Thursday, July 28, 2011

Distorted Definitions

APARTHA KOSHA [Distorted Definition] IN ENGLISH

ACTING: Behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.
ADVOCATE: The only profession where a man can lose his brief and a woman her
ADOLOSCENCE: A stage when kids start questioning the answer.
ADULTERY: Democracy applied to lust: Stealing some one else’s rightful position for yourself..
AIR RESERVATION: Adjusting our seats to theirs.
BIKINI: The funniest apparel when brevity is the wit of soul.
BEAUTY PARLOUR: A place where men go to shave face and women to save face.
BEST SELLER: A book where there is a beautiful girl on the cover and no cover on the beautiful girl.
CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Spending summer in Delhi.
CHAIR: Headquarters for hindquarters.
DIETING: Penalty for exceeding feed limits.
DHOTI: The only man’s apparel easy to wear and easy to share. One size fits all
EGOIST: I-Specialist.
ELEPHANT: An animal by washing which you do something big and something clean.
EDUCATION: What little information you are left with, after subtracting what you
have forgotten from what you have learnt from what you have been taught.
FASHION: A woman’s eternal struggle between her admitted desire to dress and the
unadmitted desire to undress.
FRACTIONS: Two-storeyed numbers.
FLATTERY: Counterfeit money which, but for vanity, would have no circulation.
FORTIFICATION: Two twentification.
FLATTERER: A man who feeds you with an empty spoon
GOVERNMENT: An institution with too much overheads and too much underhand.
GOVERNMENT PROGRAMME: That which has a beginning, a muddle and no end.
GAMBLING: One sure way of getting nothing for something.
HOUSEWORK: What a woman does that nobody notices unless she does not.
HANDKERCHIEF: A piece of apparel used in a funeral to hide tears not there.
INHERITANCE: Will-gotten gains.
INDIGESTION: Failure to adjust a square meal to a round stomach.
INSURANCE AGENT: A man who does not worry about his future as long as the others are worried about theirs.
INFLATION: A stage when a millionaire lives the life of a billionaire.
JAIL: The best place to meet people with conviction.
KISS: An application at the headquarters for a position at the base.
LOVE: Where an attachment precedes a declaration
LAW: Where a declaration precedes an attachment.
LAMP POST: Easing spot for roaming dog
MARRIAGE: An investment that pays you dividend if you pay interest.
MAN OF THE HOUR: He, whose wife tells him that she would get ready within a minute.
MOTHER: Not a person to lean on, but a person who makes leaning unnecessary.
MATHEMATICS: He who hides between two mats with an ICS qualification.

MINT: A factory creating wealth without advertisement
NIGHT CLUB: A drinking establishment where the tables are reserved
but not the guests.
NUDIST CAMP: A place where men and women air there differences.
OPTIMIST: A man who does crossword puzzles in ink.
PREGNANT: The shape of things to come.
PIGGY BANK: Equipment, which makes misers out of children and bank robbers
Out of parents.
POT HOLES: Depressed speed breakers.
POSTMAN: The only profession where you get a sack the very day you join.
QUADRUPLETS: Womb mates.
RESEARCH: A process of finding out what you are going to do now, when you cannot
Keep on doing what you are doing now when you quit what you are
doing now.
SHOW BUSINESS: A business where each candle on a birthday cake becomes
a coffin nail to a female star.
TROUSERS: A dress, which is singular at the top and plural at the bottom.
UNCOVERED DEFICIT: A Finance Minister’s wife with poorly proportioned exposure.
VIRTUE: What you learn on your mother’s knee
VICE: What you learn at some other joint.
WOMAN’S MIND: A place which is always kept clean by frequent changes.
WASTE OF ENERGY: Telling a hair-raising story to a bald headed man.
WELL DIGGING: A profession where you start at the top and end at the bottom.
XANTHIPPE: A philosopher’s touchstone for patience
YAWN: An opening made by a bore.
ZERO: The only number individually ignored but collectively recognized..
ARTICLE NO.579---APARTHA KOSHA [Distorted Definitions ]
Created: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 9:21 PM

A Note On Naatya From Dance Maestro Dhananjayan

Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2010 11:40 PM
Subject: Fwd: kalasagar award

Herewith attached the article I promised to send. Dhananjayan

By. Naatyaachaarya V.P. Dhananjayan,

Bharatakalanjali. Chennai. 20


Having spent almost two decades in the Kalakshetra, Chennai founded by
the legendary Smt. Rukmini Devi we formed liberal views on the
International performing arts scene. Rukminidevi brought in several
innovations within the flowing traditions of the ancient theatre and
yet she did not claim to be an innovator or modern choreographer or
taken credit for the imperative changes taken place in the performing
arena. Now Kalakshetra has become a phenomena and its style of
Bharatanaatyam has become the measuring rod for the best technique.
Rukminidevi never assigned it the name ‘Kalakshetra style’ likes of
the way people attach a tag to their style as Tanjore style, Vazhuvoor
style, Pandanallur style etc. For her it was always two distinct style
of performing arts namely “good’ and ‘bad’ styles of Bharatanaatyam.
She used to say to us, her direct disciples, that whatever we do, do
it well. By attaching a Kalakshetra tag one does not become the best
traditionalist or orthodox, puritan etc. The so called Kalakshetra
style of technique is established and popularized by our batch of
students and myself and Shanta being the first couple dancers to come
out of the precinct of this temple of art are largely responsible for
popularizing and establish the beauty and strength of the method
Rukminidevi used. The incredible credit should go to Smt. Sarada
Hoffman, who meticulously made us practice the ‘good’ style to make a
distinct “Kalakshetra’ style. Needless to say that we have
contributed much to embellish the technique that we learned in
Kalakshetra and several innovative technique and formations within
the aesthetic parameters of a particular distinct style of performing
art has added to the already existing ones.

As it is well known now, it was Rukminidevi who started using the word
‘Bharatanaatyam’ in place of ‘Sadiraattam, Daasiaattam etc in vogue
during the immediate past centuries. All the initial resentments met
a natural death and this name passed the test of time to continue as a
meaningful nomenclature to adorn a technique, which encompasses
physical, mental and spiritual levels of delineation.

During our studentship in Kalakshetra (1952 to 1968) we have been
taught to pronounce each language, as it should be written in the
respective language. Based on that our generation of students
continue to practice and try to pass it on to our lineage. Some of
the mistakes crept into the English printed media remain unchanged and
because of the urban education and English medium schools, vernacular
is getting diluted with anglicized spelling and pronunciation. There
are so many such wrong usages in our languages. Since I am a
performing artiste with almost six decades of performing, teaching and
choreographing experience, my concern is about some of the wrong
usages found in my profession. I think it is my duty to point out
these important aspects and ignorance expelled. So the purpose of
this article is to draw attention to the words SAMSKRUTAM and NAATYA.

“SAMSKRUTAM” OR SAMSKRUT is certainly the most complete language and
as the meaning goes, samyak (well) + krutam (done)= samskrutam (well
done) a well constructed every sense. Scholars all over the world with
out pride and prejudice accept this. Bust some how the land of its
origin (Bhaarat) does not even pronounce the word correctly. WE write
and pronounce in an anglicized way as “san +skrit” which may have a
different meaning altogether. I have been appealing to people, print
media and scholars to change the wrong practice and use the original
correct term SAMSKRUTAM. Some of the western scholars have changed
and they are able to pronounce this word correctly as ‘samskrutam’,
where as we Bhaarateeya are still clinging on to the spelling and
pronunciation left behind by our invaders.

The same way our performing art tradition has a beautiful ‘term’
called Naatya, but they are always referred as mere ‘dance’. This has
nothing to do with tradition or modernity

‘Dance’ is a connotation commonly used for all kinds of movements.
Actually speaking the term ‘dance’ cannot be a true translation for
our ‘Naatya’. The closest equivalent to the meaning of ‘nritta’ may
be passed of as ‘dance’. Last year (18th December 06) in my lecture
demonstration in Music academy, the Academy’s expert committee
unanimously endorsed my views that Bharatanaatyam should be referred
only as ‘Naatya’.

Our performing arts encompasses physical, mental and spiritual aspects
hence the Samskritam connotation of ‘Naatya’ cannot be substituted by
the word ‘dance’ which remains at the physical level of any movements.

It will be interesting for our media and critics to know that western
classical Ballet tradition never use the word ‘dance to denote a
Ballet performance. The term ‘ballet’ according to Oxford dictionary
‘combined performance of professional dancers on stage’

Over the centuries the term ‘ballet’ became synonymous with the
classical dance technique of the West.

Practitioners of Naatya and the media have been erroneously using the
word BALLET to denote our dance technique. This wrong usage should be
thwarted and our printed media should take it up seriously and change
that to Naatya. The India Current being one of the best cultural
magazine which gives so much space for the promotion of our art and
culture should seriously take up the cause of changing this trend and
start using the term “ Naatya” for all our classical performing arts,
especially Bharatanaatyam. It is my earnest appeal to the printed
media people to give specific instructions to all their advertisers,
Art critic and article contributors on performing arts to use the term
‘Naatya’. Failing which the media Editors should themselves change
the word Dance to Naatya wherever it is relevant. Since people are
well aware of the term Bharata-naatyam, it need not be called or
advertised as a dance performance. Naatya means a combination of
Nritta, Nritya and Nataka. (Dance, expressions and drama)

Another blatant mistake our artistes make is that a dance drama is
publicized as ‘Ballet’ not realizing that we are actually referring to
the western dance technique. Westerners are often confused when we
advertise our dance drama as ballet.

Suffice it to say that we have a meaningful word “Naatya’ and the word
‘Dance’ and ballet should be replaced with that word wherever it is
possible and establish a new tradition of Naatya.

V.P.DHANANJAYAN, Bharatakalanjali, Chennai.

