Wednesday, July 4, 2018

An ode to Ranganatha:

Srirangam in Southern India, located on an islet formed by the Twin Rivers Cauveri and Kollidam, is the foremost among the 108 Divyadesas. It has an eventful history, both traditional and historical. The beauty of Lord Ranganatha enshrined in this huge temple (156 acres), in his characteristic Yoga Nidra , has captivated all the legendary Saint Poets (Azhwars), leading to many beautiful hymns.
Legend talks about the Lord having informed Brahma of him appearing on his own volition, as an idol. Brahma appointed Surya to do the daily pooja as per agamas. The idol later passed on to the Ishvaku dynasty of Ayodhya. On his triumphant return from Lanka, at the coronation, Ram gave the idol as a gift to Vibhishana. Enroute to Lanka, when Vibhishana halted by the banks of Cauvery for his mid-day prayers, he placed Ranga at a place called Chandrapushkarani; upon return from bath, he performed the Pooja and lo! when he tried to lift the Vimana, it would not move. The Lord appeared before the distraught Vibhishana and consoled him saying that he had already decided to make the place His abode, where he could be worshipped daily. It is said that Vibhishana worships the Lord everyday at midnight.

Power of music and devotion

Reportedly, Saint Thyagaraja, one of the greatest musical composers of devotional hymns, arrived here during a 'Brahmotsava'. Being a stranger to the place, he could not get near the horse-vehicle. But the bearers could not move forward. It was soon known that the divine procession could be continued only after the Saint had his darshan of the Lord. The musical composition “O Ranga Sayee” was dedicated by the saint to the Lord, after this exhilarating experience.

Sri Sri Publications Album ‘Celestial Nectar’ Vol 3 contains the author's  Ode to Ranga; Here's a youtube link.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"Gurudev-On the Plateau of the Peak"

The life of Gurudev has been one of simplicity and visionary intent. His biography "Gurudev-On the Plateau of the Peak" has been written by the author who has been the closest witness to Sri Sri’s extraordinary life. It offers insights into relatively unknown years of his life with captivating stories laced with humour. The author has been able to write the story in a way that attracts and keeps the reader’s attention.

It is said that a good book is more than just a well-written story; no matter how often you open a page and start reading, there is still something new to be discovered and the offering falls into this genre.

(With the author Smt.Bhanumathi Narasimhan. She leads the women welfare and child care initiatives at AOL)

Monday, April 23, 2018

An enchanting evening of Gaan and Dhyan at OK Mandapam

21st April 2018

The day marked events across the Nation to celebrate the avatara jayanthi of two spiritual titans Adi Shankaracharya (1230th Birth Anniversary) and Ramanujacharya (1001 birth anniversary) and our own Master (his star birthday)

It was fulfilling to see the large turnout from all age groups and sections of community from several Districts. They braved the scorching summer to reach the venue and were treated to the cool and gentle evening breeze.

It is said that when many meditate, energy multiplies exponentially. They could experience this phenomenon in full measure.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Guru, Super (Snow) Man

Weggis was the location chosen for the first overseas Advanced Meditation retreat in mid-nineties. When Gurudev told us about it, I was thrilled to my bones. It was the thick of winter too.
Swiss, the country with its numerous lakes, villages and the glorious Alpine peaks, not forgetting their cheese, chocolates, clocks, and snow everywhere flashed all over my eyes! 

The pride of Weggis namely Lake Lucerne and our venue was in proximity. The tranquillity of the beautiful lake and mountain panorama took my breath away. Mark Twain rightly named it the “loveliest place” he had ever visited. 

However “where is the snow” I asked myself. I thought the minute I landed in Switzerland, I would be immersed in soft white snow. Two days passed without a speck of snow! The climate was extremely mild and we only felt the presence of a warm down wind, providing clear views across Lake Lucerne. Every morning I would get up and rush to the window to see if I could catch a glimpse of the white fluffy snowfall. But it kept eluding. I was very disappointed and during the evening boat trip over the Lake, when the Master asked if I was enjoying myself, I said with my head down, “ Yes and No; I have not been able to see any snow at all!” With a twinkle in his eyes, he reacted with his usual Hmmmmm!

The next morning when I rushed to the window sceptically,was amazed to see before me a marvellous carpet of snow and snowflakes falling. I ran out of the room and woke up my friends shouting “It’s snowing, it’s snowing”. 

Hours later, the Master took all of us out. My joy knew no bounds when he showed us how to carve an angel in the snow. All day we spent outdoors, making snow man, snow balls and throwing snow over one another spurred by him. Those magical moments remain etched in my memory.

Courtesy - the travel diary of Chitra Madhavan:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In memory of Acharya Srimushnam Srimadh Andavan:

In memory of Acharya Srimushnam Srimadh Andavan:

He has left in the path of light to serve the divine couple in the abode of Vaikunta  forever. Salutations to his lotus-like holy feet.

Devotees  will fondly cherish his benevolence and soulful singing, impeccable medicinal knowledge and an unsurpassed authority on scriptures. 

