Category Archives: Saranaagathi

Two Fish & their Surrender

I wrote this poem sometime back, when I was inspired by some lectures I attended and some literature I read. As Didiji says, God is the inspirer and we are the inspired. There are some notes towards the end of this poem revealing some finer aspects. I hope you enjoy this poem. If you want to read the other poems that I occasionally write, please visit my page: http://lekhan.wordpress.com

TWO FISH AND THE WATER-BEARER

Aparna Nittala

Once upon a time, in the distant land of many a aeon,
Filled with golden walls and floors, was a rich pavilion;
A beautiful garden as vast as the sky’s canopy,
In it’s middle, a small pond with a red water lily.

In the waters of the pond, were two little fish,
Swimming in opposite directions, full of bliss;
Rejoicing on a transcendental plane of the dream state,
Of earthly hurries and worries, no notice they take.

One is peaceful, like water, sparkling blue,
The other vibrant, like sun, with a brilliant hue;
Calmly active and actively calm,
In joy they coexist, to each other causing no harm

Now, now, you may think all is well with story,
With the two little fish happy, dreamy, full of glory;
But, the story starts with their sole dream,
Dreaming of which, they have a joyous beam.

In their tiny minds and hearts, very deep within,
Lay a bundle of memories, which no eye can see;
Full of beauty of ‘That’, narrated by their kith and kin,
That filled them with longing, like for a flower, of a bee.

It’s the vast womb of beauty and variety, the ocean,
Bearing in herself, the resplendence of its creation;
Of octopus, tortoise, pearls and mermaids,
Gleaming with numerous tides on all its sides.

With this ocean, the two little ones long to unite,
The only thought for them, day and night;
But who can understand the language of their mind,
Except for the fairies who, on the stars, abide;

And as a boon, they sent a water-bearer,
Lotus-eyed, charmingly blue-colored, like ocean and sky;
An earthern pot in hand, with fresh, pure water,
Wise and energetic, came from the heavens high;

At the pond, kneeling down before the little ones,
“O my sweet darlings!” He uttered in soft tones;
“What is that you dream of, share it with me,
For I, with all my soul, promise to help thee”.

“O pot-man, we surmise you are not from this land,
Surely, a gift sent from the heavens so grand;
Thou a savior to us, with your heart-felt promise,
Please take us to the ocean, which we so miss.

The water-bearer closed his eyes lost in thought,
“How to give the little ones, a fresh new start?”
The third eye of wisdom poured-forth action,
Firm, he became in fulfilling their passion.

Folded he, his palms, like the leaf of a lotus plant,
And dipped them in the waters of the pond;
Came the two into his handful with some sand,
He put them safely in the waters of his pot.

The water-bearer and the two little fish,
Started out their journey, that is not easy to finish;
Traveled over high mountains, villages and forests,
The fish safe in the waters, the feet of bearer full of blisters

Thus, the water-bearer walked for ninety days and nights,
Pain has inflicted his body, his vigor is doubled though;
Withstanding the night’s severe cold bites,
Together, they reached the ocean’s trough.

“My little ones!” He said to the sleeping fish,
“Wake up and behold! Your dream has come true”;
The two fish opened their eyes in the night, so bluish,
Rejoicing in the wonder-filled ocean’s hue.

The water-bearer knelt down near the waters,
And poured the water from his pot into the waves;
‘That’ water, which wipes away all the pasts,
And gave the two little fish, new lives.

“O water-bearer! How can we thank thee?
For your compassion and kindness to us;
You shall always remain a dear friend of the sea
For all the generations to come”.

“You shall rule the hearts of those,
Who value equality and freedom;
This is the only boon we can bestow,
For you, who are a symbol of wisdom.”

Saying thus, the little fish, dived into their mother’s womb,
To explore the beauty of the vast expanse;
This tale remains in the hearts, for the days to come,
Of the friendship between fish and water-bearer, in abundance;

Notes:

I told Hari sometime back that I would write a poem for him and dedicate it to him. Thus, the writing of this poem started. Of course my intention was to write a good poem, but it was very difficult to get an idea. And suddenly I got some impetus and inspiration to jot down few lines. And then when the writing has progressed, I had added many different perspectives to it. I am not sure if these are clearly put in words. So I will try to explain.

Hari’s moonsign is Aquarius – The Water- Bearer. This sign is represented by a man with a pot in his hand. Aquarius is symbolic of wisdom, freedom and humanity. My moonsign is Pisces – represented by two fish swimming in opposite directions. Generally these two fish symbolize two different sets of features complementing and supplementing each other. This can be observed from the expression, “One is peaceful like water, sparkling blue; The other vibrant, like sun, with a brilliant hue.” Though I started with a personal view, I did not make anything personal in this poem. This poem is completely impersonal. Hence, I do not represent the two fish and Hari does not represent the pot-bearer.