Figure Vedanta And The Hindu


Who is a Hindu : It is unfortunate that students of Indian History in our country have been fed with many historical untruths for the past two hundred years or so by having been made to study History text books written by British authors and such other authors as sponsored by the then British Government. In keeping with their avowed objective of capturing power with a divide and rule policy, the British Government re-wrote Indian History to suit their convenience and prescribed those text books for study in schools and colleges. One such distorted truth was the Theory of Aryan Invasion. According to this Theory, the Aryans migrated to India from Central Asia and other places as nomads in search for a living. This Theory has been totally demolished by subsequent research and archeological excavations.

The Aryan Invasion Theory, in its simplest form, posits that India was inhabited by Dravidians till about 3,000 to 4,000 years ago when the fair skinned Aryans from Central Asia invaded the Sub-continent, and pushed the black Dravidians to the South. It has now been proved beyond doubt that the Aryans were original settlers in India who have been born and brought up in India ever since the dawn of civilization. In fact the word ‘Arya’ is a Sanskrit word which means ‘refined and cultured’. That is why all our ancient texts call India as ‘Aryavartha’ which means ‘the land of the cultured and refined people’. In fact the Sanskrit lexicography, the Amara Kosha, defines Aryavatha as Punya Bhoomi or the Sacred Land. The famous poet in Sanskrit, Kalidasa, in his drama “Shakuntalam” uses the word ‘Anarya’ for describing an ‘uncultured person’. In fact many interesting details about the life and culture of Aryans can be gathered by a study of the Rig-Veda. Sanskrit in its archaic form was the language of the Aryans.

The River Ganga, known as the Ganges in English, has a tributary by name Sindhu [Which is a Sanskrit word] which the Englishmen called ‘The Indus’. In fact, the Sindhu is considered one of the 7 sacred rivers of our Country. The area in and around these two rivers was popular as ‘The Indo-Gangetic Plane. When the Aryans were staying in these areas, the Persians invaded this region. Because the natives were inhabitants of the Sindhu river belt, the Persians identified as them as the ‘Sindhus’ and called them as ‘Hindus’ due to the fact that in the Persian language, the letter “s” is generally transliterated as “h”—for example, the word ‘Saptah’ [A week] becomes ‘Haftah’ in Persia.. Therefore, the term “Hindu” originally referred to the well-defined geographical areas of ancient India watered by the Indus River, its inhabitants came to be known as “Hindus” and their religion as ‘Hinduism”. The Greeks later found it hard to pronounce ‘h” and dropped it altogether, so that we became known as Indians. The Greeks therefore, called the Sindhu River as the “Indus” River, its inhabitants “Indians” and the geographical area “India”.

What is Vedanta : Man’s eternal nature is total happiness and this is possible to realize only he is prepared to accept and recognize the fact that the whole world is cast in the mould of the Divinity and Divinity exists in every living being. This can be achieved only when one lives a virtuous life which is the purpose of all religions in the world. That subject which teaches every one as to how to lead such a virtuous life which ultimately leads to total and permanent happiness is called ‘Vedanta’, Vedanta is universal in application and has no geographical boundaries, caste, creed or any such distinction.

It is true that there are several religions in the world but the basic purpose of all of them is to find out the true meaning of life and the purpose of life and to locate the true source of eternal happiness. Just as the Greek mind and modern European mind tried to find out the solution to all these problems in the existing mundane world, so also our forefathers started with the external world. All of them significantly failed. While the West stopped exploring further avenues, our forefathers belonging to the Sanathana Dharma continued their search. Having been convinced that the solution does not lie in the material world, they turned the searchlight towards the shining SOUL of man neither [The Spirit or the Atman] and found the answer there. The answer was the ‘Upanishads’, otherwise called the ‘Vedanta’

The message of the Upanishads of which the forerunner was the Vedas was heard by our ancient Rishis who heard the Truth by their intense Tapas through an intuitive sight and obtained a treasure house of spiritual knowledge and sublime ideas revealed to them directly by Divinity in communion with them. The Vedas are therefore known as ‘Shruti’ which means what is heard. It is for this reason that the Vedas are called ‘Apourusheya’ which means ‘not composed by human beings’ .The essential feature of Vedanta or the Upanishads is thus the direct perception of Truth. This experience of Truth is not coloured by the senses or the mind; it is an intuitive revelation. The Vedic Rishis did not create Truth as they were only the medium through which the eternal Truth could be conveyed for the purpose of transmitting it to posterity. These Truths were articulated to the students by the Rishis in the Gurukala system of education.

When the Vedas were heard there was no system of writing in India. But such was the scrupulous zeal of those Brahmins who got the whole Vedic literature by heart by just hearing it from their preceptors that they were able to transmit to them down the line faithfully, absolutely as they had heard.

Latest research in philosophy and Vedanta has estimated that there must have been a gap of about 1,000 years between the Vedic Age and the Upanishadic Age. In the Upanishads, our ancient Rishis arrived at infallible conclusions regarding God, Nature of Man and Soul. Having made a thorough study of the Upanishads, a great Spanish philosopher has described the Upanishads as ‘The Himalayas of the Soul’ and states ‘Just as the great mountain determines the climate, rainfall and physical features of the Peninsula, so do these lofty heights of wisdom in Vedanta determine the quality of the spiritual wisdom of the race that inhabits it’.

The bedrock of the eternal impersonal principles experienced by different Rishis at different period were collected together in the concluding portion of the Vedic Literature known as the Upanishads ; therefore, they are called the ‘Vedanta’ or ‘the End portion of the Upanishads ‘. The term Vedanta is, however, used in a wider sense to represent wisdom contained in all the sacred texts that have the Upanishads as the basis and elucidation of their teachings. In the deepest sense, the Upanishads contain the very essence of the Vedas, referring primarily to knowledge. By ‘Knowledge’ is meant the direct knowledge of the Brahman

Vedanta is a world literature, a universal phenomenon. Vedanta’s attraction to the Western mind in particular has been deep and pervasive and has a left an indelible impression on the philosophy of scholars and poets like Schopenhauer, Nietzche, Max Muller, Deussen, Romain Rolland, Somerset Maugham, T.S.Eliot, Wordsworth, Coleridge and a host of others.. In fact ‘The Razor’s Edge’ by Somerset Maugham introduces the subject matter with a quotation from the Kathopanishad.

B.M.N. Murthy

Created:Saturday, June 26, 2010 2:59 AM

The Palindrome


A palindrome is generally defined as a word or a phrase that reads the same forward or backwards. However the definition goes much deeper and encompasses even full sentences. There are palindromic sentences in which the words, not letters, have been used as units. Even in mathematics we
have the term “palindrome” used in respect of integers that are not changed when reversed. We can see the analogy of palindrome even in other fields as well. For example, in the field of music there are certain melodies that are the same backwards, paintings and floral designs with mirror reflective symmetry, the bilateral symmetry of some of the birds like the flying seagull, which is an example of visual symmetry. Another popular example of the palindrome, as applied to birds, is the bird ‘Gandabherunda’ which adorned the Royal Signia of the erstwhile Mysore Maharajas.

In the language palindrome as applied to the English language, words containing more than 7 letters are generally not palindromic with the rare exception of the 9 letter word “MALAYALAM”. Examples of 7- lettered palindromic words are REVIVER, REPAPER, DEIFIED, ROTATOR etc. It is sheer coincidence that some well-known personages have palindromic names like LON NOL, the former Cambodian Prime Minister, U NU, former Prime Minister of Burma, REVILO P.OLIVER, well-known Professor in the University of Illinois.

Many world leaders have spoken palindromically. After Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the Mediterranean Island of Elba, he was asked whether he could have invaded England. He astounded his questioner by responding in English “ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA”. Coming to recent times, Ayatollah Kohmini, on learning about the Shah of Iran, declared “NO EVIL SHAHS LIVE ON”. President Reagan, after reviewing the mistakes of his Democratic predecessors, appears to have said “STAR COMEDY BY DEMOCRATS”

In a palindrome contest sponsored by the New Statesman magazine in England in 1967, the following entry by one Mr. James Michie won him the First prize:

The following are a few examples of palindrome with the word as a unit:



While words, sentences, poems etc have been deliberately composed or created with the definite purpose of giving it a palindromic effect, there have been occasions when spontaneous outbursts have become palindromic by sheer coincidence. Carl Sagan, the world famous Astronomer, while deeply thinking about the extra-terrestrial life, appears to have mumbled “RATS LIVE ON NO EVIL STAR”. Similarly, a poor woman who saw her reckless child knocking down a bottle of milk on dinner table appears to have shouted “NO, SON”. A honeymooner after having spent the whole day enjoying the beauty of Niagara Falls appears to have mumbled in her sleep “NIAGARA, O, ROAR AGAIN”.

In keeping with its richness, vocabulary and flexibility, Sanskrit has retained its pre-eminent position even in palindromes. In a letter published in the Scientific American, November 1970, Mr. George Hart, a world authority on palindromes has stated that that the most complex and exquisite type of palindromes ever devised and composed are authored by Sanskrit aestheticians [Alankarikas as they are called]. In the opinion of Mr. Hart, Shloka No.27 in the 19th chapter of the famous epic poem “SHISHUPALA VADHA” by the Sanskrit Poet Magha of of the 7th century A.D. is the world’s best palindrome. The verse is the description of the march of an army



Created: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 9:23 PM

A Comedy Of Commas

The Importance of Punctuation in English

The Importance of Punctuation: Misplaced commas and other forms of punctuation in the English language is often an embarrassment and create a lot of confusion, misunderstanding and even occasional financial irregularities, as would be evident from the following illustrations:

1. It is said that an ancient Greek, consulting the Oracle of Delphi as to whether he should go a-warring, was told :

“Thou shalt go thou shalt return
Never by war shalt thou perish”

Optimistically adding commas after ‘go’ and ‘return’, The Greek took up arms, and was promptly killed in the war. He should have put the second comma after ‘never’.

