Category Archives: Devotional Literature

A Verse from Dhammapada

Namaste.

I have started reading Dhammapada in the later part of this year, when I borrowed the book from Madison Library. The treatise Dhammapada is a compilation of Buddha’s teachings during his life time giving instructions to his disciples, advice on meditation, guidelines for moral conduct for monks and householders, cautions and guards against pitfalls in Sadhana, and many other topics on spiritual path and dhar(m)a for a seeker after truth.

Buddha is an embodiment of renunciation and compassion and he pointed out the Path of Morality (Sila), Concentration or Meditation (Samadhi) and true wisdom or Insight (Panna) for attaining freedom from Samsara. The Dhammapada encapsulates all these three topics in-depth and provides a guiding light for an aspirant.

In the introduction to Dhammapada by Ven K. Sri Dhammananda, I found the following lines:

“The BhagavadGita and Thirukural are Hindu works in Sanskrit and Tamil languages of great antiquity. The former is an ancient work of literature and the latter was composed just before the christian era. Both these works contain many truths which are expressed in Dhammapada.”

Continue reading A Verse from Dhammapada

Likhita Japa (Writing the Divine Name)

Dear Friends,

Hari Om.

Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj had emphasized a lot on engaging oneself in chanting and writing the Divine Names. I derive great inspiration from him.
Around five years back, I acame across a nice booklet consisting of articles signifying writing Rama Mantra by an Organization called SHRI DADU LEELA ” RAMA NAMA PARIKRAMA” SHODH SANSTHAN,. This booklet also carries personal experiences and spiritual sadhana of devotees and practitioners who set aside a time every day and wrote the Rama Nama.
This organization encourages people to take up a committment of completing a given number of Rama Nama matra writing and sending it to them for storing it in the temple.

Please click the below image to download the booklet.

You can download the Rama Koti book prepared by Saranaagathi Team by clicking below image. Print on a printer which has both-side printing. Once you get all printed, just fold the bunch in half. Your booklet is ready !

Yours,
In Service of the Lord,
Aparna Hari

Sri Rama Navami Navaratri Special – Part 1

Dear All.

Hari Om ! Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama !

The Navaratri for Sri Rama Navami has begun on the first day of Chaitra – on Ugaadi day. During this special time, we want to provide for our Telugu readers two valuable E-Books which we found on archive.org and which are a treasure !

Sri Rama Manatranushthanam

by Sri Rama Saran

(Purvashram name is Sri Kundurti Venkata Narasayya)

Click to download:
This book was published by Rama Nama Kshetram, Guntur in 1958. At that time, the price of this book is: Rs:2.80. Can you imagine buying a diamond for Rs 2.00 ? Well, here you go ! I found this E-book three years back and recently when I went to India, I asked my father to get this book and many other books penned down by Sri Rama Saran for me from Rama Nama Kshetram. Rama Mantra Anushthanam book is an elaborate treasure trove of wisdom about Rama Tattwa. It also details about the methods of Purascarana and Anushthana for purification of mind and for cultivating devotion for the Divine Supreme. I find this book to be extremely valuable for spiritual seekers.

Sri Rama Navaratri Utsava Kalpah

by Sri Ramaka Rama Sarma

Click to download:

This book was published in 1993 and this is actually in Sanskrit but in Telugu script. It is not difficult Sanskrit at all. This book covers the 9-day worship of Lord Rama during Navaratri and Mantra Japa of Lord Rama’s Divine Name. It contains a detailed schedule of Parayana, Stotras for each day in this 9-day worship along with celebration procedures of Sri Rama’s Birth, Sri Rama’s wedding, Sri Rama’s crowning etc. It contains wonderful and powerful Stotras like Sri Rama Hrudayam.

I think these two books will be of great significance and help for spiritual seekers in their Sadhana.

We will post Special Part 2 tomorrow.

Yours,
In Service of the Lord,
Aparna Hari.

Today is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Jayanthi !

Hari Om !