Now, coming to the meaning, this is a simple story of two fish longing to unite with the Ocean, and which are aided by the Pot-bearer. Ocean – with all its beauty – is that indescribable God, with which all of us want to unite, deep within our hearts. It is an established fact of the Bhakti philosophy, that if the devotee thinks about God, day and night, and advances one step towards God, then God advances towards him with ten steps. When we have sincere longing to unite with God, then we are provided with the means to achieve that. The two fish had this constant desire of uniting with the Ocean, day and night. This can be understood from, “With this ocean, the two little ones long to unite, The only thought for them, day and night;” The advance of God is represented through the boon of the water-bearer, the satsang according to our scriptures.

I specified that the water-bearer is “lotus-eyed” and “charmingly blue-colored”. As you know, all of our scriptures describe Rama and Krishna as the lotus-eyed and blue-colored personifications. Hence I described this pot-bearer also having the same features. Now, the fish did not/could not do anything to unite with the ocean, except remembering it day and night with a pure and strong longing to unite with it. It is the pot-bearer who underwent the difficulties. “The fish safe in the waters, the feet of bearer full of blisters.” Similarly, when a person turns Godward, everything is taken care of. This can be understood from the lives of many saints, in which God has taken form and removed the troubles of his devotees – Bhakta Prahlad, Meera Bai, Narsinh Mehta, etc. The waters of the pot-bearer are symbolic of the knowledge and wisdom which separated the fish from the stagnant waters of pond built in earthly and extravagant richness, which we can call as the material world in our lives. “Filled with golden walls and floors, was a rich pavilion; A beautiful garden as vast as the sky’s canopy.” It is only through the wisdom and knowledge imparted by God, that anyone can experience him. This wisdom is represented as the waters which the pot-bearer carried in his pot. “‘That water, which wipes away all the pasts”. The task of taking the fish from this material world to a bigger, beautiful world is accomplished by the water-bearer.

Well, I hope you enjoy it and if you think that this is a very abstract meaning, well, even then, I hope you will enjoy the story as is.

Thank you,
Aparna.

Design and Construction In Progress

We want to thank the many visitors to the site (We are happy that the hits have increased in significant number over the last week). As many of you might have observed, this site is still in the construction phase. We are slowly filling in the information. Our aim, to reach which, we will put all our best efforts, is to make your browsing experience on this site a valuable and exciting experience. We do not want to be limited by language or region. We have already made a list of some of the devotional texts that we will be placing here. Typing them in the INDIC fonts is taking a bit of time. While Hari is assiting me with writing the content for the Saints Pages and also typing in the english meanings for the texts that we want to place, I am busy with writing the Indic Scripts and making a list of the valuable devotional literature and the way of acquiring them, if we don’t have them. As you might have already observed, the pages for Sant Tulsidas, Bammera Potana and Swami Sivananda are complete. Hari is working on the other pages, but he is pressed for time currently. Also, please note that, we are trying to put many devotional texts online under the page “Online Devotional Works” to the left under the “PAGES” section. Presently, we are working on Tulsidas Sundarakanda, along with the english meanings, and we completed 24 “Chaupais” of them. Our near goals are “ Govinda Damodara Stotram” by Bilvamangala Thakur or LeelaSuka, “Gajendra Moksham” by Bammera Potana (with its english meanings if possible), “Gayatri Ramayanam”, “Narayaniyam”, “Saranaagathi Gadyam”, “Bheemeswara Satakam”, by my great-grandfather, “Alvandar Stotram”, “Tiruppavai”, “Sankshipta Ramayanam” and much more. We are slowly working towards it, although I should confess that my current laptop is giving me lot of problems, which I plan to replace with a new one. Also, we plan to add more pages devoted to Saints, as there are many saints who have appeared for our benefit.

Regarding the music upload, we think we need to be more cautious so as not to violate the copyrights. We have many tracks and CDs, casettes, full of devotional audio, but we want to make sure that there are no copyrights violated if we plan to upload them. In this context, we are planning to contact Ramakrishna Mission authorities for their kind permission to upload one or two bhajans of Swami DivyaVratananda, whose voice is full of devotion and who has sung some of the sweetest devotional bhajans I have ever heard. Please watch out for that section also. All the Online Devotional Works will also be converted into PDFs for user download. And if users want a prticular text to be written in INDIC (even if it is Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam or any Indian Language), please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than glad to get this work done, as we feel that typing a devotional text will reinforce our devotion to Lord, through the beauty of devotional literature.