2. A riddle runs like this :

Every lady in the land
Has twenty nails on each hand
Five and twenty on hands and feet
This is true, without deceit.

The sense is sometimes confused by placing a comma at the end of the second line. If instead you put commas after ‘nails’ and ‘five’, the verse merely states the obvious.

3. Punctuate the following sentence so that it makes sense :

That that is is not that that is not that that is not is not that that it is not that it it is.

Answer: That that is, is not that that is not; that that is not, is not that that is. Is not that? It is.

4. In a co-educational high school, the following sentence was given to punctuate :

‘Woman without her man is imperfect’

The boys wrote ‘Woman, without her man, is imperfect’
The girls wrote ‘‘Woman! Without her, man is imperfect’

5. In the year 1890, a Congressional clerk in America was supposed to write “All foreign fruit-plants are free from duty” in transcribing a recently passed in the Congress; but while typing he changed the hyphen to a comma and wrote “All foreign fruit, plants are free from duty”. Before the Congress could correct his error with a new law, the Government lost over 2 million dollars in taxes.

6. A District Attorney in America introduced an unpunctuated confession taken down by a Police Officer that said:

“Morgan said that he never robbed but twice said it was Crawford”

The prosecution contended that this should have been punctuated as “Morgan said he never robbed but twice. Said it was Crawford”. The defence said the sentence should read “Morgan said he never robbed; but twice said it was Crawford”. The last introduced a reasonable doubt and the accused was set free.

7. A woman whose husband had joined the Navy gave the Pastor of the Church, a note just as he was mounting the pulpit one Sunday morning. The note said “John Anderson, having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety.”
The Minister in haste pulled out the note from his pocket and read aloud “John Anderson, having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety”.

B.M.N. Murthy


ARTICLE NO. 576--The Importance of Punctuation in English
Friday, June 18, 2010 9:35 PM

The Essence of The Mahabharata According To Vyasa


Almost towards the end of the Mahabharatha, in the Swargavarohana Parva, there occurs four shlokas [vide Chapter 5, Shlokas 60 to 63] of profound importance, extreme beauty and terseness for which the immortal author Maharshi Vyasa has given the title ‘Bharatha Savitri’.[ The word ‘Bharatha’ here refers to the Mahabharatha]. In the next shloka following these four. The poet adds that who reads these four shlokas every morning will reap the benefit of having read the entire Mahabharatha and realizes the Supreme Brahman.

It is one of the great achievements of Vyasa that in these four verses he has established the entire essence and the moral of the great epic. Even the name ‘Bharatha Savitri’ is pregnant with significance. It is well known that the word ‘Savitri’ is only another name for ‘Gayatri’. Etymologically, Savitri means the hymn that is dedicated to the worship of Sun [Savita]. Just as the Gayatri is par excellence the mantra dedicated to the Sun god, it has appropriately come to be known as Savitri also. It is also well known that the Gayatri Mantra has been declared as the very essence of the Vedas. Hence the name ‘Bharatha Savitri’ means the very essence of the Mahabharata and these four shlokas have the same significance and sanctity as the Gayatri Mantra, since the Mahabharata itself has been recognized as the Fifth Veda. The sanctity of ‘Bharatha Savitri’ can be gauged by the fact that in certain parts of Western India the recitation of the four shlokas in Bharatha Savitri is included as a part of the Pratah Smaranam [Morning Prayer ]. The four original shlokas which are in Sanskrit may be translated in English as under:

1. Thousands of fathers and mothers and hundreds of sons and wives were known and had gone, are going and will go in the future, in the course of Samsara [Shloka 60]

2. Thousands of occasions for joy and hundreds of causes of fear engross the mind of the ignorant but not that of the man of wisdom [Shloka 61]

3. With uplifted arm I shout but none hears me: From Dharma result Artha and Kama Why then is Dharma not observed? [Shloka 62]

4. Not out of passion or fear or avarice, not even for the sake of life, should one ever abandon Dharma. Dharma is eternal. Happiness and misery are not eternal. The Soul is eternal. That which embodies is not eternal [Shloka 63]

From the impassioned way in which the poet speaks about the supreme value of Dharma in the third shloka, it is abundantly clear that Dharma is absolutely necessary for the welfare of the world and that it is the central essence of his teaching in the epic. He also emphasizes that the other two Purusharthas namely Artha [material prosperity] and Kama [enjoyment of desire] result from the observance of Dharma and it is therefore essential for man to follow the dictates of Dharma. Vyasa boldly declares that eternal Dharma alone sustains the soul of the man which is also eternal while Artha and Kama pertain to the impermanent and decaying human body.

While the great bard lays so much emphasis on the observance of Dharma, it is better to understand the further significance of the word. This can be better appreciated if we study the etymology of the word ‘Dharma’. The derivation of the word Dharma, its meaning and purpose are pointed out in the Karna Parva of the Mahabharata in the following shloka.

“Dharanath Dharma Ityahuhu Dharmo Dharayate Prajah

Yah Syath Dharanasamyuktah Sah Dharma iti Uchyate”

It is explained here that the word ‘Dharma’ comes to form from the root ‘Dhr’ [to hold or uphold] and that all human beings are held together by Dharma. The test of Dharma is this holding together. According to Vyasa, therefore, the purpose of Dharma is the stability and the general welfare of the society and mankind and whatever conduces to the fulfillment of this purpose is called Dharma.

It may be observed that in all our religious literature, the word Dharma is generally found in conjunction with associated with two other equally important words namely Rta and Satya. All these words Rta, Satya and Dharma have a very ancient history going back to the days of the Rigveda. Explaining the meaning of the word Rta, Vidyaranya [Sayana], the learned commentator of the Rigveda, says that Rta is the mental conception of truth. Explaining the meaning of the other two words Satya and Dharma, , Acharya Shankara in his commentary on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says that Satya is the speaking of truth while Dharma is the observance of truth. On an analysis of the significance of these words Rta, Satya and Dharma, it could be concluded that Rta denotes the mental perception of truth while Satya connotes the accurate and true expression in words of what is perceived and Dharma is the observance in conduct of the truth perceived in thought and words. In short, Rta is truth in thought, Satya is truth in word and Dharma is truth in deed. These actions alone contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of mankind.

The concept of Dharma is spiritual and moral and comprehends the entire gamut of man’s duties towards God, to his fellowmen and to the society in general. That is why ‘Bharata Savitri’ declares that Dharma is the pivot of life and exhorts man never to abandon it, even though avarice, greed and attachment to their mundane life may dictate otherwise. Vyasa is therefore very fond of often proclaiming “Where there is Dharma there is always Victory”


Created: Friday, June 18, 2010 9:35 PM

Two Tales


Harry Truman: Harry Truman, 43rd President of USA [1945-1953], from Missouri, was a different kind of President. He probably made as many important decisions regarding America’s history as any of the other 42 Presidents. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.
Historians have written that the only true asset when he died was the house he lived in which was in Missouri. When he retired from office in 1952, his income was his only U. S. Army pension. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an allowance and later a retroactive pension of 25,000 dollars a year.
After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no secret service following them.
When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, ‘You don’t want me. You want the office of the President and that does not belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it is not for sale.
Later, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honour on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing “I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise”
Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed ‘My choices early in life were either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there is hardly any difference’.

Sir S, Radhakrishnan: Dr.S Radhakrishnan had a maternal uncle by name Narasimham. Surprisingly enough Radhakrishnan, who is esteemed for his erudition and wisdom worldwide, was dull as a child. His father was very much upset by the son’s nature and concerned about his future. Narasimham offered to take the boy to Vellore and to take care of his education.
On reaching Vellore, Narasimham initiated his nephew in the ‘Sri Rama Taraka Mantra”. Constant repetition of the potent Mantra resulted in the blossoming of Radhakrishnan’s intellect and he grew into a brilliant student

Devendranath Tagore and Ishavasya Upanishad: Devendranath Tagore, father of poet Ravindranath Tagore, was feeling deeply distressed and markedly indifferent to the world. He was disenchanted with the world.. A mysterious longing for a greater reality took hold of him.
One day in 1838 he was resting in his fields during lunch time. He noticed a stray piece of paper, fluttering past him due to wind. Out of curiosity, he picked it up and saw some Sanskrit verses on it. It was a page from the Ishavasya Upanishad. He referred it to the well known Vedantic Sanskrit scholar Sri Ram Chandra Vidya Vageesh under whom subsequently Devendra studied the Upanishads. It was a page from the Ishavasya Upanishad. The Pundit translated the first verse of the Upanishad in English: “Our whole universe is permeated by the Spirit. Receive Him by renouncing all desires for worldly pleasures. Take delight in Him alone”.
This caused such a tremendous change in his mind that his depression immediately vanished and he felt transformed. Later Devendranath wrote “When I learned the explanation, nectar from paradise streamed on me”

Ramana Maharshi and the Maharaja of Mysore: The Maharajah of Mysore, Sri
Krishna raja Wodeyar 1V met Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi on 28th Feb 1937. At the time of taking leave of the Maharshi, tears [Ananda Bashpa] flowing from the eyes of the Maharaja, wetted the feet of the Maharshi. He told Bhagavan “They made me a Maharaja and bound me to a throne. For the sin of having born a king, I lost the chance of sitting at your feet and serving you. I do not hope to come again. Only these few minutes are mine. I pray for your grace”. He kneeled once more and departed without a word.
After returning to Mysore, he wrote a long letter in his own hand writing. At the end, he asked where he could get the incense sticks used in the Ashram. He was told that they were Mysore Sandalwood Agarbathis. Maharaja felt that what could not be purchased even in Mysore was the fragrance when they were glowing in the presence of the Bhagavan.

