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 !

Surrender Unto The Divine