Regarding the music upload, we think we need to be more cautious so as not to violate the copyrights. We have many tracks and CDs, casettes, full of devotional audio, but we want to make sure that there are no copyrights violated if we plan to upload them. In this context, we are planning to contact Ramakrishna Mission authorities for their kind permission to upload one or two bhajans of Swami DivyaVratananda, whose voice is full of devotion and who has sung some of the sweetest devotional bhajans I have ever heard. Please watch out for that section also. All the Online Devotional Works will also be converted into PDFs for user download. And if users want a prticular text to be written in INDIC (even if it is Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam or any Indian Language), please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than glad to get this work done, as we feel that typing a devotional text will reinforce our devotion to Lord, through the beauty of devotional literature.

Thank you very much for taking your time to read this.

Jai Ram jiki.

The Billion-Dollar Temple

After our visit to Baha’i temple, our next stop was Swami Narayan Temple (BAPS). We came to know, (through Kurup uncle), that they have constructed a multi mi(bi)llion – dollar temple for Swami Narayan – Swami Narayan Sampraday of Gujarat. Kurup uncle and we thought we would go together to this temple. But we included it on our tour anyway.

We had earlier visited another Swami Narayan temple in Medinah, Illinois (where our favorite Hari OM Mandir is located). The statues were very beautiful in that temple and it was very quiet and peaceful. That itself, we thought, is very rich, with its beautiful wooden carvings and the scultptings. And when they said another Swami Narayan temple has come up (and that too close to the old one), we wondered why another one is being constructed. I did not have any idea, then, of how rich our immigrant Indians are.

We were awe-struck at the grandeur of the new temple – italian marble, rosewood carvings, briliant chandliers, marbeled pillars with intricate sculpted designs and so on. It was very calm, serene and beautiful and many people visited that temple as a tourist attraction. There was a pond in the front and a well maintained garden with paved ways. The security also was tight there. By the time we went, it was evening and they had just closed the altar doors to be re-opened for evening’s prayer in a half an hour time. So, we took a stroll around the temple and in the garden and took some wonerful photos. I was walking around the temple and was so reminded of our BITS Saraswati temple in Pilani. I love that temple. No sooner was I about to touch the outside of the temple, trying to show something to Hari than a security personnel came running speaking loudly, “Madam, you cannot walk there.” I was a bit confused as I did not understand from far what he was trying to say, but when I made out my mistake, I simply stepped aside and went to another part of the garden.

Continue reading The Billion-Dollar Temple

My Strangest Dream

Well, I had this dream yesterday while I dozed off reading Harry Potter book. As many of us do, I like JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, but they are turning out to be more grim with each passing year. I was reading the sixth one, which I do not like much for its plot, and dreamt about this subject while my husband Hari dreamt about SPRs (System Problem Reports) which he was seriously working on in the XLS sheets that night. I was also present in my dream and Voldemort was on a kiling spree, terrorizing that town and killing everyone who were against him. I was very afraid and was fleeing from him when I saw two saffron-robed saints walking along. They were very calm, peaceful and radiant. I went to them for protection and they heard about these kilings. While we were walking, Voldemort did cross the path but he was so horror-stricken at the sight of these saints that he could not dare to look towards them. He was covering his face with a garb and turning around from their sight.

Throughout our walking, the saints kept looking at him and were silently doing Nama-Japa, recitation of the name of Rama, and were very calm. When we came to a halt, then Voldemort raised his wand towards some people near us, and immediately the saints also had their wands out (Hari laughed loudly at this point – Saints and Wands ??), and with the silent uttering of the name of Rama, they directed that towards Voldemort, which produced brilliant, bllinding, radiant, white light – like some millions of suns were ablaze !! Voldemort fell down unable to face this intensity, and from out of the light, a train came which has maimed Voldemort by mutilating his hands, so he could no longer yield any evil on anyone.

Then, one of the saints turned towards me and said, “That is the power of Lord’s name. Nothing can stand infront of it. Don’t stop Nama Japa.” I was so influenced with these words, that I remember myself pronouncing “Rama Rama” in sleep. I then asked the saints (in my dream), as to why they did not kill Voldemort as he was murdering everyone. They said that they do not use the power that God has blessed them with to kill anyone. I was so impressed. And then, next I remembered, was clutching Hari tightly so I do not get any more dreams as I had to get up and go to office next day. Well, this ended my strange dream, but I felt very happy in the morning, because of the spiritual message it has carried to me. I had stopped doing Japa sometime back and it was time to remind me 🙂