Tamil poet Kamban [of Kamba Ramayana fame]: Kamban was the Poet Laureate of a Chola king. For some reason, the Chola king fell out with him. Kamban left the Chola domain, saying that there were better kings to serve. For example, the then Chera king to whom the Chola king was himself paying tribute would recognize his worth and would even be willing to serve as his paan bearer. The Chola king then retorted ‘Let me see’
Kamban took up the challenge and went to the Chera king who welcomed him. Kamban’s fame grew day by day for his poetic excellence and he continued to stay in the royal court. Finally, the Chera king agreed to come along with Kamban with the Chola king as his servitor and offer him paan. But at the psychological moment when Kamban must have accepted paan from the hands of the Chera king before the eyes of his tributary Chera king, Kamban forbade the Chera from rendering him that very lowly service.
The poet exhibited his nobility and voluntarily welcomed defeat at the moment when he was to be crowned with success. This illustrates Kamban’s human excellence and conquest of the ego and not poetic excellence

Field Marshal K.M.Cariappa : In the 1965 India-Pakistan War, Flight Lt. K.C.Cariappa, son of the First Commander-in-Chief of the Indian army, K.M. Cariappa,
was taken a war prisoner. Pakistan President Field Marshal Ayub Khan sent a personal message to Cariappa Senior, that his son would be released considering their relation as friends while serving the Royal Indian Army.
Cariappa senior replied “Thousands of my sons are fighting in the war. Every India Prisoner of War is my son. Therefore there is no need for any special gesture regarding my son. No exception need be made.

“Oh Cariappa! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. India hath dire need of Thee!”


Article No.574-- Incidents to remember and and recollect
Created: Monday, June 14, 2010 9:24 AM

The Happy Woman

--A True incident that happened in Japan in 1921

Kiyoko was an ordinary housewife staying with her husband in her father-in-law’s house in a small town called Gofu in Japan. They were farmers by profession. One day her husband complained of severe back pain. Kiyoko took him to a doctor who diagnosed the disease as leprosy, which was considered a deadly contagious disease in Japan of the twenties for which no medical cure then existed. Kiyoko was therefore advised to take her husband to the hot springs of Naruko, nearly 700 kms away. It was a belief in those days that
the hot water from the Naruko springs had the miraculous power of curing leprosy. Kiyoko was dumbfounded, but not crestfallen. She informed her father-in-law only about the seriousness of the illness and at once started preparations to take her husband to Naruko. Her father-in-law could not accompany her as he was pretty old and would not have withstood the rigors of such a long journey.

Towards the end of May 1921, Kiyoko started her journey by train with her husband to Naruko and reached it after a few days. She hired a cottage there and stayed there for a couple of months, taking her husband everyday for a bath in the spring. Unfortunately for her, instead of showing signs of improvement, the disease started spreading and patches started appearing all over the body. The immediate neighbors who noticed the patches were scared of the disease, as in those days it was believed that leprosy was contagious. With a view to saving themselves from catching the disease, the neighbors one day threw all her belongings out of her cottage and asked her to get out. With tears flowing from her eyes, Kiyoko decided to return home.

She went to the railway station, purchased two tickets and entered the compartment. A man, sitting next to them, noticed the leprosy patches on her husband and informed the other passengers about it in a loud voice. The co-passengers persuaded Kiyoko and her husband to vacate the compartment and shift to some other compartment. But in the meanwhile the train started moving. They were then made to get down in the next station. Kiyoko went to the stationmaster and pleaded with him to permit her to resume the journey. The stationmaster was not convinced with her request and quoted railway rules, which prevented travel in train by passengers suffering from the terrible disease of leprosy. Kiyoko even pleaded with him that she was prepared to travel in goods train. Even this was refused and the stationmaster told her “ Instead of worrying about your own self, think of others!” Momentarily Kiyoko became sad but soon it occurred to her “ Yes, I should think of others. All right. I shall myself take my husband home”.

The heroic lady then purchased an old cycle rickshaw and a few blankets. Seating her husband in the rickshaw and covering him with blankets, she began cycling and started to return through a terrible mountain terrain in biting cold. On the way, as no motel or inn was prepared to take them in, she managed to rest on the roadside or stay in a dilapidated house for the night rest. On an average, she could cover about 10-12 kms per day, braving biting winds and heavy snowfall en-route. Finally she reached home by the end of 1922, more dead than alive

When her father-in-law heard her tale and about the inhuman suffering she had endured, he wept bitterly. He instantly wrote a letter to Kiyoko’s parents seeking their pardon on account of the fact that Kiyoko had to suffer due to his son’s illness. He requested Kiyoko to return to her parental home and that he himself would take care of his son. To this request, Kiyoko replied “ I shall continue to serve my husband. Lord Buddha ordained our relationship and it would be a great sin on my part to leave my husband at this stage. So please pardon me if I do not obey you”. Kiyoko continued serving her husband with greater zeal.

The disease of her husband began to spread everywhere and in a short time he began to smell bad. The medical expenses increased and the family became extremely poor. Neighbors insisted on his being shifted to some leprosy center. It was only Kiyoko who continued to serve him with her zeal unabated. She would wash his clothes which no one would touch, feed him, talk to him for hours at night when he could not sleep, clean him etc. Unfortunately for her, she became lame in 1924 owing to overwork. But that never deterred her from her devoted service to her husband. Though she could not do all that she did earlier, she tried her utmost to serve her husband. She would use her hands to walk quickly. But she never gave up the routine of taking her husband for an outing every evening, seating him on a cart. She would walk along with the help of a stick, pulling the cart herself.

Slowly people around her recognized her devotion to her husband. Gradually those neighbors who had earlier wanted her to shift to the leprosy center recognized this great virtue of selfless service of Kiyoko and started talking high of her. People began respecting her as a living Bodhisattva. In course of time, Kiyoko’s name spread all around and she became more popular as ‘Bodhisattva’ than as Kiyoko. One foreigner, who heard a lot about ‘Bodhisattva’, made it a point to go all the way to Gofu to meet Kiyoko From what this gentleman had heard of her, he expected a sorrowful lady. But what he saw simply surprised him. There she stood, beaming with a heavenly smile and greeting him with utmost respect. Not one movement of hers showed any pain or sorrow or suffering. The gentleman said
“ I am sorry you couldn’t lead a happy life because your husband is dangerously ill”.
Kiyoko instantly said with a smile “ Venerable sir, please excuse me. I do not have any unhappiness at all. I am always happy “. The visitor would not give up so easily. He said “Do you wish to say that this miserable life of yours is what you call a happy life?”. She replied politely “ I feel that my present state itself is one of great happiness. This is because, I consider it a great fortune to be able to serve my husband. He feels relief from pain on account of my service. Service to my husband is service to God.” When she laughed again, the visiting gentleman understood that there was not a trace of unhappiness about her. He then realized why people had begun calling her “Bodhisattva”

Kiyoko’s husband passed away sometime later.


NOTE : Based on an abridged English translation of the original Hindi article published by the Sri Ramakrishna Mission in their journal “ Samanvaya” [now defunct] in 1927

ARTICLE No. 573---The Moving Story of a Japanese Lady
Created: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 9:53 PM

Bath Tales


Among the civilized nations of the world, it is only in India that ‘bathing’ [Snana in Sanskrit] has been given considerable importance and considered a routine activity which precedes all the other activities of the day. Particularly in the life of a Hindu, even though the activity just keeps the body and mind healthy and clean, bathing is considered a sacrament that elevates the bather spiritually. According to the Hindu scriptures, the bath should always be accompanied by the chanting of the Vedic Mantras.
Even though this practice is prevalent nowadays only in a few devout Brahmin families, recitation of the following shloka, remembering a few sacred rivers in India ,can still be observed while people take a dip in the holy rivers during festival time :.

‘Gange Cha Yamune Chaiva Godavari Saraswathi

Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jalesmin Sannidhim Kuru’

The purpose of this shloka is to invoke the river goddesses [All rivers are considered sacred and as representatives of the Divine in the Hindu scripture] and seek their blessings.

It is difficult to pinpoint as to when exactly bathing started in India as it has been an integral part of human activity ever since the dawn of civilization. Archaeological evidence reveals the existence of cities, which existed more than 5,000 years ago, which show the existence of earthen pipes which supplied water to the bathers to have their bath. This is clearly visible in the Indus Valley Civilization excavations. Even in later periods, Indian history records details of elaborate bathing arrangements made by several Kings in their States for the convenience of the Queens who found great enjoyment while bathing. In Hampi, capital of theVijayanagar Kingdom as also in Srirangapatnam in Karnataka, we can see several bathing structures which were used by Queens.. That bathing in sacred rivers is a religious and sacred ceremony from time immemorial can be witnessed even today when millions of people gather on the river banks, particularly on specified festival days like the Kumbha Mela.

Ancient Romans devised the most marvelous baths called as ‘Thermae’. These baths were enjoyed in elaborate bath rooms housed in massive buildings with apartments, maintained at different temperatures by burning coal or wood. Wealthy Romans bathed in these luxurious bath rooms. In fact, Shakespeare makes a reference to these luxurious baths by the Patricians in his Roman tragedy ‘The Coriolanus”. These bath rooms had libraries attached to them so that one could read and enjoy while bathing. The Romans had also built magnificent Turkish Baths on a grand scale and it is learnt that some of these bathing clubs could accommodate even 1500 bathers at a time. One Historian is of the opinion that some Romans spent more lavishly on their bathrooms when compared to what they spent on their living accommodation. The practice of taking a Roman bath was to massage the body with a cool refreshing ointment, massage the whole body for quite sometime and then bathe in water.

In England, bathing was little heard of till the middle ages. It was supposed to have been introduced by the King Eleanor of Castle.. Even as late as 18thCentury bathing was not only not neglected in England but contemptuously avoided. With a view to keep off the body odour, the upper classes, instead of bathing, used strong perfumes to keep off the bodily odour. It is only during the reign of Queen Victoria that bathing became an integral part of British life.