We carry fond memories of Gurudev’s interaction with him at Kumbakonam amidst our Southern tour two decades back along with all our devotees. During his tenure, for nearly three decades, as the Pontiff of this great heritage institution, he took many new initiatives of social relevance.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Tiruppur - Swami Vivekananda Birthday celebrations

12th January 2018

“ Uttishthata Jagrata Prapya Varan Nibodhata -Arise, Awake and Stop not till the Goal is Reached.” 

This deeply stirring sloka from Katha Upanishad was popularized by Swami Vivekananda.Celebrations are held today nationwide every year to commemorate the birthday of the spiritual giant who personified the eternal energy of the youth and their restless quest for truth.
Vivekananda reminded us that all knowledge is in the human mind, yet covered, not discovered. When the covering is slowly taken off, the learning begins. The man, from whom the cover has entirely gone, is all knowing.

Youth in very large numbers were present. Theme: Values Education

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Celebrating with a difference!

As the New Year dawned, people across different cities of the world took to streets to welcome the New Year with booming pyrotechnics, party-goers singing and dancing. The participants at the Silence retreat in Kanyakumari, amidst profound setting of the five elements, welcomed the dawn of 2018 differently - in Sunrise meditation, sacred chants and prayers for the universal well being.

An inspiring feedback from Sivakumarji,one of the sadhaks is reproduced below:

“I was one among participants at the AMP from 29th Dec 3017 to 01st Jan 2018 at  Kanyakumari, the holy tip of Indian sub-continent where Devi Bhagavathi is abode blessing the devotees in the confluence of Bay Of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.  Before embarking on his tour for the  famous Chicago address, Swami Vivekananda went into meditation on the rock few hundred metres inside the sea. 

 The serene natural setting of  the  Kendra facing the sea and  Rock Memorial in immediate vicinity provided the right setting for participants from all age groups. They were fortunate enough to receive guided  meditation on all the four days.  Arunji explained divinity of the place - coastal belt, where Lord Rama went into meditation towards Sun God for victory in war with Ravana, chanting Aditya Hrudayam gifted to him by Sage Agasthya. What a privileged souls we are to receive the New Year Sun with Sun Rise Meditation.As vehicles are not allowed beyond a point, we enjoyed the pre dawn walk  with natural sea breeze at the confluence of all three seas with a  bonus of  tens of Peacocks flocking around in midst of a semi forest. Our lungs filled with natural and pure oxygen!

Post Sun Rise Meditation, the course was followed by Sadhanas, Meditations, fun filled activities .Evenings filled with nature walk at the venue including Ramayana pictorial depictions, Gurudev’s knowledge videos. Arunji presented distilled essence of Yoga Vashista knowledge.  His simple explanation of Self effort, Karma and freewill reached all the participants.”

The holy retreat ended on New Year Day with well attended Divine Satsang by Arunji at nearby Thanumalaya  Temple at Suchindram, Thanks to AOL Nagercoil team for all the arrangements.

Pranams to Arunji and Gurudev!🙏

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"Vishamakkara Kannan"

Krishna's childhood revisited by Arunji in this delightful rendition of "Vishamakkara Kannan" - 

Krishna  bringing cheer all around with all his innocence, establishing righteousness with his naughty disposition, making him the fondest of  devotees.
Krishnam vande jagatgurum.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Conference on Parapsychology

24 Nov 2017

Was invited to address the event at the Jain University. For long, the scientific community in the West has not been open-minded, rather sceptical, towards Para normal, on grounds that it lacked scientific credentials. However emergence of quantum physics, contemporary findings of physicists, testimonies of neurosurgeons like Dr. Eben Alexander (Proof of Heaven) have to a great extent lifted such reservations.

This field, however, has a niche in the Indian context thanks to the time honoured dictum ‘Vismaya yoga bhumika’ that one must be astonished in order to get into yoga!. In simple terms, when we feel the 'wow' in astonishment, we stay connected with the spirit that we are! The guided meditation that followed was enjoyed by those present.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Erode Satsang

22 November 2017

Visited Erode after a hiatus to lead a satsang in an artistic setting as seen in the backdrop! The city, once a quiet agri-textile hub and the largest source of turmeric, has today emerged a major producer of hand-loom and knitwear. 

Was curious to learn how it came to be called Erode. Here are two versions!  In the first version, the name is traced to ‘Iru- Odai ‘meaning two streams. The second version to the phrase "Eera Odu" meaning wet skull. Perhaps in reference to the popular legend revolving around Daksha, his daughter Dakshayini and her consort Shiva. When on one occasion, she saw her husband being belittled by her own father, she went into a deep state of trance and self immolated. When Shiva came to know about her end, he went into a rage. In the apocalypse that followed, the skulls were strewn over river Cauvery, one of the four rivers flowing in the area; the others being Amravati, Noyyal and Bhavani.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Addressing wellness aficionados :

18 November 2017

An engrossed audience received  the presentation well. The core message was that wellness matters as everything we do and every emotion we feel, relates to our well-being. Crucial and pragmatic therefore for everyone to achieve optimal wellness to help subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and facilitate healthy social interactions