Our Trip to Baha’i Temple of Worship

Hari had visited the Lotus Temple of Bahai’ faith in Delhi, India, many years ago; but I did not get a chance (though I stayed near Delhi for a near 5 year period !) Suddenly one fine Sunday (Labor Day weekend), we were sitting at home and Hari was in a mood for traveling. When he said we would go to Chicago, I was not particularly excited as we go to Chicago very frequently and I had seen Chicago many times. Sears Tower does not attract me any more. I have seen almost all temples there (atleast I thought). But when he made a detailed plan including Swami Narayan Temple (BAPS), which is the richest temple in USA and Baha’i temple, my interest was aroused as I have never before gotten into touch with Swami Narayan Sampraday of Gujarat and also the Baha’i Faith. I know that the Lotus temple existed in India, but I was unaware of what Baha’i meant and its significance. We undertook a kind of pilgrimage to these temples and other before-visited temples on the Labor Day weekend.

Before starting, we looked through the websites of Baha’I and Swami Narayan temples so we don’t miss the timings. Baha’i is open all through the day for worship, where as Swami Narayan temple had some pre-set timings for darshan, puja and arati. You cannot imagine how happy, overjoyed I felt when the Bahai’ web site opened with a Tyagaraja’s classical kirtana, a tribute to Lord Rama –

jagadaananda kaarakaa, jaya jaanaki prananayakaa…

(O Abode of Bliss, O Beloved of Janaki ..)

Continue reading Our Trip to Baha’i Temple of Worship

Sundarakanda of Sri MS Rama Rao

OM!

As some of you know, Sri MS Rama Rao has written Sundarakanda of Valmiki Ramayana in Telugu and has sung it with utmost devotion. I have an immense respect for Sri MS Rama Rao as he is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and Hanuman. I have, by HIS grace, by-hearted the Sundarakanda and have written it down in telugu so anyone could learn it. I made a PDF file and placed it in the “DOWNLOADS” section. Also the two parts of telugu Sundarakanda are uploaded in the “DOWNLOADS” category in .mp3 format.

I have searched for more information on Sri MS Rama Rao on the internet. He is also from Rajuhmundry (which gives me an occasion to rejoice!). I hope I get a chance to meet any of his descendents, who are very blessed. I will try to find more information on this divine personality and post it on this site.

Note:

The Lyrics of Sundarakanda and Hanuman Chalisa are no longer available for Download. Please contact MS Rama Rao Memorial trust for the same.

-Jai Ram ji ki.

Om Tat Sat!

Qualities of a Vaishnava – The Devotee of Lord

OM!

First, let us try to understand what the word “Vishnu” means. Knowing the meaning helps us understand its universal oneness irrespective of the differences in religion, race, belief, and cultures. “Vishnu” is not a monopoly of Hinduism, though it is mostly used in Hindu religion.

“Vishnu” is a sanskrit word, written as विष्णु. The root is “vis” meaning “to pervade” and the suffix “nu” together results in the meaning – “The All-Pervading One “or “The Omnipresent”. Can the All-Pervading God be limited to one body, one race, one religion and one belief ? That shows our limitedness of knowledge, but God cannot be limited. God is The All-Pervading One – Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Prophet Mohammad, Buddha – all are incarnations of God and hence can be called ”Vishnu”.

“Vaishnava” thus means “belonging to Vishnu”. In various scriptures, it is emphasized by Lord that His Devotee is dear to him, and among the Devotees, the enlighted one is most dear to HIM. Many Puranas, and Scriptures in the category of Bhakti (Devotion) Literature speak about the qualities of a Devotee. The one I am presenting below is one such written by Sant Narsinh Mehta of Gujarat.

The summary of the qualities of the devotee of Lord is beautifully presented in the four stanzas. I am presenting this poem in both Sanskrit and the Transliteration along with its meaning. Whenever I hear to the rendering of this wonderful poem by Swami Divyavratananda of Ramakrishna Mission, I get tears in my eyes. I will soon post the mp3 of this song and I am sure we will be blessed with joy and happiness after hearing it.

वैष्णव जनतो तेने कहिये जे

पीड परायी जाने रे ।

पर दुःखे उपकार करे तो ये

मन अभिमान न आने रे ।।

He alone is called a Vaishnava – the devotee of Lord, who knows and understands the sufferings of others and by helping them in their distress, does not allow pride and ego enter his self.

सकळ लोकमा सहुने वंदे

निंदा न करे केनि रे ।

वाचिका आछे मन निश्चल राखे

धन धन जननी तेनि रे ।।

He alone looks upon the entire universe as his own self and does not accuse anyone or find fault with. He keeps his mind, heart and speech filled with divine purity. O Vaishnava, thy mother is very fortunate !