In Scandinavian countries bathing houses were impressive. They relaxed while bathing and even watched film shows and played chess while bathing.

It was in Russia that some of the most elaborate bathing rituals were developed. They would generally use soaps and rinse their heads. After a bath they used to throw some kind of seeds on the red hot stone as a result of which smoke would emanate. They used to spend some time in the smoke filled environment to dry up the body. Further it would destroy bad body odour and kill germs in the body. This was popular as ‘Smoke Bathing’. This is probably analogous to the system prevailing in India where ladies with long tresses of hair dry their hair after oil bath by exposing the tresses to the smoke from burning incense and Dhoopam.

The Japanese took advantage of the natural hot springs. In addition to cleansing the body, many of these hot springs had medicinal curing properties, particularly skin diseases. In this context, it would be of interest to hear about the true experience of an ordinary Japanese house wife in a remote village in Tokyo sometime in 1921. This is a moving and poignant real story where the lady travels a distance of nearly 700 kms in a cycle rickshaw drawn by herself, taking her leprosy- infected husband for a cure in a hot spring. A separate article covering this moving story will follow.

The Puritans in America considered bathing as injurious to health. In 1842 in the State of Massachusetts, anyone desirous of taking a bath was required to take a certificate from a doctor. The States of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia prescribed by law the number of that one could take. It is said that till 1840 American houses did not have bathrooms. The first bathtub was fixed and put to use in the White House in 1851.

In ancient times, the story goes, that Priests in Egypt used to take bath in the River Nile, not for health or hygiene but to wash off their sins.

History records some interesting cases of bath times. A few are enumerated below:

1. It is said that Isabella, Queen of Spain, bathed only twice in her life time—once at the time of her birth and second at the time of her marriage.
2. Louis X111 of France took a bath only once in his lifetime. This only bath adversely affected his nervous system and consequently he passed a law prohibiting bathing in France.
3. Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen, used to bathe in water mixed with raspberry and strawberry juice and olive oil.
4. After the bath she would massage herself with perfume and cream of milk as beauty aids.
5. Napoleon gave Josephine, whom he married, a bath tub as a weeding gift.
6. The following News item published by the Time Magazine, America, in its issue
Dated 14th January 1929 would of interest:

“Whenever a bath is taken by His Highness the Aga Khan, the bath water is carefully preserved, bottled and shipped to Mohammedan communities throughout the world. Thus the faithful are provided with a priceless boon, the Holy Water in which a descendant of Prophet Mohamed has bathed himself. No niggard, the Aga Khan charges for the nearly enormous quantity of water in which he bathes every year, only his weight in gold. The ceremony of weighing him takes place each twelvemonth at Aga Hall, Bombay”
[Time dated 14th Jan 1929]

The most expensive Bath: This news report is from The Sunday Times, London
published in the year 1982.
“Patrons of a hotel in Yogashima, Tokyo, are queuing up for the most expensive bath in their lives. Hideki Yokoi bought this hotel in 1970, complete with a 22 carat, 312 pound gold bath tub. He has been soaking up the fees ever since.
An average of 120 customers pay 19 dollars for a 5 minute dip and the value of the entire original investment has increased 15 fold to more than 7 million dollars, the owner claims. Five minutes is just long enough to get wet, feel suitably dissipated and have a souvenir colour photograph snapped at about 7 dollars a shot”
Sunday Times, London, 1982


ARTICLE NO.572---History of Bathing around the World
Created: Friday, June 4, 2010 8:36 PM

A Cigarette Verse


“I am just a friendly cigarette
Don’t be afraid of me;
Why all the advertisers say
I am harmless as can be.

They tell you that I am your
“Best Friend” [I like that cunning lie]
And say, you will ‘walk a mile’ for me
Because I satisfy.

So, come on, girlie, be a sport
Why longer hesitate?
With me between your petty lips
You’ll be quite up-to-date

You may not like me right at first
But very soon, I will bet
You will find you can’t get along
Without a cigarette.

You have smoked one package, so
I know I have nothing now to fear
When once I get a grip on girls
They are mine for life, my dear.

Your freedom, you began to lose
The very day we met
When I convinced you it was smart
To smoke a cigarette.

The colour is fading from your cheeks;
Your finger tips are stained
And now you would like to give me up
But, sister, you are chained forever.

You even took a drink last night
I thought you would ever long,
For those whom I enslave, soon lose
Their sense of right and wrong.

Year after year I have fettered you
And led you blindly on
Till now you are just a bunch of nerves
With looks and health both gone.
You are pale and thin, and have a cough
The doctor says “T. B “
He says you can’t expect to live
Much longer, thanks to me.

But it is too late to worry now
When you became my slave
You should have known the chances
Of your filling an early grave.

And now that I have done my early part
To send your soul to hell
I will leave you with my partner, Death
He will come for you –Farewell!

Elizabeth Hassel

Created: Sunday, May 30, 2010 9:47 PM

Uddhava Geetha


Out of the numerous Geethas extant today, the Bhagavadgeetha and the Uddhava Geetha are given the maximum importance as both of them have come out of the mouth of Lord Srikrishna, who was verily the Brahman Absolute. The Uddhava Geetha is not a part of the Mahabharata but it is a part of the epic Srimad Bhagavatham. The main difference is that the Bhagavadgeetha [sung by Lord Srikrishna] has been so titled so as to emphasize that the author is Bhagavan Srikrishna as also the subject matter. However, in Uddhava Geetha, the emphasis is on the eminence of Krishna’s close friend and disciple, Uddhava, whom Krishna wants to make a repository of all the knowledge of all the paths of liberation so that it may be passed on to posterity undistorted by time.

The Uddahava Geetha occurs in the 11th Skandha [Part] of the Bhagavatham and has 1030 shlokas in all. The Bhagavatham describes Uddhava as the best among those belonging to the lineage of Vrishni and as the most beloved of Krishna and the most intelligent who was both a minister and companion to Krishna. There is striking similarity between the two Geethas: In the Bhagavadgeetha, when Arjuna was beset with grief on account of ignorance and ultimately surrendered himself to the Lord, an excellent pathway to liberation, Yoga, flowed out of the divine lips of Krishna and the first chapter of the Geetha was rightly titled ‘Vishada Yoga’. Similarly, when Uddhava feels unhappy and grieves over the impending separation from Krishna who is preparing to depart for his Divine Domain, he surrenders himself at the feet of the Lord when again the unparalleled compassion of the Lord flows out in the form of the Uddhava Geetha. Further, when once the instructions were over, both avowed that their delusion [Maya] had been dispelled.

In the Bhagavadgeetha, Krishna finally exhorts Arjuna to take up his bow and arrow and fulfill his duties as a Kshatriya by fighting with the Kauravas. In the Uddhava Geetha, Krishna commands Uddhava to return to the forest of Badarinath and live the life of a Sanyasin practicing all the austerities as taught by him, merging his speech and the mind with the Lord. This is because of the difference in fitness [Adhikara Bheda] of the two respective devotees. While the Bhagavadgeetha instructs Arjuna on the various Yoga paths and the Sadhanas in plain unadorned language, in Uddhava Geetha Krishna intersperses his discourse with a lot parables and other illustrations.

Krishna commences his teaching with an ancient story. King Yadu [founder of the Yadava dynasty] once saw an Avadhuta [presumed to be Lord Dattatreya himself]. An Avadhuta is a person who has shaken off all bonds and ties with the mundane world. The king asked him how he had attained that Supreme state of Bliss. The Avadhuta replied by narrating how he was taught by 24 Gurus [teachers]—all from nature like earth, air, water, ocean , elephant, fish , a child, a maiden, a prostitute , a spider etc—from whom he learnt the various lessons as to how to get liberated.. Then Krishna proceeds to tell Uddhava the theory of Karma and how Karma binds a person to transmigratory existence and how one should cross over the ocean of Samsara by practicing ordained actions without the anticipation of any results.
At the specific request of Uddhava, Krishna delineates the various signs of Sadhus and Sanyasis and how the association with such saintly persons leads one in the path of liberation. He thereafter dwells on the importance of unalloyed devotion to God, truthfulness, self-control, equanimity of mind and such other noble qualities found in saintly persons. Continuing his discourse, Krishna describes the three Gunas namely Satva, Rajas and Tamas and stresses the importance of and the need to overcome Rajas and Tamas and augment Satva alone. Krishna explains as to how the cultivation of total Satva Guna leads one to the path of liberation.

The Lord then takes up the topic of meditation and the various Sadhanas like Pranayama, Dhyana etc, the Ashta Siddhhis like Anima, Mahima, Gharima etc and how a Yogin should not evince interest in the Ashta Siddhis, as they would be an obstacle to spiritual attainment. Going further, the Lord stresses the importance Jnana and Bhakthi which alone would lead to Liberation. After stressing again that the external world is only an appearance and that the Self is the Spirit beyond the body-mind complex, Krishna instructs Uddhava in some methods of Yoga which help in overcoming the obstacles to Self Realization.

Krishna concludes the discourse thus: “I have now told you the summary of the knowledge of Brahmavidya. One who hears this Uddhave Geetha daily with faith and with a concentrated mind will get transcendental Bhakthi and will be released from all bondages of Karmas.
When a man, after having renounced all activities, has completely surrendered himself to me, he gets immortality and is transformed into my own form on account of his having merged with me”

At the bidding of the Lord to go to the Badarinath forest and to live there practicing the disciplines as instructed by him, Uddhava, after having prostrated before the Lord time and again, being reluctant to be separated from the Lord, went away carrying the sandals of the Lord on his head.


