While they chase people and objects to be happy, the inexorable noose of death is dancing on their neck the entire time. Maya knows this and hence smiles at that person.

The scriptures claim that Happiness lies only in discernment of the real from the  unreal- Viveka and Vairagya. The gods become gods because they are able to discern the truth and they realize the true nature of their self.

 Based on what a person desires and the deeds performed, he or she will achieve a certain state of life. If someone wishes to pursue happiness while living in ignorance, they will remain in a state of ignorance. If someone wishes to know the real from the unreal, they will achieve the state of discernment.

Most people keep on running after the transient nature of happiness, just like a donkey pursues a she-donkey, even if he is kicked a hundred times in the process.  People confuse the placement of their happiness in the achievment of their transient desires, and keep on running after material pleasures. Maya makes the bond of delusion greater in such people.

The ignorant think that to have a spirit of self-inquiry is misery; the wise know that a spirit of investigation is the first step to enlightenment.

An affluent man is blessed with beautiful houses, a loving family, all material comforts and is yet worried about protecting and increasing his wealth; his happiness is in the surety of preserving and growing his riches.
A beggar without any material possessions, is worried about getting the next meal. His happiness is in the surety of the next meal.

The wise know that it is the nature of creation to sportingly, make the affluent man and the beggar experience each other’s birth in different lifetimes, until one of them gets the spirit of investigation and begins his journey into self-inquiry.

Suggested Reading

What is Karma? The Story of the Bowman

Who am I? Ancient story that explains the truth about creation

Why am I trapped? The story of the 2 birds

What is the self? Ancient story that explains the concept of Atman

The story of the caged elephant: How to break Free

 

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MANTRAPUSHPAM MEANING: Sanskrit & English translation

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Mantrapushpam meaning- Sanskrit Lyrics with English meaning and audio

mantrapushpamThe Mantrapuspham is taken from Taithreeya Aranyakam (1.22) of Yajur Veda. This Vedic hymn called ‘Mantra Pushpam’ is used at the time of offering of the flowers to the deities at the very end of the Pujas.
                 

Mantrapushpam meaning – Sanskrit Lyrics with English translation

यापम पुष्पम वेदा |

पुष्पवान, प्रजावान  पसुवान भवति |
 चंद्रमावा अपाम पुष्पम  |
पुष्पवान, प्रजावान  पसुवान भवति |
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति  |
Yopam puspam veda
Puspavan prajavan pasuvan bhavati
Candramava Apam puspam
Puspavan, Prajavan pasuman bhavati
Ya Evam Veda, Yopa mayatanam Veda,Ayatanam bhavati.
Meaning
He who understands the flowers of water,
He becomes the possessor of flowers, children and cattle.
Moon is the flower of the water,
He who understands this fact,
He becomes the possessor of flowers, children and cattle.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


अग्निर्वा अपामायतनं, आयतनवान  भवति

यो अग्नेरायतनम्  वेदा,  आयतनवान  भवति
अपोवा अग्नेरायतनम् , आयतनवान  भवति
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Agnirva Apamayatanam,Ayatanavan Bhavati
Yo agnerayatanam Veda, Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovagner ayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam Veda,Yopa mayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Meaning
Fire is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of fire,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


वर्युरवा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
योवा  योआयतनम  वेदा,  आयतनवान  भवति
 आपोवई वायोर्यातनम,आयतनवान  भवति
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Vayurva Apamaya tanam, Ayatanavan bhavati.
Yova Yorayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati|
Apovai va yorayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati.
Ya Evam veda,Yopamayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan Bhavati
Meaning
Air is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of air,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,

असोवै तपन अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।

यो मश  शतपता  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
अपोवा  आमश शतपता  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Asowvai tapanna pamayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Yo musya tapata Ayatanan Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Apova Amusyatapata Ayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam Veda,Yopa mayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Meaning
Scorching sun is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of scorching sun,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


चंद्रमावा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
यस चन्द्रमस  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।

आपोवै चन्द्रमस  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Candrama Vama pamayatnam,Ayatanavan bhavati.
Yascandra masa Ayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovai Candra masa Ayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam Veda,Yo pamayatanam veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Meaning
Moon is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of moon,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


नक्षत्रनिवा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।

यो नक्षत्राणां  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
आपोवै नक्षत्राणां  आयतनम आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति  ।
Nakshtrani va Apamayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Yo Nakshtrana mayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovai Nakshtrana mayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ye evam Veda, Yopamaya tanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati .
Meaning
Stars are the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of stars,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


पर्जन्योवा  अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
यः  परजयनस्य  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
आपोवै परजयनस्य  आयतनम आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति  ।

Parjanyova apamayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Yah parjanyasya syayatinam Veda, Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovai parjanya Syayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ye Evam veda, Yopa maya tanam Veda, Ayatanavan bhavati.