Today is Full Moon Day (Pournami) and also happens to be the Jayanthi (birth anniversary) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, one of the greatest saints of Bhakti path born in Bengal who has spread the Nama Sankirtan or devotional chanting of Lord’s glories and Divine Names. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has revived the fervor for chanting the Mahamantra:

“Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”

Sri Chaitnya is considered to be the incarnation of Radha-Krishna according to many. He has made freely available the path of Nama Chanting and Devotion to Divine form as the way to Supreme Peace. An account of his life and his Leelas is compiled in the volume “Sri Chaitanya Charitamritam” which is recommended for spiritual seekers on the path of devotion. Sri Chaitanya is the ideal for the seekers to cultivate and pursue the path of Devotion.

Hari and I have watched a very inspiring Black & White movie on the life of Sri Chaitnya Mahaprabhu in Bengali at Ramakrishna Mission’s Ganges Monastery in Michigan. We both really liked it and felt it to be very elevating. Since then, we have been very fond of the line “Jagannatha Swami.. Nayana Patha Gaami.. Nayana Patha Gaami Bhavatu Me..” and sing it often.

Fortunately, I found the movie in Youtube !! Below is the link for the youtube movie. I am sure you will like it and enjoy it immensely. (If you cannot find play button on this video in your email, please go to original post on saranaagathi blog to click it).

“Shishtashtak” by Sri Chaitanya is 6 verses of instructions and it became very famous. One of the verses, which Swami Chidananda ji often recites in his talks is the following:

तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरपि सहिष्णुना ।

अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः ।।


Oh, my mind,
Be humbler than a blade of grass,
Be patient and forbearing like a tree,
Take no honor to thyself,
Give honor to all,
Chant unceasingly the name of the Lord.

Click on the image below to download the Shishtashtakam:

Best wishes to all of you on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Jayanthi.

Yours,
In Service of the Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari.

28-Day Meditation Challenge !!

Dear All,

Hari Om.

On 30th Jan, I received a newsletter in my Google Inbox. I subscribed two years back to Sharon Salzberg website. Sharon is founder of Insight Meditation Society in Masaachusetts and conducts workshops & retreats all over North America, focusing on developing “Loving Kindness” or “Metta”. The Loving Kindness meditation is something I have been thinking of taking up myself too.

So, when I opened the newsletter, it read “28 day Meditation Challenge”. I felt intrigued and read the post. It is an invite for all interested seekers to take up 28-day meditation challenge. Actually Sharon Salzberg has written a book called “Real Happiness – The Power of Meditation. A 28 Day Program.” The 28 day meditation challenge is actually derived from the week-by-week meditation practice outlined by Sharon in her book.

I went through the First Chapter which was available for Download on their website. Since Sharon Salzberg’s background is Vipassana meditation and the Metta or Loving kindness that is derived from it, this book also follows Vipassana in essence. For those of you who have taken Vipassana meditation course before or who have been doing meditation regularly, this 28-day meditation should be smooth.

For others who do meditation regularly, you may feel that taking this practice up is not necessary; but nonetheless, it gives an opportunity to get insight into Vipassana and Metta meditation if you want to explore. For others who are new to meditation or for those who want to meditate, I think this is a good opportunity to start the practice and set aside sometime daily for this practice.

Please click on the below link for the Sample first chapter in the “Real Happiness” book.

You can find more information on the 28-day Meditation Challenge here:

Almost 3-4 years back, I came across a nice website called BuddhaNet which is a resource of good materials related to Buddhism and downloaded a very useful book on Metta Meditation. I read and re-read it at that time and liked it immensely and was all set to practice. But ufortunately I did not sincerely practice.

You can download it by clicking the image below:

I have signed up for this challenge. My objective was not to get too fussy with the details of meditation technique, but I want to use this opportunity to sit, observe and improve my awareness. I missed my meditation today 😦 but I hope to continue till end of this month.

If you take up this challenge, Good Luck !

Yours,
In Service of The Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

Insights and Inspiration by Swami Venkatesananda

Dear All,

Hari Om.