Created:Friday, May 28, 2010 9:17 PM

Anecdote Wisdom


. Desire to Excel: A German once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you need two statues of the same idol?” “No” said the sculptor without looking up “We need only one, but the first one got damaged almost at the last stage”. The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. “Where is the damage?” he asked. “There is a scratch on the nose of the idol” said the sculptor, still busy with his work. “Where are you going to install the idol?’ asked the visitor. The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a platform 20 feet high. “If the idol is that far, who is going to notice that there is a scratch on the nose?” the visitor asked. The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said “I will know it”.
The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone notices it or not

All Life is Yoga—Aurobindo: Centuries ago when the famous Sun Temple at Konarak was under construction, its founder King Narasimha Deva used to put on a light disguise to supervise the work. One day he stood behind a labourer cutting a slab of stone and asked him “What are you doing my friend?”. The man, rather annoyed, answered “Can’t you see that I am cutting stone? Did I seem to be dancing or singing?”
The king quietly moved on to the next labourer and put the same question to him. “Well, I am only earning my daily wage” he said. The king saw two others engaged in the same job. For a similar question, the third man said “I am obeying the royal order, of course “was his answer. But when the king stood behind the fourth man and put the same question, he almost broke into ecstasy and said “How lucky I am to be participating in the preparation for invoking the Sun God upon our earth!”
Needless to say that the fourth labourer was also cutting stones, earning his wage and obeying royal order; but he was doing much more. He was doing Yoga by offering his action to the Sublime. That is why the Bhagavadgitha declares “Yogah Vruttishu Kaushalam” which means ‘Yoga is only excellence in whatever you do’

Do not covet other man’s wealth: Chanakya was the mentor of King Chandra Gupta Maurya but was living in a cottage. When once a visitor was to meet him on some private work, Chanakya was engaged in State affairs and working under the light of a big candle. On seeing the visitor, he put off the candle before him and lighted a new small candle. The surprised visitor asked Chanakya as to what was the need for putting off a burning candle and lighting a new one. Chanakya said that the candle he was using belonged to the state and he was then working on something related to the state affairs. Now that he had to meet a private visitor, he had no right to use the government candle for his personal work and so he put it out.
That is why Acharya Shankara in his ‘Bhaja Govindam’ says “Vittam Tena Vinodaya Chittam” which means ‘Enjoy only that which rightfully belongs to you’.

Where there is a will there is a way: An old man lived alone in Memphis. He wanted to spade his potato garden but it was hard work. His only son, who would have helped him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his and mentioned the situation:

“Dear son,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my potato garden this year. I have to miss doing the garden, even though your mother always loved planting time. I am just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If only you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me if you weren’t in prison.
Love, Dad “

In those troubled days, all letters from the inmates of the jail were censored by the Government. Shortly, the old man received this telegram: “For Heaven’s sake, Dad, don’t dig up the garden. That is where I buried the guns!”. At 4 A.M. the next day, a dozen FBI agents and local police officers showed up and dug the entire garden without finding any guns. Confused, the old man wrote another note to his son telling him what happened and asked him what to do next.
His son’s reply was “Go ahead and plant your potatoes, Dad. That is the best I could do for you from here”

Never forget the roots of your origin: Long back there was a Persian king whose Prime Minister was one by name Dara, a person of impeccable character, honesty and integrity. Knowing full well that he was an ordinary shepherd before he became the PM, the King had employed him on account of his intelligence and integrity. The courtiers were jealous of him and hatched out a conspiracy to get him out.
They told the king “This man behaves suspiciously. He goes to a lonely far off place at the end of every day. He must be stealing precious jewels from the palace and storing them there”.
One day the king followed him incognito. Dara went to that lonely place, shut the door. Through the key hole, the King saw him remove the royal robe, put on a torn rug lying inside a trunk, keep back the rug, put on the royal robe again, lock the door and get out. Surprised at this, when the King asked him about this peculiar behavior, the PM replied “Sir, this royal robe will continue as long as I am in your favour. The moment it is withdrawn I should return to my old profession and that is why I come here everyday to remind myself of my humble origin as a shepherd”

In a Lighter Vein: A flamboyant and quixotic Sultan had a harem with a bevy of beauties at quite a distance from the palace. Late at night whenever he felt having fun with one of them, he used to send his only trusted servant with his Rickshaw to bring one of them. As the servant knew that Master would lose his cool even with a minute’s delay, he used to literally run to the harem to fetch the girl. Unfortunately, while the Sultan enjoyed his favourite pastime with girls for 6 years, the servant died within three tears. Moral of the story: It is not the girls who kill you, but the running after them


Created: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:54 PM

Selling Magic


Life Insurance: A shy and meek insurance salesman came to the office of a dynamic Sales Manager of a big company, timidly approached the desk and mumbled: “Sir, won’t you take an insurance policy from me?’” ‘No” was the brusque reply. Disappointed and almost on the verge of tears, the salesman started back towards the exit door. “Wait a minute!” reclaimed the smart Sales Manager “I have dealt with several salesmen all my life and you are the worst that I have ever seen. You have to inspire confidence with your clients and for that you have to first have it yourself and put on a brave face. Just to give you confidence that you CAN make a sale, I will sign for $ 10,000 policy”
Signing the application, the Sales Manager told him ‘What you have to do is to learn some good techniques and use them”. “Oh! That I have” retorted the salesman “I have an approach for almost every type of businessman. The one I have just used was my standard approach for dynamic Sales Managers’

Group Insurance: One of the factory workers refused to sign up for the group insurance. No policy could be issued to him until all the employees signed, but he held out. The foreman begged him to sign and so did the Plant Superintendent, the General Manager. Still no success. Finally the owner of the factory took him inside and said “Listen, you idiot. Unless you sign up. I will fire you “. The worker grabbed the paper and signed immediately. ‘Now” asked the owner “Why you didn’t sign this before?”. “Because” the man replied “no one explained it as clearly as you did”

Lipton’s Tea: On one occasion tea baron Lipton was on a steamer that went underground. The Captain ordered some of the cargo jettisoned. While other passengers hurriedly grabbed their belongings, Lipton spent the time stenciling “Drink Lipton’s Tea” on every bale that would float.

Room Air conditioner: A company that manufactures room air-conditioners was entertaining a technical society to lunch. Directly behind the Chairman of the company were fitted air-conditioners of a rival company. When news photographers arrived, the Chairman realized the irony of the situation but made the best use of the situation. Pictures in the newspapers the next day clearly showed the Chairman fanning himself with the menu card.

Cat and the Saucer: A bargain hunter fond of collecting antiques and curios once saw a cat lapping milk from an old sauce in a wayside shop.. One glance told him that the saucer was a priceless antique. He thought that the shopkeeper was unaware of the value of the saucer. He approached the owner of the shop and said “That is a nice cat you are having there, Would you sell it to me?”. “Well” said the owner “I would be willimg to sell him for five dollars”. The collector of antiques paid five dollars, put the cat under his arm and then added ‘I think I will take the saucer also. Probably the cat is used to eating from it and habituated to it”.
“Oh, No” said the owner ‘I can’t give you the saucer” “Well then, I will buy it “said the collector. “Oh No “said the shop owner, I can’t sell it to you” “Ridiculous” said the bargain hunter “Why can’t you sell that old saucer to me?” “ Because “ replied the owner “ that is a priceless treasure. From that old saucer I have sold more than a dozen cats”

Henry Ford and Firestone: Few could touch the late Harvey F.Firestone when it came to salesmanship. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, no mean salesman himself, once challenged his ability. Edison set the terms. Each man would try to sell his company’s product to a certain wealthy Indian. For an hour, Ford spoke eloquently about his car but returned without making a sale. Since the Indian had no car and would not buy one, Firestone’s proposal to sell him a tyre appeared futile. Undaunted, Firestone took the man aside and returned a few minutes later to his friends wearing a broad smile. He had sold a tyre to the Indian, to be used as a swing by his son.

Selling Shoes: An American and a British salesman traveled together on the same boat to West Africa, each representing different shoe companies. Their first impression after landing was that all natives were barefooted. The Britain cabled his head office “Nobody here wears shoes. Returning home by the next ship”. The American salesman, seeing the situation differently, cabled his Chief: “Nobody here wears shoes. Market wide open. Send 10,000 shoes in the first consignment. Urgent”.

Selling Fans to Eskimos: There was a braggart salesman who claimed that he could even sell ice-boxes to the Eskimos. His boss, though he could not believe him to start with, finally took him at his word and sent him to the Arctic with a consignment of electric fans. The salesman went from igloo to igloo trying to sell his fan and at each place he was disappointed by the same reply “Fans! Why would we need a fan for? It is forty degrees below zero here”. “I agree” said the salesman “but how do you know and what guarantee is there that it won’t jump up to zero tomorrow?” The fans were sold.

And Finally

What is Business: A little boy asked his father “Daddy, what do you do?”. The father replied that he is a businessman. “What does it mean?” asked the boy. The father scratched his head and explained: “Look, my son, I go to work and make money. At the month end I give the money to your mother to run the house. What does it make me? Capital. And, your mother, she is Management. Since they were well off, the father pointed to the house maid and said; She is the labour.” The boy also had a bonny brother and the father said “That is the future”.
That night the baby’s cries woke up the boy. He went to the crib and discovered that the baby was wet and needed a diaper change. He rushed upstairs and found his mother fast asleep. He looked for his father and found that his father was behind a closed door entertaining the maid. He came downstairs, threw up his hands and declared to the baby “This is hell of a Business. Management is asleep; Capital is exploiting Labour and The ‘Future stinks”.