Meaning
Clouds are the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of clouds,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


सम्वत्सरोवा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
यः   संवर्त्सरस्य  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
आपोवै संवर्त्सरस्य  आयतनम आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपसुनाम प्रतिष्ठिताम् वेदा  प्रत्येवा  तिष्ठति।

Samvastaro Va Apamayatanam, Ayatavan bhavati
Yassavatsa rasyaya tanam Veda, Ayatavan bhavati.
Apovai samvasara ayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam veda, Yopsu Navam pratistitam veda, Pratyeva tistati.

Meaning
Rainy season is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of rainy season,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows that there is a raft is available,
Becomes established in that raft.


राजाधि राजाया प्रसहया साहिने।

नमो वयम वै  श्रवणाय  कुर्महे।
समेकमन कामा  कमाये  यमशयम
कमेश्वरा  वै  श्रावणो  ददातु
कुबेरायवै श्रावणाया

महा राजाया  नमः

Meaning

Rajadhi rajaya Prasahya Sahine|
Namo Vayam Vai Sravanaya Kurmahe
Samekaman Kama Kamaya mahyam
Kamesvaro Vai Sravano dadatu
Kuberaya Vai Sravanaya
Maha rajaya Namah.
Meaning
King of kings, we praise thee,
Who is the giver of all victories,
Who is the fulfiller of all desires,
Please bless me with wealth,
To fulfill all our desires,
Oh, Kubhera, we praise thee,
Salutations to the king of kings
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Vasuki : Story of Vasuki Snake

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vasuki snake
Lord Shiva with Vasuki Naga coiled around his neck

Vasuki (Vasuki Naga or Vasuki Snake) is a devotee of Lord Shiva and one of the Naga Rajas (King of Snakes). Vasuki is the snake that is usually depicted on Lord Shiva’s neck. Vasuki Naga Raja is worshipped on Nag Panchami in India. Vasuki is mentioned in the Puranas, the Mahabhrat and the Ramayan.

Vasuki Snake in Mythology

Role of Vasuki snake in Samudra Manthan

In the Puranas, Samudra Manthan is the event in which the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) worked together for a millennium to churn the ocean and release Amrita or the nectar of immortal life. Vasuki snake was an important part of the Samudra Mathan  as he was tied around Mount Mandara and used as a churning rope being pulled at one end by the devas and on the other end by the asuras.

Vasuki Naga in Mahabharat

Vasuki Snake and Janmejay

When King Parikshit died due to a snake bite, his son Janmejay, the first King of the Kali Yug era, decided to perform a Yagna to kill all the snakes in the world.

It was then that Vasuki, the King of Snakes, approached his nephew, Aasteek who was son of Vasuki’s sister and Rishi Jaratkaru. According to the prophecy of Lord Brahma, Aasteek would be able to stop this yagna.

Aasteek, was a scholar of Vedas and went to the venue where King Janmejay was holding the yagna. Aasteek sang hymns and impressed everyone present at the Yagna. The people were amazed at this young scholar and permitted him to stay for the Yagna.

It was then that King Janmejaya pleased at young Aasteek’s knowledge, offered him a boon. Aasteek requested King Janmejaya to stop the Yagna. Kind Jankejaya could not go back on this words and stopped the Yagna. Hence the snakes survived in this world.

Vasuki and the snakes then collectively offered a boon to Aasteek who chose three mantras that would protect anyone who chanted them from snake bites.

Suggested Reading: Story of the 5 ants: Why am I born?

 Vasuki snake and Tripurantaka

Lord Shiva is known as Tripurantaka for destroying the three aerial cities (Tripura) belonging to three asura (demons) called Taarakaaksha, Kamalaaksha and Vidyunmaali. These three demons had pleased Lord Brahma and taken a boon from him by which each demon lived in an invincible, aerial, moving city. The three demons used to plan attacks on Devas and disrupt the yagna of sages from these aerial cities. A per Lord Brahma’s boon, these three cities could only be destroyed by an arrow that would merge the three forts into one and set them on fire.