I came across a Daily reading from the works of Swami Venkatesananda and liked it. I thought I will share that article with all of you:


“Any motivation in the practice of yoga becomes almost immediately counter-productive. Indeed, it is obvious that it is some sort of a motivation that brings the student to yoga in the first place. But a wise teacher would do well to point out immediately that yoga is the antidote to the ills caused by motivation and a goal-oriented life, and therefore seeking a goal for the practice of yoga defeats its
purpose.

People are ill, physically and mentally, because instead of living they are constantly struggling for something. Living does not involve struggle, contrary to popular misconception. The simplest form of living is joyous and blissful, and life is intelligent, wise and alert enough to avoid pain and unhappiness instantly. It is some sort of twisted motivation that causes pain and suffering, and then rationalises such pain and suffering even to the point of exalting them.

Right from the very beginning of the practice of yoga the student discovers that the intelligence in the body is capable of meeting every situation that arises in life from moment to moment. This is the purpose of the yoga asanas (postures). During pranayama the yogi again discovers the great power and vigilance of the life-force which is beyond the ego-sense and which alone enables us to live. In meditation the yogi discovers (uncovers) self-ignorance. Then, self-knowledge (knowledge as the self or self as pure knowing) alone is. This is kaivalya, freedom, liberation – which ever is and should, therefore, be treated neither as the goal nor as an idea.

There is not even a rejection of pain, but the realisation that such rejection makes pain painful! It is not pursuit of pleasure, but the realisation that it is the pursuit that makes pleasure pleasurable (and as its inevitable reaction, painful). When there is neither rejection nor pursuit, life is liberated from the haunting shadows of ignorant notions. There is enlightenment. All life becomes divine life.”

Yours,
In Service of Lord & Gurudev,
Aparna & Hari

Sandhya Vandanam in Daily worship

Dear All,

Hari Om.

In our tradition, there is a ritual of “Upanayanam” or thread ceremony when a boy is initiated into Gayatri Mantra and is taught the process of Sandhya Vandanam – invoking the Divine and peforming oblations at dawn, mid-noon and dusk. I think most of the men in Indian Hindu families perform this, though now-a-days the situation might be different. Sandhya Vandanam, if sincerely performed, is an integral part of Sadhana and reconnects one with the Divine. We need to understand the essence of any ritual which we perform, otherwise it becomes monotonous and routine and limits the benefits we may reap out of it.

I was reading a book last year called “Brahmanubhuti”. It is originally in Hindi written by Puja Sri Swami Akhandananda ji Maharaj – a great renowned sage and contemporary of Swami Sivananda ji Maharaj. It is a collection of articles focusing on Vedanta, Sadhana, Spirituality, Brahman etc. This book has been translated into Telugu by Sri Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati ji.

I don’t know where the Telugu or original Hindi book are available. You may need to contact the Swami Akhandananda Maharaj ashrama in Vrindavan for Hindi copies, or contact the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam if they have copies of the telugu books.

When I last met Swamiji, he blessed me with that book. I really liked it.


In this book, there is a chapter dedicated to “Sandhya Vandanam”. It is a very valuable chapter which in detail covers the process of Sandhya Vandanam, its purpose and necessity and also inclused some techniques and secrets that Pujya Swamiji himself has learnt from elderly saints etc. If you want to learn the intent of the ritual or expand on your knowledge of Sandhya Vandanam, it is very beneficial to read this chapter.

Part of SandhyaVandanam is the prayer called “Aghamarshana Suktam” which literally means prayer to destroy impure and sinful tendencies, mistakes etc. It is a very powerful Suktam which invokes Divine blessings and which when recited daily removes impurities from one’s mind and makes it pure. This prayer is an important part of Sandhya Vandanam.

I was inspired after reading the book to learn the Aghamarshana Suktam and recite it daily. Though as a woman I don’t have the Sandhya Vandanam ritual, I can still chant it.

I am still learning the Suktam and I hope in this year, this Suktam will form an integral part of my daily prayers.

You can download the Text (PDF) by clicking below and also listen to the rendition of this Suktam:

Yours,
In Service of the Lord and Gurudev,
Aparna Hari