ARTICLE NO. 569---Marketing Strategy in Business
Created:Friday, May 21, 2010 9:36 PM

The Power Of Bhaja Govindam

‘BHAJA GOVINDAM’ of Acharya Shankara

Acharya Shankara was the most powerful exponent of the doctrine of Advaita in the country. His times [about the 8th Century] were such that belief in Gjnana Marga had gone down and various sects like the Kapalikas, the Bhairavas, and the Tantrikas were thriving. Even among the Vedic believers, the Karma Meemamsakas who extol the mere ritual aspect of the Vedas, were reigning supreme. It was given to Shankara to revitalize the orthodox thought and re-establish the belief and efficacy of following the Gjnana Marga. With a view to achieving this, Shankara, apart from establishing the various organizational institutions, has left for us, a voluminous mass of literature in Sanskrit like his various commentaries on the Brahma Sutra, Bhagavadgitha etc in addition to his immortal Prakarana Granthas like the Viveka Choodamani etc.

Apart from being the author of the above works of philosophy, Shankara was also a great devotee and a great mystic. Several of the Stotras composed by him are the cries of the soul and spirit which move, even today, any one by the depth of their emotions and profundity of appeal. Among them, one of the most popular Stotras is the
‘Bhaja Govindam’ which contains the entire essence of Vedanta in a nutshell in simple melodious Sanskrit, easy to understand and comprehend.

Bhaja Govindam is one of the seemingly smaller but in fact an extremely important work of Shankara which revels in the highest Vedantic thought. In this magnificent composition, the essence of Vedanta is condensed in the form of simple musical verses—so simple and melodious that even children can revel in its recitation even though they may not catch the Vedantic purport. For a grown-up and intelligent man, a thorough study and understanding of Bhaja Govindam will remove all delusions
[Maya] of the materialistic world. So the poem is also known by the name ‘Moha Mudgara’ which means the ‘Hammering of our delusions’. [Mudgara means hammer in Sanskrit]

The composition consists of 31 verses in all. However, the opening verse, which is taken as a refrain or chorus, is normally chanted at the end of each verse. The opening verse reads:

Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam Govindam Bhaja Moodhamathe

Samprapte Sannihite kale Nahi Nahi Rakshathi Dukring Karane

Translated in English it means; “Seek Govinda, Seek Govinda, oh Fool! When the appointed time of death comes, surely learning grammar rules will not save you”.

In this refrain-verse the disciple is asked to pack up his heart with thoughts of God rather than with his anxieties to acquire, hoard or possess secular accomplishments or achievements. The word ‘Govindam’ stands for the Atman which is the Truth behind the ever-changing flux of things that constitute the universe of our experience. Govinda is the Brahman of the Upanishads and He is the Highest Reality. Therefore, Bhaja Govindam means ‘seek your identity with Govinda, the Supreme; and do not waste your time in mere grammar learning [Dukring Karane] and in such other unprofitable pursuits of secular knowledge, of worldly possessions, of ephemeral fame and of passing joys. These are addressed to seekers as a book of instructions to help them with the path straight to their goal. Hence Bhaja Govindam is a text book of advice and not a book of disputation [Veda]. In Bhaja Govindam we meet with a teacher who is softly advising his disciples to reach Brahman in the straight pursuit of the Gjnana Marga.

Tradition has it that the 12 stanzas after the opening stanza were composed by the Acharya himself and these twelve stanzas are classified under the name “Dwadasha Manjarika Stotram” which means ‘A bouquet of 12 flowers in verse’. Very contagious must have been the teacher’s inspired mood that each one of the 14 disciples who accompanied the Master contributed a stanza of his own. After listening to all these verses, Shankara blessed all the true seekers of Vedantic knowledge by the last 4 stanzas. Thus, the entire composition of ‘Bhaja Govindam’ consists of 31 stanzas in all.

Bhaja Govindam was one of the most favorite stotras of Rajaji, the great statesman.
Commenting on the greatness of the composition as a Practical Guide to Vedanta which fosters a sense of detachment and devotion, Rajaji writes:

“Adi Shankarachrya wrote a number of Vedantic works for imparting the Knowledge of Self and the Universal Spirit. He also composed a number of hymns to foster Bhakthi in the hearts of men. One of these hymns is the Bhaja Govindam.
The Way of Devotion [Bhakthi Marga] is no different from the Way of Knowledge or Gjnana Marga. When intelligent matures and lodges itself securely in the mind, it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes Bhakthi. If it does not get transformed into Bhakthi, such knowledge is useless tinsel. To believe that Gjnana and Bhakthi –Knowledge and Devotion—are different from each other is sheer ignorance.
If Adi Shankara himself who drank the ocean of Gjnana, as easily as one sips water from the palm of one’s hand, sang in his later years hymns to develop devotion, it is enough to show that Gjnana and Bhakthi are one and the same. No other testimony is needed.
Sri Shankara has packed into Bhaja Govindam the essence of all Vedanta and has set the oneness of Gjnana and Bhakthi to melodious music which delights the ear”

B.M.N. Murthy

ARTICLE NO.568 " Bhaja Govindam " of Acharya Shankara
Created:Monday, May 17, 2010 7:08 PM

English Is A Phunny Language!

-Tickling you to the bone
[With apologies to the original writer]

Sixty years ago, a schoolmaster from a remote rural area of Maharashtra, by name Ghorpade, more at home with Marathi or Hindi than with English, was transferred to Nasik. He reported for duty and on the first day he was introduced to all the other colleagues with whom he interacted. During the interaction he could assess that his knowledge of English was much better [ only he had heard about English authors like Longfellow, Francis Bacon and about English Public schools like Eton, Harrow and Rugby].. He therefore thought that he would impress all of them with his superior knowledge of English. On the eve of the Independence Day it was the practice of the school to request the most recent recruit to address the gathering. Ghorpade thought it was an ideal occasion to show his talent in English and so desired to speak in English. The topic he chose was: Independence Day. The following is an extract from a copy of the written text:

“Pracharya Mahoday [Head Master [, Contemporaries and childrens,

This is my first maidan speech. If small small mistakes are inside my speech, I ask pardon. Stickly speaking, I wanted to joint your school more fastly, but two very important reasons objected me.

Firstly, when I and my son making exit from my house, the wireman gave a telegram message for me. I got a real sock when I read that my feverish and weekly mother became very dangerous. I rushed her village for one lost sight of her before she exfired. By the time I reached, she had finished and her eyes were locked. In spite of doctor’s injunctions and best medicines, my mother fell from frying fan into the fire. What can I do? Man prepossesses and God dispossesses. Doctor told me that before she passed out, her breadth also became longer. I asked my doctor if my mother was in her senses when she died. Doctor said she had sense till 9 in the night, but no sense by 10.

Anyway, with water in our eyes, we gave her all the rights and carried her to the firing ground. We fired her with sandalwood, incense and ghee. After mother was reduced to asses in the fire, we collected some asses for drowning them in the Ganga River because it is the habit among Hindus. Funeral celebrations became grand success
The second reason is, too much time lost in getting slipper accommodation. The clerk rejected to give a ticket. I put complaint on stationmaster. He said me to go to window number 14 and press that lady clerk. At first she rejected. But when I continued to press her for a long time with great difficulty, she gave birth only to my son. For me, she gave a sitting birth. I thanked the stationmaster for having given birth at least to my son.

Childrens, today we got independence because of leaders like Gandhiji who get-outted all Angrezi peoples from India. Tilak said Swaraj is our birth rate and we shall have it. Today we all halve our birth rate due to Tilak.

You childrens are future generators of the nation. Be like great men. Remainder what that great man Lord Nelson said during war between Russia and America. He said “England accepts every man who does his duty”. One day you must become inventories and discovers like X-ray Ranjan of Germany or Presidents like Loosebelt or Washington of France. They were all genius. You know what is genius? No? Matlab, it is one per cent perspiration and ninety nine percent evaporation.

France’s Baygone said “Reading, like eating, makes a full man”. After you finish in the school, get degrees in college. You can then become great liars in supreme courts, shattered accountants, lecherers in colleges like Elephant son in Bombay etc. The school is like a garden. You are the seeds, school is the soil and we are the malice, matlab, gardeners. We will bury you in the soil, pour water of knowledge on your heads and one day you will become great phools, matlab, flowers of India.

If you have flare for English language, most beautiful language, learn it. You become a lecturer. The pay packet may not be heavy but the carrier is a noble one.

Last but not the latest; be proud of your school. You heard schools like Eaten, Arrow and Rubby. No? Great schools. The battle of Watergate was won on the playing fields of Eaten. Work for the nation from today and don’t allow anytime to go to waist, girding up your lions right now.

I am now ending this fastly, but before I am finished here, I will give a fine coating from a longfellow which is poetry. By heart it, childrens.

“Wives of all great men remind us
We can take our wives sometimes
And departing leave behind us
Good prints in the hands of time”

May God bless you! Jai Maharashtra!

NOTE: After this speech, the Principal cancelled the exhibition of a Laurel and Hardy film scheduled for the afternoon.


ARTICLE NO.567--A Schoolmaster's Maiden Speech in English
Created: Friday, May 14, 2010 10:25 PM

Tagore- The World Citizen

--Vishwa Manava [World Citizen ]

The only Indian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for his ‘Geetanjali’ in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore was a multi-faceted genius. He was well-known all over the world as a writer and poet of extraordinary talents who commanded a wide readership around the world. As a philosopher and mystic, he was a pioneer to develop a synthesis of the Eastern and Western cultures. The popularity of Tagore as a writer and philosopher can be gauged from the fact that several of his masterpieces continue to be read across the world, even a century and a half after his birth. His play “The Post Office” was one of the most popular plays in the world before the Second World War. Apart from being a poet and a writer, Tagore was a painter of high quality and perception. In short, he was an artist with a poet’s eye.

Tagore was a composer of over 2,000 immortal songs of which he authored both the lyrics and tunes and through which he essentially founded his own brand of music called ‘Ravindra Sangeeth’. He is the only person to have created the National Anthems of two different countries—India’s ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and Bangladesh’s ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’, though both nations were born after his death in 1941. Even greater than these two anthems, we have his “ Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”—an inspirational poem that could form the National Anthem of any country aspiring for freedom.