The devas approached Lord Shiva to help them and it was Lord Shiva who appeared as Tripurantara with a bow and arrow. The string of the bow was the king of snakes, Vasuki.

.

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Lord Ganesha Story- Why Ganesha has an elephant head

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Lord Ganesha story and the significance of Ganesha having an elephant head can be understood by referring to two different stories mentioned in the Brahmavaivarata Purana. The first story is about the meeting between Sage Durvasa and Lord Indra. The second story is about the visit of Lord Shani to Kailasa during Lord Ganesha’s birth.

Lord Ganesha Story: Why does Ganesha have an elephant head?

The reason for the joining of the Elephant Trunk

Lord Ganesha story
Why does Lord Ganesha have an elephant head?

Lord Ganesha’s story and the reason for him having an elephant head can be appreciated from two stories in the Brahmavaivarata Purana that explain why Lord Ganesha has an elephant trunk as his head.

Lord Ganesha Story  Part 1: Sage Durvasa and Lord Indra’s meeting

Once Sage Duvasa was travelling from Vaikuntha to Kailasa. He came upon Lord Indra who was spending time with the apsara Rambha. Lord Indra bowed before Sage Durvasa in reverence, and Sage Durvasa getting pleased, handed him a Parijata flower, and spoke the following words:

“O Indra, this is a flower given by the lord which removes all the obstructions and the person whose head it will be placed will be victorious all around. He will be adored by the people first of all and will be the foremost of all gods.Mahalakshmi will not part company from him and follow him like a shadow. He will equate himself with Vishnu in knowledge, lusture, wisdom, prowess. He will be more powerful than all gods and will be valorous like Vishnu.”

Sage Durvasa left after this and Lord Indra, still intoxicated with the presence of Rambha, placed the flower on the head of his elephant. The elephant thus got all the qualities that were ordained by the flower. The elephant then fought and defeated all other elephants and left Lord Indra. Thus destiny resulted in the elephant getting all the advantages associated with the blessings of the Parijata flower.  If Indra had accepted the flower, he would have got all the qualities. But destiny, which is also a play of Vishnu, had other plans and it waited for the birth of Ganesha.

Suggested Reading: Lord Brahma’s instructions to Lord Indra

Lord Ganesha story Part 2:  Lord Shani visits Kailasa on the occasion of  Ganesha’s birth

The second story is the occasion of the birth Lord Ganesha and the conversation between Goddess Parvati and Lord Shani.

On the birth of Lord Ganesha, all the other Gods visited Kailasa to see him and bless him. Shani dev also came to Kailasa and requested Goddess Parvati to let him see Lord Ganesha. She granted him permission and Lord Shani stood there, casting his gaze downwards. He did not look at the child and was satisfied with just standing near Lord Ganesha.

Godess Parvati enquired about the reason why he wasn’t looking at Lord Ganesha and Lord Shani replied the following,

“ O Chaste Lady, all the people have to face the result of their deeds. Whatever good or bad deeds are done, they cannot be washed away even after completion of crores of kalpas. The jiva is born as Brahma, Indra and Surya because of his deeds and he is reborn as an animal because of his deeds.

“One achieves hell because of his deeds and also heaven because of his deeds. He comes a great king because of his own deeds and an ordinary servant because of his own deeds. He is born beautiful because of his own deeds and he he becomes sick the same way. O mother, because of his own deeds he indulges into vices and by his own deeds he becomes detached from the world.

“The people become rich because of their own deeds and it is due to their own deeds that they become pauper. One gets a loving family because of his own deeds and one gets a bad family because of his own deeds. Because of his own deeds one gets the best of spouse and kids, and because of his own deeds he remains unmarried, or a wicked spouse or remains childless.

O beloved of Shiva, I will tell you a secret story. In my childhood, I was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and I was always devoted to him. I always recited his name. My father married me to the daughter of Citraratha but I was always devoted to Tapas. Once when I engrossed in meditation on Lord Krishna, she came to me seeking attention. I was unaware of her presence, being engrossed in meditation, and hence I kept on performing tapas. She became annoyed and pronounced a curse in anger that whatever I cast my glance on would be destroyed. Thereafter after getting out of meditation, I calmed her and she repented.