सम दृष्टि ने तृष्णा त्यागी

पर स्त्री झेणे मात रे ।

जिह्वा थके असत्य न बोले

पर धन न वझाले हाथ रे ।।

He alone has equal vision, possesses equanimity and abandons all desires. He considers other women to be his own mother. Though the sense organ tongue is tired (its nature is to speak ill of others and utter falsehood), he never utters a lie. He never touches other’s property or has any desire for it.

मोह मायाव्यपि नहि झेणे

दृढ वैराग्य झीना मनमा रे ।

राम नाम सो ताळिरे लागे

सकल तीरथ तेन तनमा रे ।।

He is untouched by ignorance and maya (illusion). Armed with strong renunciation and established in self, he constantly utters “Rama”, the divine names of Lord and in him is the confluence of all sacred pilgrim centers.

वण लोभी णे कपट् रहिता छे

काम क्रोध निवार्या रे ।।

भणे नरसयो तेनु दरषन करता ।।

कुळ् एकोतेर तार्या रे ।।

He alone is without greed and deception and abandons lust and anger. Narsi, the devotee of Lord, would like to see such a person, who brings honor to the entire family through such divine qualities.

Om Tat Sat !

 

 

The Prayer of St Francis

OM !

We have subscribed to a newsletter of “Blue Mountain Center of Meditation” which is established by Sri Eknath Easwaran. He was a professor of English Literature in India and came to University of California, Berkeley in 1968 on Fulbright Scholarship. Subsequently he established “Nilgiri Meditation Center”, which then took its English translation, “Blue Mountain Center of Meditation”. His Eight Point Meditation technique is a powerful one as experienced by many of his disciples and followers. As I understand from the newsletter, it consists of meditating on a powerful passage which inspires and motivates us towards divinity by eliminating the base nature.

What impressed us very much is the simplicity of his articles – his examples are simple and similies are very apt. It is very encouraging to read the spiritual experiences of several people who have benefitted from following his meditation technique. In the recent newsletter (which we received a week back), Sri Eknath Easwaran wrote about the significance of “The Prayer of St Francis” and it touched me very deeply. Hence, I want to share with you some details about St Francis and his prayer.

St Francis of Assisi

Francis Bernardone was his earlier name. Born into a prosperous family in Assisi towards the end of 12th century, he grew up to be an ambitious and dreamy young man – like all others. His passionate ambition was to form his own band and sing beautiful ballads to his lover. One day he happened to enter a little church called “San Damiano”. Here, his inner voice called out to him and his material, mundane and superficial existence has dissolved and his divine nature shone through. To quote Ramachairtmanas, whoever has the grace of the merciful lord, Rama, can escape this Maya and feel the divine presence in and around him. This was the case with the young Francis. He left his wealth and became a poor wandering monk. He realised God within and it is said that he is the friend of the animals – so compassionate and loving. It is through this divine saint, that this wonderful prayer has comeforth.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Om Tat Sat !

Saranaagathi – Surrender to the Divine

Welcome to …….

Saranaagathi – Surrender to the Divine

Saranaagathi is a “sanskrit” word which means “surrender to Lord”, the Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. This is the mantra of all religions, philosophies – Advaita, Dvaita, Visishta Advaita, and many other branches in Spiritual Path. A Bhaka (devotee) as well as a Jnani should completely surrender him/herself – body, mind and speech – to God. In this Kali Yuga (the Iron Age), when there is much violence, hatred, crime and all sort of afflictions, it is only the Lord’s name and Saranaagathi to HIM through which this ocean of Samsara (Material World) can be crossed. Otherwise, man undertakes the cyclic journey of births and deaths innumerable number of times.

To realise God who pervades the entire universe, who is the subtle force within the minutest sub-atomic particles and the empowering force behind this world has been the sole aim of the Rishis of India. Saints and Sages have appeared in different places of the world to guide laymen like us who are groping in the dark to Light. This webpage is devoted to them, their literature, and to the Supreme Indweller.

I was very upset that some great works of Indian Saints, especially those belonging to my naive land, Andhra Pradesh of India, are not accessible to the modern man who spends most of his time on the internet. I was searching for Bhagavatam of Potana (a great devotee of Rama) and found that there are no downloadble PDF files of his great works. This motivated me to develop this page and provide information to all those who enjoy reading devotional literature, about saints and sages and their lives.

This humble effort of mine is dedicated to Rama, lotus-eyed and charmingly blue-colored. I want HIS name to be my only solace. I pray to him to give me strength in the spiritual path, and have steadfast devotion to his feet.

-Jai Ram jiki.