About a hundred years back Tagore was a global giant, much before the era of globalization dawned- -a fact which today’s Indians might find it difficult to imagine.
When he was to speak at New York’s 4.000 seated Carnegie Hall in 1930 [itself a rare enough honour, since the hall is usually reserved for concerts, not for orations], more than 20,000 people were turned away from the sold-out event. The event created a mass of humanity on the streets that blocked traffic for miles. No living writer had ever something comparable happen and what is more, Tagore was handsomely paid for his lecture which drew the jealousy of some American writers.

Though Tagore was essentially a literary artist, he was true nationalist. His voice was raised whenever grave injustices were committed. When an evil is perpetrated every citizen, irrespective of his position in the country, has an obligation to speak out his mind and act against it. Tagore, along with Gandhiji, was responsible for awakening the national spirit in India. All through his life he was as much against the cowardice of the weak as against the arrogance of the strong. In his patriotism there was no trace of hatred or bitterness. When the Sedition Bill was passed in 1898 and the great national leader Lokamanya Tilak was arrested, Tagore raised his voice against the repressive spirit policy of the British Government and took active part in raising funds for Tilak’s defence. When Bengal was partitioned in 1905 under the recommendation of Lord Curzon, creating a new province of East Bengal, he was deeply disturbed and poured out songs full of the spirit of nationalism. The main theme of his patriotic songs was: “There is no salvation for man if the power of the weak is not awakened at once, because the weapon of the powerful has exceeded its limits; the helplessness of the weak knows no bounds today; all opportunities and advantages are heaped on one side of the human society and helplessness reigns supreme on the other side”

On 13th April 1919, people were celebrating the festivity of Baishakhi [Punjabi New Year] in the walled garden in Amritsar, popularly known as Jalianwala Bagh. People had assembled in thousands to participate in the festivities when they were continuously fired upon by the British troops on orders of Brigadier R.H.Dyer, killing 379 persons and wounding more than 2,000 persons, mostly women and children. When these atrocities occurred, Tagore was deeply hurt and as a gesture of protest he returned his Knighthood to the British Government and wrote a letter to the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, which concluded with the words:’ The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in their incongruous context of distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so-called insignificance, are liable to suffer a degradation not fit for human beings”.

Though he criticized the British rule and worked for the country’s liberation from British rule, Tagore had no hatred for the British. In a letter written to C.F.Andrews in 1921, Tagore wrote “With all our grievances against the English nation, I cannot help loving your country which has given me some of my dearest friends. I am intensely glad of this fact, for it is hateful to hate. The best people in all countries find their affinity with one another. The fuel displays its differences but the fire is one. When the fire comes before my vision in this country I recognize it as the same thing which lights our path in India and illuminates our house. Let us seek that fire and know that wherever the spirit of separation is supreme, there reigns darkness. Let me light my own lamp with love for the great humanity revealed in your country”.

During one year when people celebrated his birthday, he told them “Do not remind me of my age by celebrating my birthdays. I refuse to believe that age has anything to do with my life which knows nothing but the immortal youthfulness in which I am one with my Jivandevatha, the God of my life. Youth is not a period of life. It is a state of mind, a quality of emotions, a temper of the spirit. We do not grow old by living a certain number of years. We grow old if we lose our ideals and if we become immune to change. Years may wrinkle the skin; the soul is wrinkled if we give up love and loyalty. Whether we are twenty or seventy, we are young so long as we have in our heart the spirit of wonder, of curiosity, the challenge to life and joy in adventure. This is the meaning of the saying that we are as young as we feel”

With his long beard and his flowing white robe, Tagore epitomized the archetype of the Indian sage. His magisterial mind and his inspiring presence did a great deal to inspire admiration across the world. When the great British poet Wilfred Owen was to return to the war front to give his life in the futile First World War, he recited Tagore’s “When I Go From Hence” to his mother as his last goodbye. When he was so tragically killed, Owen’s mother found Tagore’s poem copied in her son’s own handwriting in his diary.

In fact Tagore had the vision to see Truth and the heart to love it

ARTICLE NO. 566--Sri Rabindranath Tagore
Created: Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:38 PM

Ancient, Pure, Unique- The Vedas

--Antiquity, Purity and Uniqueness

The main purpose of every religion in the world is to define the meaning and purpose pf life and explore ways to everlasting happiness and peace. While the Western philosophers stopped their quest to locate such happiness in the external world and the material objects therein, our ancient Indian Rishis went ahead in their search turning their attention inwards towards the ever shining soul of man, the Innate Divinity, and found an answer in the form of the Vedas and the Veda Mantras.

The scientist is the discoverer of the laws of nature and knowledge of these laws enable him to control the forces and workings of nature. The same is the position which Indian thought accords to those Rishis. They discovered the laws that govern the inner world, much as physical scientists discovered the laws of external physical nature. The laws or facts, which they seek to explain, were not created by them. They were there all the time. But they were unknown to man. The Rishis who discovered these Spiritual Truths were men and women with extraordinary intellectual, moral and spiritual discipline. These spiritual Truths discovered at varying stages by several Rishis are called The Vedas

Swami Vivekananda, explaining the greatness of the Vedas, said in his address to the Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893:
“By the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons at different times. Just as the Law of Gravitation existed before its discovery and would continue to exist even if humanity forgot about it, so it is with the laws that govern the spiritual world. The moral, ethical and spiritual relation between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits, were there before their discovery and would remain so even if we forgot them. The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis and we honour them as perfect beings. I am glad to tell this audience that some of the very greatest of them were women”.

This Rishihood, this capacity to discover these spiritual truths, is not an Indian monopoly. Indian Thought holds that it is a universal phenomenon. That is why we call our Hinduism as ‘Sanathana Dharma’ or ‘Universal Religion’. Vedanta therefore recognizes non-Indian sages like Jesus Christ, St.Francis of Assisi, and St.Augustine as Rishis. This flows from the Vedantic teaching of non-duality of the Ultimate Reality and the possibility of different approaches to it The Rigveda has given eloquent expression to this concept in the famous saying ‘ Ekam Sat ; Viprah Bahudha Vadanti’ meaning ‘Truth is one ; Sages call it by different names’
The Vedas have come to us as ‘revealed texts’ which means that God’s words have became available to us through saints. This concept of ‘revealed texts’ is not confined to India alone. Many other religions do believe that their sacred texts are but a revelation of God’s words. Jesus Christ said that his preachings were not his own but those of God which he was asked to propagate. Mohammedans say that Prophet Muhammad merely preaches the instructions of Allah which were revealed to him. These revealed texts have been received by sages and seers and they have passed them on to mankind from generation to generation for its betterment.

The recitation of the Vedas in strict conformity with the specified intonation, delivery, diction, tone etc results in the Mantras which generate sound vibrations. According to the Vedic poets, a sound or a certain secret set of vibrations, tunes exactly which are appropriate to the vibrations of the invisible psychological forces and entities. The Mantras provide these secret sets of vibrations. They invoke the deity and give the knowledge by which one can submit in admiration and devotion to deity. That is why the Mantras are also called ‘Sonic deities’. It is this sonic property of the Mantras and its effect on the human psyche that makes the Mantra not translatable to any other language.

The Mantras have come down to us by word of mouth from time immemorial in all their pristine purity.. Since the Vedas were un-written words or rather un-written sounds, there is no question of any books on the Vedas or any printing of the Vedas. It was just by oral transmission that they were passed on from generation to generation. That is why they are called ‘Shruthi’ or ‘what is heard’. Just as in a laboratory, a life giving elixir is preserved with the utmost care, the Veda Mantras which are for universal benefit have been preserved by the ancients without suffering erosion or corrosion even a bit.

The most remarkable fact which gives us an insight into the profundity and power of Indian spiritual culture is the foundation of her literary tradition built upon an oral system that exists for over three thousand years prior to the written Sanskrit works.
Before the advent of Buddhism, writing for literary purposes was virtually unknown in India. Yet, all the valuable wisdom contained in the Vedas, the Upanishads and other epics , as well as other Sanskrit works, was transmitted by a special class of dedicated and devoted scholars through the oral tradition. This great tradition was meticulously followed and maintained by the Guru Parampara [Lineage of Teachers] and their sincere and adept disciples. The chanting of the Vedas has been thus one of the most carefully reproduced sound modulations recited in a strictly traditional manner with a view to maintain its correct meaning.

Highlighting the greatness of the oral tradition, Prof. S.N.Dasgupta, one of the greatest Historians and Philosophers of the 20th Century, writes in his book ‘A History of Indian Philosophy’:
“When the Vedas were composed, there was probably no system of writing prevalent in India. But such was the scrupulous zeal of the Brahmins who got the whole Vedic literature by heart by hearing it from their preceptors, that it has been transmitted most faithfully to us through the course of last three thousand years or so with no interpolation at all”

Prof. Dasgupta’s comments were long ago authenticated by Prof. A.A. MacDonnell, [The Oxford Sanskrit Scholar] in his book ‘A History of Sanskrit Literature-1899’ in these words: “The Vedas are still learnt by heart as they were long before the invasion of Alexander, and could now be restored from the lips of religious teachers if every manuscript or printed copy of them were destroyed”. Even the famous German scholar in Sanskrit Prof. Max Muller [1823-1900] wrote “The Veda Mantras are to us unique and priceless guides in opening before our eyes tombs of thoughts richer than the regal tombs of Egypt. They have their own unique place and stand by themselves in the literature of the world”

It is not the antiquity of the Vedas but the perennial appeal and effervescence in the Indian mind that is important. For, it is really a wonder that this vital tradition has never been disturbed by foreign invasions, internal political upheavals, cultural aggression, changes in language, racial admixture and many more such impediments of social, economic and political life. That vouchsafes for the purity of the Vedas and the Veda Mantras.

B. M.N.Murthy

Article no.564--VEDA MANTRAS
Created :Friday, May 7, 2010 9:01 PM