O mother, because of the curse, I cannot cast my gaze at anything and in order to save creatures from destruction, I always cast my glance downwards.”

On hearing the words of Lord Shani, Goddess Parvati laughed and all the damsels present also laughed.

Goddess Parvati replied, “The entire universe moves according to the wishes of the Lord more than the moves of destiny. You look at me and my child.”

Lord Shani was in a fix whether to look at the son of Parvati or not; he did not want to offend Goddess Parvati and at the same time did not want to cause any unintended harm. Finally so as not to offend Goddess Parvati, he looked only at Lord Ganesha and not the Goddess. His mind was disturbed and his throat, lips and palate were dried up. With the corner of the right eye, he glanced at the child’s face.

At his gaze, the head of the child was cut-off and Lord Shani closed his eyes at once, looking downwards and stood there.

The severed head of the child went to Golaka and entered the body of Lord Krishna. Goddess Parvati started lamenting and fainted. All the Gods and Goddesses panicked at this turn of events. Therefore, Lord Vishnu mounted on Garuda, went on the northern direction and reached the bank of the Puspabhadra river. There he found the elephant of Indra, who was all powerful virtue of the flower given by Sage Durvasa. Lord Vishnu cut off the head of the elephant by using the Sudarsana-chakra.

Lord Vishnu then brought the dead elephant to life  and it was restored  to Lord Indra. Lord Vishnu then lifted the elephant head which had been cut off and had special powers. He came back and joined the trunk of the elephant to the body of Lord Ganesha using his divine knowledge and brought the child back to life.

It is important to know that Lord Ganesha, who is an ansh (manifestation) of Lord Krishna was destined to be the remover of obstacles for men and Gods, and the God of intellect and wisdom. The flower was presented to Indra by Sage Durvasa but not utilized by the King of Gods. The elephant temporarily benefited from the powers of the Parijata flower, but it was Lord Ganesha who was destined to be the foremost among Gods and men and known as the remover of obstacles. Thus destiny worked in a way that the attributes of the flower accumulated by the austerities of Sage Durvasa came to Lord Ganesha and that is the reason he has an elephant head.

Suggested Reading: The Story of Goddess Lakshmi

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I feel Trapped: The 2 birds on the tree of Life

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i feel trapped
Why do we feel trapped?

I FEEL TRAPPED: The story of the 2 birds 

      “I feel trapped” – In this superficial and fast paced life, people place their happiness in material objects, especially during their early phase of life and career. They keep themselves busy in various professional and social distractions; the result of this ‘busyness’ is that they become numb to finding a purpose or meaning in their lives.

It is only when people are middle aged and the passions have ebbed a little, that they feel trapped in a bad job, a tiring relationship or feel intimidated by the monotony of life. It is then that people feel suffocated and remark I feel trapped.

Also Read: The Caged Elephant: What stops YOU from being free? 

Hamsa Gita (also referred to Uddhava Gita) is Lord Krishna’s final discourse to Uddhava before his departure from earth. The entire Hamsa Gita contains delighful statements from Lord Krishna and the full text can be found in the Bhagavata Purana.

In one of the statements in the Hamsa Gita, Lord Krishna mentions the two birds that reside in all of us. These 2 birds reflect the states of freedom and bondage that we get to choose in life.

Lord Krishna tells Uddhava, “O Uddhava, two birds live on a peepul tree. They have built their nests on the tree. One of them has its nest on the topmost branch of the tree and he is happily viewing the sky around him. This bird enjoys the freedom around it, basking in the cool air that blows around and is always joyful.

“The other bird has built its nest much lower down in the tree. This bird hunts for his food all day long and after working all day long, comes back and sits on a branch that is always dark due to the shadow cast by the tree.

“O Uddhava, The two birds have been greatly attached to each other. They have been like twins, each being the alter ego of each other. But the difference between the two has now sprung up because of the involvement of one with its surroundings. The bird at the topmost branch will not come down because it  has experienced the free state. The bird at the bottom branch does not want to leave its branch but feels trapped by its circumstances.

   The Vedantins compare the free bird to the emancipated soul and the other bird, to the man caught in the web of Maya. The bird on the topmost branch does not find any difference between himself and other birds but the other bird considers himself to be unhappy: that he is suffering and that he is different from his one-time friend.

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